J.D. Power: iPhone beats BlackBerry in Business (WTF?)

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This story is a great example of how numbers can be misleading, even when they come from respectable sources. J.D. Power has published a study stating that the iPhone far surpasses BlackBerrys among business users. Before we go dismantling this article, let’s give you some more information first.

The study was based on responses from 1,388 business wireless customers who currently own a smartphone. It was fielded between August and September 2008. Overall satisfaction was measured across five factors: ease of operation (27%); operating system (24%); physical design (21%); handset features (18%); and battery aspects (10%).

On a scale of 1,000, the iPhone reached 778 points, while the BlackBerry came in second with 703 points.

So what’s wrong with this article? Firstly, while we can assume that the iPhone 3G was used in the study, the BlackBerry used (or if it was one or many) is not mentioned. Was it a BlackBerry Curve? If so, I can see how many people would prefer the much newer iPhone 3G. However, the iPhone should have been placed against the BlackBerry Bold or Storm for a fair comparison, devices which had not been released at the time of the study.

Secondly, the initial premise that the iPhone can be used as a serious business phone is essentially false. While corporate VPs that need only email and a pretty device could use the iPhone 3G, that’s the only segment of the enterprise space to which it would apply. Serious enterprises simply won’t role out the iPhone 3G on a large scale. It is not as secure as the BlackBerry (read: no BES), no serious enterprise software is provided (read: no Rove Mobile Admin, no momentem… etc.) and it’s basic functionality as a serious communication device is limited (read: no copy and paste). J.D. Powers simply wasn’t asking the right people.

You can see more results from the J.D. Powers study after the jump. Please take all numbers with a grain of salt.

|via Fortune|

J.D Powers Smartphone Business Study:

    * Smartphones are buggy. 44% of respondents reported having to reboot their device at least once a week during the past 12 months, while 34% experienced either an application malfunction or application freeze one or more times per week.
    * Prices are falling. The average purchase price of a smartphone device was $216, compared with $261 in 2007. Apple owners report the highest average purchase price at $337, while Motorola owners report the lowest at $169.
    * Games are popular. 34% of business smartphone owners say they download third-party software, including games (49%), business applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel (43%) and travel-related programs (36%).

  • Gary
    From the Article: "The 2007 Business Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 1,089 business wireless customers who currently own a smartphone device. Findings are based on data collected in August 2007."

    Not sure where the August - September 2008 comes from as I can't find in on the article. Actually the link points to a article about "BlackBerry Devices Rank Highest in Inaugural Business Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study" So a bad link to the wrong article?
  • crazylegs
    David R - What you are referring to is your personal choice in using the iPhone over the Blackberry. That's great and all and you should use what suits you best, but to say that the iPhone is a better enterprise device is false if you have any need for security and control.

    The arguments here are funny because both sides are correct in that you usually have the Mobileadmins of the world trying to support a whole army of users and then you have the David Rs of the world who are most likely at a smaller company where personal choice trumps security/control. So before you can say one is better than the other, you have to define which market you are talking about. In the large enterprise space, RIM has the best platform by many miles - any argument against this would highlight one's lack of ration and blind fanatcism. In the small/med business the iPhone is much better for some and the Blackberry is much better for others - it comes to choice.

    Now as far as the fantasy that RIM was outsold by Apple in the last quarter, the numbers show 6.9 mln iPhones vs. 6.1 mln BBs. But wait, why is this misleading? Very simple: 1. iPhone stopped sales two months before the 3G launch so there was two months of pent up demand and 2. the typical surge of buyers for a new Apple device juices the numbers. Even if you forget about the latter and focus on the former, the 6.9 mln number over 5 months worth of demand would become about 4.1 mln devices for a normalized 3 months period. Impressive nonetheless, but not more than RIM. And if you don't want to use ration and view the reality of last quarter's situation, then we can wait until next quarter's numbers and see more accurate data, which will show iPhones sales around 5-6 mln and Blackberries at 7 mln plus. (Anyone notice the production cuts on iPhone?)
  • MobileAdmin
    The fanboy stink is getting strong in here.

    RIM has nothing to worry about in their core market (the enterprise) until Apple can match them feature to feature with the BES. I don't see that coming anytime soon so EVERY company on the planet with a sizable Blackberry deployment will continue to be Blackberry focused. Other then small to medium size businesses I doubt you will see any large iPhone deployments due to frankly there are no controls / methods to do so presently.

    Is the Bold even a competing device to the iPhone? yeah they are both SMARTPHONES but that is about it. One is email focused with improved web browsing and the other is becoming a gaming / entertainment extension to the iPod. Which should a CIO decide to extend sensitive company data and applications to? Apple should be very concerned with the Storm, if it beats them on price, matches the web experience (though not multi-touch), has a better text entry experience and is on the consistent JD Power best wireless provider (Verizon) all while giving companies all the security they have already via BES I can bet they will sell a boatload of them. You can bet Verizon will advertise the crap out of the Storm.

    The stink you smell is the paniced sweat from the Apple fanboys all over the net knowing Apple's window is getting smaller and smaller and the lack of any new killer features will just show iPhone for what it is. A controlled extension of the iPod family whos primary goal is to feed that ecosystem.
  • David R.
    But, wait, there's more!

    On top of the iPhone supplanting BlackBerry at No. 2 worlwide in market share and nabbing No. 1 in customer satisfaction among BUSINESS users, the slams keep coming on the RIM's new good-but-not great devices this fall.

    Look at the most recent headlines on the Bold: "BlackBerry Bold: Good but no iPhone" from the Dallas Morning News." "BlackBerry Bold is Hardly That" from U.S. News and World Report. "Apple Outshines BlackBery" from the MoneyTimes in India. Hardly iPhone fanboys there, and quite business oriented.

    As I've repeatedly said here, back when I dumped RIM at $138 and was laughed at, the PearlFlip, Bold and Javelin Curve are all incremental devices that will NOT stop the bleeding at RIM. And RIM has acknowledged as much by already undercutting these mishandled and delayed rollouts by leaking news of a Storm 2 and Storm 3 and new Bold/Storm "Magnum" next year.

    This is a big month, people, with all hopes now pinned on the first STORM from Verizon. Too bad it has no WiFi or the physical keyboard that made BlackBerries first-in-class. Not a great position to be in now--playing on the iPhone's touchscreen turf. But here's hoping Storm can at least get RIM a first down and into scoring position in 2009.
  • Tommy
    What a great example of a poorly written article! How are you supposed to compare it to products that, even according to the article, are not out yet? Don't be such as fanboy of the BB that you can't be objective when it comes to comparing them to another device.

    Posted from my 8830.
  • Ashley Armitt
    what a load of rubbish!

    april fools cam early ey.... lol
  • David R.
    Sorry, but it's this article reviewing the J.D. Powers survey that should be taken with a grain of salt, not the survey itself.

    This disappointing review of a review is very biased in favor of Blackberries, which is to be expected on a site named BlackBerry Cool, but is over-the-top in stating as fact that "the initial premise that the iPhone can be used as a serious business phone is essentially false."

    Really? I have the Bold AND the iPhone, and I can tell you flat out I can better manage my business with the iPhone, and so can my employees, all of whom use iPhones. And there are dozens of Fortune 500 companies beginning to think the same thing.

    These are not toys, people, but sophisticated business tools with better data viewing and most advanced business applications than Blackberries. Look, I'm a fan of Blackberry, and the physical keyboard of the Bold cannot be beat so far as physical keyboards go. Great for my General Counsel and lawyers who like to hear themselves type. But the cost comes in screen size and the underwhelmed UI and OS of the Blackberry platform. And I've tried the Storm, too. Mediocre, too, compared to the iPhone, and still no Wifi for it.

    I think the Wall Street Journal said it best about the new Bold: they are daddy's old Buick, an old fart shined up and cluttered with individual electronic features that, at the end of the day, prove the sum is far less than its part.

    What the iPhone has done is make the sum greater than its parts.

    Articles like the above that insist that ease-of-use makes a superior device like the iPhone unfit for business reveal a fanatic's devotion to a platform and not the people with real questions looking for expertise on blogs like this to help them with their purchasing decisions.

    Why can't you just admit the truth that the more business people prefer the iPhone like the J.D. Powers survey said? Because I can guarantee you that if J.D. Powers said Blackberries were #1 in business satisfaction, you like every automaker and appliance manufacturer would be singing a different tune.

    Blackberries have plenty of things to crow about in their own right, but please give credit where it's due to the iPhone. Even RIM is doing as much with the Storm, new Developers Kits and App Store all Xeroxed from Apple.
  • @Gary,

    The study took place from August to September of 2008. The BlackBerry Bold had launched during that time in EVERY COUNTRY OTHER than the United States, and the Storm was mere months away.

    While I agree that you shouldn't judge the present against the future, a certain grace period should be extended.

    Also, if it was the Curve, you should state that (some) people prefer the iPhone to the Curve, not BlackBerrys in general.
  • LouTreize
    How about this, more competition gives out more innovation, at a competitive price. Simple. The iPhone (as much as i love/hate it) made a big blip on the smartphone map. In any case, this "study" is completely retarded, you should see how fast this is going around in the Apple forums.
  • Gary
    Well I agree that the iPhone is not a serious business tool, to say that the study should have compared the iPhone, which one could go out and buy at the time the survey was done, to an unreleased phone is just dumb. How about we compare the storm to the next version of the iPhone which will come out next year, or version 4 that will be out the year after that?

    While comparing a iPhone to a curve is not a fair comparison (The iPhone blows away the curve when it comes to Multimedia and web browsing), those were the phones that were available at the time. If you read the study it was done in 2007 and the storm and the bold were far from being released.
  • MobileAdmin
    Why is the media fixated on how many devices Apple sells? Yeah for SOME business it makes a great devices but we are not going to deploy it until we have means to enforce security (that can't be circumvented via jailbreak) and a way to manage the device.

    Apple fans are so eager to say they "won" that they are blinded that they are competing agianst 2 year old Blackberries, this will be go back and forth as Blackberry will see a huge gain with the Bold, Storm and future models. At the end of the day in the eneterprise it's about who provides the features you need and the lowest TCO.
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