– by Larry Honig
We’ve got the unboxing video here. But read on for the real story.
Wait (as we say) - there’s more! And it involves a marketing choice (or screwup, as you may prefer) by ATT.
Our early adopter bought four of the phones through his corporation (the link to their site is http://www.preop.com; they are a video production house.)
The activation process for the iPhone is radical and all-new; unlike traditional phones which get activated in a cellular sales office, the buyer activates the iPhone directly, using the new version 7.3 of iTunes. This is a game-changing move by itself, a Steve Jobs game-of-Go mechanism that disintermediates the investment that cell carriers need to maintain in their dealer network, and puts iTunes at the center of the world’s communications directory business; typical of him, and likely to work, too. But that’s a story for another post. The issue is - how does it work in practice? And here, we must report, not all that well, if you’re a corporate entity.
Early in the iTunes activation process you are asked if you are already a personal or business activator. (Most buyers will already have a phone number, of course, and want to use it on their new toy.) If you select ‘business’, then you move through a process that requires, essentially, that you transfer the corporate phone number to a new personal ATT account. I can imagine that corporate telecom managers will be less than pleased to order these things with conditions like that attached.
We’ve got a call in now to an ATT spokesperson. I’ll post more as soon as I get their response.
After all the turmoil about whether the iPhone can be integrated into corporate email networks, after all the Gartner Group commentary bashing the iPhone’s security model (both bunk, in the humble and technically profound opinion of this writer) - will it be ATT - and not Apple - that manages to screw up the corporate sell-through of this product? Stay tuned.
—UPDATE at 9:15PM EDT - Kate McKinnon, ATT Spokesperson, called me back, and made this perfectly reasonable statement;
"ATT is excited to launch the Apple iPhone today, and we are trying to get it into as many consumers’ hands as possible. Corporate and enterprise customers - stay tuned."
(Which sounds to me like an opportunity for the views of corporate and enterprise customers to be heard. Now.)