Ever since its debut nearly four years ago, enterprise mobile phone users have been snapping up the iPhone and using it much to the chagrin to IT departments around the world. Apple saw this, and added much-needed features like native Exchange support, Cisco VPN capability and remote management. These are table-stakes features today, and Apple is returning to one of its competitive strengths to continue to differentiate against Android and put enterprise leader RIM in an even tougher position.
Apple’s patent application for an App Store designed strictly for enterprise users signals a full-on assault in this market. Having this capability could block competitors from offering similar stores – assuming they can get their collective acts together. But it’s the IT departments that will appreciate a store with stricter security and authentication practices, and another roadblock removed for even greater iPhone adoption in a market Apple has historically shied away from.