At my company we had a new executive start earlier this week who was an avid Blackberry user. She came from another division within our company and is still working for them while an executive recruiting team looks for a new executive for our company. Despite working for the same organization, both divisions keep entirely different active directory, and Exchange environments. She wanted to use her Blackberry with two Exchange accounts.
After much trial, I determined it was not possible to connect to two Exchange mailboxes with the functionality she required. She wanted separate mailboxes, calendars, and contacts. The best solution for a Blackberry was to use the initial activation on the BES (Blackberry Enterprise server) and combine with a BIS (Blackberry Internet Server) account. Unfortunately, that does not solve the problem of separate calendars and contacts. And after much trial, I could not get the Blackberry to connect via the BIS account, because of a certificate problem.
A quick search revealed that there is a very common device that now works on the Verizon Wireless network, and allows two exchange mailboxes. I was a little stunned with the answer: an iPhone 4! How can it be that Apple can unseat the king of corporate e-mail devices? I didn't believe the postings on the forums, but decided it was worth a try, and the executive was happy with the option, and that it still worked on Verizon Wireless.
The next day, the Apple iPhone 4 arrived. A small package, and the device was stylish and thin compared to the Blackberry Tour it was replacing. I turned it on, and it shows a picture of connecting the device to iTunes. I despise iTunes, I've always used WinAmp and other better easier to use media players. I began to doubt this device. How can I be forced to use iTunes just to turn the thing on? The box didn't come with a disc, and it didn't come with any directions on where to acquire iTunes. I guess they assume everyone uses the crappy software already. Well a quick download from Apples site, and a quick install and it is on her computer. Wait, I need a credit card just to create an iTunes account. After much hesitation and irritation I use the corporate credit card. The corporate card doesn't work with iTunes. I had to call Verizon, who put me in contact with an Apple â€œgenius.â€ Whatever!?!
It turns out there was a way to create a free account on iTunes, and it only took about 10 steps to get there. An alternate iTunes account creation form appears that doesn't require a credit card. I was almost frustrated enough to send the iPhone back, because of Apples tomfoolery, but I decided to continue.
Wow! Is all I can say! This device is phenomenal. It was easy to set up two Exchange mailboxes, and everything worked perfect. You can view your calendar with all calendars, or choose which individual calendar you want to see. The device keeps two separate mailboxes for each Exchange account. And the device uses Microsoft ActiveSync, and doesn't require a BES license or a separate server at all. It just works, and amazingly well! I may have just become the next Apple iPhone convert! And after some additional research I found that the iPhone 4 is very secure, although you can't push out policies quite the same way as BES can, there is a way to enforce password, and other security policies. The device is svelte, and it works as well or better than any Blackberry I've tried. Â