It was almost compulsory to make mention of the amazing success of the iPhone 3G launch with more than one million units sold in the first three days. It took the original iPhone two and a half months to reach this point in contrast. However it’s not the sales of the device that makes my point it’s the App Store, which according to Steve Jobs:
“The App Store is a grand slam, with a staggering 10 million applications downloaded in just three days. Developers have created some extraordinary applications, and the App Store can wirelessly deliver them to every iPhone and iPod touch user instantly.”
This kind of grand scale application ‘sales’ were previously limited to Microsoft and the PC environment, but now it seems the phone, or at least the Apple iPhone, has taken over as the mass market device of choice. However, the creation of these new mass consumer Apps and their subsequent offering makes for one huge challenge in support. Exactly how do you test for all the possible combinations and interactions? So it’s no great surprise to see quite a few grumbles being posted about ‘issues’ .

So why do I care about this issue as a CTO? Because all those iPhones are not going to stay out of the Enterprise environment, and this is one potent baby to have around, makes the ‘shadow IT’ problem of people using their PC for ‘additional’ programs look very controllable in comparison. We just don’t have the same tools to manage the use of the phone on our networks. Oh and by the way let’s hope all these users are not downloading and updating on corporate billed services, because that’s one hell of a lot of traffic, that again in comparison could make Facebook or SecondLife, use look pretty good.
Not directly linked to the iPhone but linked in my thoughts was the equally amazing number of just over eight million downloads over a twenty four hour period for the latest version of the Mozilla Foundation FireFox browser. Once again I can’t believe that all of this can’t have an influence on the Enterprise side. What both of these events; Apple and FireFox say to me is that we are seeing User adoption of Apps at a scale that is unprecedented.
It makes me think again about security, risks, and corporate rules/control. The first two you can asses, the last one is the real issue. If so many users are getting involved can we really impose the ‘old world’ rules to control or is this the beginning of the time that we have to start to really get serious on managing the frits two and accept that the classic move to ‘control’ users cannot be enforced in many enterprises?