Big-bank iPhone tests could mark start of Blackberry's role as legacy system

BofA, CitiGroup test iPhones as possible replacements for old-reliable Blackberries.

Stories this summer about Blackberry losing its place in global market share to the iPhone, and then more to Android, marked a big shift in smartphone use.

Sure, consumers and SMBs switched; Blackberries are more complex, more expensive and not nearly as cool. Even some whole industries started leaning iPhoneward.

Prevalence in specific industries -- computer companies, or hospitals that adopt iPhones -- could have been exceptions. IT agendas within specific vertical markets are often idiosyncratic. In medicine agendas are often driven by physicians, who are a dangerous combination of technical adeptness and biochemical education -- meaning they're used to dealing with systems that make no obvious sense, are still largely mysterious, and are both used and described in completely unrealistic terms by their owners.

This story that Citigroup and Bank of America are both testing iPhones and considering a switch from Blackberries may be the tipping point.

When a nice, orderly, logical, regulated, engineer-thinkalike organizations like big banks start leaning away from Blackberry and toward iPhone, it indicates a real corporate shift that marks one (Blackberry) as the legacy, another as the current common denominator (iPhone) and everything else too dangerously close to the cutting edge.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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