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In just 18 months since its debut, the Apple iPhone commands the
third largest market share for smartphones in the North American
market. In 2008, the number of iPhone users soared more than 325
percent, and an increasing number of people are turning in their
BlackBerry and Symbian-based devices in favor of Steve Jobs’ handheld

The hyper adoption of iPhone is part of the motivation behind
Kaseya’s development of tools to support the iPhone, Microsoft Mobile
and Symbian OS smartphone platforms. The managed services and
automation tools vendor plans to release beta versions of its mobile
phone management tools in the first half of 2009 and have a general
release available by the third quarter.

“It’s an untapped market and an accelerating market, especially for
the services providers,” says Jim Alves, executive vice president of
product marketing and strategies.

The Kaseya tool kit will enable full remote management for the Apple
iPhone, and devices that use Microsoft Mobile, Microsoft CE and
Symbian. According to Gartner, Symbian dominates the smartphone market
with nearly a 50 percent share, Research In Motion—makers of BlackBerry
devices—is second with 16 percent, iPhone is third with 13 percent and
Windows Mobile is fourth with 11 percent.

“[Service providers] will be able to manage the whole device and be
able to do configuration, back up the phone, wipe the phone and deploy
apps,” Alves said.

Kaseya’s development of smartphone management and support tools for
managed services providers has been in the works for more than a year,
Alves says. While BlackBerrys and other e-mail enabled cell phones have
been in the enterprise for years, the explosion of new smartphone
applications and the number of enterprise uses have overwhelmed many IT
departments’ ability to support mobile platforms.

“The time we spend on getting phones configured is huge. To be able
to do remote management on someone’s device would be a great benefit,”
says Dan Wilson, CEO of Waypoint Solutions Group in Charlotte, N.C.

Solution and managed service providers say the demand for smartphone
support and managed services is practically non-existing among their
customers. However, they do see the potential for such services in the
near future as the adoption of complex applications for mobile devices

“It’s a very beneficial solution that we could provide,” says Bogi
Gudbransson, chief information officer at PEQ Consulting, a managed
services and solutions firm in Dayton, Ohio. “People aren’t asking for
it today, but it’s a perfect extension of our current services

Smartphones are evolving rapidly as bandwidth, processing power,
battery life and memory improve. Several enterprise software
vendors—most notably—are providing mobile applets and
interfaces to their Web-based applications. Wyse Technology, a
thin-client software and hardware vendor, already has an application
for iPhones and envisions a day when the smartphone is powerful enough
to be a fully functional thin client.

As smartphones evolve, complexity will make it increasingly
difficult for in-house IT departments to configure, deploy, manage and
secure. Providing low-touch management tools, Kaseya believes, will
open new opportunities for companies that deliver managed services.

“Any time we can take control without having to walk someone through
the process would be a real benefit,” says Craig Vickers, vice
president of sales at IT Now, a solution provider in Sandy, Utah.

Kaseya is also planning to release remote management and automation
tools for Apple’s Mac OS X, giving managed service providers the
ability to configure and manage the popular consumer desktop. Many
service providers are seeing an increasing number of Macs in their
customer environments, but they lack the ability to remotely manage and
service them in the way they can Windows- and Linux-based PCs.