Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Even Wall Street Wants an iPhone: UBS, J.P. Morgan Think About Bailing on BlackBerry

Are you one of the people convinced that Research in Motion (RIMM) is doomed because its BlackBerry line can’t keep up with the iPhone? Then you’ll love this report from Bloomberg, which says that two of Wall Street’s biggest banks–UBS and J.P. Morgan–are considering letting employees use the Apple handsets as their official work phone.

J.P. Morgan (JPM) is even thinking about supporting Google’s (GOOG) Android, Bloomberg reports:

JPMorgan is testing the Apple Inc. device and smartphones based on Google Inc.’s Android software, said the people, who didn’t want to be named because the plans haven’t been made public. The bank is the second-largest in the U.S. by assets and has about 220,000 employees worldwide.

UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, said it is also considering allowing its staff to use iPhones for company messaging as more of them opt for the Apple product. UBS has more than 63,000 employees…

JPMorgan would not buy iPhones or Android phones for employees, as it now does with BlackBerrys. Rather, the bank would allow employees to use the devices to send and receive corporate e-mail if they make the purchase themselves, the other person said.

The iPhone (and Android) migration into the (officially sanctioned) workplace isn’t new, but the move to Wall Street would be important symbolically. Bankers and their cohorts were the ones responsible for boosting BlackBerry years ago, when they called them “crackberries” and flashed them as status symbols.

The flip side of the story is also the version that gives RIM a fighting chance: BlackBerries used to be a corporate tool, but they’re now very much a consumer device. So there’s a scenario, theoretically, where it switches places with Apple’s (AAPL) phone line, which started out life in 2007 as an expensive toy you couldn’t use for work. Things move fast….

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