Apple’s iPhone replaces Blackberry for some bankers

By Kevin Lim and George Chen

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG, May 17 (BestGrowthStock) – British bank Standard
Chartered is replacing the Blackberry, currently its standard
corporate communication device, with the iPhone, a move that
could eventually result in thousands of its bankers switching to
the Apple (AAPL.O: ) device for business communication on the go.

Standard Chartered (STAN.L: )(2888.HK: ) bankers in Asia told
Reuters that the London-based lender was giving its corporate
Blackberry users the option of switching to the iPhone, with the
company agreeing to continue to pay monthly billing for
business-related telephone and data services.

“It’s a group-wide initiative involving wholesale and
consumer banks globally,” said a Singapore-based spokeswoman for
Standard Chartered, told Reuters.

The process of migrating corporate email services from the
Blackberry to the iPhone started about a month ago, said the
spokeswoman, although she did not know how many of the
Asia-focused bank’s 75,000 employees used company-issued
Blackberries or when the switchover could be completed.

Bankers at other financial institutions such as HSBC Holdings
Plc (0005.HK: )(HSBA.L: ) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N: ) (Read more about the money market today. ) have so far been
restricted to the Blackberry as the standard device issued by
their firms for business communications. Despite some indications
of change, it may take time for a broader switch to take place,
mainly because of security concerns, according to financial
professionals and information technology analysts.

“If more companies switch to the iPhone, this is of course
bad news for RIM,” said Lu Chialin, an IT industry analyst at
Macquarie Securities in Taipei. “However, it will take a long
time for companies to do their own internal testing before
deciding to change, so it will be a while before it has any
effect on RIM.”

Blackberries, from Canada’s Research in Motion (RIM.TO: ), are
the device of choice for bankers and executives who need regular
access to email and the Internet when outside the office.

RIM had the biggest share of the U.S. smartphone market at 36
percent, ahead of handsets running Google’s (GOOG.O: ) Android
operating system with 28 percent and Apple with 21 percent,
according to a recent study by NPB Group. [ID:nN10217010]

Singapore-headquartered Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp
(OCBC.SI: ) began offering its staff the choice of Blackberry or
iPhone about a year ago, although most of its bankers have so far
stuck to their Blackberries.

Some small, privately-held financial companies in Asia have
also started allowing employees to port corporate emails to their
personal iPhones on request, bankers and asset managers told
Trading China, a Thomson Reuters online community for financial
professionals focusing on the Greater China market.

The biggest issue for most companies choosing telephone and
email hardware is data encryption, said Macquarie’s Lin.

“RIM has a system that is more effective than most other
handset makers, so if there is a shift towards the iPhone it’s
not going to happen overnight but rather a slow and gradual
change.” he said.

Stock Market News

(Additional reporting by Kelvin Soh in Hong Kong)

Apple’s iPhone replaces Blackberry for some bankers