The iPhone to Get Lotus Notes E-mail

Those of you who've delayed purchasing an iPhone because it won't work with your office's IBM Lotus Notes e-mail system can run to the nearest Apple store. IBM is set to make Lotus Notes available to the iPhone beginning next week.

Those of you who've delayed purchasing an iPhone because it won't work with your office's IBM Lotus Notes e-mail system can run to the nearest Apple store. IBM is set to make Lotus Notes available to the iPhone beginning next week.

There's no doubt that the iPhone has had a serious impact on the smartphone market in the U.S. It may rank second only to Research in Motion's BlackBerries, but it is still more for the mass market than the business user. That is about to change. The Associated Press is reporting that IBM will announce a new version of Lotus Notes that is compatible with Apple's iPhone next week at its annual Lotusphere conference. Commence celebrating.

There are some ifs ands or buts, however. First, your office has to already be using IBM's Lotus Domino server and Notes for its email. Users need to have Web access licenses, in particular, in order to use the new iPhone version of Lotus Notes, which itself will be free. If you want to sign up new users, be prepared to shell out $39 per user per year for the license. For access to corporate email, this is a pretty good deal.

Apple and IBM have a long history together. Apple relied on IBM's PowerPC chips to give life to its computers for years. Even though Apple dissed IBM and turned to Intel for its processors, the two companies still appear to be willing to work with one another.

The two companies have not made this announcement official yet, so more details aren't available. We'll be sure to have them soon, possibly as early as Jan. 20.

One thing to keep in mind. Many of you probably already use BlackBerries or Windows Mobile devices to retrieve your work email. RIM and Microsoft still include better enterprise management and security services for their products than the iPhone does. Just something to consider before you run out and stick your company e-mail, which may contain sensitive information, on an iPhone.