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Apple to boost business iPhone support

Apple's iPhone is likely to get better support for corporate email tools such as Lotus Notes and Exchange this week, according to American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu.

Wu made the prediction in his latest note to clients, in which he once again marked Apple's a stock to buy with a $175 price target.

"Even before the iPhone was launched, our concern was its mediocre corporate email support even though it had strong consumer email capability (Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, .Mac, AOL mail). Our concern stemmed partially from Exchange's lukewarm support of Macs (understandably so as Microsoft needs to defend its Windows franchise)," the analyst notes.

The analyst cites his own industry and developer sources, who suggest that after "months of beta testing" this weakness will be addressed with improvements in iPhone's ability to work with Exchange server and IBM's Lotus Notes.

"What isn't as clear to us is how Apple will accomplish this, whether this is from internal development (most likely), third-parties including MSFT (next likely) with its ActiveSync technology, or RIM Blackberry Connect (possible but less likely), or a combination of two or more."

The analyst also predicts Apple will also deliver improved security, better support of Virtual Provate Networks, and enterprise applications such as Customer Relationship Management systems.

"We still have high conviction that Apple will ship ten million iPhones by the end of 2008. To a degree, what gives us confidence is the large number of hacked phones signaling strong intrinsic demand," Wu wrote.

The analyst concluded that Apple's remains a strong stock, noting: "While near-term trends look difficult with a looming recession and a slow-down in consumer spending, we continue to believe Apple is well-positioned to weather the storm better than most with its strong fundamentals."

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