JPMorgan Gives Bankers IPads in ‘Clear and Present Danger’ to RIM

JPMorgan Gives Bankers IPads
An Apple Inc. iPad tablet computer sits on display at a Wal-Mart store in Secaucus, New Jersey. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will give its investment bankers iPads to provide an additional mobile tool as Apple Inc. expands its domain to Wall Street, threatening Research in Motion Ltd. in a market it traditionally dominated.

“We believe there are real benefits in our working environment that can be realized using this device - as well as the personal productivity and enjoyment that come as part of the package,” two managing directors at New York-based JPMorgan said in an e-mail obtained by Bloomberg News.

Apple is building on its momentum in the tablet business, leveraging its 95 percent market share to expand from its traditional consumer base into the corporate market as RIM readies a rival device, the BlackBerry PlayBook. The Canadian maker of smartphones is trying to catch up with Apple as banks including Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group AG unveil applications for the iPad and Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. consider letting employees use iPhones instead of Wall Street’s 11-year-old device of choice, the BlackBerry.

“Apple represents a clear and present danger for RIM going forward,” said Brian Marshall, an analyst at Gleacher & Co. “For the first time you have a viable alternative to secure mobile communications and by and large we see people moving away from the BlackBerry platform in droves in favor of the iPhone and the iPad.”

JPMorgan, the second-largest U.S. lender by assets behind Bank of America, will distribute iPads free of charge to all associates in its global investment banking division, the Nov. 24 e-mail shows. Employees will get to keep the device as long as they remain at the unit until the pilot program ends on May 1, 2011.

Leveraging iPad

Bankers will be able to access e-mails, contacts, calendar and attachments via Microsoft Outlook, as well as have the ability to mark-up and annotate confidential documents and make client presentations, according to the e-mail. They will also be allowed to download applications for personal use.

“There are a variety of ways to leverage the iPad. Some work off-the-shelf whilst others rely on JPMorgan software/security tools,” the managing directors said. “Depending on its success we will evaluate if we should repeat this one time initiative and/or expand it to others.”

JPMorgan spokeswoman Lauren Francis declined to comment.

“Many corporations, including Wall Street, are looking at iPad for business use,” said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Kaufman Brothers LP. “There are two things attracting IT managers to the iPad: it’s easy to use and the price is pretty attractive relative to traditional notebooks.”

Beating BlackBerry Sales

IPad sales jumped 28 percent to 4.19 million units in the quarter ended Sept. 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Since the Cupertino, California-based company unveiled the device in April, it contributed $4.96 billion, or almost 14 percent, to Apple’s revenue, Bloomberg data show. The cheapest version of the tablet sells for $499, according to Apple’s website.

Meanwhile, RIM is winning customers for the tablet ahead of its first-quarter debut. Toronto-based insurer Sun Life Financial Inc. has agreed to buy as many as 1,000 PlayBooks, and the Canadian banking unit of ING Groep NV says it will also purchase the device.

Apple overtook RIM in the third quarter as the second-biggest smartphone company with 17.4 percent market share behind Nokia Oyj, the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones, according to researcher IDC.

IPhone sales of 14.1 million units “handily beat” BlackBerry’s 12.4 million in the third quarter, Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs said in an Oct. 18 call with analysts and investors to discuss earnings.

Banking Apps

“We’ve now passed RIM and I don’t see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future,” Jobs said. “They must move beyond their area of strength and comfort into the unfamiliar territory of trying to become a software platform company.”

More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies are “deploying or piloting” the iPhone as corporations continue to include the smartphone in their approved device lists, Apple said Oct. 18.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller declined to comment. Tenille Kennedy, a spokeswoman for Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, couldn’t immediately comment.

Morgan Stanley unveiled an application for the iPhone and the iPad on Aug. 23, allowing its clients to access the New York-based bank’s research on mobile phones. Credit Suisse, based in Zurich, followed with its own equity and fixed-income research application on Oct. 21 and JPMorgan said Nov. 15 that customers can access its investment-bank reports on the iPad. Barclays Plc is planning to release an application early next year, according to a person familiar with the process.

Trend With Legs

Standard Chartered Plc, the U.K. lender that earns about three-quarters of its profit in Asia, became one of the first and biggest firms to drop the BlackBerry for iPhones in May. The London-based bank said in a May 20 statement that it will nearly double the number of mobile devices to 15,000 by yearend, when it plans to complete distributing the smartphones to employees.

Employees at Citigroup, based in New York, and Bank of America, with headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, may also have the option to ditch their BlackBerry devices for iPhones, according to three people familiar with the plans.

“This is an interesting trend that definitely has legs,” Gleacher’s Marshall said in a telephone interview. “As contracts roll out on the BlackBerry we’re going to see more companies adopt Apple technology. This is a sign of the times and will continue in the future.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE