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Visto will let business e-mail reach the iPhone

There aren't a lot of Visto users in the U.S., where the BlackBerry is king, but if you want secure corporate e-mail on your iPhone, they're the guys to see.

Visto announced Thursday that its push e-mail software will support the iPhone, giving gadgetheads a round of ammunition for the upcoming battle with their IT department.

Apple isn't pitching the iPhone as a business device, but lots of executives with money to burn on sexy gadgets might try to find a way to use their new toys for business purposes. The iPhone supports the MAP e-mail standard with SSL encryption, which means it is feasible to connect an iPhone to any mail server using IMAP. However, this isn't the most secure way of connecting to a corporate network and is therefore likely to be met with blank stares from the IT guy when you ask to have your snazzy new iPhone set up with corporate e-mail.

But if your company is using Visto's software to send e-mail to mobile devices, you'll be all set, said Haniff Somani, vice president and chief architect for Visto. You won't have to enter a username or password to access your e-mail, and the IT guys won't have to make any changes to their policies regarding mobile devices, he said.

The problem is Visto is not that big in the U.S., where the iPhone goes on sale tomorrow. Visto has a larger customer base in Europe, but the iPhone is not expected to arrive there until later this year. Research In Motion, king of the push e-mail world, has yet to indicate if it will support the iPhone.