$100m fund offered to develop iPhone applications

$100m fund offered to develop iPhone applications

Venture capitalist's iFund will help Apple to compete with the BlackBerry

Venture capitalist Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) is putting $100m (£49.7m) into the development of iPhone applications, as Apple aims to take a slice of the business handheld market.

The iPhone has already found popularity among consumers, and Apple now hopes to find similar success in business with the next generation of its product, which is compatible with Microsoft's Exchange software.

The updated phone will be available from June. Yesterday Apple launched a software development kit for developers, alongside an online Apps Store for distributing new programs.

KPCB's $100m "iFund" will seek to support companies and individuals developing new tools and utilities for both the iPhone and the iPod Touch media player. The investor hopes to attract a new wave of business startups as well as the established base of coding Mac fans.

"We think several significant new companies will emerge as this new platform evolves, and the iFund will empower them to realise their full potential," said KPCB partner John Doerr.

Apple hopes to sell 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008.