Analysts Rob Sanderson and Shaw Wu step up to the line for two rounds of bare-knuckle Apple vs. RIM enterprise assessments. Brought to us by the always excellent team at Apple Insider, both analysts start us off with the "tale of the (architecture) tape:

RIM is the incumbent favorite and it's triple-tiered NOC (network operations center) architecture, while more complex, expensive, and subject to a single-point external (and for many, extra-national) RIM server in Canada, provides a better "push" technology and allows for many more features like load balancing, packet checking, and PIN based device communication. It also hits up a wider range of services (thus far), including Lotus and Groupwise.

Apple, the feisty southpaw from Cupertino, has best-of-breed interface and user experience, and simpler. Microsoft licensed ActiveSync architecture which the analysts hope Apple can work with, despite it not thus far getting as much market traction, and suffering from potential scalability and port/IP security issues. Simpler and cheaper, combined with the iPhone's lusty end-user appeal, could just be the one-two counter Apple needs.

So, where do we stand some four months before opening round? Will Apple deliver the superman punch at the bell or will they get knocked down early?

Probably neither. RIM's certainly the odds-on favorite in enterprise, but Apple's cachet and brand make them hard to peg as underdogs. Only one thing's for certain -- mobile fight fans should be in for one heck of a brawl.