I'm happy you have a work environment like that however most of us don't. Let me give you an example of how it works in the rest of the world. I'm fairly certain that my situation is far more common than yours.
CXO walks into your office on a Monday morning and says "I just bought this over the weekend. I need to get my e-mail and calendar on it. (Even better when I.T. is supposed to approve all computer related purchases, and this was bought and expensed, bypassing that procedure.) Better still is when the CEO's administrative assistant walks into your office with their new phone and says, this needs to be set up on our system. I've actually not had that situation here but I'd bet we have some readers here that have.
It's exactly the same as upper management mandating a move to Exchange over the objections of I.T. It's not because I.T. didn't do it's job, it's that ultimately the upper management will consider it's judgment superior simply because it is upper management, and not based on any technical knowledge of the situation. They want what they want and they pay you to make that happen. You not liking it is not a concern.
Most of us don't have a third party sync solution because we were using GMS. (Blackberry shops not included as you needed BES regardless) When I tell the CXO that unfortunately we can't sync that device, but if you spend $XX,XXX on Notify we can have that up and going for you, he's going to look at that as a failing of I.T. despite the fact that I.T. can't get the purchase approved by management.
Regardless of how the situation came to be, the expectation that someone above your head is never going to buy a phone without checking with you is going to get you disappointed in most shops. Many of the people I work with here will come and ask me my opinion about what a good phone to get would be and what will work with our systems. I also work with people above me that routinely show up with the latest toy they bought and expect us to make it work. I fully expect to see an ipad in here some time in the near future...
"And what I'm saying is if there's an IT person, or director, or CIO out there that sits down with their CEO, CSO, CFO, etc. and tells them that they can't have an iPhone because, gosh darnit, our email system just won't work with it - it's either a lie, most likely hiding an agenda, or it's the mark of stupidity."
That would depend entirely on the reason given. Right now, if you come to me with your droid phone or iPhone and want calendar sync, I'm going to tell you our system won't work with it... BECAUSE... we don't have a sync solution in place for that, and it's not in the budget to put one in any time soon. So the reality is, our system won't work with that. If however I just say GroupWise can't work with that at all.. Then yes, I'd agree with you completely.
We're unfortunately in a bad situation of having to outlay money for a sync solution as a temporary holdover. Sure we could keep using it, but ultimately if the GMS replacement turns out to be good, you would much rather be supporting one platform for your sync needs and you would phase the temporary solutions out.
The thing that's saving a lot of companies Novell installations on a temporary basis is that they don't have the money to rip and replace with an Exchange solution. Novell can only hope that what it ultimately releases makes the disgruntled shops happy enough to keep them from switching.