Stay away from VBScript, its very out of date at this time. Best work with Powershell, it has deep integration into Active Directory and Exchange (as well as OS, WMI etc). Its quite simple to get a script up and running, and its widely supported. It comes built into the OS in Windows 2008 onwards, for 2003 its available as a download.
Not the case any more. I transitioned our firm from Blackberries to iPhones a year ago, and its been a roaring success. Its just so much more user friendly, even our technically inept users who had trouble using some of the functionality on RIM devices took to the iPhones very easily. Add to that the numerous apps available and its become the most popular business tool in the company, even more so than laptops. I know of other firms as well that have moved over with similar results. So I dont think it can be said that business is the sole domain of RIM
As an IT manager myself, I'd have to say this is a very reasonable request. Firstly most places wouldnt allow you to run your own server on the network, so I'd say your IT team is being quite generous. The responsibility for the network and its security is the IT departments, should a hacker break in and steal personal records who would be blamed ? In an environment like a hospital which is subject to numerous government IT regulations (at least in the UK and US) having a non secure system is a massive liability, it would immediately cause an audit to fail.