Enter, Prise

Historically, Apple’s sales to business and government buyers of personal computers have been, in a word, minuscule. To put a number on it, Forrester published data where the estimated value of those sales in 2007 were 2.8%. A figure lower than Apple’s overall market share of PCs in that time frame.

Things did not improve much in the years following. The following chart shows the split between Windows and Mac OS X for the value of enterprise computers sold in 2007 through 2009.

Apple’s share of value went from 2.8% to 3.7%, an increase of 1 point of share, but one which in real terms was not very valuable because the overall market declined due to recession. Revenues for Apple were basically flat at around $2 billion each year as shown in the second chart.

However, the situation changed very rapidly in the last two years.

Apple’s share of enterprise revenues doubled from 3.7% to 7.8% in 2010 and nearly doubled again to 14.6% last year. A large part of that acceleration was due to the iPad which generated an estimated 6 billion in sales in 2011, triple what Macs were grossing in 2007.

Forrester goes further and estimates the same data for the next two years.

The estimate seems to be an extrapolation of the last two years which may or may not happen and we should treat it with caution.

However, if the pattern emerges as an extension of the near past, Apple’s position in the market at nearly 30% share next year would be a sea change. It may challenge for the top spot among all vendors to the sector.

It’s been said many times that “if only Apple put more emphasis” on Enterprise sales, imagine how much more growth they would obtain. However, I believe that this reversal of fortune did not come about from paying more attention but rather from paying less attention to Enterprise.

Enterprise buyers are demanding customers. They have highly specific requirements and ask vendors to conform to multiple layers of dependencies. As a result, enterprise vendors (led by Microsoft) have done all they could to make their software and hardware conformable to these needs. For decades this was the modus operandi and, due to the early adopter nature of businesses in personal computing, the resulting product was passed on to consumers as the “standard”. Consumers accepted it as it was better than having no computers at all.

The problem is that customers, especially demanding ones, don’t realize that a new basis of performance might be more beneficial. Apple and mobile devices in general presented this “low-end” alternative not in response to requirements from business but in response to requirements from consumers who had been much more eager in the last decade to adopt new technologies with fewer strings attached. All the security, conformability and legacy issues of the early business adopters turned them into late adopters as technology shifted.

So a company focused on an asymmetric market led with new solutions to problems that enterprises did not think they had. Mobility was something few IT managers asked for and was granted begrudgingly to only those “most valuable” who needed it due to cost and security considerations. As Apple willfully ignored these Enterprise needs it, paradoxically, created exactly what they needed.

It pried entry into the most difficult of markets by not even wanting to enter.

In thinking about how this market will evolve, I hear about “consumerization” and cost reduction as benefits and justification of this shift. But fundamentally, what is happening is a classic low end disruption. Enterprises increased their demands beyond what the users in those enterprises could absorb. Instead of ultra-secure, locked-down and immobile computing, users were looking for flexibility, agility and mobility. That’s what Apple was listening to.

Apple’s best strategy today would be to persist on this trajectory and listen to the under-served consumer rather than the over-served and over-demanding IT manager.

  • When you talk about Enterprise PC Revenues in your first chart, are you comparing Apple (Computer sales) with Microsoft (Licensing of Windows) or Apple (Computer sales) with Windows PC (Computer sales)?

    • No, the data is based on Global Business and government purchases of personal computers. The original data was shown as in the attached chart.

      • Tim F.

        My guess this is the best data you could find. Since this focuses on the PC hardware aspect of enterprise revenues, I wonder: did you come across any enterprise mobile phone data at all (historic or otherwise)?

      • I’ve never come across such data.

  • The amount of legacy many large organizations carry will still prevent their IT managers from choosing Apple for a few years to come. Enterprise infrastructure needs a big upgrade from a Microsoft-centric one, which is embedded in the DNA of many multinational corporations.

    We’ll most likely see that small and medium enterprises follow the Apple way much more quickly, facing comparatively little switching cost. What is more interesting for me is not wether it makes them more cost efficient, but if they can become more competitive because of that than their large, slow rivals.

    • Yes, change of this type takes time. But what I appreciate is how change of this type is not deliberate and how it’s not possible to defend against it.

    • Tim F.

      I think the split between backend IT and enterprise enduser needs is occurring faster and more easily than many IT managers feared. The shift being observed towards increased Apple enterprise revenue isn’t happening in all facets: servers, infrastructure, software but it is happening with PCs, tablets, and mobile phones. And it is the minority, even of very large enterprises, who cannot “plug in” Apple’s consumer focused devices into their backend needs (security, control large infrastructure, supporting legacy systems, etc…)

      • Anonymous

        Just an example. Even though our corporate parent approved VPN access to Exchange from iPhones, our local legal dept hasn’t yet approved it, on the basis that consent to wiping the phone remotely by our IT in case of emergency may be considered a violation of privacy according to the local law… The result is that everyone carries their smartphone AND a BB just to be on the safe side.

      • All your company’s secrets walk out the front door every day.

      • Anonymous

        I really have to recommend you on this post. That is an excellent point, and one which is seemingly completely forgotten amidst all the talk about enterprise security features of devices.

      • Tim F.

        Sure. And what % of your company is in Legal?

      • Kizedek

        I responded to this effect in a more recent comment of yours above:

        What happens when IT as a whole gets commoditized (or outsourced or whatever)?

        This backend IT might just cease to exist for most (new) companies, and the point will be moot. Your defense of IT status quo shows the kind of head-in-the-sand attitudes at play here.

        What’s Apple-plugging-into-very-well-right-now-thank-you-very-much? Why, just about every startup and cloud service you can think of. Each and everyone of them has great iOS support from the get-go. Better than their Android integration. Why, iOS support is just about a requirement of any business plan and business strategy for anyone starting anything these days!

    • Anonymous

      I’d like to hope that the new way will lead to new competitive advantages. In fact, I think it is a near certainty that it will, just that it will take time. On the one hand, it is astonishing how fast big corporations are adopting iPads and iPhones, but on the other hand they still have the huge, heavy anchor of all the old IT infrastructure and departmental politics that can drag them down for years to come. The longer they drag on, the more time the small players have developing new business models and markets and capturing them.

      On top of all this, we’re witnessing a much bigger transition or, rather, revolution. There are so many great challenges ahead of us that I dare say that during my expected lifetime, the world will change more than it ever has before. Many old industries will be disrupted or just plain die out. Not to sound apocalyptic or anything, but fundamental changes are brewing.

      • Anonymous

        Do you think with Windows 8 slated to come out this year (2012) that Microsoft itself might serve as the catalyst to get people to move to their competitors, including both Apple and Linux?

        Think about it like this: if companies are still hanging on to Windows XP having thus skipped the upgrade to Vista and Vista 2, what does Microsoft stand to gain by releasing Vista 3? If Microsoft doesn’t stand to gain much (some may say anything at all) then who does stand to gain?

      • Anonymous

        That’s a tricky question. Windows 8 is arguably the biggest change ever from one version to the next of any major operating system, from the user point of view. And if there is a stereotype of Windows users, it’s that they don’t like change. If I remember correctly, about 30% of all Windows PCs are still running XP, though I don’t have any idea what the percentage is for corporate PCs. But it is a risky play nonetheless, and a bold one.

        However, there is a much, much bigger play going on the main stage, and the enterprise is merely a sideshow: the mobile revolution, or whatever you want to call it. Ultimately, it is far more important for Microsoft than what happens on the enterprise or consumer laptop/desktop markets. If Microsoft does not gain a solid footing on the mobile market, it will be relegated to a niche player. Microsoft desperately needs Windows Phone to succeed, and they are clearly willing to leverage the Windows monopoly to make that happen. So, to answer your question: Microsoft stands to gain a footing in the biggest business opportunity ever, and it stands to lose nearly everything if it fails. Sure, the unfamiliar Metro UI will push some people over to the competing platforms, but that is the price Microsoft simply has to pay.

  • MOD

    I think these two year projections are conservative, ie they maintain the status quo, they continue the existing trend.

    I do not think it is possible to project two years in the future. Look what happened to smartphone market leader RIM over the last two years.

    There is no way to predict what will happen in 2013. Microsoft may well be out of business by then, never mind keeping a 75% market share.

    • Tim F.

      This data focuses on enduser hardware. The change is dramatic already; I wouldn’t anticipate anything “revolutionary.” We can see the philosophical and technological shift in the making… But cost remains a significant factor. The enterprise will not be “revolutionized” by Apple as long as the difference (as far as enduser needs is concerned) between a $1000 MacBook Air and a $400 Dell laptop is “negligible.”

      Yes, Apple can take a painful bite out of the incumbents while reaping all the benefits for itself, but I wouldn’t imagine an unforeseen, rapid, and revolutionary change on the scale of Microsoft being “out of business” in just a couple of years.

      • MOD

        You should work on Wall St. Starting pay is six figures.

      • Anthony

        The reason you can’t see the unforeseen changes is because they’re unforeseen.

        In the meantime, of the Ultrabooks that PC manufacturers are announcing at CES this week, at least one of them is more expensive than the Airs that they are copying.

      • The residual value of an Apple computer may be significantly greater than a Dell after 4 years of service.  I don’t know what the numbers are, but it should be considered.

    • Tatil

      RIM… Yes, who would have thought they would be almost a year away from releasing its first iOS competitor 5 years after iPhone was announced. Mind boggling… 

  • My company is 99% Mac and I can tell you this should not be considered a success. We are about to throw out our OD server and are considering offering other options for desktops simply because Apple fails so horribly in enterprise manageability.

    Our OD server has locked out 200+ users (no, we are not a small company) three times so far, and one of the times it took Apple almost half an hour to get an engineer on the phone during a system down emergency. This is NOT acceptable for enterprise, period, no matter what the reason. Any IT Manager who thinks this is ok should be fired.

    We cannot configure half of what we need to and need to buy third party products just to work around OD limitations.

    Even their repair of machines in comparison to Dell is abysmal.

    When trying to do the lion upgrade we had to buy a $6k gift certificate and hack the installer just so we didn’t have to make each user sign up for iTunes and then get a reimbursement. Our finance department would have killed us. Fail #2, can’t even buy their software as an enterprise.

    Don’t get me wrong, I use them at home exclusively and have for years. As a consumer company they are phenomenal. As one of the aforementioned managers in charge of an international IT department, I’m ready to ban them.

    • The anecdotal evidence of anonymous commenters will be given the credence it is due.

      • And a rebuttal containing no facts or information as well as no logical counter argument will be given the credence it is due 🙂

      • A gratuitous assertion is a logical fallacy. No logical argument is necessary to counter it as it bears no weight.

      • Here’s thousands of people saying the same thing.

      • Yes. Link to an Apple support list serve that I’d have to join to see for myself… and once I did, surprise! The Apple support list serve is full of people complaining. That’s what support list serves are for, no?

        Show me data comparing their issues in comparison to their competitors.

    • What is an OD server?

    • Kizedek

      Sounds like you are over thinking it. Macs don’t get locked down with serial numbers and install codes; they don’t “phone home” and refuse to operate until you are verified online by some flaky system that breaks down.

      Just install the OS on every Mac on the premises already and be prepared to show the  receipt if anyone asks.

      Good grief. This is exactly what Horace is talking about… MS has conditioned the world about how it is “supposed to work”. What Apple couldn’t figure out was why you were so worried about finding a bunch of hoops to jump through; they were sitting there saying to each other, “what does this guy want, a bunch of license numbers? Shoot, someone generate a bunch of 60 digit codes quick so he feels like he’s getting his money’s worth; man, the things we have to do for 29 lousy bucks!”

      • And how do you “just install the OS” when you have no installer, they will not provide one, and the “code” is an Apple ID? I didn’t want a license number, I wanted some document that said we were licensed I could show during a BSA audit and an installer. Really so much to ask?

        The problem is everyone talking as you do is a consumer, and has never had to scale something that works fine for one user to hundreds.

        How would you feel if your IT department said “Want the upgrade? Well, use your credit card and buy it yourself, we have no way to do it for you.” Which is what Apple was telling us to do.

      • Kizedek

        Well, speaking as a consumer, I would order the flash drive option and pass it around.

        Speaking as an IT person, I wouldn’t take the word of the first couple of people I spoke to, but realize there must be another way. I would look at a couple of online forums, do a couple of web searches, maybe read a case study or two.

        In any case, no, the Apple ID is not a code. It’s optional. It’s for personal support. You don’t need one to install the OS, and if you want one, you can make one up on the spot.

        …But, being as how you have used Macs exclusively at home for years, you’d know all this.

      • I had plenty of ways to hack an install. Every one would have worked. That wasn’t the issue.

        What Apple could not provide was a way for me to buy it and install it legally, which was perhaps one of those silly enterprise requirements.

        As for the Apple ID not being a requirement… until the version we acquired late into the process it very much was. The installer would actually ask us for an Apple ID before it would install on a machine. If the ID was not licensed for Lion it failed.

        Yes, we did eventually find a solution by researching it. My point is the sales person should not have had to hack his system, and I should not have had to hack the installer in order to be able to just sell us the licenses and run it.

        Defend it any way you want, that is a failure in their model, and a very frustrating one.

      • Anthony

        I would not discredit the issues your company had to manage. Obviously, they were real enough that you and your organization had to deal with some headaches.

        However, that is almost the point. Apple’s customer is the consumer, not the enterprise. Your IT department has been an afterthought for more than ten years now.

        That might change. Said change might be a good thing or it might be a bad thing.

      • Anonymous

        I guess one point is that the traditional way of administering IT has resulted in a lot of frustration for the end users. It has solved a lot of issues as well, and made many things easier for everybody. However, for the end user who is using the Mac/iPad/iPhone for work (and personal use), the thing that really matters is the amount of frustration they encounter and have to suffer. If the Apple way results in less frustration for them (and I don’t claim to know either way) then they will want to go Apple.

        It is understandable that IT admins might not like this as it can increase their workload, and Apple does not devote as much resources as Microsoft to making things easier for the admins. However, if the trend stays the same, it might be that IT departments just have to suffer the Apple way and hope for improvements. For example, volume discounts and licensing already exist on the iOS App Store, so it’s not a big stretch to see they are coming to the Mac App Store as well (and volume licensing is already available for a number of Apple’s Mac apps.)

      • Anonymous

        Do you think that over time, as companies need to deploy Apple software on tens, hundreds or thousands of machines that Apple will solve this problem? I know that Apple talked about doing bulk purchasing through the Mac App Store as well as the App Store.

    • Anonymous

      Why would you need to buy a $6k gift certificate? Apple provided the pdf on how companies and education entities should upgrade. My son’s elementary school district that serves over 7,000 Apple computers had no issue, they also upgraded over 3,000 iPads and over 10,000 iTouch devices.

      • If so our corp sales rep, and the sales engineer we work with did not know about it. That is how we were told, by Apple, to do it.

        Said PDF was not provided nor mentioned during any number of discussions around our upgrade rollout.

      • SoulphisticatedBrotha

        Being a former NeXTSTEP/OpenSTEP user and follower (when I was in the banking industry)…I do remember that they had a team of people who assisted/consulted in the Enterprise sphere.  That very good team of people shifted over to Apple once the buyout of NeXT occurred.  Unfortunately that team got dispersed>

        One thing we know is that Apple has a very good and competent Education division, and the company puts allot of effort in that arena, if they only were to do the same in Enterprise arena in which suits them best I do think they would really benefit.I work for the U.S. Government (NIH), my particular campus has over 4000 computers, out of that number there are a little over 2800 that people are sitting in front of, out of that number Apple makes up 47%, the rest of course is Windows.  There are 5 of us as a team, compared to the Windows team, it consists of 12.  We are able to bind to the AD and the network without much of a hitch really.  But I do understand your point very clearly.  

    • Anonymous

      You are right. Apple is not good enough yet.

  • Apple sells to people, not corporations. Despite what some say, they are not the same thing. 🙂

  • anonymous guest type person

    “Apple’s best strategy today would be to persist on this trajectory and listen to the under-served consumer rather than the over-served and over-demanding IT manager.”

    I think that’s too strong. While I agree that IT managers often are focused more on their own convenience than what is best for users, they cannot and should not be ignored to the extent that Apple has ignored them. IT managers really do need to “manage IT” in ways that consumers don’t. If Apple put a fraction of the effort into simplifying the lives of IT managers that they put into simplifying the lives of consumers their share of enterprise sales could really take off. 

    I think that right now Apple has the attention of the enterprise in a way that they haven’t since the 1980s (perhaps even better than then). It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a second chance. I’m hoping they don’t screw it up.

    • Tim F.

      I agree with you and many of JonathanH’s concerns. Yes, IT is being “consumerized” but many of Apple’s very forward and consumer-focused “advances” with Lion and iOS, dropping OS X Server as a distinct product, dropping Xserves, etc… has the possibility of hurting them, just when they have a moment to exploit.

      If Apple could truly “consumerize” some of the larger deployment and management issues around supporting large numbers of Mac and iOS devices… well, then, maybe they could truly “revolutionize” their growth in enterprise sales.

      • Kizedek

        This isn’t merely about “creep” versus “enterprise scale” at the lowly desktop level where Apple is desperately trying to replace a few grey boxes with a few iPads, out of the legions of grey windows boxes out there. (Though I just did read an article in which SAP is to deploy a further 10,000 iPads this year, having deployed about 10,000 already).

        No, the “consermerization” is actually going to reveal itself as a “commoditization” of IT as a whole industry. Horace discussed this on Critical Path with the Cloud Computing expert. In order to “scale” in the future, companies aren’t going to be worrying about a couple hundred, or even 20,000 iPads here and there; they are going to worry if their whole IT department is rooted in the last century or this one.

        Apple is playing for the next generation, not the Windows world. Devices are going to be personal, IT is going to be commoditized — right now it is upside-down, because MS has given us an upside-down world.

      • AGTP

        I’ll have to go listen to that podcast. It occurred to me after making my post that perhaps what horrace meant is that apple should be competing with IT, not replacing them. Or, alternatively, cooperating with competitors of IT. In a sense, IT is a very vulnerable competitor — deeply entrenched, but to the point of gratuitously taking their customers for granted.

      • Jdeke73

        Sorry — should have written “competing not ignoring”

      • I’d be happy if Apple just kept producing OS X Server.  For the past several years, they’ve removed functionality to the point that most OSXS admins have moved away from it for a LOT of services.

    • Anonymous

      I think you missed the entire argument of the article…?

    • Sharon Sharalike

      Listening to IT means you do things that make their lives easier but make more trouble for the users. If all you want to do is make more money today, then yes, get IT on your side and they will buy truckloads of your your things. Microsoft always tailored things for the good of IT.

      But in the end you have mediocre products that nobody really likes to use.

      • Seran89

        Well, as long as the person buying the goods (the IT gatekeeper) is different from the poor soul having to use the goods (user), this has proven to be an extremely efficient business model. Just look at SAP.

        Until, of course, users get so annoyed with their tools that they start to bring in their own stuff, just to be able to get their work done. Have a look at for their success story

  • Tatil

    The difference may be just a few percentage points, but I suspect there are many companies that support Macs on a case by case basis, with the end users buying them personally and getting reimbursed later. That is how it used to work out at my company. These statistics would not capture such purchases.

  • Chris

    Another anecdote.

    I work at a multibillion-dollar global company which is a microsoft shop as far as official IT policy goes. My boss and I have coined the 90/10 rule… When we ask IT to work on a project with us…* their solution takes 90 days to formulate, ours takes 10 days to implement* theirs is 90% frustrating to us and users, ours costs 10% of theirs* their extra 90% in cost is to implement an extra 10% in features that do nothing except check off boxes on their requirement sheetsWe’re generally using Macs, OS X Server and open sourceThis is not financial software that runs the business that needs to be extremely secure and redundant, more like intranets for departments, collaboration services for cross-functional groups, wikis, etc.The habit in our IT group is to build an 18-wheeler for every project, even if 3 or 4 scooters would get the job done just as well. Of course if you build 18-wheelers for a living, 3 or 4 scooters seem comically underpowered and not “serious”.But our department head is really happy when we can get a project quoted by the truck-builders at six months and $300,000 done in a few weeks with essentially no cost (running on boxes we already have).

    Consumerization of a technology is basically simplification. When your job and those of your colleagues depends on complication, well, look out.

  • Anonymous

    When you go to work at a big company, they typically give you a desk with a desktop PC and a desktop phone. The desktop PC runs 10 year old software that only covers basic documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and email. The phone has an array of inscrutable buttons, requires an afternoon of training, and even then, most users cannot transfer a call or start a 3-way call successfully. If you give the user an iPad and iPhone instead, they can do much more (e.g. create a short YouTube video, manage a Twitter feed) with less training. They can work anywhere. They can take their entire tech setup to a meeting or job site. And an iPad and iPhone is typically cheaper. Best of all, if you just expense the iPad and iPhone for the user, they can get service at Apple Store, which costs the company nothing. And no viruses.

    I’ve already seen this in action, and the iPad+iPhone user drinks the desktop user’s milkshake every single time. It is no contest.

    • Darwinphish

      To quote Bjarne Stroustrup (the creator of C++): “I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my
      telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how
      to use my telephone.”

  • poke

    I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and the more I think about it the more it makes me want to reassess the history of the computer industry. I think Apple’s goal was always ‘consumerisation’, that seems uncontroversial. My question is, Would this have worked 20-30 years ago? If Apple had continued to make products that delight customers, would it have been able to eventually disrupt the enterprise gatekeepers and force them to accept consumer-oriented products? I think there’s a strong parallel here with the current situation with Apple and Google. Apple is trying to disrupt the carriers and create a direct relationship with customers. Google has provided an alternative that sustains the existing relationship between carriers, manufacturers and customers. Likewise, Apple tried to disrupt IBM and the enterprise world with the Mac and Microsoft copied the Mac and provided Windows to sustain the old enterprise model.

    It seems to me that Apple’s current success at creating direct relationships with customers (which includes its retail and marketing strategies) vindicates its earlier approach of a laser-like focus on the consumer over the enterprise. This should cause us to reassess the old story of how Apple lost the market to Microsoft. Apple’s real problem, I think, is that it stopped innovating. NeXT gives us a clue to what might have been. NeXT began life as a project at Apple to create a new Unix-based Mac for education. Given that what became NeXTstep has since been flexible enough to generate OS X and iOS we might consider that this strategy was the right one. Windows 3.1 was released an incredible 8 years after the original Mac and Windows 95 came 3 years later. It took Microsoft much longer to achieve feature parity with the Mac than it has taken Google to reach feature parity with iOS (in both cases this is still only the case if you exclude user experience as a feature), but their collusion with the enterprise business model was far deeper than Google’s collusion with the carrier business model (which was initially quite reluctantly).

    My feeling is that the history of the personal computer market could have looked very different if not for a number of contingent events that led Apple to fall behind.

    • r.d

      NeXT started after Steve Jobs left Apple.  He recruits some Apple employee
      but most were management like Bud Tribble.
      NeXT had no choice but go into Education because of non-compete
      agreement with Apple.  Higher Eduction (Colleges) were the only
      arena available.  Workstation market was engineering Sun/SGI/HP.
      When Hi-ED failed (high cost, Motorola-slow processor road-map). 
      NeXT started doing Enterprise, Mission Critical Applications
      for CIA, Wall-Street, Telecom (McCaw Cellular).

      • poke

        Steve Jobs had a project at Apple to create a Unix-based Mac (codenamed “Big Mac”), he got ousted, founded NeXT, brought the ideas over.

      • r.d

        do you have any reference to BigMac because
        PBS documentary talks
        about that he moped around until he talked a stanford
        professor (molecular biologist) and then he started NeXT.  He went around universities look for ideas and that is how he found out about 
        MACH. NeXT was bsd based.

        A/UX came out 1988 that is Unix based Mac. So Apple was working on Unix Mac. A/UX was System V based.

        NeXT and AU/X were completely different.  especially Obj-C. GNU compiler, MACH, Display Postscript.  IB.  They even used Sun machines to do the initial work before the hardware was ready.

      • mdc

        I don’t know if a definitive history of the origins of NextStep is achievable, but in any case I think Poke’s reassessment of the Apple/MS story at the juncture of enterprise vs. consumer is fascinating, and as we learn more, the call for some kind of revision is valid.

      • r.d

        consumerization is just the latest buzzword
        besides Microsoft has 90% market share.
        only reason we are taking about other platforms
        because public doesn’t trust Microsoft anymore where
         as ipod introduced more people to Apple.
        If Apple had gone with Unix innards for Mac.
        Mac would be price of NeXT machine (Workstation class).
        no way was Apple ready for mass popularity in the 80s or 90s.  It would not have been able to mass produce anything.
        iphone is possible because of commodization of chip, memory, display.

      • poke

        There’s room to raise the price point in a market if you’re offering something of greater value. The iPad costs more than a lot of laptop computers but is selling extremely well. Prices would’ve have come down but the problem, I think, is that Apple basically stayed stationary. They displayed none of the aggressive innovation or willingness to disrupt themselves that Apple has after Jobs’s return. Obviously it’s just speculation to imagine what could have been but the classic story we have of Windows winning because it ran on different hardware and was enterprise-friendly is equally a matter of speculation.

      • poke

        It’s in Isaacson’s Jobs biography. After relating the familiar story of Jobs calling the Stanford biochemist he says:

        “Jobs had already been canvassing academics to ask what their workstation needs were. It was something he had been interested in since 1983, when he had visited the computer science department at Brown to show off the Macintosh, only to be told that it would take a far more powerful machine to do anything useful in the university lab. The dream of academic researchers was to have a workstation that was both powerful and personal. As head of the Macintosh division, Jobs had launched a project to build such a machine, which was dubbed the Big Mac. It would have a UNIX operating system but with the friendly Macintosh interface. But after Jobs was ousted from the Macintosh division, his replacement, Jean-Louis Gassee, canceled the Big Mac.”

        He goes on to say that Rich Page, who worked on the project, urged Jobs to start NeXT and joined the company.

  • Jonas

    It will be interesting to see how microsoft balances the consumer focus of Windows phone 7 with the enterprise focus of windows 7in windows 8 (which appears like it contains a bit of both)

    • Darwinphish

      Windows Mobile, despite all its faults, was the OS of choice of all the traditional enterprise mobile device manufactures.  Microsoft did not provide a migration path out of Windows Mobile, nor did they make Window Phone 7 very enterprise friendly.  Symbian was also used on a lot of early mobile enterprise devices, but it, too, has become a dead end platform.

      RIM has failed to expand their platform beyond messaging and PIM and until QNX is ready is a non player.  There have been very few enterprise Android devices but no OEM has yet to really get behind enterprise Android (though Motorola Solutions is supposedly planning to do so). 

      That leaves iOS which has proven to be quite enterprise friendly.  Ironically, a key to this has been their implementation of ActiveSync to connect to MS Exchange servers.

  • Tom Frauenhofer

    Curious how the adoption of Android in the enterprise compares to the Apple adoption rate.

    • Huxley

      Apparently Android adoption is much lower due to limited VPN and Exchange support. Not sure how much ICS changes this.

  • Anonymous

    What does Apple use for its own Enterprise Tech?

  • Rick Kempf

    The iPad and iPod touch are busy running a few apps at the company I work for and there is a stesdy trickle of folks upgrading ti iPhone when their BB comes up for replacement. IT isn’t doing anything beyond the gew in-house apps like timekeeping however.

    With Nokia bringing out an attractive WM phone however on AT&T, what are the odds of them parlaying that MS cooperation into a tablet which IT departments would welcome with Windows 8?

  • Gregg Thurman

    For the life of me, I don’t understand the preoccupation with enterprise sales, and all that entails.  Consumers account for 70% of technology purchases, and aren’t hobbled by committee group think/demands.

    Horace is absolutely correct.  Apple’s best course of action is the path they have already chosen.  If an Apple product satisfies an enterprise need, then great, otherwise they are going to appeal to the 70% that just want it to work..

  • mdc

    The popularity of Apple devices with the rank and file members of corporations counts far less with the management-empowered IT gatekeepers than the personal preferences of the management itself. Had iPhones and iPads not been adopted by the CEO’s and Presidents themselves I think that there would be no imperative whatsoever for accommodation. The obvious utility and creative integration of iPhones and iPads as highly productive contributors to enterprise have been secondary; IT has nothing to gain by any kind of adoption, early or late, as everything is a risk, as they see it, to their precious systems, unassailable technical expertise and job security.

    • Seran89

      IT has nothing to gain by any kind of adoption, early or late, as everything is a risk, as they see it, to their precious systems, unassailable technical expertise and job security.”.

      Wow, that is the most succinct description of the IT mindset. And you don’t want to know how many times I have experienced these mindless discussions with IT..

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  • Seran89

    There is one big issue with enterprise sales. Everybody seems to be fascinated by the glamour of well known, large corporations and the potentially enormous sales. But there is a catch: selling hardware to enterprises is hardly profitable. It is a race to the bottom, where vendors pitch against each other and undercutting prices by all means, all in the hope of recouping the lost money with future sales or at least with accessories, which of course never happens.

    The big money with enterprise customers is not made with hardware, but with software. Whatever a corporation has to spend on IT is gobbled up by the likes of SAP, Oracle, and, of course, Microsoft. And they have an army of consultants in place, to ensure that that stream of revenue never ever fades away.

    Obviously, products like the iPad bypass all that and the actual users prefer it for their day to day tasks to some heavy, bulky, disposable corporate laptop with 30min of battery lifetime and 15minutes boot up time. Still, the entire ecosystem of large corporations is very different.

    • Anonymous

      My understanding, and it’s pretty unfounded, is that PC hardware vendors hope to profit from service agreements. You know, on-site repairs, worldwide service programs etc. If anybody has actual knowledge of that side of business, I’d be interested to hear.

  • Watcher

    Is there any data that suggests iPads are replacing Windows laptops or desktops? Or are they mostly being just added on? 

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  • Apple sells to the enterprise today and have for years. However, it is only recently that they have started to enjoy this level of success.

    However, it is HOW they sell to enterprise that is interesting. Dell, HP etc sell via the front door ( i.e. the usual IT and procurement process) at very low margins (HP made $2 billion on $38 billion in PC sales last year, and Dell loses money every year if not for Intel rebates).
    Apple sells through the “back door”. This is direct to the consumer via the Apple store at high margins. They sell support for $99 a year which is much better than what PC manufacturers enjoy on a PC service contract.

    The result: Apple makes more profit on Mac sales in a quarter than HP does in a year. As a businessman, what would you prefer?

    Do they need to learn “enterprise” type support etc. Yes, you can argue that they are not perfect (other than my wife, who is…go ahead, just ask her 🙂 )

    But, can you argue with success? HP and Dell have been blowing their brains out in the PC business, and IBM got out of the business because they could not make any money.

    So, why would Apple wish to enter the  “enterprise” PC business in the traditional way. Whether by design or by default, they have figured out a way to sell enterprise and make money.

    And as a shareholder I am thankful.