Jan 18, 2012

What is Apple doing differently to attract enterprise users?

I've been in corporate environments since the 1980s, and it has been dominated by PCs the entire time, starting with the actual branded "PCs"; my first business desktop was an IBM PC AT. Apple has always had a niche business market, primarily in those companies that had of a more creative/artistic business focus. Last year Apple's share of the market increase last year by almost one percent in the US and Mac sales globally were up by about 20% according to one article I read. I've been seen more BYOD employees with Macs lately, although I haven't kept a count to measure any increase. What is Apple doing differently to have these increases in market share in an otherwise challenging economic environment?

Apple is creating an ecosystem with thousands of apps to fulfill the needs of single users as well as of business looking for the right solution. It's no more a computer company, it's a hub that attracts creative developers to solve users' problems.
I think it has to do with the iPhone and iPad, and to a lesser degree Macs. Many people who use PCs also own an iPad and/or iPhone. And a significant amount of them have then purchased Macs (the halo effect).

All of this has contributed to a larger mindshare for Apple and its products. The days when people would laugh or guffaw at the idea of using Apple products in business are over forever. Overall, I think this is a good thing. It was quite unhealthy for Microsoft (or any other vendor) to have a total lock on the desktop or other markets.

Having Apple involved in enterprise computing just adds another choice for companies, and choice is a good thing.

Ahhh, IBM PCs.  Best.  Keyboard.  Ever.  


As to why Apple has done so well recently, I think it comes down to 3 points: Design, marketing, Steve Jobs.  Apple has the finest design department in the industry.  Next time you are at the Apple store, look around at items that you will someday see in MOMA.  Factor in the consitently superb marketing of Apple (1984 Mac commercial, anyone?) and you have created a fantastic brand image.  For many business, that image of elegant, cutting edge design is a strong selling point in and of itself.  There are also some areas where apple has long been dominant, video production for instance, where Final Cut Pro was the standard for years.  Lastly, Steve Jobs was a fascinating individual, and his personality drove apple to a huge degree for a modern company.  With his death, the company was thrust into the center of the news cycle, and everyone was reminded of all of the ground-breaking things apple did over the years.  It's easy to forget how totally groundbreaking the iPhone was when it came out.  Remeber those 1st commercials?  It blew me away when I first saw it.  All these things together make apple more than just an appliance seller, they sell style.  It just so happens that they make a decent, although expensive product.   



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