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Everyday I talk to companies that are starting down a path, away from the old Windows centric paradigm, to do something "different".  Sometimes that is a fringe purchase of a new Mac here or there (see the CEO with a Macbook Air); sometimes it is a commitment to use iWork or "Open Office" instead of of MSFT Office; sometimes this is wholesale "switching".  My favorite is the company that makes the decision to go all Macs, and then says "OK, now, what kind of software runs on these things?" 

For me, here, the Enterprise is business.  Companies large and small.  I am facinated by and interested in the use of Apple products in any kind of business.

How Apple products are are faring in the Enterprise is a great topic of discussion. I am watching companies providing solutions (I work for one), and observing how Apple talks to the Enterpise.

Entries in Apple Business (2)


iPads Hot in Business Says Brian Blair (of Wedge Partners)

There are many who get great encouragement from any Apple movement in business.   I try to pay attention to any sign which could indicate a strategy.  Apple however, continues to prove that if they go after the end user, the end user will drag their Apple devices into work.  The Apple the "Enteprise Strategy" seems to work.  

However, when financial analysts like Brian Blair of Wedge Partners points to real financial results from Apple in the Enteprise, it's worth noting.  In a recent interview Brian notes that robust iPad sales is partly attributable to more iPads in use, in business.  Not surprisingly, iPads are taking the place of Netbooks and even Laptops.

I like that momentum.


Consumers: Apple's gateway to the Enterprise

It just takes a quick stroll through any major airport in the US to see the progress that Apple has made in the last decade.  More and more the business travelers you see are carrying Apple laptops and using iPhones.  This is long technology journey that has brought the business traveler to this point.

Back in the 70s and 80s, people usually encountered computer technology at work rather than at home. You had a text-based terminal connected to some corporate mainframe, which you probably never saw. As a result, workers were introduced to computers as something they couldn't and wouldn't have wanted to use at home.

This all changed in the 90s, when Windows PCs started replacing lackluster terminals. The design of the PC, with its local storage and personalization features like desktop wallpaper and themes, made technology at work much more personal. Workers started to become more interested in using their computers, and even thought about having them at home. When it came to buying, people went looking for computers like the ones they were used to. This is known as Microsoft's halo effect: MS Windows was the software everyone already knew.

At that time, Apple had strategy issues--meaning, Steve issues--and it was not chasing the Enterprise the way Microsoft was. Avid Apple users watched Microsoft's achievements in business, and the carryover to the home market. We noticed each time a friend bought a new computer, it was almost always a Windows computer. It wasn’t that these users necessarily enjoyed the Windows experience, it was that they knew it. It was familiar. Accessible.

The first real dent in the Microsoft halo came in October of 2001, when Apple unveiled the iPod, and a different strategy. Apple was going to attack the market from the other direction, creating a demand for their products by going directly at the consumer. The iPod, of course, was a runaway hit, without any hard technology innovation. The iPod simply took some pervasive technology (in the form of a portable disk drive), and wrapped it in a stylish and efficient user interface. All it took was a minute with a friend’s iPod once to sway you to get your own.

Suddenly, iPods and ads for iPods were everywhere. Consumers everywhere immediately appreciated the shiny hybrid of style and technology.  It was the first step towards cementing users to the Apple brand. Next came the iTunes software that can only be described as sheer brilliance. iTunes found a way to make our computers even more personal, putting my entire collection of music in one place.  Suddenly millions of us had Apple Technology with us at all times. Both Mac and Windows users had Apple hardware and software in the form of the iPod and iTunes. This set the stage for the Apple Experience.

Then came the iPhone, which was not just a phone, not just a music player, but a full-blown handheld computing device. iPhone users could decide what they wanted out of technology because they had it all in their hands, all the time. By 2008, when the iPod and iPhone users were tallied, millions were using Apple Technology, and the user base was blooming. Computer usage reports on college students are conclusive; they are devoted Mac users.  You know they expect the very same in in the workplace once they graduate. Employers are now finding they need to add Macs to the workplace to meet the personal and technological demands of their employees.

It's a repeat of what happened when the first wave of PCs hit the enterprise, replacing dumb terminals. Who would want to work for a company why that made you sit in front of a green screen? Today the incoming workforce, addicted to their iPhones, is biased toward Apple technology. And the effect is spreading: the last Apple results pointed out that 50% of the people buying Macs in the last quarter (and there were 3.5M of them) were buying Macs for the first time! Still!

My company sells an enterprise software application that runs natively on the Mac. Five years ago, our prospective customers were a small group of Mac faithful.  Sometimes it was only the CEO who used a Mac while wanting to find a Mac solution. Limited in choices, they had to settle for something on Windows to run his/her business.

These days, however, we are approached by more and more companies that have switched entirely to the Mac. CIO’s no longer have the luxury of doing the Windows thing and knowing that the users will get in line.  The end user is pushing their consumer-based technology preferences at work. ‘Why can’t I use a Mac here at work?’ ‘Why can’t I use my iPhone to check my email and check in?’

Companies of all sizes must now be able to answer such questions. Employers must take the necessary steps and adjust in order to make the workplace work for their employees. The best always have. Today a VERY real company benefit is when a progressive, forward thinking company uses Apple Technology in the workplace. Don’t you want to work there?