How Tim Cook created a $25 billion beast of a business in 2015 in a market where Apple used to struggle

Historically, Apple products have been the black sheep of the corporate employee world, hidden behind Microsoft’s powerful shadow.

Then employees started bringing their iPhones and iPads to work.

Still, it wasn’t until mid 2014 — when Tim Cook cuddled up to IBM to announce a new partnership to focus on selling more iOS devices to businesses — that Apple woke up and smelled a big new market.

And it was in 2015 that the partnership, and Apple’s bigger efforts, really flowered.

For instance, earlier this week, IBM announced the duo has now created 100 iOS apps for all sorts of business needs.

And that was just one of the many break-out moments Apple had in the enterprise market in 2015. From the looks of it, 2016 could be even better.

That $25 billion makes Apple one of the 15 largest enterprise tech firms, ZDNet's Robin Harris calculates.

'To put that $25 billion in perspective, that is larger than the sales of EMC,' Harris writes. Dell is trying to buy ECM for $65 billion and EMC earned $24.4 billion in 2014.

EMC CEO Joe Tucci (left) shakes hands with Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell (right)

Source: Google Finance.

A company named Jamf, which makes its living selling software to help IT departments support fleets of Macs and iOS devices, compiled a list of stats on Apple's 2015 growth, too.

Chip Pearson, CEO of Jamf Software

Stats are based on a survey of 500 IT pros, nearly all of them (over 90%) supporting both Macs and Windows PCs for employees. Source: Jamf

IBM is saving money on IT support costs, it says. Only 5% of employees using MacBooks called the IT help desk, versus 40% of PC users, IBM VP Fletcher Previn said.


Source: Jamf.

The IT pros Jamf surveyed also say that iOS devices are more secure (82%) easier to manage (78%) compared to other mobile devices.


Source: Jamf.

United Airlines is another case in point. It bought 23,000 iPhone 6 Plus devices in December, 2014, for flight attendants and another 6,000 of them in December, 2015, for its customer service reps. United previously bought 11,000 iPads for pilots.

Apple has even bigger plans to infiltrate the workplace. For instance, in August it announced a huge new partnership with computer network giant Cisco. The two companies will make Apple iOS devices work extra-specially well on Cisco enterprise networks.

Apple CEO Tim Cook with Cisco executive chairman John Chambers

Read more: Why Apple's Tim Cook just made a surprise appearance at Cisco's humongous sales conference

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at