Earlier this week we wondered why Apple was looking to rent a big block of Manhattan office space. Now we have an educated guess: Apple (AAPL) may be trying to increase its very small foothold in corporate America, by establishing a support team dedicated to business clients.
Apple already provides, grudgingly, a very limited amount of assistance to businesess that buy Macs. But we hear it is taking members from a team that provides similar services for the education market and converting them to a business-focused team.* Apple officials have already begun acknowledging their interest in “industry-vertical wins, like oil, gas, and government,” we noted in March.
Why would Apple, which has always been the choice of consumers and college kids, target the business market? Because business users want to use Macs — and are already doing so.
Yankee Group surveyed 250 companies and found that 87% now have at least some Macs in their offices, up from 48% two years ago, reports BusinessWeek, in a new cover story. It’s a comprehensive look at how Apple is making headway, almost unintentionally, in the coporate market — and why it will still has a long way to go.
- People who love their iPods and iPhones are susceptible to Kool-Aid drinking, followed by a strong desire to use Macs at work.
- Apple is already making headway in enterprise via the iPhone, which is about to become a bona fide option for business users.
- Move toward cloud computing/web-based apps makes MSFT/AAPL OS conflict less important; move to Intel chips means Macs can use most Windows programs, anyway.
- Vista is awful.
- Companies don’t want to take on the additional expense of supporting Macs.
- Some software, like SAP’s stuff, won’t run on Macs, with or without Intel chips.**
- Apple doesn’t play nicely with conservative, cautious CIOs, who are used to hearing about hardware and software upgrades years in advance.
- Apple doesn’t have relationships with entreprise-level service providers like EDS.
- Macs are still much more expensive than comparable PCs.
*And anonymous reader says we’re full of it:
The enterprise team at Apple has been around since about 2002 and has hundreds of employees…
Enterprise direct sales did about $500 million in business at Apple last year, making it a pretty small part of the overall business, but still a nice chunk of change. There is no “converting” of the education team going on.
We’ll confess that we’re surprised to see Apple making that much through enterprise sales. Re: The education team — we hear otherwise. Well update if we get more.
** We’re getting some pushback on BW’s claim that SAP products, or at least its “industrial-grade programs”, won’t run on Macs. We’ve queried BW and will post their response, if any.