One of Apple's biggest weaknesses is becoming a strength

Apple, famous as the computing company that likes to “think different,” is going corporate.

In fact, nearly half of all iPads are bought by corporations and governments, according to a Forrester estimate included in a feature about Apple’s enterprise strength.

Since teaming up with IBM in 2014 to sell iPhones and iPads to big Fortune 500 companies, Apple’s products have become the “preferred mobile computing devices for corporations,” reports the Times.

Companies like British Airways deploy as many as 40 custom iPad apps for flight attendants, pilots, and airline workers. These apps allow the airline to, say, rebook a passenger or check a passenger manifest. British Airways has already bought 17,000 iPads for its workers and is looking to buy more.

Many enterprise apps are developed by IBM, which has created 100 enterprise apps for over 2000 companies, and now generates more than half a billion dollars from Apple-related services. IBM has made apps for insurance companies, retailers, and other specific industries.

One of the reasons why businesses have decided to embrace iPhones and iPads is that Apple’s security is superior to Android’s, thanks to the way Apple controls both the hardware and software.

It’s quite a turnaround for Apple, which is seeking new sources of revenue as sales have dropped on an annual basis for the past two quarters.

Apple’s always sold computers to businesses, but while CEO Steve Jobs was in charge from 1998 to 2011, the company was significantly more focused on consumers.

Aside from the famous photo of Jobs flipping off the IBM logo, there’s one fun anecdote that hammers the change home. Back in 2008, Jobs called chief information officers, the people who buy computers for big businesses, “orifices,” according to a story told by VMWare CEO Patrick Gelsinger:

“I went with (former Intel CEO Paul) Otellini to meet with Jobs and his lieutenants. We go into this meeting and say Steve, let’s work together to make your Macs better for enterprise customers. Jobs looks at us and says ‘why would I do anything for that orifice called the CIO?’ At Intel we’re aghast; two-thirds of our business is that orifice called the CIO. He went on to say ‘I’m going to build devices that are irresistible for consumers, and CIOs will just have to deal with it.”

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