Will Apple’s success in the consumer electronics market — iPods, Macs, phones — translate into the corporate world?
This morning, Morgan Stanley published takeaways from a fireside chat it held yesterday with Apple (AAPL) CFO Peter Oppenheimer. Most interesting: Apple is looking at corporations to help drive growth, both through its iPhone and its Mac lines. “If successful, they view this as a second ‘halo effect’ that will boost revenue growth and margins beyond what is currently incorporated in consensus models,” SeekingAlpha’s “Notable Calls” blog summarizes.
The iPhone is the most obvious entry into the business market, and Apple’s already on top of it. At 1 p.m. ET today, Steve Jobs will take the stage at the company’s headquarters in California to unveil Apple’s new software strategy for the iPhone, including “some exciting new enterprise features.” The most obvious improvement is email — the iPhone’s current support for corporate email is lousy — but rumour sites suggest Jobs will also show off demos of IBM (IBM), Salesforce.com (CRM), and Microsoft (MSFT) business apps running on the phone.
How about Macs in the enterprise? Apple hasn’t had much luck selling its computers to companies outside the creative and academic markets. But we think that will change as the Windows hegemony gradually weakens. Morgan Stanley’s note highlights that Apple is now willing to discuss industry-vertical wins, like oil, gas, and government.
Why are Apple’s Macs more attractive to businesses now than before? First, having a Windows-based PC isn’t as important as it used to be. Second, Apple’s new Intel (INTC)-based Macs can run Windows. Apple doesn’t sell a typical office workstation, but as laptop sales grow faster than desktop sales, Apple can sell companies plenty of MacBooks. Third, product synergy: the iPod helped Apple grow its consumer computer business. If Apple can make the iPhone more business-friendly, this may help Apple grow its corporate computer business.
One big impediment to Mac growth in the enterprise? They’re still expensive. And the same goes for the iPhone.
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