Apple is increasing its bet on the enterprise. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is now utilizing the services of Unisys to provide maintenance, integration with existing systems, and other support for companies and government agencies.
Earlier this month, according to a report Monday by Bloomberg News Service, Unisys and Apple signed a contract for these services, the first of its kind for the maker of the Mac, iPhone and iPad. In addition to providing support, Unisys will build applications for Apple's devices tailored to the needs of governmental agencies. Unisys has already created a remote border-monitoring app for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
'Crack the Nut'
Although Apple has long been known as a consumer-oriented company and has had trouble establishing more than a foothold in the enterprise, that could be changing -- driven in large part by demand from companies for the iPhone and the iPad. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said last week that the iPhone and iPad are being used or tested extensively in 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies and 65 percent of Fortune 100s.
Gene Zapfel, a managing partner at Unisys, told Bloomberg that, although many of the companies are still heavily PC-based, "Apple is going to crack the nut and clients are going to start buying a lot more."
Apple doesn't separate out sales that come from companies, although it now has 150 salespeople focused entirely on the enterprise.
Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Corp. (ITIC), said it "was about time" that Apple got serious about providing support for its products in the business environment.
She said end users are driving IT departments to consider Apple products, particularly iPhones and iPads, but IT has been reluctant because of issues relating to security, maintenance, management and other issues. "End users love the Apple devices," she said, "but IT managers, not so much."
'Big Missing Piece'
The Unisys involvement, DiDio said, "could be the big missing piece," adding that it could "open the floodgates" for a wider adoption of Apple devices in businesses.
"The iPad in particular has been explosive in the enterprise," she said. DiDio noted that her expectation had been that it would be popular among business users, but the "rapidity with which consumers began using it for business applications was unexpected."
She noted that a recent survey by ITIC found that 86 percent of respondents said they used Apple products for both home and business purposes. Another survey by her firm, primarily targeting Windows 7 and infrastructure, found that 28 percent of enterprise users had Macs in their offices.
"This doesn't mean that 28 percent of personal computers in offices are Macs," she cautioned, but that 28 percent of workers had access to a Mac.
Posted: 2010-10-29 @ 7:02pm PT
This will never catch on. MS is too entrenched, and Apple can't write Enterprise software to save their life. Few IT companies will spend money on this software just to allow the inferior OS X into the enterprise.