Apple’s famed secrecy overshadows the company’s ability to be disciplined and play a long game. Instead of opting for marketshare at all costs, Apple prefers to sell large numbers of products in the premium category, which results in the company owning the largest profitshare. That helps the company fund research and development, pay large dividends and employee bonuses, and build better products than competitors, regardless of price.
Historically, Apple has never fared well in the enterprise. Why? Historically, corporate enterprise customers want a solid roadmap for product development, a steady but competitive pricing structure, and they need to count on their vendors for support.
Apple, mostly synonymous with the Mac, hasn’t been good at any of those requirements (though, to be fair, the Mac helped to spawn the BYOD era; bring your own device to the company).
With the iPhone, Apple has taken a different direction; almost stealth-like in approach. The company built in security layers, which enterprise IT departments want, a weakness of the competing Android platform. Apple also built in a secure and straightforward method for IT departments to deploy applications to employees (and to control which applications are installed on which employee devices).
Also, Apple’s iPhone is the poster child product for BYOD. Employees would prefer to use their own iPhones and iPads rather than use company issued devices of lesser stature.
iPhone and iPad do not require as much IT support as Windows PCs or the more traditional BlackBerry smartphone. What company’s do not support, Apple supports at a nearby Apple Store Genius Bar. Finally, Apple’s roadmap for iPhone models is steady and sure with major upgrades every two years, minor upgrades every year, and rapid adoption of the latest iOS version.
Is it any wonder that the iPhone and iPad trounce all Android-based and Windows Phone-based devices in the enterprise? This unlikely marriage– Apple and the enterprise– received an official sanction from none other than IBM, the corporate goliath in the enterprise. Apple does the hardware and OS. IBM does the app development and support.
Although there have been years of steady improvements in both hardware and software, seemingly without trying, Apple now owns the lion’s share of the mobile device segment in the enterprise, and is likely, thanks to the blessing from IBM, to own it all.
Now there’s word that Apple has received a few dozen patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office which include an advanced video conferencing system by using FaceTime (one which appears to scale video quality to participants, and saves bandwidth). Think of the impact on the enterprise when all iOS-equipped employees can communicate on a secure channel using FaceTime technology built in to every device.
Apple owns the enterprise in the mobile device era. Who saw that coming? Apple.