This Time for Sure: Apple's Quiet Plan to Break into the Enterprise

Loraine Lawson

It's only taken approximately 30 years, but it seems Apple is finally getting serious about moving into the enterprise market.

 

You could argue, of course, that it's already in the enterprise, what with the iPhone, the growing popularity of their iPads and other consumer-focused products. But this time, it's not taking a "build-it-and-they-will-come" approach.

 

The word on the street is the company is actually recruiting big systems integrators to help with a push into the corporate world.

 

Last week, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Apple contracted with systems integrator Unisys to help sell Apple's devices to companies and government agencies. The deal isn't unusual for tech vendors, but is the first of its kind for Apple, according to the article. Unisys will offer maintenance and other services-one assumes integration would be part of the deal-to organizations that buy Apple products.

 

Brian Marshall, an analyst at Gleacher & Co. in San Francisco, told Bloomberg the iPhone would be the gateway for Apple's entry into the enterprise. Apple recently claimed its iPhone is either being deployed or tested by 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies, with the iPad being tried at 65 percent of Fortune 100 companies.


 

Unisys will help ensure Apple products work well with a customer's existing computers and systems. The Bloomberg article notes Unisys began creating iPhone apps for government clients, including the Department of Homeland Security, before the contract. The deal includes a plan to expand that type of work.

 

But Unisys is just one indicator of a push into the enterprise space. While Apple won't publicly talk about it, Channel Insider reports the company is making deals with other large systems integrators:

Milestone Technology told Channel Insider about Apple's new program recently, saying Apple has four SI partners at the moment and that the program is a new one for Apple. And it's also new for Milestone, which did not sell Apple products until six months ago when Apple recruited the SI.

It's probably not a coincidence, then, that mobile business software expert Cortado unveiled its Cortado Corporate Server for iPad at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2010 in October.

 

All of this enterprise-talk is bound to bode well with stockholders-not that Apple needs the help. The company's stock recently surpassed $300 and reported a 70 percent increase in profit, largely based on sales of-what else?- the iPhone.



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