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By John Rizzo

Enterprise to sink $47 billion into Apple hardware during next 2 years

Monday, February 6, 2012

Business enterprise is expected to buy $19 billion worth of Macs and iPads this year, and $28 billion in 2013, according to a report by Forrester Research last month. Reports of Apple growing in the business have been around for some time, but this kind of money could shore up Greece's economy.

"A year ago, 'Macs in enterprise' wasn't real," said Dale Fuller, former Apple General Manager and Senior Vice President of the PowerBook Division. "Now it's real."

Fuller, who is now CEO of MokaFive, a developer of virtual desktop deployment solutions for Mac and Windows, recalls a time when business wasn't interested in Macs.

"We'd give [an IT executive] a PowerBook, and they'd say, 'Thanks, I'll take it home to my kids.'"

Fuller and others believe that the credit for IT's change of heart goes not to any Apple enterprise marketing effort (because there isn't any), but to employees of the firms bringing in their own personal Apple hardware, and in particular, iPads. A lot of them.

"IT had no choice but to let iPads on their networks. It was a tsnami," said Fuller.

Once on their network by the hundreds, companies started buying iPads of their own. More than half of the enterprise money being spent on Apple hardware is going into iPads. The Forrester report says that in 2012, businesses will spend $10 billion on iPads and $9 billion on Macs. In 2013, enterprise may sink $16 billion into iPads and $12 billion into Macs.

This is still a big increase in Macs, however -- 45 percent more Macs than enterprise bought in 2011. The iPad growth in enterprise is 68 percent.

Forester's forecast caught a lot of industry pundits by surprise, considering Apple's lack of attention -- and outright antipathy -- to the market. A year ago, Apple discontinued Xserve, its enterprise server hardware, and recently remodeled its Mac OS X Server software away from enterprise and towards home users.

Apple's success in enterprise may have also caught Apple by surprise. AllThingsD.com looked to the Forester report regarding the big enterprise surge:

How can that be, when we so rarely hear stories about big enterprise deployments of Apple hardware? As Forrester explains, "The Apple assault on the corporate market has so far taken place without much formal Apple support, and probably without Apple itself understanding its full extent."

Steve Jobs may also have not understood its full extent. He didn't believe the enterprise market was worth bothering about. At the D8 Conference last June, he basically said that consumers liked Apple products while IT didn't.

"What I love about the consumer market, that I always hated about the enterprise market, is that we come up with a product and we tell everybody about it, and every person votes for themselves," said Jobs. "As for the enterprise market, its not so simple, the people that use the products don't decide for themselves. And the people that make those decisions are sometimes confused."

Confused, as in "we'll stick with Microsoft, thank you very much."

Steve Job describes why he "hates" the enterprise market in an interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg in June of 2011.

Job's thinking may have been true for several decades, but recently, at least some users in enterprise were beginning to vote for themselves. And they voted for note only the iPad, but also for the Mac as well. Group Logic, a developer of Mac network integration software, thinks that employees are also bringing the MacBooks to the office, and that IT is supporting them.

"These numbers do not include the cost of the hundreds of thousands of Mac computers analysts predict will be brought into the enterprise by employees due to the popularity of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend," said a Group Logic spokesperson.

Forrester Research said that 22 per cent of enterprises are increasing the number of employee-owned Macs on their network. But Forester's Frank Gillett thinks part of the Mac's surge in enterprise is due to the IT decision makers who once put up firewalls to Apple's entry into big business. In a recent blog post, Gillett said:

The clincher was the behavior of CTOs [chief technology officers] at two large infrastructure software companies that have a group of CTOs that work across the company. In both cases, almost all of them were using Macs - and they were making fun of the remaining Windows holdout for using a "typewriter."

Companies that sell products that help integrate Macs into the enterprise, are looking forward to riding along with some of this growth. In a press release, GroupLogic VP of Marketing and Product Management Anders Lofgren alluded to the Forrester report: "As Apple in the enterprise explodes, GroupLogic is extremely well-positioned to take advantage of this trend by enabling our existing 6,000 customers, along with new ones, to embrace the trend and keep IT management simple, seamless and affordable."

Many Mac integration companies, including Group Logic, MokaFive, Parallels, and JAMF, have added or are planning to add iPad support to their product lines in one way or another.

Fuller thinks it's a no-brainer. "Eight months after iPad's release, 42% of enterprise in Europe had them. It's been growing up ever since."

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