Computerworld reports that Apple has quadrupled its enterprise marketshare in over the past 19 months. This has occurred without any effort from Apple, according to an analyst at Forrester Research. J. Pierrpont Finch, take note.
Forrester Research analyst Ben Gray said that Apple's business market share has gone from 1.2 percent to 4.5 percent in that period. Computerword reported that during this time, Apple has not had a strategy to sell more Macs in business markets, nor has it put much effort into it.
Indeed, Apple puts little effort in creating enterprise features and does not do much to promote the enterprise features that the Mac has. Since January of 2007, Apple has been focusing on iPhone and on shipping and updating Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. But the latter took a back seat to the former when Apple announced in 2007 that it was delaying the Leopard ship date in order to get iPhone out the door. In fact, Apple is putting more effort into marketing the iPhone as an enterprise tool than it is for the Mac as a business tool.
So why are businesses buying more Macs?
Gray attributed Apple's increased enterprise sales mostly to a new willingness for IT departments to accommodate the wishes or needs of employees in an attempt to make them more productive. He also said that virtualization has played a role in loosening attitudes, with Macs now able to run Windows operating systems.
The Computerworld article didn't mention Boot Camp, which isn't virtualization, but enables a Mac to boot into Windows or Mac OS X. Apple has made Boot Camp is a core feature of Mac OS X, enabling Macs to fit into IT policies requiring systems to be Windows-compatible. But Boot Camp is not specifically targeted at enterprise, as it has a wide range of users, from AutoCAD designers to gamers.
Developers carry Apple's enterprise load
In June, Macworld reported that while enterprise developers do have to "fend for themselves," many don't believe that Apple needs to focus on the business market. One developer went so far as to say that it is better that Apple not target the enterprise, as it might stifle innovation. Developers seem to be happy developing and marketing enterprise features themselves.
Also in June, five developers of enterprise software joined together to form the Enterprise Desktop Alliance to promote the Mac in business. The new Alliance is sponsoring webinars showing how the members products, such as Parallels Server for Mac and Centrify's DirectConnect, can be used together to integrate Macs into business. (The next webinar is on September 9.) The Alliance also plans to put on conferences that will promote the use of Macs in business.
Developers are also hopeful that Apple push for getting iPhones in enterprise may rub off on Macs. Just as the "iPod halo effect" increased Mac sales into homes, analysts and developers believe there may be a similar "iPhone halo effect" that will increase Mac sales in enterprise.
"The iPhone is coming [to the enterprise] and people think this is going to create increased interest in Macs," said Reid Lewis, CEO of Group Logic, a member of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance.
Some analysts go even further. A Needham & Co analyst predicted in June that "the iPhone halo effect should be far more powerful than the iPod halo effect."
Whatever Apple is or isn't doing in the enterprise, its working. As they say, nothing succeeds like success. Comment below