Technology, IT Performance

Apple to CIOs: This time we're serious

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Is this a headline we'll soon see? "APPLE TO ENTERPRISE IT: THIS TIME WE'RE SERIOUS."

Apple has $1.4 trillion in cash. There's lively talk about how to use it - a dividend, Apple TV, Hollywood, video games, medicine, moon shots? Worldwide IT spend will be $3.8 trillion in 2012. Even single digit share in the Enterprise segment could double Apple's revenue and profit performance over time. Rather than broader focus on the consumer space, should Apple target the Enterprise with a credible commitment to dominance, to success?

Culture may be a big hurdle. Apple is now in a category of its own, they're a prestige technology company - a luxury retailer, really. Elegance, brand cache and ease-of-use are more compelling attractions to customers than product strengths which can be found similarly elsewhere without the 30% premium Apple commands. Apple DNA is now very different from that of the big name technology vendors. We may be past the time where there is a fit or much Apple understanding of Corporate IT issues like risk& compliance, M&A or the need for deep domain expertise in a company's industry-specific apps. A few rouge Macs isn't penetration, and it will be tough to point to education and graphic design alone as reference industries.

MSFT failed to move from desktop to data center in a big way, squandering value on MSNBC, Hotmail, MSN, Skype, games and me-too products like Zune and Windows Mobile. They could have leveraged their database, middleware and Great Plains/Dynamics suite to become a low-end Oracle alternative or perhaps a compliment to IBM up from the desktop into the rich world of the Enterprise.

Can/should/will Apple be a major Corporate IT vendor integrating their highly desirable products (iCloud, too?) into the heterogeneous data center & LOB technology landscape of Corporate systems, solutions, partner-supplied vertical apps, application development and all manner of services?

Big opportunity. Game-changing win. Too much for Apple? Out of their sweet spot? Thoughts?


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