BusinessWeek: Apple ‘now is the time to move’ on corporate-computing market

“When Apple Computer hired Sebastian Gunningham away from Oracle in the spring of 2002, some analysts thought CEO Steve Jobs had brought him onboard to crack the corporate-computing market — long a dream of Apple execs. Sure enough, a month later, at Apple’s 2002 World Wide Developers Forum, Jobs & Co. launched the Xserve, a powerful server aimed squarely at luring corporations and other users of big hardware,” Alex Salkever writes for BusinessWeek.

“Shortly thereafter, Apple began to build a sales team to plumb the corporate market. It seemed primed for battle with the likes of hardware giants Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun Microsystems,” Salkever writes. “Two years have gone by, though, and Apple has yet to make serious inroads into the corporate market. Worse, its efforts took a huge hit when Gunningham quit in January to become the CEO of a small Miami-based software outfit. Apple says it remains committed to enterprise computing and is actively seeking a replacement for Gunningham.”

Salkever writes, “Apple’s sales efforts in business computing are still relatively young — it’s not uncommon for businesses seeking to crack corporate computing to take five years or more before making real inroads. In fact, sales of Apple’s servers are growing smartly off a tiny base. Still, Apple could improve its chances by making the purchase of an Xserve more palatable to potential customers. Ultimately, Apple needs to think about expanding into different business segments if it wants real staying power in corporate-computing markets. That will require much heavier lifting to convince IT managers outside Apple’s fan base, since many remain wary of a company with so little history and reputation in corporate computing.”

Salkever writes, “Apple needs a visible sales boss to energize the troops and close bigger deals. It needs to offer better guarantees to potential customers. And it needs to give corporate IT departments a reason to believe that the Mac folks know big business just like the Dell people, HP people, or IBM people. That’s a sizeable cultural shift, but a necessary one if Apple hopes to play in the competitive corporate-computing market. Now is the time to move.”

Full article here.

29 Comments

  1. Even 7 years after rejoining Apple, Steve Jobs is having to address and correct mistakes made by the “professional” managers that ran Apple from 1984-1997. Like he said in a recent interview, Apple blew a 15 year lead in operating systems over Microsoft (probably more like 10). Until Win95 came out, Microsoft had nothing remotely like the Macintosh. During that time Apple execs were happy to coast on high-profits instead of expanding and developing the base. Mac OS 10.3 and 10.3 Server are incredible products, but the road from where they are in the very conservative corporate world will be very steep. If they do not make serious inroads by the time Longhorn is launched, the game will be over. All over. Really.

  2. Panther Server and X Serve, along with Virginia Techs G5 cluster, have really lifted Apples corporate profile awareness. Theres also been much favourable press from publications such as InfoWorld and PC World.
    However what baffles me is Apples constant ‘well, we’re not really pursuing the corporate market’ line. What’s with the state of denial? Geez Apple – you seem to have the price-point, the product and the people. So instead of nibbling on the Enterprise market, go take a bite out of it. Longhorns on its way. You snooze, you lose.

  3. Panther Server and X Serve, along with Virginia Techs G5 cluster, have really lifted Apples corporate profile awareness. Theres also been much favourable press from publications such as InfoWorld and PC World.
    However what baffles me is Apples constant ‘well, we’re not really pursuing the corporate market’ line. What’s with the state of denial? Geez Apple – you seem to have the price-point, the product and the people. So instead of nibbling on the Enterprise market, go take a bite out of it. Longhorns on its way. You snooze, you lose.

  4. Business software is missing still. Apple has to change this. They have to talk with SAP asap. Without SAP and other business software there is no sales to corporate world. No matter how nice the hardware is. Thank god that I found one good CRM/ERP/POS software so that I had a possibility to buy Apple hardware. Also Apple needs good project management tools desperately.
    Actually I hope that Apple forgets iLife for one year and concentrates to real issues like what business world really needs. How about easy to use project managment?

  5. I’m not a PC hugging person by one bit, but most buisness don’t want to do Apple because they would be locked into one vendor. Hardware and OS.

    At least if they had say Dell PC’s and a problem occured, they could call in Gateway. After all a PC is a PC with just a another sticker.

    Apples make excellent consumer computers, for people who don’t want to be bothered.

    A good thing is that it seems Apple is going to rule the roost in iPods, so if they keep forging ahead with cool new consumer gadgets, they should do very well.

    You+Spare CPU=Cure Disease

  6. Sailfish
    That is rubbish. Actually it is good to have computers from one vendor meaning both hardware and Os. Then you know who to call when it its broken. Companies don’t have time to call ten different places to get somebody to fix something that must be clear and easy. Actually even in the PC world there are service companies who take care of everything (though that costs). I tell to my customers that Apple computer and software plus APP, volume licensing and maintenance agreement is effortless and cheap way to go. Cheaper and easier than PC and Microsoft. They also know every time where to call and they get quick answers. If you call to Gateway that you have a Dell computer they will laugh to you and tell to you to seek medical help. If you call to Micro$oft they will take $200 out from your wallet and tell you to seek medical help. If you have Apple computer and call to Apple they do everything to fix your computer asap.
    The only real problem is the software. You do not do anything with the computer if you don’t have the right software. You have to have CRM/POS/ERP and project management software that is industry standard or better. Apple itself uses SAP and Apple knows that its customers uses that too. Now only problem is to get SAP to do the software for Os X-platform. That is Steve’s job to do. Unfortunately he is too busy with all these Mickey Mouse things 🙁

  7. If somebody don’t know what SAP is then go to:
    [url=http://www.sap.com]http://www.sap.com[/url]
    “Founded in 1972, SAP is the recognized leader in providing collaborative business solutions for all types of industries and for every major market. Headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, SAP is the world’s largest inter-enterprise software company, and the world’s third-largest independent software supplier overall. SAP employs over 28,900 people in more than 50 countries. Our professionals are dedicated to providing high-level customer support and services.”

    Apple, Nokia, IBM, Microsoft and all of the large corporations uses SAP to run their business. It is de facto industry standard.

  8. look if Apple wants to get into the corporate market it needs to crack the consumer market, right now they are selling so few computers to consumers half the world thinks there is only windows and intel, so who would want to set up their business with macs when they never heard of them in the first place? Apple is a fringe player that has no idea on how to sell to the consumer.

  9. Business users are not interested what computers consumers uses or what version of UT they play. They are interested only what is cheaper, easier and more productive for them. There are only few software companies in the world that make real applications for business users. Business users uses the hardware that those applications needs not other way round. They don’t buy Apple because the software that they need does not run on Apple hardware. I don’t mean Microsoft Office or AppleWorks I mean real business software like SAP.
    Those companies that sell software and hardware to companies would like to recommend Apple to business users (because it is cheaper,reliable, more secure and easy to use than Microsoft) if that would be possible. Unfortunately it is not. Who ever takes Gunningham’s place has to resolve this and fast. Until then Apple is out of the corporate market. Unfortunately.

  10. Many consumers don’t buy Macs for home because they know Windoze computers from work. Increase the number of enterprise Macs and you’ll increase the number of consumer Macs.

    Many people think they need a PC at home to connect to their work PC. However, Apple needs to promote to consumers the ability to connect to their Windoze computer through MS’s Remote Desktop program on the Mac (a free download). The ability to control my work PC remotely from my Mac is great!

  11. The fact is Apple needs to promote period. Enough with the itunes commercials. How about some commercials touting OS X? Lack of viruses, stable, secure. How about a commercial showing off iLife?

    People are amazed at what can be done with OS X when I show them. They have no idea. I blame Apple for not getting the word out. I feel like I should send an invoice to Apple for all the PR I do for them.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.