“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.