Apple’s enterprise assault shifts into higher gear with dedicated sales force

“Apple Inc. is embarking on its most aggressive expansion yet onto corporate turf, hiring a dedicated sales force to talk with potential clients like Citigroup Inc. and working in concert with a dozen or so developers, two sources familiar with its plans say,” Christina Farr and Bill Rigby report for Reuters. “Experts say the company hopes to offset a gradual deceleration in growth – highlighted by iPad sales that have declined three straight quarters – by expanding its footprint in the workplace.”

“Three months after unveiling a partnership with IBM to develop apps for corporate clients and sell them on devices, the iPhone maker’s plans to challenge sector leaders Hewlett-Packard, Dell Inc, Oracle and SAP are starting to take shape,” Farr and Rigby report. “Details remain scant, but some industry experts say that the tie-up with Big Blue gives Apple an opportunity to begin to challenge Hewlett Packard’s and Dell’s dominance of office IT, and Oracle and SAP’s command of work applications.”

“Apple has been sending dedicated sales teams to talk to chief information officers. At least one financial services corporation, Citigroup, has been in talks to sign on, one of the two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters,” Farr and Rigby report. “Another person familiar with the developer’s plans told Reuters that ServiceMax, whose existing customers include Procter & Gamble and DuPont, has co-hosted eight dinners with Apple over the past year in locations across the United States. About 25 or 30 chief information officers and “chief service officers” typically show up at these joint marketing and sales events.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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    1. Sure, but Apple was originally looking to create “personal computers”. Lot’s of businesses ended up buying Apple’s. But when IBM joined the party, it and its clones pretty much sucked all the oxygen out of the room. Apple tried pushes into enterprise, but it was an impossible task against the Wintel hegemony. Jobs and everyone at Apple after his return made all the right moves to break that hegemony (with lots of help from Steve Ballmer’s missteps). If Apple hadn’t worked early on to dominate the creative businesses, they wouldn’t have survived for Steve Jobs return.

        1. Absolutely, and as it turned out the necessary concentration on personal computers and services thereafter has given them the ease of use, flexibility and unfettered technical progress to now hit back on their terms and every chance to make a serious impact. If like Microsoft and IBM and others they had been deeply ingrained in that original very conservative and restrictive atmosphere from the start, can you really have imagined the Apple of today developing? Indeed being in the creative field where business was only conservative in wanting to be associated with that brand, not conservative at all in pushing the technology, only helped that progress and through it keeping a very important foothold and inherent experience in the sector. These days more and more businesses are desiring that same level of flexibility and technical innovation that Apple pioneered through necessity.

    2. IBM is going to help corporate get serious about Apple. Twenty eight years ago corporate knew they could do 85% of the work of a Star Workstation for 15% of the cost of the Xerox computer. They chose to go the wrong path then. It was never a lack of seriousness on the part of Apple.

      1. The people on this webiste are simply too much to bear! IBM lost its lustre years ago in the corporate space! Lenovo took on a failing IBM PC business and now Lenovo is the biggest player in the PC space in the world. Apple to this day has yet to develop a serious corporate friendly OS that incorporates true security and functionality across all peripherals. Frankly they will be up against some heavy MSFT certified players who have owned the space for 35+ years. IBM is a lost cause hence why they entered into a deal with Apple. HP, Lenovo, BlackBerry etc.. will fight back with heavy weapons as do not think for a second that Google will watch the parade go by.

        1. There are indeed people who are certified to work on a bed of quicksand. That doesn’t make quicksand a good choice for a foundation. Yes, MicroSoft is everywhere. But it won’t remain so. Whistling past the graveyard doesn’t mean you won’t wind up there someday.

    3. Why worry about corporate when your sales to the general public are so high? Now that their Apple Stores may be cooling (based primarily upon iPad sales) they’re expanding to corporate sales with an ‘in’ provided by Big Blue, which didn’t exist prior.

      Makes perfect sense.

  1. History lesson — back “in the day,” circa 1981-82 — perhaps a bit earlier, Apple had a corporate sales force know as Apple National Account sales representatives — some were Apple corporate sales professionals, dressed in suits, ties and shiny shoes with the correct corporate IT gravitas and air of credibility, while others were sales employees of some Apple dealers — together, these two “different” sales personnel would focus upon potential corporate accounts, working in unison to sell Apple computers (Apple ][‘s, Apple III’s, Lisa, Mac, ImageWriter, LaserWriter) into these accounts. Additionally, Apple had (has?) a government sales division that focused exclusively upon the U.S. government markets.

    As mentioned above, initially, circa 1979-80, right after the release of VisaCalc (first spreadsheet software for any PC) for the Apple ][, Apple found that their computers were “quietly being slipped in the back door” of more than a few large, IBM mainframe only, corporations — individuals were bypassing the corporate mainframe denizens and the stranglehold that these big-iron shops held on most corporate IT operations, instead quietly installing Apple ][‘s loaded with VisiCalc in individual cubicles, often without big-iron corporate IT’s consent.


    In the mainframe days, a corporate manager might want to tweak his group’s/division’s P&L. They would sit down in front of their IBM 2260 terminal, make corrections on the mainframe-held copy, and hit the print command (as it were . . . go with me here, for the sake of simplicity).

    About and hour (or two) later, a person would come down the hall, pushing a wheeled wire cart which would contain the result of above mentioned print command — green/white striped wide paper, with tractor feed holes on either side, distributed to the requester, “snail-mail” style.

    If a mistake was discovered, or changes were needed to this printout, above process was employed, once again, with corrected paper-copy version delivered at a later time by above mentioned/delayed delivery method — of course, one could rush down to the print shop (usually in the basement, along with the mainframe gear), and plead with IT to rush-print your job for your 3PM meeting, or some such.

    The Apple ][, equipped with VisiCalc, a word processor (WordStar?) and a dot-matrix printer completely bypassed the mainframe-centric corporate culture of that era — which, of course, generally speaking, corporate big-iron IT did not like.

    IBM was paying attention to the feedback coming from their corporate field-account reps, and realized that they needed an “answer” to the Apple ][ problem — in 1981, that answer was the IBM PC running (Bill Gates-supplied) PC-DOS, which effectively showed Apple “the corporate door” and allowed the corporate IT monopolies to reestablish their hegemony over “all things corporate IT” related — which did not include anything that did not have an IBM logo on it.

    But the clone industry was soon upon the scene, and Microsoft (due to the “clever” way that their PC-DOS contract with IBM was written) was able to sell MS-DOS (a legal PC-DOS clone OS) to non-IBM clone box manufactures, who then began to spring up like weeds (anybody remember the Columbia?) on a warm spring day.

    For example, in 1982, Compaq was started (by ex-IBM and TI folks), and by 1984, was stealing greater amounts of small business PC sales from IBM, and ultimately contributing to the breaking of the head-lock that large-medium iron computer companies had on corporate IT shops — IBM, DEC, Data General, HP, CDC, Honeywell, Prime and other mainframe and/or mini computer companies all began to feel the serious sales heat from the PC clone companies.

    Somewhere around 1983-4, Bob Metcalfe and the DEC team, aided by ARPA, nailed down Ethernet and relatively inexpensive local area networks were born. Ethernet was first available on DEC VAX equipments, but was quickly adopted by others, to include the stand-alone PC folks. Shortly thereafter, Novell emerged onto the scene with a robust file/print server solution based upon Ethernet connectivity, and further accelerated the move of small and small-medium business away from the big/medium iron computer companies.

    Meantime, Apple was trying to sell the Mac into corporate accounts, but was typically rebuffed/perceived as an un-serious computer with a happy face and a “playful” mouse — had no chest hair credibility without a command-line interface — and had gained a street-cred with corporate IT folks as a bunch of California hippies who wore sandals and pony-tails, and ate granola.

    At that time, the Mac was using an Apple-centric networking technology called LocalTalk, which ran across a rather slow RS-422 serial port — LocalTalk worked very well, was flexible, and would allow file and print sharing across a local area network, but was not without its performance flaws and non-ethernet compatibility.

    In the middle of all of major changes and power-shifts/earthquakes that were happening within the entire corporate IT culture and market place, Steve Jobs was fired from Apple.

    The rest, as they say, is history.

    In the very early 1990s, IBM was forced into a reorganization, surrendering their dominance in the corporate IT markets. All of the mini-computer companies were out of business by the mid-1990s, to include mighty DEC, which was purchased lock, stock and barrel by Compaq. Novell dominated small and small-medium corporate file/print serving markets, soon to be eclipsed by an up-and-coming Microsoft determined to dominate those markets.

    Then Windows 3.0 emerged, followed shortly by Windows 3.1 and 3.1.1, and then Windows 3.5, which featured the first appearance of the Windows NT codebase. MS Back Office products were next, punctuated by several large volume FedGov buys, and Microsoft was on its way towards dominating corporate and FedGov sales — recall that era, where some corps and government agencies would issue RFPs that would all but outright stipulate MS-DOS/Intel compatible bids, only.

    Then the internet exploded, circa ~1995-96, with Netscape browser all the rage, soon supplanted by MS Internet Explorer browsers as the “correct” corporate choice.

    During the 1990s, Apple was rarely found in corporate or government, instead remaining dominant in the creative markets.

    Apple’s corporate focus has mostly been less-than-effective since the re-arrival of Steve Jobs at Apple in 1997 — Steve chose to focus into the markets that Apple was strong in, rather than try to batter their way into low-margin and resource-demanding large corporate and government accounts — in hindsight, Steve and Apple made the correct choice, though it did not seem to be correct at the time — Apple has been catching heat on their lack of effective corporate sales as late as 2012-13.

    The iPad/iPhone-type portable device paradigm has completely turned the tables on ALL of the IT market players — corporate and consumer markets, alike.

    The next decade of IT is Apple’s to own — if they can do so without losing that unique quintessential essence that is fundamentally Apple. They are entering an avenue that is littered with the carcasses of IT companies once held in great esteem.


    1. I lived through those years as a sales representative for Apple Computer Inc. Amazing years. The Classic hasd just come out and they had a simple line of computers. Classic, LC, IIsi, IIci, IIfx. Those were the GOOD years. We were true Apple evangelists. Then WinDoze 95 came out copy copy copy of All Things Apple & it was downhill from there. Look at Microsoft now people. As you say the rest is history. I am ecstatic where Apple is today. Apple EARNED THEIR STATUS all blatant Apple IP infringers are SHIT.

      1. Apple;s rise is about to stall. The long awaited larger form factor iPhones will no doubt break the 50 million units sales mark but the issue will now be how to best this device. iPad will churn out normal sales numbers moving forward, Mac is still focused on existing user upgrades hence why high sales numbers never amount to any marketshare growth etc…

    2. Overall not a bad recount of those years. However, LOTS of little details in your narrative are wrong.

      Just to name a few:
      “History lesson — back “in the day,” circa 1981-82 — perhaps a bit earlier, Apple had a corporate sales force know as Apple National Account sales representatives … working in unison to sell Apple computers (Apple ][‘s, Apple III’s, Lisa, Mac, ImageWriter, LaserWriter) into these accounts.” Your dates are wrong.

      “LocalTalk worked very well, was flexible, and would allow file and print sharing across a local area network, but was not without its performance flaws and non-ethernet compatibility.” You’re ignoring “EtherTalk”. While setting up EtherTalk was much, much better than typical implementations, and because routers, bridges and switches were not then as intelligent as they are now, the fact that EtherTalk was “chatty” made corporate network guys hate it. That “chatty” traffic clogged their networks.

      “In the middle of all of major changes and power-shifts/earthquakes that were happening within the entire corporate IT culture and market place, Steve Jobs was fired from Apple.” Steve Jobs was *never* fired from Apple. He was given a position with zero authority and zero budget. He quit.

      “All of the mini-computer companies were out of business by the mid-1990s, to include mighty DEC, which was purchased lock, stock and barrel by Compaq.” DEC had been selling off pieces of its business for a few years before Compaq bought the majority of what was left. Compaq did not buy DEC “lock, stock and barrel”.

      “and then Windows 3.5, which featured the first appearance of the Windows NT codebase.” Actually Windows 3.5 was the second appearance of the NT codebase, not the first.

      Among other details wrong.

      Also you ignore the fact that Apple and IBM collaborated back in the 90s on both hardware and software (NOT just the PowerPC). Apple actually sold decent (but not great) servers running IBM’s version of UNIX (A/UX).

      As I said above, not a bad retelling, but you should get the details right too.

      1. As a protocol analyst back in the 90s, I can assure you AppleTalk was not a chatty protocol. At the worst you can say it was the first of the chatty protocols. You could run Sniffer or EtherPeek on a network with Apple and PC and see that AppleTalk was actually far more efficient and less noisy than Netware. And when Windows decided it needed a new PDC — lookout! The reputation of being chatty was based on the same IT dufuses who never learned proper configuration of such things as the AppleTalk Internet Router. And when the Spanning Tree Protocol gained wide acceptance, but before Fast Listening was implemented, AppleTalk’s ability to verify that it’s address was not in use was impeded, leading to plenty of weird symptoms and more complaints about AppleTalk — when in fact the protocol was pretty brilliant and even today is unrivaled in the area of interactive and informed printing processes (one global company I worked with had a worldwide DECnet over which they piggybacked AppleTalk, so they could print from their desk on one continent to a printer on another continent!).

        I once participated in a test for a major American oil company wherein a Macintosh II outfitted with Token Ring and Ethernet cards and running AppleTalk Internet Router pretended to be a 3270 controller, talking to a real 3270 on one side and a Macintosh SE (?) equipped with a Token Ring card and AppleTalk Internet Router on the other side of the Ethernet, with its own 3270 controller on beyond. We routed all their traffic through the setup and monitored the performance. Those details are pretty faded, but I’ll never forget how excited the network admin was that the whole setup was working and barely registering a load on the Macs.

    3. Niff, having been around at the time, I can tell you that what was nailed down vis-a-vis Ethernet in 83-84 was not Ethernet itself (which had existed for at least 5 years before), but Ethernet-over-twisted-pair (10Base-T). Ethernet was running just fine over “ThickNet” (specialized cable which used actual, physical taps which drilled into the “bus” cable) and “ThinNet” (coaxial cable). But it didn’t take off until 10Base-T was worked out.

        1. One crucial factor in the history of Apple’s survival was the quest for an operating system to replace the Mac OS which was prone to crashing although the interface was generally better than the MS alternatives. The adoption of the Unix-based OS X was a really really big deal for Apple Computer Inc., and came after Apple had tried expensive alternatives that didn’t make it to market. The stability of the Apple platform is a key plank in the platform; had this not happened (after Steve came back from NEXT with his systems engineers) Apple would have been history. I can remember stringing AppleTalk networks in the (tile) ceiling of Canada Post to effect the first departmental network at its head office in Ottawa to connect its SEs and IIxs and Apple Laserwriters while everybody else was mainframe bound, and I still have my space station wifi hub and a big collection of obsolete Macs in the basement. But I still wear my OS 8 and OS 7 t-shirts (free from Apple) with pride.

  2. it has been a long time coming, but for me, the signs were clear, when mr. apple shifted away from their proprietary power pc chips and operating system to wintel compatible chips and a unix based system.

    that spelled enterprise to this child, but you don’t get the enterprise business until you succeed with the public at large, so steve wisely continued to focus on personal computers and technologies.

    the halo effect works.

    now with the alliance with ibm, and apple stock once again affordable, things are gonna change. i think this will be another turning point similar to the one cited above.

    it is time to buy back in, if you haven’t already. this rocket is getting ready to launch.

    1. Your reference to a rocket launch inhibits several negative connotations. Best you chose your words wisely as this reference could be tantamount to several system failures. Maybe Apple should focus on OS X security as vulnerabilities are plentiful and they will continue to be more aggressive given that OS X is the perfect target for folks who want to bring US iPhone users to their knees. Welcome to the world that MSFT has had to endure over the last 35 years!

  3. It will be interesting to see if Apple’s halo effect can help them overcome the inherent tendency of enterprise to focus on cheap solutions (there’s a reason Dell still survives). The natural tendency of businesses to focus on low-cost, industry-standard solutions has a lot of inertia – and doesn’t lend well to experimentation. I’d hate to see a low-cost, low-margin Dell or HP-style Apple line – because it will in-turn pollute the consumer market (lots of people would buy the cheap version if they could – that’s partly why the surviving non-Apple PC lines are the ones that made it in enterprise – Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc., as opposed to Compaq, Gateway, etc.).

    For Apple to make it in Enterprise, they may have to join the race to the bottom. And commit to it – so far their forays in business IT tend to run out of steam before truly gaining traction (remember their server lines?).

    Part of the story will be developers and software. If Apple can’t provide easy solutions to the kinds of problems that IT staff face on a day-to-day basis (security, cost, network management, durability, ease-of-upscaling and upgrading, etc.), they’ll never survive in that space.

    Most Mac users have no idea what it takes to run IT in a business – it’s hard to think on a scale of 10, 100, 1000, 10000 devices, etc. and understand that it’s nothing like what you do at your work home computer.

    And finally, on the hardware side, Apple lacks the necessary products. No one wants to replace an iMac every 3 years and repurchase the display, and with today’s long-lasting displays, there shouldn’t be a reason to. You should just have to swap out the computer when it’s EOL. And the only option available in that space is the optical-drive-less Mac mini.

    1. The current Mac mini is all most office workers need. Almost no one needs a tower anymore.

      The iMac is a great solution for many too. They last longer then “three years”. A $3000 iMac over 4 years is 37 cents per hour. Are your employees worth an additional 37 cents per hour? If not, you have a different problem.

    2. What are you talking about HALO Effect. Apple is already in the enterprise. I am an System Engineer and I am hired by companies to transition their users from MS to Apple. The transition is happening all over. I can not begin to tell you how many Windows Servers I have pushed off the loading dock only to be replaced by Linux servers and how many PC’s I have scrapped and replaced with Mac’s.

      Your “Race to the bottom” quote saying that Apple will have to play ball in that court is just ridiculous. Look how good a business model it was for Dell, HP and Lenovo. They are selling garbage at Walmart for $300 just to keep some traction in the market. If you want a solidly built PC that won’t self-destruct in 18 months or less that PC costs as much or more than a Mac. Want an example. Price Ultra books and Macbook Airs. The numbers don’t lie. The ROI on a PC is horrible. It requires 5 times the amount of support and lasts 1/3 the time than a Mac. You said you need to replace an iMac every 3 years, look at the statistics on how long Macintosh Workstations and Laptops are kept and working effectively.

      I just finished setting up a school system. Its one of the largest implementations I have done with 18000 Macs, iPads and iPhones and guess what, I can support them all from one Mac, Upgrade them, Manage them and secure them. Oh yeah speaking about security you are going to compare Apple with Windows Security. I don’t think you should even venture down that road. Home Depot just found the cause of the largest security breach ever and the culprit was…. Windows. Hmmmm.

      The value of a business investment is not just the cost of the produce, it is the total cost of ownership. If you buy a product that improves productivity is the price worth it. I am now working in a company that gives the end user the choice between PC and Apple computers. All laptops and all either Macbook Airs or Ultra books. Each cost about the same. What do You this the overwhelming choice, By greater than 95%.
      There are people that still choose PC’s but they are fewer and further between.

      Your post is filled with the same 1990’s FUD that has been passed around for decades and is totally not true. I see what is really happening and I am part of the transition. I also see that it scares the crap out of ALL IT departments that I work with that have been PC centric and have fought for years to keep Macintosh out. The thing they feared the most is happening and there is no way to stop it. Business are seeing the value in Apple products, Macintosh, iPad and iPhone and being adopted everywhere.
      The End
      Oh! Just one more thing. Who uses Optical drives anymore?

  4. Enterprise will be the death of innovation at Apple. When you look at Windows and all the spaghetti code running inside, it is because of the deal breaking legacy compatibility requirement by major enterprise customers. Even Windows 8 can still run DOS applications!

    As long as Apple doesn’t make ANY concessions to ANY enterprise clients, this will be ok. I’m rather skeptical about it, though.

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