A couple months back, I reported on the amazing surge of Apple into the enterprise, a vendor that invests relatively little in actual, head-on enterprise sales. CIOs aren't pushing Apple. Instead, its products are being brought in en masse by the rank-and-file, as the world appears mesmerized by the elegance, capabilities and ease of use of its products ranging from iPhones to iPads and Macs.
Oh, and about those Macs: Rachael King of The Wall Street Journal just drove the point home again, citing predictions such as one from Forrester claiming that close to half of all corporations will be issuing Macs to employees this year.
Investment firm Needham & Company also issued a report that notes how business sales of Macs grew 51 percent at the end of 2011. Business sales accounted for 35 percent of year-over-year total shipment growth for the Mac platform.
Talk about shifting the tides. For years, the emphasis in enterprise computing has been away from hardware, to the ability to run software on any machine that is available. Microsoft Windows certainly ascribes to this model of commodity hardware. Of course, Linux runs on almost anything. The commodization of hardware drastically lowered the cost of computing, while increasing its flexibility. But Mac OS X only runs on Macs—the hardware and software are one inseparable package.
How does Apple sustain a fused hardware/software model that has long been abandoned by everyone else in an era of commodization and flexibility? It boils down to vision. As I mentioned in the previous post, most vendors fret about bottom lines and margins as they crank out their software packages or hardware boxes. They want to sell you a box. Apple, on the other hand, wants to sell you a revolution. Rightly or wrongly, they are driven by an almost obsessive vision on making computing affordable, accessible, easy and even fun to everyone on the planet. Yes, Apple is in it for the money, too. But that's not the image they project to the world. And CIOs and IT managers have been forced to sit up and take notice.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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