Hardware market
Apple is penetrating the bigger business market

Long ignored by companies, Apple products are gradually conquering the office environment. In doing so, Apple is helped by two IT giants – who were not necessarily the best of friends in the past.

The Macintosh was developed for creative types, which is why this computer has no place in the office. IT managers have held this prejudice for decades. And yet Microsoft has dominated company desks for the same length of time. Apple products only began to appear in companies when employees started to bring their personal iPhones and iPads into the office to send e-mails and access their company’s wireless network.

But what about the Macintosh computer or the MacBook? Apple currently sells around 5 million computers each quarter, which is a really impressive number in the face of the overall shrinking PC business. Thanks to the huge numbers of the terminal devices that it sells, Apple is therefore increasingly perceived as an equipment supplier for companies and businesses.

And not only by the users themselves, but also by two IT giants. In September this year, for example, Apple and Cisco announced their intention to cooperate in selling Apple products to companies in a targeted manner. Global market leader Cisco has been established for years in data communication, networking and video conferencing products.

The plans of the two manufacturers provide for an optimisation of Cisco’s network components for iOS-enabled terminal devices, higher-quality voice communications with the iPhone as well as collaboration solutions for meetings and teamwork. For Apple, the cooperation promises better penetration of the enterprise market with the Macintosh and the iPad.

Although Apple and Cisco rarely get in each other’s way on a business level, the two companies have not always been friends. Cisco was the original owner of the IOS trademark – it was used for network components such as routers and switches – until they licensed the rights to Apple in June 2010.

The word mark iPhone was also originally owned by Cisco. In January 2006, Cisco even sued Apple for using the name because the Cisco subsidiary Linksys was offering its VoIP phones under this brand name. At the end of February 2006, eleven months before the launch of the first Apple iPhone, the two companies agreed on the use of the brand name.

Cisco is not Apple’s first major partner in the enterprise environment, however: about a year ago, Apple had cooperated with former competitor IBM to develop commercial apps for companies. As a systems integrator, IBM also offers iPhones and iPads for corporate customers along with the accompanying services and apps, which are set up for users and integrated into the administration.

With the motto “Mobile First for iOS”, IBM develops optimised cloud services for iOS-enabled terminal devices too. Within the cooperation framework, Apple is adapting the AppleCare support service to meet the needs of companies more closely. This benefits both companies: while Apple gets an additional distribution channel, IBM obtains a supplier of high-quality terminal devices that are ideal for implementing mobile business processes, which are now considered the future of business computing. (Source: Apple/IBM/bs)