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Apple's Enterprise Business Expanding at Expense of PCs: Analyst

As Apple's enterprise sales continue to boom, an analyst argues that the demise of the PC and traditional apps are on the horizon.

Trip Chowdhry, Global Equities Research, Apple, Tim Cook, enterprise, desktop PCs, mobile computing

When Apple CEO Tim Cook lauded his company's enterprise sales growth during a recent earnings event, the figures he quoted got the immediate attention of financial analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research.

Cook said Apple recorded enterprise sales of $25 billion in fiscal 2015, which was up 40 percent from fiscal 2014.

Those numbers were astounding, Chowdhry wrote in a Dec. 5 research note. And what is more amazing, he told eWEEK, is that Apple's enterprise sales are just starting to ramp up to meet what he calls a huge opportunity to just about take over enterprise computing.

The figures Cook announced show that Apple's devices, designs, technology and its software are positioned well to take over sales from PCs, which are 30-year-old relics from the past, Chowdhry said. What's happening is that enterprises have become mobile and flexible, and that's where Apple's technology can better meet those needs compared with stodgy PCs, he argued.

"Enterprise PCs are dead," he wrote in his report. "It's not about price, but experience."

The opportunity for Apple in the enterprise is huge, he wrote. "Basically, 90 percent of PCs deployed within an enterprise are primed to be displaced by Apple devices." At the same time, new enterprise applications that are written in Apple's Swift language are gradually making an entry into the enterprise, providing fresh software that's more flexible and usable for businesses.

What this all means, Chowdhry told eWEEK, is that Apple's previously stealthy push into business computing has been paying off.

"Can you think of any company or any business that is at $25 billion in sales and is growing at 40 percent annually?" he asked. "That is unheard of."

Certainly, Chowdhry is on to something here, as Apple is making clear progress in its sales to enterprises. The company's collaboration earlier this year with IBM to sell and support its products is more evidence of the company's success and direction.

But as someone who has been writing about IT and PCs and computing for the last 15 years, I always shudder when the latest report calls for the demise—again—of PCs. Sure, the IT world has been changing and mobile isn't something that traditional desktop PCs can do very well.

At the same time, though, PCs don't have to do mobile well. Everyone in business doesn't require it. There will always be workers who don't need mobile connections and there will always be business users who need the basics and not the extra added expense of Apple products.

Sure, Chowdhry sees the promise of Apple's latest market targets, but how many times have we read in the past about similar predictions of the death of PCs, only to see them continue to be produced and purchased and used by legions of workers?

It's great to see Apple's adaptability and growth, but let's not get carried away. The desktop PC market may be shrinking, but it's not dead yet.