During its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call, Apple said that by the end of the period, 93 percent of Fortune 500 companies were testing or deploying its iPad across their businesses.
On the iPhone side, according to the company, 60 percent of those firms were testing or deploying Apple’s handset. Those figures are up from the 91 percent and 57 percent last quarter that tried out the iPad and iPhone, respectively.
The company also pointed out that Lowes is “rolling out over 40,000 iPhones” to its employees. Considering those figures, it appears that Apple is far more of an enterprise-focused company than many thought possible.
Over the years, the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm has been viewed as a consumer favorite and an IT manager’s nightmare. But now, thanks to the iPhone and iPad, all that has changed. And for the first time, many of the world’s largest companies are warming to the idea of using its mobile devices.
Read on to find out why:
1. Doubt over RIM’s future
Over the years, Research In Motion has been the corporate world’s favorite mobile-device provider. However, RIM looks lost and IT executives are starting to realize that. The company is trying to be too Apple-like in its products, such as the Storm 2, and its management seems unwilling to change its strategy, even though it’s losing ground to other, better products. That hasn’t gone unnoticed by major companies. It’s making them think twice about their support for RIM handsets.
2. The BlackBerry outage didn’t help
For many companies, last week’s BlackBerry outage hasn’t improved RIM’s chances retaining the loyalty of its Fortune 500 customers. Although that happened after Apple tallied Fortune 500 interest in its devices, the outage could very well drive those figures even higher this quarter. Employees at the top companies around the world rely on email and messaging to get their jobs done. With RIM’s services being down for more than a day in some cases, they weren’t able to do that. That was a serious hit to RIM’s credibility.
3. App availability
The success of Apple’s iPhone and iPad in the Fortune 500 might have quite a bit to do with the sheer number of applications available to users. Apple currently has over 500,000 applications in its App Store, including more than 140,000 designed for iPad users, alone. Other operating systems lack the sheer number of apps-especially corporate apps-that are found in Apple’s App Store. That fact matters to a lot of companies..
4. Consumerization of IT Helps Apple
Over the last few years, consumerization of IT has become an increasingly prevalent phenomenon in the corporate world. Employees are using their home devices in the office and IT staff, realizing that there’s value in consumer-focused products, are warming to the idea of letting those products in. And as history has shown, it’s typically the world’s largest companies that become change agents. This time around, Apple is the beneficiary of that.
Apple iPad Becoming Default Enterprise Tablet
5. Apple takes opposite enterprise approach to Dell
When Dell first became the PC giant that it is today, the company had a unique strategy: it brought its computers to the enterprise with the eventual goal of getting employees to buy its PCs in the home. The idea worked. Apple, on the other hand, has done the exact opposite. Unlike Dell, Apple first focused on consumers with its iPhone and iPad and eventually forced a mobile-device change in the world’s largest companies. It was a smart move.
6. Tablet needs
Around the world, the top companies realize a need for tablets. Not only do they provide an added level of mobility, but they’re usually secure. For that reason, Apple’s iPad is the obvious choice. Android-based tablets fall short due to poor software functionality and security concerns, and RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook is too consumer-focused for the average company. The iPad, however, has an ample number of apps and strong security, making it a top choice for the world’s largest companies.
7. Android falls short
In the smartphone space, it might seem odd that the consumer favorite, Android, wouldn’t also be the leader in the enterprise. However, it’s worth noting that Android is an even-more consumer-focused platform than iOS. Furthermore, the operating system suffers from serious security issues-including apps that have been laced with malware-which makes it a non-starter in the corporate world. Until Android becomes more secure, most companies will choose iOS over Google’s operating system.
8. Windows Phone 7 isn’t a consideration
Windows Phone 7, on the other hand, is an odd case. Unlike Android, it doesn’t suffer from as many security issues and since Microsoft is behind it the OS has enough enterprise features to make it passable to IT staff. The only issue is, Windows Phone 7 suffers from many functionality quirks and a poor update process that scares IT staff. Plus, the operating system has just 30,000 available applications, which most companies view as an issue. For now, iOS is still the best option for companies when compared to Windows Phone 7.
9. There are enterprise features available in iOS
All this talk of other operating systems fails to mention that in iOS 5, most companies will like what they see. The operating system features remote-device management, which is a key feature for IT staff, and supports remote wipe and lock. Plus, with all the enterprise-ready applications in the App Store, there’s no shortage of functionality for any big company’s employees.
10. Custom app development
Perhaps one of the best reasons for major companies to switch to the iPhone or iPad is the control they have over those devices. With the help of Apple’s software development kit, any company can create a custom application designed specifically for their employees to help make the devices even more useful. Even better, those applications don’t need to be shared in the App Store, which means they can feature proprietary information without fear of it leaking out to competitors. Custom app development is central to Apple’s appeal with big companies.