How Apple played hard to get and seduced the enterprise

By Chris Nerney, Network World |  Mobile & Wireless, ipad

Chris Hazelton, mobile and wireless research director for The 451 Group in Boston, says three things are driving iPad's adoption in the enterprise: the increasing number of APIs from mobile device management vendors, the fact that Apple included application-level encryption in iOS 4, and Apple's Developer Enterprise Program, which (for $299 a year) allows companies to build their own "proprietary, non-public applications that can be pushed out to their employees and managed by MDM vendors."

All of which leaves Apple in a position to do something it hasn't been able or willing to do in 30 years - sell to corporate America. Good Technology predicts that "in 2011 the iPad, along with other tablets, will be increasingly purchased and deployed by enterprises to meet specific business needs.''

Attempting to seize this opportunity, Apple has begun poaching mobile enterprise sales executives from Research in Motion (RIM). The Wall Street Journal reported last November that since mid-2009, five RIM executives defected to Cupertino, including Geoff Perfect, head of strategic sales, and Joe Bartlett, senior global sales manager.

Apple also announced on March 3 a new program aimed at supporting small businesses that purchase Macs. The service includes support for iPhones, iPads and iPods.

Bad romance

This newfound love-fest between Apple and the enterprise has been the result of a softening of positions on both sides.

There was a time not long ago when you wouldn't mention the words "Apple" and "enterprise" in the same breath. Other than a handful of Macs for the graphics department, Apple products pretty much were non-existent in most enterprises.

Not that Apple seemed to care. Apple long ago had established its brand identity as a creator of personal electronics, and it almost was if Apple, with its devoted following of gushing fanboy consumers, thought it was too cool for the staid and sterile enterprise.

Sure, once in a great while the Cupertino gang would lob a product into the corporate market - the Apple III business computer in 1980, the Xserve rack server in 2002 - but these forays were infrequent and generally unsuccessful.

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Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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