Apple boss taking enterprise seriously

Tim Cook has revealed how much Apple made out of enterprise sales in the last year and is keen to talk up its chances of making even more in the future

One of the big questions that has dogged Apple even though it has enjoyed stratasphoric success with consumer electronics is if it has a chance of cracking the enterprise.

Traditionally seen as a niche player in the design and desktop publishing world the vendor saw its PC market share dwindle before Steve Jobs revoluntionised the fortunes of the firm.

In more recent times the firm has formed a partnership with IBM to ensure it could bring Big Blue's big data and analytics tools to iPhones and iPads, announced a collaboration with Cisco and recently unveiled the 12.9 inch iPad which is aimed squarely at the business user.

The main focus is still going to be on the consumer products with the latest iPhones and iPads being the products that get people queing for days.

But those that thought Apple was just dabbling in the enterprise market for the sake of gaining a few extra sales might have to revise that opinion after mulling over the latest comments from the firm's CEO Tim Cook.

In an interview with Box CEO Aaron Levie at the hosted storage player's developer conference Cook was asked about the enterprise market and revealed that in the last 12 months the firm had racked up $25bn in business sales.

"This is not a hobby. This is a real business," Cook was quoted as saying as well as sharing his view that enterprise sales could make a healthy contribution to the bottom line.

The fact that Cook was even at the Box conference shows the willingness to be identified with enterprise activities, with Apple collaborating with the storage player.

Collaboraton appears to be the strategy that Apple will follow to try and get its products into more enterprise situations and that could have an impact on its channel partners as well as the resellers that are working with those vendors it chooses to team up with.

"If you think back in time, Apple and IBM were foes. Apple and Microsoft were foes," Cook says. "But if you look at it, Microsoft and Apple can work on more things together. It is great for our customers. That is why we do it. I don't believe in grudges," Cook reportedly said.

Microsoft recently turned out for the latest product launch to share a platform with Apple to promote its Office 365 offering and to underline that it is offering support for iOS users.

Many business users still view Apple as a slightly left field purchase but the number of boardrooms containing iPad owners has done something to change the perception of the brand. Cook will be hoping it has done enough to increase the enterprise orders otherwise it will still be viewed as a hobby and not an essential market for the vendor.

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