Just when you thought it was safe to invest in desktop enterprise innovation, along comes Apple and blows the cover off the ball. Apple’s amazing sales quarter registered $46.3 billion in sales, on the Richter scale of all things digital – the best quarterly sales for any technology company in history. That’s up 73% from a year ago. The one question we continue to see hovering over Apple’s dominance is how will it affect the enterprise, and will it open the playing field or will IT companies capitulate and allow the leaders in design, enjoy an open door to the enterprise?
Apple Marketing chief Phil Schiller at a news conference introducing a digital textbook service which will change the way the world works
Apple, with a war chest over $100 billion in cash, has demonstrated that while the past may have found them shying away from taking on the enterprise markets, their plans have developed brand new amazing ecosystems that consumers have adopted and they are piercing the corporate veil from every direction. The idea of forcing those consumers, who also work in the enterprise, to ignore their new playing fields and lose the productivity that comes with Apple’s innovations, strikes this writer as hokum. Productivity rules investment, and, if you think you can rest on your laurels, just ask “Research-In- Motion” how they’re plans are working out.
Steve Jobs evolved from a perfectionist with proprietary propensities, to a “New Economy” entrepreneur and collaborator with a vision for not only the next generation of computing, but with an eye on what the next generation of users will decide to do with his ecosystems. If only Apple would buy out the Department of Education and take charge of educators, we might even compete in global activities in the future.
Yet over at Infoworld they are calling the perceived threats from the piercing of the corporate veil coming out of the IT market “fearmongering” referring to it as “scareware.” Steve Jobs would have gotten a chuckle out of that but the tack at Apple isn’t focused so much on competing, especially, since they prefer to watch the evolution of the user and now understand that the user will decide how information technology evolves, not those holding on for dear life to their past achievements.
Surveys abound saying that fears of security issues caused by mobile devices are unfounded, and that IT concerns are not based on actual issues, but perceived dangers. As phones are being used more and more for identification and password tools, the question remains, will the IT landscape adapt or continue to cringe?
Yet those same surveys claim that “60 percent of companies are now adapting their IT infrastructure to accommodate employees’ personal devices,” “73 percent of C-level executives reported that the growing use of employee-owned technology is a top priority in their organization, and 88 percent said employees are already using personal technology in the business,” and “91 percent of C-level execs and 75 percent of IT leaders said their IT department today has the staff and resources needed to manage the use of consumer technologies.” Most executives, according to these surveys, now say it is simple to integrate consumer devices, and many have actually figured out that instead of punishing employees from interacting with the outside world during business hours, productivity improves from embracing these employee benefits and, if they are really honest, they will admit they have little choice but to hire folks who are savvy about the new relationships they must foster.
Apple continues to open up its ecology and expand its carrying capacity and developers are madly in love with the new approach. The iPad now has released more than 100,000 new apps for the tablet and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight or anything but an eager audience to be part of the New Economy thinking.
WHAT STEVE JOBS CAN STILL TEACH US
Over at Fast Company, they credit Apple’s success with the fact that Jobs was the “greatest user” of technology who actually got the UX and lived with technology, rather than using it. His enthusiasm for his ecosystems was authentic because he was the number one fan. No one will ever accuse Steve Ballmer or the open source community of embracing the products or applications they produce with that sort of reality.
Attitudes are changing for many reasons but don’t think for a second it isn’t related to a changing of the guard at the helm of many corporations who have grown up in the new world of ecological thinking. While Microsoft seems destined for extinction and Google cringes behind a monoculture that pits itself against allies, are there any other players out there to be taken seriously? By the same token, Apple’s eye is on the future as they are laser-focused on what the kids in grade school are saying and doing and when they officially take over the text book business, look for a sea change in the way the world works.