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Apple Means Business: $25 Billion Worth Of It

by User Not Found | Oct 29, 2015

Picture1Apple’s business of selling into businesses is humming. During its Fiscal Year Q4 2015 earnings call with Wall Street, Apple said it made $25 billion in revenue over the last 12 months from enterprise markets, up 40% from a year ago. 

We’ve seen Apple’s ambitions in the enterprise from its recent partnership with Cisco, announced in September, and IBM, which it has partnered with for the past 18 months.  However to see 10% of Apple’s overall revenue coming from enterprise is impressive, and shows how deeply its technology is penetrating corporate IT. 

Apple said its enterprise revenues grew 40% from a year ago, and much of this growth can likely be typed with IBM partnership.  The MobileFirst initiative with Big Blue creates applications specifically for vertical industries and markets, such as retail, healthcare, aviation and other markets. To date, Apple said it has developed 55 total applications in the MobileFirst for iOS catalog, and that it is rapidly adding more applications with partnerships and development efforts.

However Apple is making enterprise progress beyond just mobile devices. With the strong Mac sales it reported (5.7 million for the fiscal year, an all-time high), Apple added that it is penetrating large businesses, again mention IBM, but as a customer instead of partner. Over 30,000 Macs are deployed within IBM currently Apple said, with 1,900 more being added every week. Citing data from IBM, Apple said the company saves nearly $300 per machine in terms of IT support costs and overall “value” of the Apple computers vs Windows PCs (presumably, but Microsoft was not called out in the comments).

Apple also anticipates a continuing uptake of tablets as a primary computing device in businesses, citing iPad Pro, which was announced in September. On the earnings call, an example Apple gave of this tablet potential was with Bloomberg, and its professional financial information app, which will be supported on iPad Pro — with the devices larger screen, multi-app/multi-tasking support, and increased processing power and memory.

Apple also cited its strategic partnership with Cisco as an example of enterprise momentum. However, Apple did not mention any new offerings or expand on specifics of the partnership, other than to “optimize [Cisco] networks for iOS devices with a goal of providing iOS mobile users with great performance advantage over other mobile platforms.”

Though not speaking specifically about business smartphones, Apple CEO Tim Cook said its FYQ4 was the strongest it’s seen for attracting users from Android to iPhone. Among customers that replaced an existing smartphone with an iPhone in the quarter, 30% were former Android users.

This reflects recent shifts in the business smartphone market as well. Apple iOS emerged in the first half of 2015 as the top choice of businesses in terms of corporate-liable devices, according to Strategy Analytics Quarterly Smartphone Tracking data. Apple had 46% of corporate-liable smartphone shipments, the highest share among BlackBerry and Windows globally. This is up from Apple’s 38% share of corporate-liable smartphones in the first half of 2014, when Android was the dominant platform worldwide at 50%. While Android is still the global leader in overall business smartphone shipments, and BYOD devices in businesses, Apple is winning the race to be the smartphone that businesses hand out among organizations that still hand out phones to employees. (Comparing both Apple's and Google's earning calls, Apple mentioned enterprises ten times to Google's single, brief mention). 

Apple observers like making superlative analogies with the company’s financials (e.g. Apple’s cash reserve tops 50 countries’ GDP, etc.). We can now do this with the enterprise figure cited: at $25B in enterprise revenue, this would put Apple ahead of SAP and EMC in terms of total 2014 revenue, and not far away from Oracle and Cisco. The impressive detail here is that Apple does this mostly without even trying. Cook said that Apple does not have a large enterprise sales organization, and has no plans to add one. It will rely on partners, such as Cisco and IBM, to drive Apple technology sales into enterprise accounts.

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