HP could be one of the most important companies to the enterprise, as both a key player in enterprise solutions, as well as its acquisition of Palm which portends a future of offering Web-based solutions to corporate customers. And considering it might soon plan to break into the tablet market, HP’s logo could be everywhere in offices around the world.
Microsoft’s greatest contribution to the corporate world over the next few years will undoubtedly be Windows. Although Google continues to claim that Chrome OS will be the lightweight, Web-based alternative to Windows that customers really need, Microsoft is in no danger of losing the corporate world. Companies simply need too much power for Chrome OS to be successful there.
Speaking of Google, the online company could make a significant play for the enterprise in the coming years. Currently, In the coming years, look for Google to drastically improve its Google Docs service and take aim at Microsoft Office. Plus, with Chrome OS improving each year, it’s entirely possible that its Web-based operating system will eventually be a major competitor to Windows. Google might not have a significant foothold in the enterprise now, but it will.
Cisco has built its business on appealing to companies that need its many, many solutions. Look for the company’s routers, switches, networking, and other solutions to play a key role in how it will appeal to enterprise customers in the future. That said, there is also a chance that Cisco will branch out from its core competencies to take a more proactive approach at appealing to corporate customers. Case in point is Cisco’s forthcoming Cius tablet computer.
IBM is a stalwart in the enterprise. The company simply knows what customers really need, delivers that, and does so in a way that makes the competition look like a hobbled alternative. That should continue over the next few years as it continues to double-down on security and virtualization. Simply put, IBM will continue to play a central role in the success of the enterprise.
Currently, Lenovo offers some of the most corporate-friendly computers on the market. Thanks to that, the company has been able to stay afloat as other firms in the space continue to increase market share. Exactly how Lenovo will contribute to the corporate world — either as a standalone firm or as a part of another company — is anyone’s guess. But it’s becoming clearer that Lenovo won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
The consumer business hasn’t been so nice to Dell. The company failed to see the changing times and effectively lost its way as companies like HP and Acer continued to provide what consumers were really looking for. But all the while, Dell was able to mostly maintain its enterprise operation, which still pumps a slew of computers into cubicles all over the world. Dell is starting to regain its footing in the consumer space and it fully understands what it needs to do to appeal more to customers.
Apple’s roots are in the consumer market. None of its computers are very enterprise-friendly, and even the iPhone, which has become highly sought after, isn’t built for corporate customers. But that’s set to change in the coming years. The iPhone 4 is arguably the most enterprise-friendly smartphone Apple has ever released. And thanks to an increasing number of enterprise-friendly applications in the App Store, the company’s chances of appealing to corporate customers are growing.
Facebook is arguably one of the most important companies in this roundup. Not only is Facebook increasingly being used as the go-to communication platform for employees, it will also be a key battleground for security in the next few years. As more employees visit Facebook, it will be up to corporate IT and the channel to ensure those visits are kept safe from savvy malicious hackers that attempt to exploit social-network seekers. Facebook will be both good and bad for the enterprise. And it’s about time the corporate world accepts that.
Acer has had some real trouble appealing to corporate customers that want an ideal computing platform. For the most part, companies have opted for an HP computer or a Dell machine. But soon enough, Acer will be the world’s largest PC maker. And when that happens, it will be time for companies to start taking notice.