Microsoft’s Windows platform has been extremely powerful in the corporate world for one main reason: the third-party programs. Companies require certain programs in their operations. And the vast majority of those programs are available only to Windows users. That’s a major issue for Apple that it has yet to fully rectify.
Price obviously plays a key role in the success or failure of a company’s products in the enterprise. And unfortunately for Apple, its products tend to be more expensive than its counterparts on the Windows side. In fact, most companies can get a comparably equipped HP notebook for much less than a MacBook or a MacBook Pro. Apple thinks its premium is worth it. But enterprise market share tells a different story.
Apple has a tendency to not play very nice with companies. In fact, it determines what it wants to do and it sets out to do that without thinking twice about the impact it might have on a particular company’s operation. Such practices work quite well in the consumer space where people are likely to accept it. But the enterprise is much different. And Apple’s inability to capture significant market share reflects that.
Apple has a tendency to think that the experience enterprise customers want revolves around the computer. But it’s more than that. The hardware company has to understand that the operating system plays a significant role in all of this. Beyond that, companies expect products to make their employees more productive. Given how high the learning curve employees go through is to learn how to use a Mac, increasing productivity in the short-term just isn’t all that possible.
Apple’s Mac OS X is a fine operating system for consumers. It delivers security, a nice interface, and a slew of features that most customers are happy using. But for the enterprise, it falls short. It lacks some of the professional features that Windows offers. And as mentioned in a previous slide, it hampers productivity. That alone is helping to keep Apple behind in the enterprise.
Apple’s iPhone is appealing to more enterprise customers than ever before. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple can be classified as a corporate-focused firm. For one, the iPhone is in no way a direct competitor to a BlackBerry. And only recently did it start appealing to corporate customers. The future of the mobile market might reside with the iPhone, but enterprise customers are still having trouble accepting that.
Apple’s iPad is being called one of the more viable enterprise tablets on the market. After all, it features a nice, big display, Apple’s iOS platform, and the kind of functionality that some companies are looking for. But it still falls short. As Apple has proven time and again, the iPad is a consumer-focused product that happens to appeal to enterprise customers. That doesn’t sound like a company that fully “gets” the corporate world.
There is little debating that Mac OS X is more secure than Windows. But security is a relative term in the enterprise. On a purely operating system level, Mac OS X wins out over Windows. But in order for Apple to fully appeal to enterprise customers, the company needs to get serious about all the other aspects of enterprise security, starting at the network level and working its way on down to the computer. Apple currently doesn’t do that as effectively as it should. And enterprise customers are fully aware of it.
AppleCare is well-respected in the support space. In fact, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said at a press event on Oct. 20 that his company offers the best support, as voted by consumers, in the industry. That’s certainly something to be happy about. But in the corporate world, Apple leaves much to be desired. It doesn’t seem to fully understand the desires of corporate customers when it comes to support. However, it must. Enterprise customers need ready access to support, and they can’t be charged too much for it. Apple must keep that in mind.
Apple tries its best to push iWork on customers. The only issue is, iWork isn’t a viable competitor to Office in any way. And companies are fully aware of that. Granted, those companies know that they can also run Office on Mac OS X, but that software’s functionality works better on Windows. And until Apple figures out how to catch up, the company will be far behind Microsoft in the corporate world.