Apple has been at the forefront of the consumer technology market for years, but continues to lag behind competitor RIM when it comes to the enterprise market. Business and government buyers haven’t been actively pursued by Apple since Steve Jobs cut the business division in the mid-90’s, focusing solely on consumer electronics. The most profitable company in the world, this model has worked well for Apple.
However, times — and CEO’s — have changed. Apple’s still fairly new CEO, Tim Cook, may have a more difficult time ignoring government, which spent over $90 million on tech solutions from Blackberry in the fiscal year ending in September of 2010, than predecessor Steve Jobs. In order to capture the market, Apple is going to have to jump through loops in the procurement process and create security that is fit for government.
Some of these security concerns may be overblown, and the result of what’s expected by government more than what’s needed. Michael Rose, lead editor for The Unofficial Apple Weblog, said about the security issue, “You’re asking for things because they’re on a checklist. You need a new checklist … It’s like asking for a firewall for your toaster.”
Small businesses have taken advantage of Apple’s indifference to pursuing government as a major consumer. Companies like Good Technology assist in creating business-class security solutions on Apple devices for agencies and businesses tired of waiting on the tech behemoth. John Herrema, senior vice president of corporate strategy for Good Technology said he’s not worried about losing business if Apple begins supporting enterprise. He doubts Apple would offer security solutions which are as advanced as the ones Good Technology offers.
Should Apple begin focusing on the enterprise market? Would you prefer an iPhone to your government-issued Blackberry Bold?