During Apple's Q4 2015 Earnings report, CEO Tim Cook off-handedly mentioned that Apple has built a US$25 billion enterprise business. Apple has done that in a variety of ways, but especially with the enterprise focus of each new iOS release.
Responding to Shannon Cross of Cross Research, Mr. Cook pointed out several initiatives that have helped Apple in its enterprise business. First, from a product standpoint, each release of iOS has had more enterprise focused features. From a go to market standpoint, the partnerships with IBM and its IBM Mobility First apps and Cisco with a focus on improving iOS mobile platform performance in the enterprise are paying off.
IBM has also been an influential partner. IBM now has 30,000 Macs in place, and Tim Cook cited IBM analysis that each Mac saves the company US$270 (compared to a similar PC) in terms of both enduring value and IT support costs. IBM has already agreed to buy an additional 50,000 Macs by the end of this year.
Apple achieves this result with a relatively small direct sales force. Mr. Cook told Ms. Cross that he didn't "envision a large [direct] sales force." That's in line with Apple's longtime tradition of not believing that more sales people means more sales. As an aside, in contrast, Mr. Cook mentioned ongoing engineering efforts to develop its products for the enterprise. You can't sell what you don't have.
Over the years, Apple has developed a multi-faceted strategy of mobile security, enterprise OS support, over sixty mobility partnerships, a quiet but ongoing business website, the promotion and development of professional health and financial apps, and a new business focused iPad Pro.
It's all a far cry from 15 years ago, the days of the PC wars, when Apple had only Macs in its business arsenal.