Enterprise Hardware Market Would Shrink Without Apple

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In another demonstration of just how much things have changed for Apple, Forrester Research issued a report on Monday that said the Enterprise hardware market would have shrunk in 2012 if it weren't for Apple. The research firm is estimating that this market will grow 1.7 percent in 2012, but that if you took Apple's sales to Enterprise out, we'd be looking at a rare year-over-year decrease in IT hardware spending.

Apple Sales Chart

Once upon a time, Apple wasn't even an afterthought in Enterprise, but two things have combined to change this: the explosion of Apple's iPhone and iPad and the proliferation of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies at many large corporations.

According to the report, which was covered by The New York Times, business spending on iPads will increase some 76 percent in calendar 2012 to almost US$10 billion. Spending on Macs will also increase some 9 percent to $7.6 billion, and together the two product categories will more than offset what is otherwise expected to be a "dismal year" for IT hardware.

Forrester's also included BYOD reimbursement to employees who bring in their own devices.

Spending on Windows computers will decline 3 percent year-over-year to $124.1 billion—Forrester said that it does not believe Windows 8, which is scheduled for release this fall, will breathe new life into the Enterprise market despite hopes to the contrary in the sector.

Unlike Windows, but like iOS and OS X, spending on Linux and Android devices is also on the rise. Forrester is estimating that sales of these devices to Enterprise will increase 52 percent to $5.9 billion.

We should note that combined, that's less than spending on either Macs or iPads, meaning that Apple is a much larger player in the Enterprise market than either open source platform.

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This is another one for the whodathunkit column. Earlier today, we reported that Apple's iPhone 5 could bump U.S. GDP by as much as 0.5 percent, but the idea that Apple could single-handedly keep the Enterprise hardware market from shrinking is almost...weird.

Apple has little history of playing nice in this category, and even with all these billions coming from IT departments, Apple still doesn't maintain a real corporate sales force or cater to the whims and desires of IT managers and CTOs. Product road map? Nope. Advance access to new products? Puhlease.

Frankly, it's a wonder that Apple sells much of anything to this market.

On the other hand, Apple has been paying lip service to such things as support for Microsoft Exchange in iOS and OS X, and the company has developed and released tools designed to help IT managers manage fleets of iOS devices. Between that and Apple's customers bringing their own devices to work, it would appear that Apple has what it takes to increase its footprint in this large market.

Be that as it may, headlines such as "Apple as the Last Hope for Growth in Business PCs" at The New York Times has us checking for things like the Cubs (or the Mets) winning the World Series or reports of flying swine. So far, nothing.

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Weird is right, Bryan.  Apple doesn’t even play in that sandbox.


Exchange support in iOS uses MS mapi but OS X doesn’t. Most unfortunate, as the OS X stuff just doesn’t work very well.


Even though I am an Apple fan, the point made by Forrester assumes that enterprise buying would not turn elsewhere were Apple not around. Surely some of those dollars would have been spent on products from other companies. The premise falls flat without this assumption.

Sorry for posting late. Been busy. Plus the site crashed Safari the couple of days if I tried to log in on my iPad.

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