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Apple enterprise sales of Macs, iPads to jump 58% this year

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 10, 2012
Apple will sell an estimated $19 billion in Macs and iPads to enterprises in 2012, a 58% jump over the year before, according to a research analyst.

And if Apple does nothing more than it's already doing, Bartels was confident his estimates would stand up. "Even if Apple doesn't make tremendous changes, there are forces running in their favor, like 'take an Apple to work,'" Bartels said, referring to the trend of company workers bringing Macs or iPads they've bought themselves into the office.

In some companies, employees -- particularly upper-level executives -- are reimbursed for machines they buy on their own dime.

Bartels is not alone in noting the trend, which more broadly goes by the term "consumerization of IT."

But Apple has some potential hurdles before it in the enterprise.

While the company has profited from its early lead in both tablets and light-thin notebooks -- the former with the iPad, the latter with the MacBook Air line -- it will face competition from Windows-based ultrabooks and tablets, particularly after the release of Windows 8.

"That's one of the key questions," Bartels admitted. "Apple has been in a very good position with the iPad and MacBook Air, and they've given them a lot of advantages, but Microsoft [and OEMs] will come up with alternatives."

And when that happens, when ultrabooks -- and to a lesser extent, Windows 8 tablets -- become ubiquitous, Apple could lose its edge.

"Assuming Microsoft gets its act together, it will be a much more competitive landscape -- likely in 2013, not this year -- for tablets and ultrabooks," said Bartels. "If it turns out to be a three-way battle in tablets, with Apple, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows 8, for instance, IT departments will feel a lot more comfortable with Microsoft than with Android. Microsoft could quickly go to No. 2."


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