Apple Still Ruling Business

By Stephanie Blanchard, Digital Editor — November 12, 2013

The new iPad mini with Retina display launched today, amid concern of limited supply. Meanwhile, a jury retrial started in San José to determine how much Samsung owes Apple for patent infringement. Going in to the holiday season, as the two competitors battle for market share, eyes are not just on sales, but each company’s position in business.

“Apple has never been more enterprise-focused than they are today,” said Jason Wudi, CTO, JAMF Software, in an interview with Mobile Enterprise. Indeed, the tech giant is advertising one enterprise sales representative position after another on the job boards.

Now that two new operating systems are in play – iOS 7 and Mavericks – there are more opportunities for IT to configure and control security settings than ever before, without sacrificing the end-user experience, he said. After all, Apple built its livelihood on that concept.

“With any major upgrade, the question is, what is the impact on organizations that have adopted Apple solutions?” asked Jeff Orr, Senior Practice Director, ABI Research. Even less understood, he added, what is Apple’s behavior towards its enterprise customers? The late Steve Jobs couldn’t even be bothered to court the enterprise, going so far as to hold it in contempt. With Tim Cook at the helm though, earnings calls have purposely included information about enterprise clients.

“If Apple was called the leading tablet provider, I don’t think anyone can knock that statement,” Orr said. “It’s when we get to actual scope of deployments, I think there is a message being given to suggest Apple is already there, that the market is locked up. That is certainly Apple’s intent, with its vague messages. But look at every Fortune 100 and the products they are actively supporting as part of the tech rollouts, I think we will have a different feeling about the company’s message, versus what the organization is actually dealing with.”

Titans of Business
It’s a new era for Apple, a time when trends revolve around data protection, not just winning the hearts and minds of end users. To that point, Wudi expects both iOS 7 and Mavericks to achieve extreme growth and fast adoption in 2014, especially among clients already on Macs. (Speeding up the process, Apple is offering Mavericks as a free upgrade.)

Founded in 2002, JAMF Software was either visionary or taking a leap of faith when it decided to concentrate on managing only Apple devices, five years before the iPhone, and its resulting revolution, even debuted. At the time, Apple had a strong foothold in education and creative areas (advertising, design) with its OS X desktops, but was not exactly synonymous with corporate data.

“Every Fortune 500 had the platform in their pocket but could not leverage it,” Wudi said. JAMF Software saw a need, and what was coming down the pike. Its decision to concentrate on Apple in the enterprise eventually paid off. While growth remained static during JAMF’s initial founding, once 2007 hit, the needle moved, with a dramatic surge in devices over the last three years (going from managing 600K in 2010 to more than 2.8 million devices today.) Currently the company serves more than 4,000 enterprise customers; its Casper Suite supports iPads, iPhones and Macs.

For Apple, the hold is, of course, moving to mobile. And while recent research reported a decrease in commercial Macs, JAMF actually sees the opposite trend in its client base. “Market data is one story but what we see is our clients adopting and continuing to grow the platform,” Wudi concluded.

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