Are there Deeper Enterprise Implications in Apple’s Quarterly Review?

By John Arkontaky
On Jan 31, 2014
Friday, January 31, 2014

In Apple’s quarterly review for Q1 2014, executives attributed iOS 7 security features, FIPS 140-2 certification, and app development improvements to strong iOS’s strong growth in the enterprise. We’re confident that consumerization had something to do with iOS saturation too. In addition to the aforementioned features Apple executives mentioned, its Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) contributes to Apple’s popularity. VPP allows companies to procure, distribute and re-issue app licenses (rather than re-purchase apps).

Apple reported how 97% of the Fortune 500 supports or utilizes iPhone and 98% supports iPad, while support for iPhone within the Global 500 is 91% and 93% for iPad. Echoing Apple’s report, our 2013-14 Enterprise Technology Benchmark shows that 95% of companies support iOS.

Before iPhones became widely accepted and adopted by enterprises, they were pretty much forced on IT thanks to consumerization and bring your own device (BYOD) programs. It will be interesting to watch how the iPhone’s presence in the workplace continues to affect device procurement moving forward. As Windows XP fixed units phase out, could Mac pull the rug from under Windows 8?

Replacing Windows in the fixed-device department is easier said than done. But, you could build a strong case for this. For example, Microsoft’s own IT-management platform, System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), supports Mac and iOS (among other OSs). Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) enables access to applications, regardless of underlying OS, and as more developers build for web browser access, the underlying OS is increasingly irrelevant. Furthermore, tablets will grow from 3%, to 6% to 14% as primary work devices, replacing those desktop and laptops, from 2012 through 2014. That’s over 100% growth year-over-year. And what logo sits on the majority of these devices? A nibbled Apple.

Of course, Apple’s quarterly report doesn’t speak to Microsoft’s strides with its own mobility offerings. Adoption for Windows Phone 8 jumped 25% between 2012 and 2013, with another 17% of companies planning for 2014 support. Also, Microsoft is building SCCM to be a unified device management platform for PC/laptops and mobile devices, leveraging its InTune platform for mobility management. In time, SCCM and InTune could rival dedicated EMM vendors’ portfolios—giving Microsoft fertile ground for growth in enterprise mobility regardless of device populations.

With EMM vendors and mobile OEMs cranking up their portfolios in enterprise mobility, 2014 looks to be a watershed year in this space.