Apple should NOT go after the Enterprise

Scaling / December 10, 2007 / Alykhan Jetha

Based on the comments and emails I received about my last post, it looks like I didn’t make myself clear. I do NOT think it’s a good idea for Apple to go after the enterprise. Going after the enterprise will slow Apple down and we (consumers and small businesses) will suffer from the lack of innovation over time. The reason is simple. Large enterprises are slow to change/love to standardize even if the standards are outdated.

If you look at the Windows world, Microsoft has gone after the enterprise to the detriment of all other markets and the net result is that the PC society has stalled out on innovation. Otherwise, why would the fastest computer in the world that runs Windows be a Mac – even though running Windows is a (strategic) after-thought for Apple? There is even a funny ad about this.

Microsoft has had some good ideas, but they have often had to neuter the idea because it is not enterprise friendly. Do you really think Microsoft couldn’t pull off the various things they said they would? They have tons of engineers – they could do it if they really wanted to do it. They can’t be that incompetent. The issue here is the same as the NeXTSTEP 4 story I mentioned in the last post. Microsoft’s enterprise customers are saying “no, we will not buy that, innovation runs counter to how we operate”.

You shouldn’t confuse Apple taking care of itself as a push towards the enterprise. Those improvements to Mac OS X that make it more enterprise friendly are for Apple’s own needs, not for the enterprise market (education market being the exception).

I say leave the enterprise to Microsoft and let it become the IBM of tomorrow. Let Apple take the consumer and small business space. Besides, small businesses employ more people as a sum total than large enterprises and that trend will continue (much to my delight). And the job of SMB is to run circles around the large enterprises and push innovation – and the economy – forward.

In the U.S. small businesses generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade. “In the most recent year with data (2004), small firms accounted for all of the net new jobs. Firms with fewer than 500 employees had a net gain of 1.86 million new jobs. Large firms with 500 or more employees lost more jobs than they created, for a net loss of 181,122 jobs”.

Also – just so we are on the same page – by small business, I mean businesses with less than 200 employees (maybe less than 500 as the above link suggests).

So once again – let Microsoft cater to the dinosaurs – they don’t know how to innovate anyways. I’m counting on Apple to help society advance forward by not catering to the enterprise.

Until next time…

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