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Apple's iPhone Enjoys Own Halo Effect?

Friday, 14 Mar 2008 | 3:37 PM ET
CNBC.com

When Apple opened its iPhone to software developers last week, as well as enterprise clients, I surmised then that the strategy could lead to the same kind of "halo effect" that iPod enjoyed.

Remember those stories way back when? iPod customers who never thought they'd want an Apple computer would go in, buy an iPod, see a Mac, fall in love and buy one of those too?

Seems like the same scenario could be shaping up for iPhone and enterprise customers.

And that could be a boon to Apple . As more and more enterprise clients adopt iPhone as a worthy alternative to the BlackBerry from Research in Motion , they may come to the same conclusion that Mac offers a compelling alternative to anything Windows based. It's something Pacific Crest's Andy Hargreaves has been out in front of as well, and he's out with a compelling note this morning that quantifies just how important all this could be to Apple's broader strategy and market penetration.

He says today that IT and reseller checks suggest Mac's enterprise penetration is growing. While we've had indications of that in the past (there's no way that those 2 million Macs a quarter are being sold ONLY to consumers), this is one of the first times where we're starting to see the Street recognize Mac's enterprise reception. He writes that large enterprise contacts believe "Mac usage could grow 2x-3x over the next two years" and that iPhone create "dual halo effect that drives enterprise Mac sales."

He also reports that the new Macbook Air is attracting Mac and Windows corporate users. Just how important is the enterprise to Mac? Hargreaves says a 1 percent enterprise share gain "should add about 25 cents" to Apple's EPS.

That's significant. He doesn't write "could," he writes "should," suggesting that such a move isn't merely possible, but probable.

Interestingly, he says the only stumbling block for wider Mac enterprise adoption is training and support, "a key barrier to dramatic growth."

Which is actually potentially even more good news for Apple. Last I checked, it's a heck of a lot easier training someone how to use a Mac than it is trying to train newbies how to use a Windows machine.

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com

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