BusinessWeek is finally subscribing to the thought process I, and others who follow Apple, put forth months ago: that as Apple opens development for the iPhone, and more enterprises start adopting it as a worthwhile alternative to the BlackBerry from Research in Motion , it stands to reason that more companies may also lean toward the Mac as well.
The magazine offers up some compelling datathat could throw kerosene on what's already shaping up as some pretty strong flames. The Yankee Group found that 87 percent of companies now have at least some Apple computers in their offices, up from 48 percent just two years ago.
And while the business market for PCs was $150 billion last year, Apple only controlled a paltry 2.2 percent. That figure should balloon to 7 percent this year in the United States, and longer term, thanks to some demographic data, could grow far more significantly. BusinessWeek simply points to all the college kids wielding iPods nowadays, and how that's creating a strong brand loyalty among the next generation of employees.
Better still, it looks like Microsoft's big transition to Vista might be the single, best marketing ploy for Apple. Forget those Mac vs. PC ads: Vista's sub-par performance and lack of traction in the market place, is encouraging more and more users to choose to upgrade to Mac instead.
If they're forced to change operating systems from XP to Vista, why not simply make an even bigger switch to the Mac OS? Remember, now that Macs run on Intel chips, the transition has never been easier since you can now run Windows programs on your Mac, though Apple constantly wonders why anyone would want to.
Says BusinessWeek: "Vista, the latest version of the software giant's Windows operating system, looks like it could turn out to be on the great missteps in tech history."
Andy Hargreaves at Pacific Crest Securities was way out in front on this trend, saying that iPhone could end up being a kind of enterprise Trojan horse. Seed the corporate market with an Apple alternative, and use the entree to get other Mac hardware inside the enterprise. Kind of the way iPod enjoyed that original halo effect, where customers would buy an iPod, see how cool it is, spend some time in an Apple store, and then turn around and by a Mac too. iPhone may also enjoy its own kind of halo effect that could, down the road, be infinitely more lucrative than the one enjoyed by iPod.
Maybe not today, or next week, or even next quarter. But eventually. Apple is using its past to guideits future. And it's another compelling reason to be an investor, not a trader, in these shares.
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