Apple’s Corporate-friendly Approach to Big Business?

Though Apple is having no problems winning over legions of customers with the return of Steve Jobs and the introduction of the highly popular iPhone, the company is putting plans in place to win over a widely untouched customer base-corporate America. Apple’s historical approach has been that IT departments weren’t worth the trouble and as a result big business has stubbornly eluded the company. Jobs’ new strategy is to change that going forward. With plans to supercharge sales of the 3G iPhone, the CEO will attempt to embrace the corporate market with Apple’s line of innovative and functional devices. In the world of mobile devices, road warriors on the go who want access to the Internet to surf the web, read email and access multimedia files has proven most successful market to embrace these technologies. Problem is, most corporations have embraced Research in Motion’s Blackberry and other devices using software from Microsoft or Symbian. Investors believe Apple is now in position to steal many of those business customers away resulting in a recent bid up on Apple’s stock. Analysts forecast next years’ sales between 20 million and 45 million units worldwide. There are already indications that Apple is warming up to businesses. The newest version of iPhone due out July 11th doesn’t come in consumer-friendly colors but are equipped with many features catered to meet IT standards: advanced security, support for Microsoft Exchange and Office, tools to allow businesses to customize applications and more. Early indications from outside corporate testers has been positive with nearly 35% of the Fortune 500, including Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Disney and Genentech agreeing to test the software and provide feedback on how to make it the most effective in a business environment. The next question will be; is corporate America going to buy it? Some drawbacks are that iPhone is currently working exclusively with AT&T which limits options for businesses. Many corporations don’t want all their eggs in one basket in the event relations sour with one company they want to be able to easily switch providers. Another issue is that little is known about Apple’s plans to beef up customer service and prepare to handle the added demands of providing business grade serve. To Apple’s credit, however, their track record with consumers is excellent and with a $20 billion stash, Apple also has the resources to grow in whatever direction Steve Jobs points it.