Apple’s New Leadership and the Enterprise PC Market
No other name in technology carries as much reverence as Steve Jobs. His departure as CEO of Apple combined with HP investigating a spin-off of their PC division has a lot of companies wondering what changes are in store. A few points:
1. In the face of the major market shifts, a strong case can be made for multi-sourcing your enterprise PCs. Recent events highlight the risks that enterprises face — risk that will be more apparent in 1-2 years. Apple’s product roadmaps have already been planned for the next 15-18 months (depending on the product line), so I don’t expect to see any significant downside for Apple until this current roadmap is past. But when Apple's current roadmap is refined under new leadership, we’ll start to see the effects on Apple’s enterprise strategy. In addition to this news, more certainty exists with HP's spinoff of their PC division, and Dell will show their hand in how they plan to move forward in the face of these developments. The landscape in 2-3 years will be drastically different. Diversifying your PC suppliers via multi-sourcing can help mitigate that risk.
2. Pay attention to the innovation. Tim Cook is an IBM and Compaq alum, known for his skill as an operational leader in the PC space. Yet strong operational leadership is often at odds with visionary, innovative leadership. If the innovation stops or even slows there will be virtually no difference between an Apple computer and any other PC (assuming the status quo on adoption of OS and office productivity packages). If this happens, Apple will be forced to downshift and compete in a PC space that has been commoditized for years. Though SVM professionals may rejoice in the potential price reductions, this will be at the expense of the innovation that has thrilled consumers. So be on the lookout for the ground-breaking customer experiences that were the hallmarks of Steve Job’s tenure.
3. The leadership change doesn't fix the lack of support for the enterprise. If you're looking to deploy or support Apple products in your environment, your support from Apple and channel partners haven’t changed (yet). This issue remains an area of enterprise opportunity for Apple or any other major LAR looking to provide after point of sale parts and services. Look for signs from management that they are committing themselves to enterprises, and Apple will become a more likely business partner.