The last couple of years have seen an exponential rise in the sales of consumer gadgets. Now, every other person has his/her own smartphone or tablet. Despite being resistant at first, companies have begun opening up to the idea of allowing their employees to bring their own devices to work. Given the fact that the company which has the biggest market share of these products is Apple, it is almost guaranteed that it can gain a foothold in the enterprise market.

But has Apple been planning this all along? It makes for an interesting comparison between the two giants of the IT sector, Apple and Microsoft. Till now, Microsoft was the undisputed market leader in the enterprise sector. Nearly every business on the planet used Microsoft with only a select few opting for other brands. However, this year saw something new. Microsoft reported a quarterly loss for the first time ever.

Apple Enterprise

Apple Enterprise

The Rise of Apple: Priming Up to Capture the Enterprise Market

From the outset, Microsoft was a brand for the enterprises. It wasn’t designed for home use, but it became the preferred option by default. By the mid-90s, Microsoft had all but captured the consumer market in addition to being the undisputed leader of the enterprise market. Till then, Apple was struggling to keep up. Then Steve Jobs returned to the fold and everything changed.

Since the launch of the first iPod, Apple began targeting the consumer market. Industry insiders have been comparing the two companies, noting how their rise began from opposite ends of the scale. While Microsoft trickled down from the businesses to the individual, Apple has taken the other route. They started by capturing the consumer market and are now in a prime position to take the enterprise market.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): How It All Became Possible

Though there are some question marks whether capturing the consumer market first was Apple’s enterprise market strategy, it can be said that it has worked for them. With the popularity of Microsoft on the decline, Apple can be the leader in both markets. This has become possible due to the introduction of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy at workplaces. At present, over 80% of the working population uses a device to help them complete their work.

It took some time for employers to warm up to the idea of having the workers bring their own devices and using them for work but it was inevitable. Now, it is a common sight to see people using their iPads and iPhones at the workplace, not just for personal but work-related purposes.

So, with a majority of the workers using the iOS instead of Windows, it seems like it is only a matter of time before Apple’s operating system is embraced by businesses around the world. The day when you see Macs at the workplace and people using iWork might not be as far as was expected. Apple looks set to penetrate the enterprise market in 2013. For now, let’s wait and watch.

 

[Image via maclife]