Apple ‘Very Optimistic’ About Enterprise Opportunity: CEO Tim Cook

Apple’s push for greater use of its products within businesses represents one of the company’s largest growth opportunities looking ahead, particularly when it comes to the Mac, CEO Tim Cook said on Wednesday.

Cook made the comments during Apple’s quarterly call with analysts, in connection with the company’s record-breaking fiscal first quarter 2021 results.

[Related: The 10 Biggest Apple Product News Stories Of 2020]

During the call, Cook fielded an analyst’s question about what he sees as the top sources of growth for Apple going forward.

“We’ve been on a multi-year effort in the enterprise and have gained quite a bit of traction there,� Cook said in response to the question. “We’re very optimistic about what we can do in that space.�

Recent years have seen Apple ramp up its efforts to capture business customers for its products. In particular, the company has sought to promote its Mac lineup as an alternative to Windows PCs in the enterprise.

Apple’s enterprise initiative has included the debut of software products such as Apple Business Manager for management of devices, apps and accounts—as well as launches of new Mac models at more-regular intervals, including productivity-focused Macs such as the MacBook Pro.

In October, Apple reported a new record for its quarterly Mac revenue at $9.03 for its fiscal fourth quarter—and the company nearly matched that during the following quarter, its fiscal Q1 of 2021, with $8.68 billion in Mac sales.

Apple in November unveiled details on its in-house Arm-based processor for the Mac, the M1, which promises massive performance and battery life gains. The company announced three initial Mac models—the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini—featuring the M1.

During its fiscal Q1, Apple saw “strong demand� for all of the M1-powered Mac models, CFO Luca Maestri said during the quarterly call Wednesday.

“We’re also pleased with the rapid adoption of the Mac employee choice program among the world’s leading businesses,� Maestri said. “With the introduction of M1-powered Macs, we’re excited to extend these experiences to an even broader range of customers and employees, especially in times of increased remote working.�

Cook said during the call that the M1 “gives us a new growth trajectory that we haven’t had in the past� for the Mac.

“If Q1 is a good proxy, there’s lots of excitement about M1-based Macs. As you know, we’re partly through the transition—we’ve got a lot more to do there. We’re in the early days of a two-year transition,� Cook said. “But we’re excited about what we see so far.�

During the quarterly call, Cook also noted that market share for the Mac “is quite low in the total personal computer market. And so there’s lots of headroom there.�

Kinetic Technology Group, a Mac-focused MSP based in Dallas, is already seeing major client interest in the M1-powered Macs, due to their huge performance improvements, said CEO Jim Harryman.

“I do believe that it may bring a second wave of switching from Windows to Mac,� he said.

Cook is right to be optimistic about the growth potential for Apple in the enterprise, according to Harryman.

“We’ve seen an increase in Mac purchases by our clients–not only the ones that already depend on Apple and the macOS, but also clients that have traditionally been on Windows,â€� he said. “We see [Apple products] creeping into those companies as well, and starting to take hold in areas that you wouldn’t traditionally think.â€�

Apple’s push for more business customers is also creating opportunities for solution providers that can offer IT expertise for the Apple ecosystem, which remains relatively uncommon, Harryman said.

“From where we stand as a business, we’re perfectly positioned to provide that type of support for companies that want to make those decisions,� he said. “For large organizations that have an IT staff that’s not familiar [with deploying Apple devices], those types of companies are bringing in companies like us to help them bring Macs into their environment.�

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