Apple’s cunning plan is coming unstuck

cunning-planApple’s cunning plan to elbow its way onto business systems is coming unstuck.

This week it released a Microsoft’s Surface clone in a bid to convince businesses that it was a serious company.

However, analysts say that Apple’s business plans are failing because, unlike the consumer market where brain dead fanboys will buy a dog turd if it had an Apple label, companies have more common sense. They are reluctant to switch software vendors and use an expensive device that lacks specialized business apps, analysts said.

Daniel Ives, a senior analyst at FBR Capital Markets said that Apple had tried to focus on the enterprise but over the last two years, it has not been successful. The enterprise market, which is how Apple refers to its business customers, represents 10 percent of its $183 billion annual revenue, he said.

It’s one big client has been General Electric who gave 305,000 employees the option to use Apple devices at work, with 20,000 iPads and 60,000 iPhones now available in their offices. Just 10,000 of its 170,000 office workers using computers on a regular basis use a Mac.

Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said the iPad Pro was faster than 80 percent of portable PCs, signalling that Apple may think the device could replace workplace laptops from companies like Dell and HP. Schiller called the iPad Pro “ideal for professional productivity.”

But it is hard to find an analyst, who does not have Apple shares, who thinks that the company will pull it off.

The price of its products is one obstacle Apple faces as it tries to move deeper into the enterprise market.

The iPad Pro starts at $799 but costs more than $1,000 if buyers also want a keyboard and an optional stylus. That’s more than Apple’s existing tablets as well as devices made by Microsoft and other PC makers like Lenovo. It’s about the same price as Apple’s own MacBook Air, a laptop.

The iPad Pro’s biggest competitor is likely Microsoft’s 12-inch Surface Pro 3, also geared towards the business market. It is cheaper and its software plays very nice with office networks.

In July, Microsoft said its Surface line of tablets brought in $888 million in the most recent quarter, up 117 percent from the same time last year, boosted in largest part by the Surface Pro 3 and the launch of Surface 3.

Keith Bachman, a senior analyst at BMO Capital Markets said that while the iPad Pro has a lot of utility and technology that Apple brought to bear but unfortunately the price never goes away as a challenge.

In the meantime, Apple has entered into partnerships with IBM and Cisco, aimed at creating more enterprise-friendly software to run on iOS, the Apple operating system, but little is known about these partnerships.