Despite being known for its dominance of the consumer market, Apple CEO Tim Cook reminded us that workplace technology is "not a hobby" for the world's most valuable company. Speaking at the BoxWorks conference on September 29, Cook discussed the future of Apple's enterprise efforts, saying they are only going to get more serious after a fiscal year that saw the Cupertino company bring in $25 billion from serving businesses with its hardware and software.
In his conversation with Box CEO Aaron Levie, Cook pointed out that while the world spent a long time thinking about business and consumer hardware in completely separate realms, that partition is beginning to dissolve. "If you want a smartphone, you don't say I want an enterprise smartphone," he said. "You don't get an enterprise pen to write with."
Citing Apple's recent collaborations with enterprise solution providers Cisco and Box, Cook highlighted the transformational power going mobile can have on businesses. Mobility significantly boosts productivity, he said, allowing companies to rethink their business processes. To better serve the growing number of employees who use their iOS devices to conduct business while away from their desktop computers, Cook said Apple will continue to partner with formal rivals like Microsoft and IBM.
Last year, the iPhone company teamed up with IBM to co-develop mobile apps for specific industries. With IBM coding the software and Apple helping with design and ease of use, Apple could leverage IBM's industry expertise while IBM expanded its reach by selling the software preloaded on iPhones and iPads.
At its media event earlier in September, Apple invited Microsoft to demo Office for iPad Pro, further emphasizing the role this type of symbiosis can have in revolutionizing business practice.
"We still compete today, but Apple and Microsoft can partner on more things than they compete on," Cook said. "Partnering with Microsoft is great for our customers. That's the reason we do it. I'm not a believer in holding grudges."
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