Apple hard at work courting enterprise customers

Apple is signing up more enterprise app developers to gain a greater hold on the corporate market, reports Reuters.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty at Apple's headquarters. Paul Sakuma/Feature Photo Service for IBM

Apple is working with several companies to build out its enterprise appeal, claims a new report.

Apple has brought on a dedicated enterprise sales force to sell companies on its hardware and software, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the company's plans. Apple has already met with Citigroup and plans to expand its relationships with large corporations in the coming year, said Reuters.

In July, Apple announced a partnership with IBM that would see the firms collaborate on iOS applications for corporate customers. The partnership allows Apple to challenge enterprise leaders like Hewlett-Packard and Oracle, while also taking on Google and Microsoft with business-focused mobile apps. Microsoft has dominated the enterprise space for years, due in large part to the popularity of its Windows and Office platforms.

In addition to partnering with IBM, Apple is working with several enterprise app developers to sign formal deals that would see the companies create apps designed specifically for iOS, reported Reuters. Apple has already signed deals with two companies -- ServiceMax and PlanGrid -- that provide services to corporate customers, sources told Reuters. Apple apparently wants to expand these deals in the coming months.

Little else is known about their collaboration, but reports suggest Apple and IBM's enterprise push will be in full gear next year.

Apple's outlook on business customers appears to have changed in recent years, previously the company seemed content to target consumers. The company continues to announce the growth in popularity of its devices and iOS mobile operating system in Fortune 500 companies. Apple also invested heavily in IT-friendly tools that make it easier for the corporate world to monitor and maintain its products.

Apple's push into enterprise may be an attempt to expand its offerings into other areas to ensure that an iPhone miss won't hurt its financial results. Demand for Apple's iPhones continues to be high, the device made up 52 percent of its total revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter, but iPad sales continued to drop.

For its part, Apple has not commented on its enterprise plans. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.