Apple’s iPhone and iPad not only broke new ground as mobile devices, they also changed the way technology is purchased by business and the enterprise. The results have been great for Apple and, to put it charitably, a challenge for Microsoft and its partners.
In fact a new analysis by Asymco's Horace Dediu says Apple’s mobile platform has nearly reached the sales volume of Windows. In 2013 he says there were only 1.18 more Windows PCs sold for every Apple device and there’s a good chance those numbers will reach parity in 2014.
Sure, Apple helped put the Internet in your pocket and made the first consumer tablet that was a great consumption device, but that also sparked a change in purchasing that’s been key to its growth.
As Dediu puts it “in the 80s a platform could win by convincing 500 individuals who had the authority (as CIOs) to impose through fiat a standard on the centers of gravity of purchasing power.”
“Today, with mobile products there are billions of decision makers. 500 decisions mean nothing.”
While IT departments still of course buy computers, now, notes Dediu, we also have individual consumers making decisions about what technology to buy and use both at home and in the office.
“Companies have become the laggards and individuals the early adopters of technology," he says.
This has a boon for Apple which didn’t really even target the enterprise when the iPhone and iPad came out, but wound up with those customers banging at their door.
Meanwhile, Dediu says the removal of the intermediary between buyer and beneficiary has dissolved Microsoft’s power over purchase decisions.
“It’s not just unlikely that this situation will be reversed, it’s impossible,” he says.
“The computer has become personal not just in the sense of how it’s used but in the sense of how it’s owned.”