The iPad is becoming a huge hit with business users, and that's coming as something of a surprise to Apple. With 66% of the Fortune 100 companies using or investigating the iPad, Apple's turning to the huge reseller Ingram Micro for help selling more. Enterprises are encountering challenges with the closed nature of unjailbroken iOS, however.
In the recent conference call
with analysts and the press, Steve Jobs touted the success Apple was having selling the iPad to business customers. "We haven't pushed it real hard in business," Jobs said, and it's being grabbed out of our hands." He claimed that the tens of millions of people who already were familiar with iOS through the iPhone means that Apple has a "tiger by the tail." To fully exploit the opportunity, Apple has unleashed Ingram Micro
, the world's largest technology distributor, and laid off 50 people in its own sales force. Additionally, Apple is working with the giant system integrator Unisys
, which has written apps for the Department of Homeland Security and added iOS device support to its ClearPath family of mainframe servers.
However, enterprise adoption is still limited by the inability of IT organizations to manage apps on iOS. Julie Palen, senior VP of mobile device management at Tangoe, a telecom expense management software and services provider, told Computerworld
that "the fact that I can push out apps to the iPad but can't remove them is problematic for the enterprise." As a result, she says, she has to either "lock down iPads by restricting apps on the device to only those that you push-nothing from the App Store-or wipe devices." However, she feels confident that if the iPad becomes popular with business that Apple will have to relent, at least somewhat, on the closed nature of iOS. "When Apple starts to see large volumes of iPads selling into the enterprise," she says, "and these iPads are locked down and users won't be able to buy additional apps, that's when Apple will start making it available for me to manage these apps."