Over the past few months reports have written a number of articles about how Apple is starting to move from just a consumer focused technology company to being a solid IT solution for businesses everywhere. I found that the most interesting part of most of the discussion over Apple and their corporate engagement was that Apple wasn’t seeking out the corporate world.. but the corporate world was seeking them.
This has all changed and is becoming more and more apparent in events that are unfolding during Apple’s WWDC 08.
3G iPhone for the Corporate World
First, it is clear that the enhancements they’ve made to the iPhone is to make the device that much more enticing to the average Business Person. It is a single device that would allow them to carry both their work and personal life with them everywhere they go. It is Work Life Balance in a electronic device. They’ve added Microsoft Exchange Support, Security Features, and opened their SDK to allow anyone (including businesses) to create custom applications to help manage their work efforts.
Apple has spent significant time with the corporate folks over enhancing the iPhone and somewhere along the way they decided that now is the perfect time to push into the Corporate World with their complete IT offering.
Snow Leopard, the Corporate OS X
To position themselves they would need to optimize their OS to the corporate world. Almost all IT departments for any company of decent size is now using Microsoft Exchange to manage email and day to day scheduling through the calendar built into Outlook. While OS X does have its own version of Office, if Apple was to position itself as a corporate competitor it would really need to offer its own way to handle Exchange tasks.
Sure enough, Apple now informs us that “Snow Leopard” the next build of OS X will be one focused on performance, reducing the OS footprint, and offering Microsoft Exchange support as part of the OS. This puts them in perfect position to easily move into IT offerings through companies across the globe.
We theorized a few months ago when Apple announced that they would be including Microsoft Exchange support in the iPhone that the feature would also make its way to Mail. They now explain the service will be available to Mail, Address Book, and iCal.
Snow Leopard includes out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 built into Mail, Address Book, and iCal. Mac OS X uses the Exchange Web Services protocol to provide access to Exchange Server 2007. Because Exchange is supported on your Mac and iPhone, you’ll be able to use them anywhere with full access to your email, contacts, and calendar.
With the flurry around other announcements including updates to the iPhone, less attention has been devoted to the OS X updates and MobileMe. The new .Mac replacement for the consumer. But, the part of the keynote that stuck out to me was Apple explaining that MobileMe will be the “Exchange Server for the rest of us.”
MobileMe – Microsoft Exchange for the Rest of us
Could Apple be building their own Exchange like technology should the deal with Microsoft go sour at some point? Maybe, or maybe MobileMe will be built with Microsoft Exchange as the driving engine. If they have built their own Exchange like technology what a better way to test it than on consumers. If it works for them, it may just be ready for the corporate world itself.
Lets keep an eye out for the rest of the news coming out of WWDC 08. It may just be additional support for Apple’s Corporate World Position.