Apple, as it is wont to do, blew the roof off with its first-quarter earnings results today. Some of the most interesting comments from the company’s results call concerned Apple’s emerging market of enterprise mobility.
It appears that early skepticism about the iPhone’s appeal beyond consumers may be falling by the wayside. Apple COO Tim Cook said corporate usage of the iPhone has doubled since this summer’s 3GS release, noting “This is a key focus of ours.” Some 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies are actively piloting or deploying iPhones, and 50 percent of the FTSE 100, according to Cook, who added, “Those are some pretty staggering numbers when you think that the time frame we’ve been in the business is only two and half years.” Corporate interest in the iPhone was driven by recent features adds (aka support for Microsoft Exchange) and the 3GS launch, said Cook. Apple has also added sales staff to assist carrier staff in selling into the enterprise.
Cook said it was too early to comment on whether corporate iPhone use was driving a halo effect for Macs.
Apple faces a huge uphill battle in the corporate market, where RIM’s BlackBerry is deeply entrenched. Though Apple now has a growing corporate app library on its side, the BlackBerry is still a much better email device, and of course offers the physical keyboard.
Cook also commented in some detail on iPhone use in Asia, another emerging market for the device. He said the company has activated more than 200,000 units in China, with the iPhone growing more than 500 percent in Asia Pacific overall. Apple’s revenues in greater China tripled in the last year, though Cook said the company is fine with moving more slowly in that market as it builds a long-term brand.