I don’t usually write about Apple®, but since cloud computing is such a significant part of many organizations IT infrastructure, it seems worth noting when there may be a new entrant to the competitive landscape. Some have recently speculated that Apple may be considering trying to enter the enterprise cloud space, although it’s unclear whether that is something Apple is pursuing or if it’s merely external speculation.
Whether speculative or not, there are many reasons why it may be interesting for Apple to pursue the enterprise cloud, but that doesn’t make it likely to happen or likely to succeed. Apple is primarily a consumer products and services company. They have been incredibly successful when it comes to selling to consumers, and many of their devices, such as the iPad® and iPhone®, are widely used by enterprise customers. Developing and selling enterprise services, however, is very different from supporting phones and tablets.
Enterprise customers demand much more stringent privacy protection and data security than consumers. They also expect collaboration and data analytics, which are not typically required for consumers. I’m not suggesting that Apple couldn’t purchase or develop this functionality, and if anyone has the resources (money), it’s Apple, but they would most likely build upon the existing iCloud service, which has very limited functionality today. Their primary competition would be Microsoft Azure™, which was built from the ground up with business and enterprise customers in mind.
There’s also the question about how Apple would market themselves. Apple has arguably the best marketing machine in modern business, but how would they position themselves against Azure and AWS™? Even if they could somehow develop a comparable or competitive product offering, they would probably have to compete on price, which seems very unlikely for Apple.