Forrester Research Claims Apple Will Influence Computing Equipment Market More Than IaaS

According to its Global Tech Outlook Market for 2012, Forrester Research predicts that Apple is poised to radically reconfigure the computing equipment market by serving as a disruptive force that outweighs the influence of other technology trends such as cloud computing, virtualization, mobility and Big Data.

Even though many analysts argue that Infrastructure as a Service cloud computing will reconfigure the computing equipment market, Forrester’s Global Tech Outlook Market for 2012 takes a contrary position by noting that IaaS currently enjoys limited adoption. Forrester Research understands Apple’s forthcoming disruptive influence on computer equipment as follows:

Analysts have been predicting that cloud computing — specifically, infrastructure-as a service (IaaS) — will reshape the server and storage market… Actual adoption of IaaS remains limited…The biggest disruptive force in the computer equipment market thus is not IaaS, but Apple. This is a surprise, because Apple has not and does not directly address the corporate market, while turning a wide variety of consumer technology markets upside-down. But its rapid growth in the corporate market has been the big surprise of 2011, and it will be even more of a factor in 2012.

On one hand, Apple’s influence is surprising given that its products are targeted at consumers as opposed to the enterprise. Moreover, its “rapid growth in the corporate market” marked the surprise story of 2011. Apple’s capacity to turn the “consumer technology markets upside-down” underlies its ability to tap into the corporate space from the bottom up by touching professionals that subsequently end up affecting corporate reimbursements and enterprise-wide decisions to purchase iPads for employees.

The report forecasts corporate sales for Macs and iPads as follows:

• $6 billion in Macs and $6 billion in iPads in 2011
• $9 billion in Macs and $10 billion in iPads in 2012
• $12 billion in Macs and $16 billion in iPads in 2012

According to Forrester, Apple’s ability to gain market share in the enterprise space hinges on three components:

• Corporations purchasing iPads for their employees
• Small business owners purchasing Macs and iPads and charging the purchase to corporate verticals as a business expense
• Professionals purchasing Macs and iPads and charging them to the company for which they work as a business expense

The report predicts that global market share of Wintel PCs and tablets will decline from 85% in 2011 to 70% in 2013 as follows:

• $71 billion out of a global market share of $84 billion in 2011 (85% Wintel PC and tablet market share)
• $69 billion out of a global market share of $88 billion in 2012 (78% Wintel PC and tablet market share)
• $68 billion out of a global market share of $96 billion in 2013
(70% Wintel PC and tablet market share)

Forrester’s analysis of Apple’s ascendant power in the enterprise space does well to quantify the consumerization of IT spearheaded by Apple over the last decade. Moreover, the analysis points attention to non-cloud drivers on computing equipment that have been underestimated by other IT research analyst firms in recent months. Apple’s ability to consolidate market share in the enterprise space constitutes one of the fundamental questions for contemporary technology analysts and commentators. The heart of the question about Apple’s effect on enterprise computing concerns the tension between the consumerization of IT versus price and developer-driven enterprise decisions to embrace cloud computing and big data technology.

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