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Apple Reportedly Purging RIM's Enterprise Sales Staff

apple-vs-rimIt’s no secret that Apple has slowly but surely found ways to integrate their iPhone and iPad into the corporate workplace.  It’s also not much of a secret that Research in Motion, normally the corporate kingpin in the mobile world, is starting to take notice.  But perhaps RIM’s feathers are more ruffled due to Apple having reportedly plucked at least five key members of RIM’s sales staff in the least year and a half.

According to a report out of The Wall Street Journal:

In the past 18 months, at least five members of RIM’s enterprise-sales team have left the company to join Apple.  This includes Geoff Perfect, who served as Head of Strategic Sales at RIM for nearly five years before leaving in April 2009 and joining Apple a month later as Head of Enterprise iPhone Sales, according to LinkedIn, the online networking service for professionals.

WSJ‘s report also notes how Apple revealed during their recent earnings conference call how 80% of Fortune 500 companies are either piloting or using the iPhone.  Apple CEO Steve Jobs also made note of the fact how Apple beat out Research in Motion in smartphone sales for the quarter, and he doesn’t think RIM will catch up anytime in the interim.

In that same conference call, Apple COO Tim Cook pointed out that while Apple is not yet offering business-specific hardware, they are starting to leap into enterprise sales, with the iPhone’s software continuing to gain even more more features for corporate users.  Apple has also connected with partners like Unisys to support enterprise, and government customers.

via MacRumors

Follow this article’s author, Matthew Tilmann on Twitter

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Insight into Apple's Enterprise Marketing Methods

In the space of a few years, the iPhone has gone from being a smartphone non grata in corporate circles, to being a much sought after productivity device for suits around the world. You’ll also find enterprise-level business tech users hunkered down in deep thought, searching their minds and the iTunes App Store for ways to justify the purchase of the latest piece of successful businessman accoutrement–the iPad–to their superiors. If you’ve spent anytime working in a corporate environment, you’ll know that this is a definite change. Up until recently, the office was ruled by the PC and Blackberry–boring technology, sure, but also cheap and relatively secure, allowing a company’s the bottom line to stay red while providing a reasonably stringent IT security.

How did Apple manage to sway the hearts of the world’s enterprise giants? Simple: They left them the heck alone.

As part of an interesting op-ed piece over at GIGAOM, it’s argued that Apple has managed to snag themselves a large share of the enterprise market not as a result of expensive advertising or aggressive sales aimed at corporate purchasers (they do regularly post ads in publications like the Wall Street Journal and Business week, but not noticeably more so than they do in consumer-centric publications). Instead, the folks from Cupertino chose a different route: provide enterprise users what they need to feel comfortable in order to use the device, wind them up, and let them go.

By including greater IT security control over iPhone handsets and better enterprise-class Microsoft Exchange Server integration for iOS devices, Apple created an environment where large business could feel comfortable enough to consider the use of iPhones and iPads as tools to help them operate their businesses a possibility. This shift to meet the needs of the business world was a gradual one made over the course of a few years. Once the iOS devices entered the corporate ecosystem, the users were free to explore the App Store and find software that met the specific needs of the businesses they were involved in. This, GIGAOM argues, is a great example of Apple shaping its products to meet the demand of its users. This breaks away from the philosophy of most large manufacturers, who demand that a target audience be identified before a product can be built or released.

The article isn’t a long read, and the comments surrounding it are pretty lively–especially those responding to the statement that Apple allows users freedom of choice in how they use their devices. If you have a few minutes, it’s worth checking out.