Apple Canada’s new partnership with Richmond Hill, Ont.-based CDN Top 100 Solution Provider Compugen seemed to come out of left field when it was announced on Oct. 26, and it has garnered a lot of reaction from the Canadian channel community.
There has been no reaction from Apple internally on this partnership as the Canadian subsidiary has not made any of its leadership available for comment. But one Apple insider does have a reaction.
Rene Ritchie, an Apple analyst, tech critic, and editor-in-chief of iMore, an Apple device-focused website founded in 2008, believes the move is a huge win for both sides. He says that the company’s existing deals with the likes of IBM and SAP, and how its devices have been integrated into essentially all Fortune 500 companies, prove Apple has had good penetration into the enterprise market already, but depth and access to small and medium-sized businesses remain a challenge.
“I think this is a great move for both parties because Apple can finally get into the channel ecosystem and Compugen can sell its (customers) what business end users have long been asking for,” Ritchie tells CDN. “Apple product adoption in businesses has mostly been user-initiated thanks to the rise of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) concept, but this partnership means they can go beyond that.”
He expands on that point, attributing much of Apple’s rise in the business space to the BYOD movement in the last several years. Companies are increasingly letting employees bring their personal devices into the office as a way of deferring technology costs, Ritchie says with self-described cynicism, and with many consumers preferring Apple products like Macs and iPhones to traditional PCs and Android smartphones because of their great user experience and ease of use, Apple has a strong foothold in the enterprise.
“Before, companies would just hand their employees whatever device was available, but people started complaining that these phones or computers didn’t do what they wanted or used out of date technology, so they started bringing in their own devices. What companies discovered was that when people have relatable, easy to use technology, they’re more productive and happier, which is reflected in business results,” he explains. “What we’re finding is when people use Apple products, because they spend so much time focusing on user experience, this tech is easier to learn and is more enjoyable, making them more willing to do work.”
New study shows Apple has lower support costs
Beyond ease of use, one of the most convincing arguments for businesses using the channel to integrate Apple products is that they are less expensive in the long run and last considerably longer than other devices. A 2016 IBM study found that Macs require only half the number of support calls and cost a third of the price of a PC after the company allowed its own employees to make their own decision on what kind of device they’d like to work on. With more than 90,000 choosing Macs, IBM is saving anywhere from $273 to $543 USD per Mac compared to a PC over the course of a four-year lifespan.
“Macs and other Apple products may be more expensive up front, but when you consider all the updates costs, the cost of support calls and IT intervention, the cost of that machine when it gets a virus or attacked by malware, Macs end up being cheaper in the long run. Macs need fewer support calls and IT intervention, and less time for support calls when they are needed, not to mention they generally last longer and need fewer replacements as well,” Ritchie says.
He doesn’t anticipate channel partners encountering any challenges selling Apple products to their communities, but does warn that they need to be aware of adoption cycles and legacy industries.
“You have to look at adoption cycles – if a company just bought a ton of products from you, they’ll ride them out before replacing them for sure. Or certain industries like banking might be slower to adopt newer products and bound to legacy tech, but those will mostly fade away,” Ritchie concludes. “Overall, as long as the tech is substantially better, and I objectively think Apple products are, businesses in the channel will eventually adopt it.”