Apple preps SMB play: Seeding an enterprise move?

Summary:Apple is reportedly setting up an effort to target small and midsized businesses via a program called JointVenture. The model should work out nicely and cultivate more business users for Apple.

Apple is reportedly setting up an effort to target small and midsized businesses via a program called JointVenture. The model should work out nicely and cultivate more business users for Apple.

9 to 5 Mac outlines the JointVenture program, which is being introduced to Apple's retail staff. The details:

  • $499 for up to five users and $99 for each additional user.
  • The aim is to target companies with less than 10 people.
  • Apple thinks Microsoft is vulnerable in this market.
  • Business customers subscribed to JointVenture will be fast-tracked at the Genius Bar in Apple stores, get phone support and loaner Macs.

Meanwhile, there are rumors that Apple will expand the SMB effort to larger businesses.

Anyone that works in a PC-Mac shop knows this effort could work out nicely for Apple. After all, if your Mac has trouble and is still on warranty it's likely you IT department will send you to your local Apple store. It's not a stretch to see Apple catering to larger businesses.

In many respects, Apple's SMB move will be a big seeding process. Here's Apple's halo effect for maintenance and support revenue:

  • Apple is strong in the consumer market. Consumers often start businesses.
  • These businesses will be run by people who are already Apple loyalists.
  • It's only natural that these businesses may hire a few people and become Mac shops.
  • The Apple store becomes the de facto IT department for these folks.
  • A few of these SMBs will grow up to be much larger businesses that will skew toward Mac/iPhones/iPads.

Bottom line: JointVenture is likely to be Apple's best---and most logical path---to larger businesses. Apple has the potential to develop a strong maintenance and support revenue stream.

Topics: Apple, Hardware

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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