A series of high profile switches confirms the move to Apple [AAPL] across corporate America. Meanwhile, CFOs considering the bottom line of their mobile strategy should take heart in the relatively high resale value of the company's iOS products, possibly including the soon-to-launch iPad 3.
During Apple's most recent conference call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said: "Nearly all of the top companies in the Fortune 500 now approve and support iPhone on their networks. This includes companies in markets such as financial services, consumer products, transportation, healthcare and insurance."
Forrester thinks Apple will grow its sales to businesses by 58% this year, to $19 billion. Several recent moves to abandon RIM's BlackBerry in favor of Apple's iOS support the thesis:
- The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will in future provide employees with iPhones, instead of BlackBerrys. The NOAA currently has 3,000 BlackBerry users across its organization. This matches a trend across Federal Government which is abandoning RIM in favor of Apple's devices.
- Giant U.S. firm Halliburton, has also revealed plans to switch from BlackBerry to the iPhone. The company will migrate 4,500 BlackBerry users to iPhones across the next two years. "We are making this transition in order to better support our mobile applications initiatives," spokeswoman Tara Mullee Agard said in an email.
- IBM has 30,000 employees with iPhones, 10,000 using iPads, and 10,000 with MacBooks.
- In 2011, Credit Suisse began allowing bankers to use Apple and Android devices on its company network. Already one-third of its 25,000 BlackBerry users have made the transition.
These are just a few examples of the kind of activity we're witnessing across corporate America. The Apple switch has been hit by the support of satisfied consumers translating into new demand for the company's products when employees are offered a BYOD choice.
The better news is that Apple's mobile products hold their value well. Each time a new device is released, we see a rash of second-user sales on eBay, where the Apple products strongly hold onto their value.
Fresh data from electronics reseller, Gazelle, claims that while Kindle e-readers generally lose up to 33% of their value within a year. They depreciate 22% faster than iPads, Gazelle executive Anthony Scarsella wrote in an email provided to CNN.
"Kindle's frequent price drops combined with multiple models now available heavily contribute to its reduced Gazelle value," Scarsella wrote. "Similar to what you see in Android phones (lots of model updates and frequent price drop) compared to iPhone (few models, stable pricing), the iPhone holds about 60% of its value one year after launch while even the best Androids only hold about 40%."
What does this mean for a CFO?
It means there's the potential to offer older model Apple devices for sale to employees, and to those extrinsic to the organization the next time you decide to upgrade your systems to the latest version. And that's got to be a big advantage to any enterprise -- particularly those hungry to find a way to reduce their IT hardware costs.