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Apple’s popular devices enhance business outreach

“Apple is getting pulled into a lot of opportunities because of the popularity of the iPhone and iPad,” said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis. Darren Augi, vice president for information technology at systems integrator Dimension Data, was contacted by Apple sales representatives in April, when the iPad was introduced.”We’d never heard from Apple,” Augi said, even though about 10 percent of Dimension’s 11,000 U.S. employees use iPhones. Apple, which declined to comment for this story, has opened five “briefing rooms” for chats with potential business customers in London, Minneapolis, Paris, Philadelphia and Shanghai. Apple’s corporate sales staff has about 200 people, according to Munster. That compares with the tens of thousands employed by IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. Augi said he was hoping Apple would offer assistance in recrafting Dimension’s IT department around Apple products. But all the salesman had in mind was a simple purchasing account to save Augi’s staff the trouble of going to the nearest Apple store.

“It was a very low-pressure, relaxed sales pitch,” Augi said. “They’re going after the low-hanging fruit.”Apple is assisted in its corporate sales efforts by telecommunications partners. Hundreds of AT&T Inc.’s 8,000 sales personnel specialize in helping companies find ways of using mobile devices, said Abhi Ingle, a sales vice president at the telephone-service provider. Ingle said much of the interest from business is about the iPad tablet. Automobile dealers are buying them for salesmen, and doctors are using them in hospitals.

“Apple is definitely gaining ‘mind share’ ” since there are no other hit tablets on the market, Ingle said. “Who used Apple products in the past inside companies? It was very niche.”

The iPhone and iPad can run thousands of apps that are typically cheaper than PC business-software programs. Many of these apps are developed to work with Apple’s mobile devices first and aren’t always adapted for competing mobile platforms. Macs can now run programs that are compatible with Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system using so-called virtualization software. Macs also run Web-based applications, including Salesforce.com Inc.’s online sales-management system as well as Windows machines.

Apple has said it plans to open by early next year an online Mac App Store. The store will let software companies sell their products, including business programs, reaching customers just as iPhone app developers sell games.So,stay connected with Apple products.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 at 8:37 am and is filed under Apple News, iPhone and Blogs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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