Apple CEO Cook Highlights IPhones' Value to Corporate Users

Apple's iPhone Sales: How Much From China?
  • Cook spoke at the annual BoxWorks conference in San Francisco
  • IPhone demand has helped Apple land new business deals

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook had a busy weekend. The company sold a record 13 million iPhones, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the company’s California headquarters, and Cook sat at the head table at a state dinner President Barack Obama hosted for China President Xi Jinping.

So it was a bit of a change in pace when Cook followed that up on Tuesday by making a rare appearance at a business-software conference, the typically humdrum affairs where members of corporate information-technology departments talk about things like work-collaboration tools.

“You know you’re at an enterprise-software conference, right?” Box Inc. CEO Aaron Levie joked to Cook during an interview onstage at BoxWorks, his company’s annual event for customers in San Francisco.

Business computing isn’t something Apple puts in its television ads or on billboards, but the appearance shows its increasing importance to the company under Cook. Thanks to demand for iPhones and iPads among corporate users, Cook said Apple generated $25 billion in enterprise sales in the 12 months that ended in June.

“This is not a hobby,” Cook said.

Almost all Fortune 500 companies use iPhones or iPads in some capacity, according to Apple, and a growing catalog of business applications are available for the company’s mobile devices. Apple has struck partnerships with International Business Machines Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. to help reach new corporate customers.

Shifting Focus

While corporate budgets are an attractive target for global technology companies, they weren’t always a focus for Apple. Cook said that began to shift as more people started to use their iPhones and iPads at work.

“When the world was bifurcated between consumer and enterprise we focused on the consumer,” he said. “But now if you want a smartphone, you don’t say, ‘I want an enterprise smartphone.”’

Selling to businesses is also a way for Cook to turn around falling iPad sales. Earlier this month, Apple unveiled an iPad with a larger screen and a case that doubles as a keyboard to appeal to corporate users. Cook said the Cupertino, California-based company will continue to add features that are useful for businesses to the iOS mobile-operating system.

“Enterprise is a huge opportunity for us,” Cook said.

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