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Apple partners with Unisys to reach enterprise, government clients

post #1 of 62
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Apple has contracted with Unisys Corp to help it sell the Mac, iPhone and iPad to corporations and US government agencies outside of the company's core markets in education and consumers.

According to a new report by Bloomberg, Unisys will "provide maintenance and other services to companies and government agencies that purchase Apple devices."

Unisys, similar to its competitor IBM, has morphed from being a mainframe hardware vendor in the 1980s into a provider of information technology services today. Its clients include large corporations, branches of the US military; the FAA, TSA and numerous airports; the US General Services Administration, Department of Homeland Security and the IRS.

Gene Zapfel, a managing partner at Unisys, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the deal was a first for Apple, and noted that the contract was signed this month. Zapfel did not disclose any of the contract's terms.

Most of those organizations are still pretty heavily [Windows] PC-based, Zapfel said. Apple is going to crack the nut and clients are going to start buying a lot more.

An iOS "halo" for Macs in the the enterprise

Commenting on the deal, Brian Marshall, an analyst at Gleacher & Co. in San Francisco, said, "Apple will get adoption of more Mac clients in the enterprise because of the iPhone," comparing the "halo effect" of Apples iPod in attracting consumers to the company's Macintosh platform.

Apple executives have noted the interest in its iPhone and iPad devices by corporations in the company's recent earning reports, describing that the iPhone is being actively deployed or studied by 80 percent of the Fortune 500, and that the iPad is similarly on the radar of 65 percent of the Fortune 100.

"We haven't pushed it [the iPad] real hard in business, and it's being grabbed out of our hands," chief executive Steve Jobs said in the company's recent Q4 2010 earnings call.

This suggests a huge upside for Apple if it can figure out how to reach these customers effectively. Jobs has noted before that his company's recent success has come largely from targeting mass market consumers, who are much easier to reach than enterprise or government users, in large part because major buying decisions in companies are often made by a few "gatekeeper" individuals.

There's an app for that

Unisys has already been actively developing iPhone applications for government users, including an app currently being used by U.S. Department of Homeland Security border patrol agents, Zapfel said in the interview. The app "lets managers check the status of border-crossing technology, such as cameras from their iPhones," the report noted.

The new contract between Apple and Unisys will result in additional iOS apps for other government agencies, Zapfel said. A key aspect to landing the deal with Apple "was figuring out how to secure information sent over the iPhone," Zapfel said.

There are all sorts of layers you have to put into it to make sure nobody can tap into it, Zapfel said. Weve put a lot of heavyweight engineering into securing the device, which, frankly, no one else has figured out yet.

The US Army has been using iPhones with customized applications since at least 2008, and armed forces in the UK have also started deploying iOS devices for training purposes.
post #2 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

There are all sorts of layers you have to put into it to make sure nobody can tap into it, Zapfel said. Weve put a lot of heavyweight engineering into securing the device, which, frankly, no one else has figured out yet.

The US Army has been using iPhones with customized applications since at least 2008, and armed forces in the UK have also started deploying iOS devices for training purposes.

And the President still uses a BB. Come on Obama, get with the program.
post #3 of 62
It's about time. Apple has of late been hiring more people in its corporate sales and support area. I thought that was interesting, as more enterprise clients have been moving, in a small way to the Mac, iPhone, etc. But now it may be seen as a prelude to this deal, which seems to have been in place for at least a month.

Unisys is pretty big in this area, second behind IBM. Hp is third, but moving up fast. Dell is just beginning.

I think Apple has a good chance here. It will be interesting to see if this brings any changes, or additions to the product line.
post #4 of 62
Unisys?! They're still around?

I recall when they were a huge, massively successful computing company 1980s, then struggled but made it back in the 1990s, then basically were all but wiped out in the 2000s; if I recall right, they did a reverse split a couple of years ago, since the stock was in the territory of being delisted. It's amazing how corporate fortunes can transform radically in less than a generation.
post #5 of 62
This story proves the prediction in the data center thread! OS X will be Skynet!!! *puts on tin foil hat*
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post #6 of 62
Check them out, they're pretty big. In the early '90's I thought they were going away too, but they did a remarkable turnaround.

http://www.unisys.com/unisys/
post #7 of 62
Sounds good for Apple. I would guess that they chose to contract out support services rather than building up a support team inside the company.

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post #8 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Check them out, they're pretty big. In the early '90's I thought they were going away too, but they did a remarkable turnaround.

http://www.unisys.com/unisys/

They don't have much a footprint where I live, except for contracting out PC service and the like. Certainly don't have the same recognition here as EDS (now HP), IBM and CSC, etc who all compete in the same space. They tend to partner with other companies to win work as far as I can see.

On the other hand, it's a more logical choice for Apple as Unisys don't appear to have an alignment with a particular platform.

I used to work and develop on an OS 1100 machine (a 2200 actually). It was quick and lightning fast for transaction work. However the office I worked in was largely batch based so many of its benefits were lost.
post #9 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by technohermit View Post

And the President still uses a BB. Come on Obama, get with the program.

Don't blame president Obama! Me to I like blackberries a lot. they are excellent if you cook them briefly and serve them along with a good brand of vanillia ice cream. You know, the one where you can see the little black grains, that give the extra flavor.

But honestly, thats an excellent move of apple. I so hope macs get more recognized by companies. In our Institute we have many PC problems. Guess what they are all related to windows machines which we have to use, because some companies think it's wise to programm analytical apparatuses only for windows. Heads up for apple!
post #10 of 62
I would have thought that Apple and Oracle would have teamed on this using Sun hardware as its penetration vehicle. But it turns out that UniSys has been working on this for some time.

Found this in Federal Computer Week of 04 August 2010:
"Given its consumer pedigree, its no surprise that the iPad is showing up at many agencies unannounced to the IT department. Cabinet department executives and Capitol Hill types are among those buying their own iPads and then bringing them in to work, said Venkatapathi PV Puvvada, vice president and managing partner of horizontal services at Unisys Federal Systems."

btw - he may want to change his title after the widely publicized research by a Duke University undergrad CoEd on her "Horizontal" thesis.
post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Check them out, they're pretty big. In the early '90's I thought they were going away too, but they did a remarkable turnaround.

http://www.unisys.com/unisys/

Hmmm... Apple could buy these guys out with pocket change. Maybe Apple is just testing the water. If things go well then maybe a buyout could be in order.
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post #12 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Unisys?! They're still around?

Thanks, dude! This is the reason I keep reading these message boards! Funny, made me smile!

Best
post #13 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Hmmm... Apple could buy these guys out with pocket change. Maybe Apple is just testing the water. If things go well then maybe a buyout could be in order.

The problem is their market cap value is around $1.33 Billion but they have > 25,000 employees. That's a poorly managed enterprise.
post #14 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post

Don't blame president Obama! Me to I like blackberries a lot. they are excellent if you cook them briefly and serve them along with a good brand of vanillia ice cream. You know, the one where you can see the little black grains, that give the extra flavor.

I know, the other day I was served some rice pudding and I thought a cat had done its business in the middle of the bowl...turned out it was blackberry jam! Whew!
post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It's about time. Apple has of late been hiring more people in its corporate sales and support area. I thought that was interesting, as more enterprise clients have been moving, in a small way to the Mac, iPhone, etc. But now it may be seen as a prelude to this deal, which seems to have been in place for at least a month.

Unisys is pretty big in this area, second behind IBM. Hp is third, but moving up fast. Dell is just beginning.

I think Apple has a good chance here. It will be interesting to see if this brings any changes, or additions to the product line.

Yes!

I worked for IBM, but in today's environment, UNISYS is a big hitter too.

I think your last sentence addressed a key issue -- Apple must be willing to take requests and feedback from others and use it to enhance and expand the product line... else the users will stop asking and turn to others.

This is the biggest criticism I have (and have always had) in years of dealing with Apple -- their NIH attitude.

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post #16 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

The problem is their market cap value is around $1.33 Billion but they have > 25,000 employees. That's a poorly managed enterprise.

Not necessarily -- just a different organization. I assume, with the services they provide, that they have lots of field reps... A totally different organizational structure than an OEM.

AIR, IBM had a market cap at about $10 Billion ($50 Billion in today's dollars) with 425,000 employees, circa 1980.

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post #17 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by kohelet View Post

This story proves the prediction in the data center thread! OS X will be Skynet!!! *puts on tin foil hat*

I'm in the grocery store right now reading this on my iphone and I'm in the aisle where they sell aluminum foil. I'm stocking up!!!!
post #18 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Unisys?! They're still around?

I recall when they were a huge, massively successful computing company 1980s, then struggled but made it back in the 1990s, then basically were all but wiped out in the 2000s; if I recall right, they did a reverse split a couple of years ago, since the stock was in the territory of being delisted. It's amazing how corporate fortunes can transform radically in less than a generation.

If this works well Apple could absorb (buy) Unisys to run as a department in Apple for Enterprise accounts.
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post #19 of 62
Apple's biggest incompatibility with government and corporate buying is their lack of any roadmaps, tendency to rapidly deprecate outdated systems, and mediocre IT and on-site support. I don't see them changing any of that when they're making billions off the consumer.

And Unisys will always be the "LZW patent troll" company to me, so I'm hoping Apple steers clear.
post #20 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

The problem is their market cap value is around $1.33 Billion but they have > 25,000 employees. That's a poorly managed enterprise.

I would assume that price comes with a significant debt burden.
post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Apple's biggest incompatibility with government and corporate buying is their lack of any roadmaps, tendency to rapidly deprecate outdated systems, and mediocre IT and on-site support. I don't see them changing any of that when they're making billions off the consumer.

And Unisys will always be the "LZW patent troll" company to me, so I'm hoping Apple steers clear.

They weren't a "patent troll". They actually developed the algorithm themselves and used it in their own products to their advantage over their competitors. If you're going to accept software patents as legitimate, Unisys' patent was a good example of someone doing software patents right.

The fact that somebody developed PKZip using the LZW algorithm and the stupid software industry standardized on LZW rather than developing something better (which isn't hard to do) is not Unisys' fault; they just benefited from the fact that people standardized on it before they realized "Oh, this is patented, we can't just use it in our code without paying for a license for it."
post #22 of 62
With apologies to Steve Ballmer... "Enterprise, enterprise, enterprise!"

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post #23 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I recall when they were a huge, massively successful computing company 1980s, then struggled but made it back in the 1990s, then basically were all but wiped out in the 2000s; if I recall right, they did a reverse split a couple of years ago, since the stock was in the territory of being delisted. It's amazing how corporate fortunes can transform radically in less than a generation.

They basically co-wrote the Datacenter edition of Windows with Microsoft. They have some monster Windows boxes... We had two 32 CPU boxes. Each "computer" was basically a rack of components. Granted, they were emulating the old Unisys midrange computers (custom CMOS CPUs) they replaced - but they were impressive machines. Everything, including CPU's, RAM and backplanes were hot swappable. Stuff Sun used to brag about (back when their engineering tech meant something <sniff>) Unisys was doing with Windows Server 2003 (!!)

Also, interesting to note even with their acquisition of EDS HP is third. I thought EDS was #2 behind IBM? I guess the acquisition wasn't that beneficial after all?
post #24 of 62
Google should sweep in and try to buy them.
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post #25 of 62
It wouldn't be that surprising of a purchase... as most of Apple's acquisitions seem more transformational than evolutionary (for the acquired). Apple needs more feet for Enterprise penetration, and UIS trades at a significant discount to CSC, HP, and IBM. Would be interesting to see what happens in time.

One thing is for sure... it isn't an expensive acquisition for Apple... and it should offer some opportunities for long-term expansion.
post #26 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Unisys?! They're still around?

in the enterprise space they have / had about a third of the market share for Windows boxes that cost in the low six figures. although this may sound impressive, i believe this to be quite the niche footprint nowadays because who in their right mind would drop, for example, $100K on a 32-core x86 Windows 2008 R2 box? for much less you can get a decent multi-core machine running a few dozen VMware VMs. i suspect Unisys is selling services and using their legacy brandname / accounts to stay relevant.
post #27 of 62
This is big. I think it's big. Anyone else think this is big? I do.
post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

This is big. I think it's big. Anyone else think this is big? I do.

Oh yea. This explains the cloud, plus the respect that Jobs brings to the table, that comment about what he wants to do with the 50 billion and his hang'in out with Larry the Ellison and what they talk about while they light up while the kids are swimming off the fantail of that big boat Larry owns.
post #29 of 62
For people claiming that Macs can't be used in large corporations, here's what I'd like to see. I'd like to see Apple publish a case study of its own IT infrastructure including total number of servers, types of servers, and operating systems used. Also, what type of database systems, ERP and CRM they use, such as Oracle or SAP, and what platforms they run them on. And what do they use for their web servers. Also what is their backup strategy for all their servers. Same for their end user machines including percentage of Macs vs PCs. I would also like to see how they set up things like directory services, authentication, user management, email, calendars, remote access.
post #30 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Unisys?! They're still around?

I recall when they were a huge, massively successful computing company 1980s, then struggled but made it back in the 1990s, then basically were all but wiped out in the 2000s; if I recall right, they did a reverse split a couple of years ago, since the stock was in the territory of being delisted. It's amazing how corporate fortunes can transform radically in less than a generation.

Go back farther, back to the 1950s and 1960s. Go back to Presper Eckert and John Mauchly and the Eniac. Go back to Sperry Gyroscope, Remington Rand, and Univac. Sperry-Univac was once a competitor to IBM in the 'big iron' market. IBM was so big in those days, they were referred to as 'IBM and the seven dwarfs' (Univac being one of them, along with RCA, NCR, Honeywell, CDC, Burroughs and GE).

Like many of those companies, they got side-swipped by the PC revolution (which was launched by Apple and IBM and a few lesser companies).
post #31 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

I would assume that price comes with a significant debt burden.

Agreed.

Personally, I see this entry point as a jump off point for Apple, once it's been received they will then expand internally their presence with those new contacts, in the Federal System, directly.
post #32 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

This is big. I think it's big. Anyone else think this is big? I do.

This is the first I can remember, since the return of Mr. Jobs, that Apple has partnered with any one like this. I would also imagine that Unisys has some interesting patents developed over the years. I also believe that Apple has developed some technology for its new data center, and that technology would be of interest to other enterprises.
post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

For people claiming that Macs can't be used in large corporations, here's what I'd like to see. I'd like to see Apple publish a case study of its own IT infrastructure including total number of servers, types of servers, and operating systems used. Also, what type of database systems, ERP and CRM they use, such as Oracle or SAP, and what platforms they run them on. And what do they use for their web servers. Also what is their backup strategy for all their servers. Same for their end user machines including percentage of Macs vs PCs. I would also like to see how they set up things like directory services, authentication, user management, email, calendars, remote access.

It's all done on a Mac Classic with a Hyperdrive.

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post #34 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by squareback View Post

This is the first I can remember, since the return of Mr. Jobs, that Apple has partnered with any one like this. I would also imagine that Unisys has some interesting patents developed over the years. I also believe that Apple has developed some technology for its new data center, and that technology would be of interest to other enterprises.

They "partnered" with HP on the iPod in much the same way.

I doubt Unisys has patented much in the last 10-15 years.

(But, I think this might be a very good move for Apple...)
post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by c-ray View Post

..... the PC revolution (which was launched by Apple and IBM and a few lesser companies).

Very nice one.

So true.
post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by c-ray View Post

Go back farther, back to the 1950s and 1960s. Go back to Presper Eckert and John Mauchly and the Eniac. Go back to Sperry Gyroscope, Remington Rand, and Univac. Sperry-Univac was once a competitor to IBM in the 'big iron' market. IBM was so big in those days, they were referred to as 'IBM and the seven dwarfs' (Univac being one of them, along with RCA, NCR, Honeywell, CDC, Burroughs and GE).

Like many of those companies, they got side-swipped by the PC revolution (which was launched by Apple and IBM and a few lesser companies).

Let's see, General Douglas MacArthur became CEO of Sperry-Rand after he was fired by President Truman. Some claimed that this was the beginning of the military-industrial complex that Ike railed against.

The only Sperry-Rand machine I saw was at Kaiser Steel in Fontana, CA -- along with punched cards with round holes (over-punched to oval, when verified).

That was replaced by an IBM 1410, AIR.

Later, Kaiser closed the plant and itis now a NASCAR racetrack.

... Useless trivia.

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post #37 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Yes!

I worked for IBM, but in today's environment, UNISYS is a big hitter too.

I think your last sentence addressed a key issue -- Apple must be willing to take requests and feedback from others and use it to enhance and expand the product line... else the users will stop asking and turn to others.

This is the biggest criticism I have (and have always had) in years of dealing with Apple -- their NIH attitude.

.

I was thinking along the same lines when I was reading the article. This partnership has the potential to give Apple product feedback that they might not normally get or pay attention to. For example in Leopard there were numerous networking bugs that took Apple a very long time to fix. I gotta believe that if Unisys started finding serious problems in the field Apple would expedite correcting them. This could be good for all Apple users.
post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

They don't have much a footprint where I live, except for contracting out PC service and the like. Certainly don't have the same recognition here as EDS (now HP), IBM and CSC, etc who all compete in the same space. They tend to partner with other companies to win work as far as I can see.

On the other hand, it's a more logical choice for Apple as Unisys don't appear to have an alignment with a particular platform.

I used to work and develop on an OS 1100 machine (a 2200 actually). It was quick and lightning fast for transaction work. However the office I worked in was largely batch based so many of its benefits were lost.

They're not really an outsourcing company, though they do a bit of it. EDS makes most of its income from that. They're more in the integrator/support business.
post #39 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Hmmm... Apple could buy these guys out with pocket change. Maybe Apple is just testing the water. If things go well then maybe a buyout could be in order.

Different sorts of businesses. In theirs, Unisys is pretty big.
post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

The problem is their market cap value is around $1.33 Billion but they have > 25,000 employees. That's a poorly managed enterprise.

It's not. And marketcap has nothing to do with the number of employees. They do integration.support. That's a manpower driven business.
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