A report by the New York Times profiling the trend toward companies' support of "bring your own device" policies noted that Apple's iPhone, iPad and MacBooks have "made major inroads" into the enterprise.
In contrast, companies like Dell, HP, and RIM that previously maintained a lock on the purchasing decisions of large companies through tight relationships with IT staff are now losing out, experiencing "stagnant or sinking" sales.
"This retreat is occurring because many of those companies are finding they just arent that good at selling to consumers," the report stated, citing Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes as saying, "You can basically outsource your I.T. department to Apple."
Reitzes added, "what youre seeing is that Apples approach is winning, and it is tough for the others to keep up."
Companies save money in offering employees choice
In early 2010, AppleInsider profiled a "bring your own computer" program initiated by Kraft that allowed employees to pick the system they wanted to use, as long as it met certain minimum requirements.
The Times described the program as being favorably received by employees, and further noted similar shifts occurring at companies like Netflix and Citrix, the latter of which reported that when given a choice, 46 percent picked Macs.
"That was a little bit of a surprise," reported Paul Martine, the chief technology officer of Citrix. The company makes software that enables computing clients to access externally-hosted Windows applications on both Mac OS X and iPads. That in turn has helped Apple to find even greater adoption among other companies dependent upon Windows software.
Citrix reported that its "choose your own hardware" program has saved the company about 20 percent on each notebook computer over the past three years.
Not all choices equal
Many companies are not open to supporting just any hardware that workers might own. The report specifically named Wells Fargo Bank as stating that its employees are not allowed to connect to corporate networks with their personal devices.
However, the bank's chief information officer Jim Spicer did note that it has "expanded the choice of corporate-owned devices that it issues to employees to include more consumer-oriented products," saying "the biggest challenge we have today is making sure that we dont chase every device that comes along."
That gives Apple an advantage with the iPad that it won't necessarily lose to other makers that make similar but less established or mature products, like Samsung's Galaxy Tab or Motorola's Xoom tablet.