Apple partners with Unisys to reach enterprise, government clients

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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 Apple?s 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. ?We?ve 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.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    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. ?We?ve 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.
  • Reply 2 of 61
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,365member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 61
    This story proves the prediction in the data center thread! OS X will be Skynet!!! *puts on tin foil hat*
  • Reply 5 of 61
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,365member
    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/
  • Reply 6 of 61
    bertpbertp Posts: 274member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 61
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,014member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 61
    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!
  • Reply 9 of 61
    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, it?s 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.
  • Reply 10 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 61
    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
  • Reply 12 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 61
    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!
  • Reply 14 of 61
    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.



    .
  • Reply 15 of 61
    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.



    .
  • Reply 16 of 61
    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!!!!
  • Reply 17 of 61
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,984member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 61
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 61
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 61
    rhyderhyde Posts: 294member
    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."
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