Apple goes after enterprise with Unisys alliance

Apple has inked a deal with IT outsourcing outfit Unisys which could see more Macs breaking into the business world.

According to a report on Bloomberg Businessweek, the Cupertino company will enlist Unisys agents to persuade PC-centric business to make the switch to Mac hardware, building on the popularity of gateway devices like the iPhone 4 and iPad among be-suited types.

Apple has never split its Mac sales between consumers and enterprise, so there is no reliable way to gauge how many of its laptop and desktop computers are in the hands of business users rather than the traditional media types with £100 haircuts, but the general consensus is that Steve Jobs is eyeing the enterprise in that hope that dedicated iDevice users will be keen to make the switch.

Apple recently announced that up to 80 per cent of companies currently listed in the Fortune 500 are currently deploying or testing the iPhone 4 and that the iPad has made its way into the briefcases of 65 per cent of the businesses on the Fortune 100.

Add to that a recent survey which found that 40 per cent of US college students wanted their next PC to be a Mac, and that's a lot of dedicated Macolytes stepping into the business world over the next three or four years.

Unisys manager Gene Zapfel told Bloomberg that the deal had been finalised last month but declined to offer any further details other than remarking, “Most of those organisations are still pretty heavily PC-based. Apple is going to crack the nut and clients are going to start buying a lot more.”

Unisys has a pretty sturdy client roster including many government agencies and institutions in the USA, and is also heavily involved in cloud computing and virtualisation. Many see the recent release of the new MacBook Air range, which relies on as little as 64GB of Flash memory for storage, as an indication that the cloud will be Apple's next big thing.

The fact that the company has just collected the keys to its newly-built 500,000 square foot data centre, and is already considering doubling its size, also adds credence to the company's future reliance on off-site storage.