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Will Apple ever grow up and seize a chunk of the business market? Well not with that attitude!

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Just so nobody thinks I just give Microsoft or Oracle grief, it’s time to take aim at Team Cupertino.

Now a bunch of guys I know have implemented Apple gear in corporate environments. Hell, I’ve done it too and it works really well. But Apple’s engagement with corporates — particularly outside their core markets — simply blows.

One of my contacts told me a story about a briefing he attended that featured a guy from Apple Australia who proudly claimed they were doing their level best to engage with business. So he called me to let me know that he got the contact details for this guy whose job is to make business feel that Apple is listening. And it worked. My contact felt Apple was listening. They just never answered him.

Since meeting this guy, the feedback has been a black hole — a massive, sucking singularity from which no sound has escaped.

To all you Apple guys happily living in your ivory tower in the refurbished Hilton Hotel in Sydney, I’d like to pass on a little tip…

If you want to engage with business you need to actually engage, not just talk about engaging.

Now my contact is sufficiently pissed off about the breathtaking lack of response from Apple and Mr I’m-Here-To-Engage-With-Business that he’s talking to me about it. And if he’s griping to me about it, you can bet your bottom dollar that he’s saying the same thing to many others around town.

The thing that amazes me is that returning an email or phone call just isn’t that hard. This isn’t a case where the guy was looking for some direct level of interaction with Apple. He was asking a question and the Apple guy told him that he’d get an answer to the question.

I know that Apple has always walked its own road, but I just don’t see how an engagement strategy works without some form of ongoing communication with the people you actually plan on engaging with. If anyone can explain this one to me, I’m all ears.

For businesses, I think the lack of communication and ongoing engagement actually raises their costs, not to mention raising barriers between Apple and the customer. Then again, I could be wrong…

So here’s my message to Apple:

If you want to go after enterprise business, make it a priority. Don’t toss it out there if it’s something you only plan to pursue in between hacky sack sessions and iPhone love-ins.

Sadly, given the way that Apple has historically engaged with its corporate user base, I don’t see any of this being taken on board and Mr I’m-Here-To-Engage-With-Business is a living breathing example of the ARDF (Apple Reality Distortion Field). He’ll keep blithely wandering around feeling like he’s doing a good job servicing business.

Now you can say whatever you like about the Microsofties, but they know how to engage business. The ”I’m a PC. I’m a Mac“ ads embody the problem I’m talking about. If you want people to think you’re here to engage with business, then you’ve got to stop taking the piss out of your new target market.

Maybe Apple needs to come up with a series of ads that feature PC, Mac and Way Cool Business Mac Guy/Gal?

Now they do make great gear. When you walk into a meeting with a Mac, everyone looks at that smooth aluminium body. And when they all start looking for power about three-and-a-half hours in and the guy with the Mac still has another couple of hours of indicated battery life, you realise just how great their gear really is.

When Apple figures out that engagement and communication is more than just saying, ”I feel you dude!”, they’re sure to kick it to the next level.

The 1% Spend is written by a prominent Australian I.T. consultant who is choosing to remain anonymous (and candid).

Photo: Mark Barky

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