Macbook Pro M1
Photo: Apple

Apple’s slow march into the enterprise

Protocol Enterprise

Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: why Apple could be a serious enterprise player in the near future, Google got us a present on Data Privacy Day and what’s coming up next week in enterprise tech.

Spin up

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Changing of the guard?

Among the legendary Steve Jobs quotes that influenced multiple generations of the tech industry sits this gem: “It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.” But Apple, once the consummate enterprise tech outsider, increasingly looks like it will play an outsized role within business computing for years to come.

Buried within Apple’s mega-earnings announcement Thursday was evidence that the launch of the M1 Mac lineup is drawing attention from enterprise buyers that need fleets of laptops to service their growing hybrid workforce. Tim Cook pointed to Shopify, which is “upgrading its entire global workforce to M1 powered MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.”

  • Software developers have long used Macs in disproportionate numbers compared to the general workforce: Stack Overflow’s annual survey found that 30% of respondents used MacOS as their primary development environment, whereas Apple’s overall market share for the Mac sits a little under 10%.
  • Developers building applications for the iPhone — which is to say, just about every consumer-facing enterprise company on the planet — can use Macs to test the performance and appearance of those applications before they ship.

That adoption is also spurring the development of cloud services to meet Mac developers where they are.

  • AWS announced it would offer Mac instances to developers on its cloud infrastructure service at re:Invent 2020.
  • Apple is also ramping up its own enterprise services for Mac developers, announcing the Xcode Cloud continuous integration/continuous delivery service at its developer conference last year.

But the M1 generation of Macs has drawn rave reviews for performance and battery life beyond the demanding needs of developers, who want to work on something that won’t sound like an airplane as it builds their application.

  • "I believe that due to Apple’s broad range of devices, combined with the consumerization of IT and the changing demographics of today’s workforce and their strong preference for Apple, [it] will become the No. 1 device ecosystem in the enterprise by the end of this decade,” Jamf CEO Dean Hager told Computerworld this week.
  • Hager’s company provides enterprise services for businesses that need to manage large fleets of Apple devices, so he’s hardly a bystander in this conversation.
  • Microsoft and its PC partners also enjoyed a strong 2021 thanks to the work-from-home needs of the pandemic, but the displacement in work patterns caused by that seismic event could have a huge impact on enterprise spending priorities.

Apple’s “Pro” lineup of Macs has mostly catered to designers and audio-visual professionals over the years, but the M1 lineup could make Apple a bigger part of the business world over the next decade. At a time when companies are desperately competing with each other to hire knowledge workers, providing them with the tools they want to use could become extremely important.

— Tom Krazit (email | twitter)


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Google’s Data Privacy Day present

On a day like Data Privacy Day, Google might want to steer attention away from the chorus of critics complaining about its alleged privacy infringements – most recently Washington, D.C.’s, District Attorney General Karl Racine.

Maybe a way to expand the use of differential privacy will do the trick? Differential privacy, a mathematical approach to ensuring privacy protection, has been around for years, but today Google unveiled a new open-source framework using Python it believes will make it more accessible to developers.

Called PipelineDP, the Python framework lets developers employ differential privacy to aggregate large datasets. The process of making a dataset differentially private involves techniques including adding data noise and protecting outliers and rare categories of information.

Up next on Google’s differential privacy roadmap: adding more ways to aggregate data and use statistical testing of differential privacy properties.

— Kate Kaye(email | twitter)

Coming next week

Don’t miss Protocol’s shopping event next Tuesday at 10am PT. Protocol’s David Pierce will discuss the future of shopping with Fast co-founder and COO Allison Barr Allen, Fabric CEO Faisal Masud and Pinterest SVP and head of Engineering Jeremy King. Sign up here.

It’s another round of earnings calls, with Google, AMD, Supermicro and Amazon sharing results from last quarter:

Google will announce earnings on Tuesday at 2:00pm PT.

AMD will share its full-year results on Tuesday at 2:00pm PT.

Supermicro will announce second-quarter results on Tuesday at 2:00pm PT.

Amazon will present fourth-quarter results on Thursday at 2:30pm PT.

Around the enterprise

Mike Lynch, who sold his enterprise software company Autonomy to HP in 2011 for $11.7 billion, will be extradited to the U.S. to face criminal fraud charges over accounting irregularities in the deal.

Google will let users still operating free Google Apps accounts with custom domainsmigrate their data to consumer Google Workspace accounts, rather than forcing them to pay for a business account.

75% of containers with “high” or “critical” vulnerabilities running in enterprise environments have not been patched, according to Sysdig, and that is scary.

Microsoft Teams users can now chat with contacts that also use Microsoft Teams outside their organizations, which might be useful for sales and marketing outreach as well as partnerships.

Following the U.K.’s lead, French regulators plan to take a closer look at competition among cloud computing companies.


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Thanks for reading — see you Monday!

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