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In the fall, I wrote about Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) ambitions in the enterprise market, speculating that enterprise sales might be the company's next multibillion-dollar opportunity. On Apple's last conference call, COO Tim Cook reported that two-thirds of Fortune 100 companies were piloting or deploying iPads, and an even higher portion -- 85% -- were doing so with the iPhone.
Since then, reports that businesses are adopting Apple products show the company gaining momentum. Pilot programs have morphed into large-scale purchases, making the iPad, in particular, as popular with corporate CIOs as it is with 6-year-olds.
The Wall Street Journal reports that medical-device makers such as Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX ) , Medtronic (NYSE: MDT ) , and Zimmer Holdings (NYSE: ZMH ) are buying thousands of iPads, seeing the product as a more effective tool for their sales forces than the laptops and printed materials they have traditionally used when meeting doctors to discuss their products.
Meanwhile, a Bloomberg report on iPad and iPhone adoption in the financial-services industry suggests that the long love affair the industry has had with Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM ) BlackBerry may be on the rocks. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) is buying iPads for its investment bankers, and British bank Standard Chartered has dropped the BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone for its employees.
Apple has been beefing up its enterprise-sales team. It has also been working to incorporate enterprise-friendly features into its operating system -- note the remote lock-and-wipe feature that came with the recent release of iOS 4.2.
Although Apple is still miles away from being as dominant a presence in the enterprise market as it is in the consumer market, the company's efforts to penetrate the enterprise market are bearing fruit. A new multibillion-dollar snowball appears to be heading down the mountain.
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