Apple VARs Bask In iPhone Glow

With the launch of the Apple iPhone finally here, business-minded VARs are ruminating about how to get more support from Apple amid a growing demand for other Apple products in the SMB and enterprise markets.

In the past year, Apple's desktop and notebook share among medium-sized businesses more than doubled, according to market research firm AMI Partners.

While desktop PC share grew from 13 percent to 27 percent, notebook PC share soared from 8 percent to 18 percent, AMI said. For smaller firms with fewer than 100 employees, Apple's desktop PC market share grew from 7 percent to 12 percent and notebook share from 5 percent to 8 percent year-over-year, AMI says.

The researchers also predicts that the release of the Mac OS x Leopard operating system this fall will help drive even more interest in Apple among small and midsized businesses.

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VARs too, report that they are seeing an increase in demand for Apple products not only from small and midsize customers, but also in enterprise markets.

"I think Apple will find a very large place in the enterprise, and we're starting to see it right now," said Bob Venero, CEO of Future Tech Enterprise, a Holbrook, N.Y.-based VAR. "We're seeing it on the notebook side and we're also seeing it in the workstation class where people are utilizing Mac Pro as a workstation-level product."

So, what's driving the demand for Apple in business?

"From a quality perspective Apple's far superior to a lot of other products out there, from a fit-and-finish perspective," Venero said. "And now with the convergence of the Intel platform tying into the capabilities of running multiple OSes, including Windows through Parallels and Boot Camp, there's no reason a company can't take advantage of the quality and leverage some of the OS X technology."

But Apple traditionally hasn't been a major channel supporter, and VARs say they'd like to see more support from the company.

"As they start to break into the enterprise there is going to be a need for more focus in support around the VAR community," Venero said. "I think it's something they need to start looking at. We have really started to express interest and reach out to Apple to build a practice of integrating together the Windows and Apple environment into the SMB and enterprise space."

The question is whether or not Apple has any interest in providing more support to the channel.

Apple officials were not available to comment for this story.