While most personal computer marketers are looking at the home as their main area of growth, Apple wants to increase sales by boosting share in the business market, from 6% today to a reported 15% in five years. That's ambitious seeing as how the IBM PC platform is solidly entrenched among corporations.
Apple executives' hopes are riding on the recently launched Power Macintosh computer, plus new software-development alliances, a long-awaited foray into licensing and $30 million worth of print and broadcast advertising in the fourth quarter alone.
The company also has pumped up its trade show and national-account marketing programs to better serve the business market.
Apple's business-segment goal is part of a company plan to double its total worldwide market share for the Macintosh platform-Apple machines and forthcoming clones-to 20% within five years.
WorkGroup Technologies estimates Apple will be the No.*2 player in the U.S. PC market this year, with an 11.2% share of the total business. Apple is No.*1 in home and education sales.
Apple reports selling 650,000 Power Macs since its March introduction and expects to meet its goal of shipping a total of 1 million by March 1995.
"We believe the vast majority of those systems are going into the business market," says Steve Angelo, director of market development with Apple USA, the company's U.S. division.
This month, Apple will introduce an add-in card called Houdini, which includes a microprocessor compatible to Intel Corp.'s 486 chip. The card will speed up the Power Mac's ability to run Windows applications.
To let users take full advantage of the Power Mac's capabilities, Apple is working on software development. In the business market, software applications drive sales. But developers need software "tools" to build applications.
The marketer currently is working with several software vendors to create tools that will enable applications vendors to develop Power Mac-specific applications.
In addition, Apple is working with developers of client/server software. That aspect is crucial to attract large-enterprise customers.
"We are very focused on identifying and working with all the mainstream providers of tools and client/server applications to ensure that there is a Macintosh product in each of those key areas," Mr. Angelo says.
Apple currently is working with Powersoft Corp., Forte Development, Uniface, IBM Corp. and SAP America in this area, and supports business software from industry leaders such as Oracle and Sybase.
These relationships and others with smaller software companies have yielded more than 300 "native applications"-software specifically designed to exploit Power Mac technology.
Mr. Angelo estimates "well over half" of the 300 such applications are business-relevant. Developers in this group include Microsoft Corp., Adobe Systems, Aldus Corp., WordPerfect Corp. and Quark.
To further encourage user acceptance and technology innovations, Apple announced in September it finally would license the Macintosh operating system to other PC marketers. The eventual result, Apple hopes, will be more incentive for developers to build Mac applications.
"By licensing its software, Apple gets a lot of the innovations that have been driving the PC market for years," says Lenny Pitts, research associate with WorkGroup Technologies.
One reported licensee is said to be IBM, although the two companies haven't yet finalized a deal.
"To make major gains in the business market, Apple will need something either in product capability or marketing capability," says Eric Lewis, an industry analyst with market research company International Data Corp. A breakthrough, he adds, could come in the form of "a strategic alliance with one or more vendors that already have some strength in that market, like IBM."
To support its ambitious strategy, Apple is spending about $30 million this quarter on TV and print ads, from BBDO Worldwide, Los Angeles.
The TV campaign includes three 30-second spots, set to run run during Sunday morning talk shows; other news programs; ABC's "Monday Night Football"; and during "opportunistic network programming," says Ann Winkler, Apple's acting director of worldwide advertising.
Print ads for the Power Mac are scheduled in news and business publications such as The Wall Street Jourand Harvard Business Review and in the computer trade press. The campaign features testimonials from Power Mac business users.
The marketer also is trying to reach corporate technology managers through an increased presence at trade shows and reseller locations.
Aside from lavish displays at shows such as Comdex and the Federal Office Systems Expo, Apple also is working with the Apple Business Consortium, an advocacy group whose 300 members are primarily Macintosh consultants and software developers.
"We are partnering with them to represent Apple at about 200 additional trade shows catering to small and medium-sized businesses," Mr. Angelo says.
The partnership, he adds, is "a critical component in our marketing mix."
To increase its presence among larger corporations, historically overlooked in favor of small businesses and the education market, Apple has added national account sales executives and teamed them with resellers that serve the 1,000 market.
The account execs show the company's wares to information systems officers, and the resellers take orders.
Although the marketer has tried unsuccessfully to increase corporate business in the past, Power Mac gives Apple new hope, some analysts agree. "The Power Mac is a gorgeous piece of technology," says Doug Kass, principal analyst with researcher Viewpoint Group. "It represents Apple's toehold to the future."