There’s one glaring gap in Apple’s plan to transition to a services company – the lack of enterprise services. The collaboration market, for instance, is one of the biggest growth sectors in enterprise software. Given that Apple currently dominates the enterprise mobility market, it’s surprising that it’s made little effort to take on the likes of Slack or Microsoft Teams.
That absence is even more surprising when you realize the company does already offer bits and pieces of a collaboration system.
Apple’s iWork software has offered basic collaboration tools like comments and tracking changes for a decade and offers real-time editing via iCloud. Granted, these are just the most basic features for enterprise collaboration, but it’s still a sign that Apple recognizes how work gets done these days. Equally important: the bulk of these features are interoperable with Microsoft Office.
And scattered throughout a number of its apps are the nuts and bolts pieces of a potential collaboration suite:
- Though it’s unavailable for now while Apple fixes recently uncovered privacy gaps, Group FaceTime chat has the potential to challenge Skype and similar conferencing tools.
- Messages on the Mac has long allowed users to share presentations and allow remote screen viewing and control – useful features for collaboration and technical support.
- There’s already support in native apps for shared calendars and related features from Exchange.
- Apple’s now-deprecated server platform allowed for additional collaboration via a wiki tool. Though not completely analogous to what Slack or Teams offer, the tool was a step in that direction and it preceded the market for such solutions.
- And finally, with its Classroom solution for iPads in education, Apple combines many of these features into a unified whole.
It’s clear Apple has the chops to build an enterprise-grade collaboration suite, either on its own or in concert with partners like IBM, Cisco, and SAP. So, if all of the puzzle pieces are there, why not complete the picture?