With Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPads having already placed their death grip on the consumer tablet market, accounting for 61.1% of total market share last quarter, late entrants HP (NYSE:HPQ), Motorola (NYSE:MMI), Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and others have fixed their hopes on breaking into corporate demand for enterprise tablets, though preliminary data indicates that Apple has beat them to the punch yet again. In the company’s FQ3 conference call, it reported that 86% of Fortune 500 companies are already testing or using iPad tablets in the workplace. Other reports from private data collectors put the number at 60% of Fortune 500 businesses, and 80% of Fortune 100 business, currently using iPads.
Related Feature: Inside the Tablet Market: Android Gaining on Apple’s iPad?
Many expected Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which will report its second quarter earnings this afternoon, to bludgeon its way into the mainstream tablet market through the successful launch of an enterprise tablet, though to the chagrin of many stockholders the tablet has never come. Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) has been among the most avid promoters of its ‘CIUS’ enterprise tablet, calling it “Purpose-built for business, [a tablet that] delivers the end-to-end security, manageability, collaboration features and mobility for today’s…” The only problem with the CIUS is that it too has yet to launch, the company plans to release the tablet on July 31st. Eager to take advantage of the mobile, tech savvy benefits of tablets in the workplace, who else have businesses had to turn to thus far besides Apple?
The question in the long term for the Cupertino-based company is whether it can successfully maintain the iPads early lead among business users (maybe the build out of Apple’s cloud will help). With an operating system often criticized among professionals for catering to children and lacking in the quality of professional software, the enterprise tablet market remains the one plausible area of the market from which competitors could launch a campaign against the tyranny of the iPad. The only question thus far is why they aren’t doing it.