When Apple never got around to replacing their president of enterprise sales after he left in 2008, it was clear that the company wanted little to do with anything outside of the consumer world. Fast forward to this week and a promotional e-mail entitled "Mac in the Enterprise", and it seems like they've changed their tune for 2011. 

Mac in the Enterprise 

As you probably could've guessed, the e-mail was full of information about integrating Apple computers into the enterprise. This is a bit odd when you consider Mac's presence in this space (not much to speak of). 

In fact, Steve Jobs had a negative word or two to say about the enterprise last summer:

What I love about the consumer market that I always hated about the enterprise market is that we come up with a product, we try to tell everybody about it, and every person votes for themselves. They go yes or no. And if enough of them say yes, we get to come to work tomorrow. You know? That's how it works. It's really simple. That's why in the enterprise market it's not so simple. The people that use the products don't decide for themselves. And the people that make those decisions sometimes are confused. We love just trying to make the best product in the world for people, and having them tell us by how they vote with their wallets whether we're on track or not.

But that was then and this is now, and right now both the iPhone and iPad are gaining too much traction from worker bees to ignore. Further, Apple has made a few moves to improve enterprise support for iOS, so it's clear the company hasn't totally given up on its place in this arena. 

Is This a Good Idea?

The question on everyone's mind: Can Apple survive in this atmosphere? The company has certainly established a level of respect worthy of a decent following off the bat, but it has also been historically rigid with innovation and timelines. This attitude doesn't exactly gel with enterprise culture, which prefers IT providers to be both flexible and predictable.

With official enterprise aspirations now on the table, it'll be interesting to see not only how Apple's customer base reacts, but also how the company itself will handle the expectations and demands that come with enterprise-y audiences.

Meanwhile, Google is still on a hot mission to usurp the throne from Microsoft, and we expect the Internet giant to be even more bullish now that it has evidently thrown in the social towel. What kind of madness do you think Apple will add to the mix?