This morning, we kicked off BoxWorks 2015 with a fireside chat between Box CEO Aaron Levie and Apple CEO Tim Cook. Over the course of their broad-ranging conversation, Aaron and Tim covered everything from Apple's big weekend ("13 million phones sold!") to climate change ("It's real"). Below are five of the best moments from the fireside.
"We've always been about making tools that allow people to do things they couldn't do without Apple, and empowering people to change the world."
To start the conversation, Aaron asked Tim to help explain what Apple - well known for its consumer products - brings to the enterprise. As Tim put it,
"The things that make devices really great for consumers make them great for enterprises as well. The skills we bring to this area are huge! We build security in from day one. It isn't just a bolt-on thing after the product is designed." He also noted the benefit of Apple's legendary focus: with only a few models available in the market, they can focus on getting everyone on the latest version of iOS, which means they're "not a fragmented system" - a huge benefit for enterprise IT.
"Here's what we DON'T bring- we don't have deep knowledge of the verticals, so in order to do really great things, we have to partner with other people."
Despite the great strengths that Apple brings to the enterprise market, Tim was also willing to acknowledge the places where they lean on others. In particular, he focused on the opportunity to build an ecosystem of partners to expertly address the needs of a wide variety of industries, much as they have for the iPhone with the App Store. With partners like IBM, Cisco and, yes, Box, Apple aims to cultivate a suite of enterprise apps to help change how people work.
"People aren't going to gain productivity by working more hours - so you have to transform your business."
Tim drove home the importance of mobile in the enterprise - and how it's just getting started. In his words,
"Today, [transforming your business] means embracing mobility in a big way. We're in the first stages of that for the enterprise. Consumer has outpaced this - but there's no reason for that... The best companies will be the most mobile."
He noted that enterprise mobility is still at a very early stage, with shockingly low penetration in the enterprise and few companies going beyond emails and browsing. Although he noted a few bright spots — Eli Lilly and GE among them — in general, he believes, "the great news is: nobody's behind."
"What do you do next?" "We haven't started yet."
When asked what's next for Apple in the enterprise, Tim Cook was blunt- they haven't really started, yet! (Impressive, given that according to Tim, enterprise was a source of $25 billion in annualized revenue at their last earnings.) As he said,
"Our goal is not to be the biggest. We've always wanted to make the best. And we've always believed very deeply that if we made the best, some people would like to have the best, and we would have a reasonable business... and we're still doing that. That part of our DNA is still very much the same."
Part of the huge opportunity lies with building partnerships with companies that might historically have been considered competitors:
"We still compete today, but we can partner on more things than we can compete on, and that's what the customer wants. If you're a CIO, you want to do business with someone who's part of an ecosystem, not someone who's on an island somewhere. The island days are gone."
"Equality is Free."
The conversation ended on a serious note, delving into Tim's outspokenness on a number of vital social issues:
"Equality is free. To get people a basic level of human rights and dignity is free."
He also noted two areas of particular focus for Apple - increasing equal access to quality education, and helping to minimize environmental impact. On the latter point, he noted:
"Climate change is real and we should stop talking about it and do a lot more...it became clear to us that we could run Apple on 100% renewable energy. A lot of people thought we were crazy, but we're doing it. In the US right now, all of Apple's operations are run on 100% renewable energy, and that number is at about 90% globally. We're focusing now on the supply chain... Honestly, I think anybody can do this."