The Future of Apple & Enterprise IT: Q&A With JAMF Software Founder
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they’re focused on getting technology to work, we’re failing them in the sense that they’re focusing on things that don’t actually move their field forward.
X: JAMF didn’t accept any outside capital in its first eight years. Was it a struggle being entirely bootstrapped during that period?
ZH: Yeah, I mean, we didn’t get paid for five years.
X: How did you pull that off?
ZH: Well, we did some consulting work on the side. But for me personally, one of the great things was that living in Wisconsin was very cheap. My mortgage was more like a car payment, so I didn’t have to work that many jobs to make ends meet. I was able to dedicate a ton of time to JAMF without getting a paycheck back.
X: During an earnings call last month, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said that at IBM (NYSE: IBM), a JAMF customer, “over 30,000 Macs [have been] deployed within the company, with 1,900 more being added each week.” Why do you think IBM is becoming more Apple-friendly?
ZH: IBM is listening to its customers. They have a huge worldwide customer base, and customers are starting to want to focus on their users. At JAMF, starting around 2007, companies have come to us and said, “We need to support Macs because we can’t attract the talent we want if we’re giving our employees Windows computers.” That’s just the way a lot of the world is going right now. They see the need out there.
X: Is the popular perception still that Windows is the operating system for businesses?
ZH: It’s still out there in big pockets, but it’s changing rapidly. I think it’s a very antiquated way of looking at technology. The more progressive IT departments that look at themselves as moving their businesses forward are focused on user experience and how to make people more productive. That’s where Apple really shines inside organizations.
X: In 2010 and 2013, JAMF closed funding rounds of $3 million and $30 million, respectively. Is the company planning to raise more money soon, or anticipating an exit, either in the form of an IPO or acquisition, in the near future?
ZH: We don’t have anything like that on the roadmap right now. We’ve never worked with an exit strategy in mind. We’re out solving problems, and moving toward one of those [exits] doesn’t necessarily help us help end users solve their problems. We’ve done a lot of things to make sure those doors are open to us. But right now, I have no idea what the future holds.
X: Who do you see as your competition?
ZH: There isn’t anybody else that’s solely focused on Apple that we compete with. We have competitors on the mobile side like MobileIron (NASDAQ: MOBL) and Good Technology, which just got acquired by BlackBerry. And then we have competitors on the Mac … Next Page »