This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.
Pat Gelsinger, then a senior vice president at Intel, now CEO of VMWare, tells the story:
“I went with (former Intel CEO Paul) Otellini to meet with [Steve] Jobs and his lieutenants. We go into this meeting and say Steve, let’s work together to make your Macs better for enterprise customers. Jobs looks at us and says ‘why would I do anything for that orifice called the CIO?’” said Gelsinger. “At Intel we’re aghast; two-thirds of our business is that orifice called the CIO.”
The anecdote, relayed by Jeff Jedras in Computer Dealer News, says a lot about why Apple needs IBM to crack the so-called “enterprise market” — those corporate and government IT departments rich and powerful enough to require a chief information officer.
Under Jobs, Apple stayed focused on the far larger consumer market. Unlike the enterprise, where CIOs decide what equipment to buy, purchase decisions in the consumer market are made by the people who actually use the devices — a dynamic that plays into Apple’s strengths in design and ease of use.
In Gelsinger’s anecdote, Jobs goes on to say: “I’m going to build devices that are irresistible for consumers, and CIOs will just have to deal with it.”