APPLE'S INITIATIVES IN THE LEGAL MARKET
In July of 1999, at Macworld Expo/New York, Fritz Ogden of Apple Computer (whose title is: Small Business Programs & Web Manager; Sales Programs Emerging Markets Team) met with several attorneys to get their feedback about the law office market. At this get-together Fritz outlined the direction that Apple would be taking with regard to the law office market in the future. I asked Fritz if he would summarize what he said at this get-together so that I could share it with all of MacAttorney's members. Here is what he sent me:
Subject: Apple's Initiatives in the Legal Market....
From: Fritz Ogden
To: Randy B. Singer
At your request, below is a summary of the presentation I did at MacWorld.
The stage was set by using the recent 1998 Small Law Office study that I purchased from the ABA. We analyzed some of the findings and used the document to 'evangelize' needed marketing and developer coverage inside of Apple. Our investigation proved that the market is viable to Apple and that sales/marketing programs were needed to achieve our goal of increasing market share.
The legal vertical market will be added to Apple's overall small business inititatives. Apple will concentrate on small business with employee sizes of 19 or less. Specific attention will be paid to the new entrepreneurs and offices with 5 or fewer people. This is the bulk of the market. Apple will focus on the top 5 states first (Calif., NY, Illinois, Mass., and Texas or Wash. D.C.).
Small law office practice fits nicely into this category. The ABA study clearly points this out as being the lion's share of the private law practice market. 74% of lawyers work in a firm with 20 or fewer employees. 59% of lawyers are solo practitioners.
We then covered software and hardware preferences in the small law office practice space. Some interesting data:
Lawyers have a high propensity to upgrade software quickly. Word processing apps are at the top (not surprising, of course). Corel still leads the pack... but MS Word not far behind. 28.1% of attorneys use Timeslips. Amicus is the #1 selling case management program. Dictation software did not factor in as much as we had thought. Relatively few lawyers use this technology (9%). I suspect this will change as the technology improves. More than half of the firms surveyed use mobile systems and 89% of the offices allow remote connectivity to servers and office systems. More offices are turning to the Net for research, marketing, and communication. Netscape's the preferred browser... but IE is not far behind. CD's and printed material are still the top media used in research.
Now here's the interesting part: the survey asked for computer brand preference. Apple was #5 right behind Gateway, Compaq, IBM, and Dell. Pretty good. Overall marketshare, however, was 8% for Apple. From our point of view... this is very significant. We had pegged our share at less than half of that. This is very encouraging... if the statistics represent the overall legal population (696 law offices were surveyed from around the country). Apple's goal is to break into double digit market share within the next 12 months.
Observations at MacWorld....
Since our first discussion in May when you presented the list of core apps needed on the Mac platform.... or at least improved versions needed, a number of developments have pushed the cart forward and have improved the legal solution landscape for Mac users:
a) Dragon Systems will launch a new Mac version in 'late '99 to early '00.
b) IBM's coming launch of ViaVoice for the Mac was demonstrated in the keynote. Very well received and entirely cool technology.... despite IBM's ViaVoice manager having a name of a bat-biting rock star (Ozzy Ozborne).
c) MacSpeech licensed the Phillips Speech engine.
d) Timeslips released a new version 6 at the show
e) NUTD/Contact will have life breathed into it with it's purchase by PowerOn software.
f) Emerging Internet Technologies, such as efax.com, will begin to replace back-office systems and will allow Mac users to gain access to formerly Windows only services. Document archival and management over the web will open doors for all platforms. New models for hosted accounting apps, such as NetLedger.com, allow users to gain QuickBooks-like features over the web for pennies a day.
Developer Partnership Management:
It's clear that Apple needs to pay attention to Top Tier developers in the Legal space. Vendors that we will engage and begin working with will include Gavel and Gown (Amicus), TimeSlips, PowerOn, IBM Via Voice and Dragon Systems, Corel, and West Publishing. We will also begin to look at Internet App type services for the Legal Market and promote those solutions in our marketing efforts.
If Apple is to succeed in the Legal market, it needs to have a healthy channel. Apple does not have internal resources to dedicate as sales reps in the street. We do not have folks who can do tradeshows for the legal market, host conferences, and manage events.
We do, however, have a very active channel that is willing to work with Apple and carry the Legal banner. Apple will adopt top partners in the channel who will promote solutions and the Mac platform at events such as those stated above. Co-marketing and programs will be available to these select partners. We are currently looking at the best ways to manage the channel and recruit key influencers. The bulk of our program dollars will go into developing support for these folks.
Apple recently received approval to launch a small business web site. This will go live in October. We will add Legal Market coverage to the web site shortly after the site is launched (within 8 weeks). (Editor's Note: This timetable has been moved back. The Legal Market coverage on the Apple Web site, at this writing, is scheduled to appear sometime in March of 2000. The Web address will be: http://www.apple.com/smallbusiness/legal/). So, by year end, a robust selection of legal solutions, customer profiles, and resource help will be available to the Mac legal community. We will draw particular attention to the software developers mentioned above in Developer Partnership Management.
Apple will begin to target select events such as LegalTech, ABA's Expo, and some State Bar events. These will be done primarily through our channel partners with co-marketing funds.
Apple will also begin investigating online CLE. A prototype course will be written before the end of the year that we will co-sponsor. We will begin testing this in California.
Randy Singer is the author of "The Macintosh Software Guide for the Law Office." Randy also publishes an industry newsletter online (MacAttorney). He will soon publish this book under the ABA's Publications Division. Apple will distribute 800 copies of the book at law events and for channel partners. The book will be available through the ABA Pubs. Division and at their book store.
The market opportunity is robust for Apple. We're excited about reconnecting with lawyers in this important market. We're excited about re-engaging with our developer partners. We hope to begin discover on channel bundles with core products to the profession, advocacy at the Association level, and a strong product/feature focus from the Macintosh platform.