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7/9/2014
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Are Macs Taking Over the Enterprise?

More enterprises are embracing Macs, but is OS X actually challenging Windows?

IT Salary: 10 Ways To Get A Raise
IT Salary: 10 Ways To Get A Raise
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According to conventional wisdom, Macs are popular among artists, designers, schools, and well-heeled consumers, but Windows devices dominate the enterprise PC scene. That could be changing. According to a new report commissioned by VMware, Microsoft is losing its grip as user preference swings toward Apple computers.

Provocatively titled "The Apple Enterprise Invasion," the report is based on a survey of 376 IT professionals, and claims 71% of organizations support Macs. Seventy-three percent of respondents cited user preference as a reason to let employees use Apple machines.

Preference was far and away the top rationale for supporting Macs. The need for OS X-specific applications, indicated by 40% of the respondents who support Macs, was the second most-widely cited reason. The report suggests BYOD programs have helped Macs gain a foothold, noting that 27% of respondents said their company explicitly supports BYOD, and that another 49% support BYOD unofficially.

[Are PC sales really bouncing back? Read PC Market: Don't Call It A Revival.]

The report also dissected why users want to use Macs. Over 70% of respondents said employees perceive Macs as easier to use than Windows PCs. A little over half said workers think Apple computers are simply "cooler."

Macs don't appear to be making life simpler for IT staff, however. Only 25% of respondents said Macs are easier to support, while nearly 40% said Apple machines are more difficult. Eighty-three percent of those polled said at least some of their enterprise applications will run on Macs, but only 8% said that all of their essential apps are Mac-friendly.

Source: VMware
Source: VMware

Alhough Apple's making progress, there's reason to doubt Macs will supplant Windows PCs in the workplace. If Apple were encroaching on Microsoft's PC territory, Macs should have gained more ground in the lead-up to Windows XP's April end-of-life deadline. But based on statistics released by Web-tracking firm Net Applications, Windows 7 has been the primary beneficiary of XP's retirement. Windows still holds over 90% of the market, while OS X has actually lost share so far this year.

Web-use statistics take into account all machines, old and new, that access tracking networks on the public Internet, so they say more about long-term trends than about current trends. In April, Apple reported second-quarter earnings that included 4.14 million Mac sales, a slight increase year-over-year. During the same period, the overall PC industry was shrinking -- a point Apple execs highlighted. Perhaps the Net Applications data masked Apple's recent success?

Not exactly, according to figures from research firm Gartner. During Apple's second quarter, Gartner said most of the PC industry's losses stemmed from Acer's crashing business, as well as struggles among smaller, less-known OEMs. Gartner said Lenovo, Dell, HP, and Asus all shipped more units than they had during the year-ago period. If Apple defied the PC slump, several Windows OEMs defied it even more, at least in XP's final months.

One can also quibble with the survey, which was conducted by Dimensional Research. For one thing, the sample size of 376 participants is relatively small. Moreover, around 80% of respondents work in Apple's No. 1

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Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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cafzali
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cafzali,
User Rank: Moderator
7/9/2014 | 10:57:14 PM
Re: Take over?
Forbes and many other publications have covered this in depth. While it is certainly possible from a software standpoint to go Mac in the enterprise, networks are Microsoft based. Unless you're going to go completely cloud based, your network infrastructure (e.g. e-mail server, router, hubs, access points) is all going to be tied together using Microsoft products.

The companies you cite are technology based, which hardly represent the vast majority of American enterprises. And the reason Intel uses a few Macs is to keep a business relationship with Apple, as much as anything.

Look, I get why people like Macs, but they're not going to win over the enterprise. The only reason Apple is alive today to even make a computer resurgence is the success of iTunes and their transformation of the music business model. Were it not for that, the troubled Apple of the late 1990s would have lasted a while longer and likely joined the rest of computer industry has beens that were once high fliers.
truthiness
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truthiness,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/9/2014 | 8:50:22 PM
Re: Take over?
=>30% Mac OS X Penetration Rate
  • Cisco
  • Intel
  • McAfee
  • Palo Alto Networks

Why? It was PROVEN they were less expensive over a 3 year period- not to but mind you but the support costs over that period are significantly cheaper. PC only apps? Few and far between and for those that HAVE to have it- VMWare.

 
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
7/9/2014 | 7:10:28 PM
Re: Take over?
@soozyg

The iOS devices definitely helped. iPhones and iPads helped create BYO programs, which opened the floodgates for people to bring all kinds of Mac devices into the office. Once that happens, other dominoes start to fall.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
7/9/2014 | 7:08:27 PM
Re: Take over?
@cafzali,


Macs are definitely more popular (and viable) in certain industries than others. But I swear, any time I go to a Silicon Valley company, I see more Apple machines than PCs. All over the place too, from reception, to engineers, to execs. It would be interesting to get an accurate breakdown of Mac penetration within more industries. I think the Mac user base is big enough for useful aggregate statistics to be generated, but neverthless, comparing the growing Mac enterprise base to the vastly larger Windows enterprise base isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, as you point out.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
7/9/2014 | 7:03:10 PM
Re: Take over?
@mel,


Yes, I think "taking over" is unlikely, but they're certainly becoming more common, as BYOD options if not as also corporate-issued devices. As for the management issue, like I suggested in the article, VMware has to make Macs sound desirably yet also incomplete. Otherwise, they wouldn't have anything to sell, and wouldn't have much interest in releasing a study. These studies, as I am sure you know, always carry a grain of salt, since the commissioning company always has a vested interest in the results. Anecdotally, I hear people say both that Macs are easy to manage, and that they present problems. I think it probably depends what applications you need the Mac to run, and how familiar the IT staff is with non-Windows management. I've seen Mac environments that hum along without trouble, but I've also seen authentication precautions and virtualization implementations that turn MacBook Pros into near-bricks.
cafzali
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cafzali,
User Rank: Moderator
7/9/2014 | 4:21:33 PM
Re: Take over?
@Technocrati Yes, they're still using XP. Microsoft offers the option for companies to pay for continuing XP support as they migrate to Windows 7. That's what these enterprises are doing. 
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/9/2014 | 4:03:32 PM
Re: Take over?

@Shane    Ah yes Windows 7.   I agree.     I hope MS continues to build on Windows 7 - I like it and I did not find it to be a difficult transition from XP.   

 

And I would also agree  Windows 7  is just as user friendly as OS X espcially for getting work done.

Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
7/9/2014 | 3:31:39 PM
Re: Take over?
I agree, Windows 8 has been frustrating, no question. I was referring to Windows 7, which in my experience has a better UI for getting work done than OS X.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/9/2014 | 3:27:14 PM
Re: Take over?

@Shane    That number is surprising, but I would not believe it either until I tried to get used to Windows 8.1

My initial difficulty rate was sky-high.  I don't remember such frustration using a Mac for the first time.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/9/2014 | 3:23:43 PM
Re: Take over?

@cafzali     I agree in the traditional enterprise, Mac's are not making the inroads that I suggested in my earlier post. I work in the creative field so as you say, I am adapt to see this more often than most.  I should have provided context to my response.

What I find interesting is that the company you refer to is not even on Windows 7.   They are still running XP ?   I have worked in a traditional environment and I am familiar with OS's being a release behind, but I must say I am surprised to learn this.

As far as Windows 8.1 is concerned.  I agree it is not made for the enterprise, but this OS will start to make it's way inside the enterprise just like the Mac OS did as a result of the other devices it rests on.

I really worry that companies are still using Windows XP given the fact MS will eventually stop supporting it.

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