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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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melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
7/9/2014 | 10:14:21 AM
Take over?
While I doubt that Macs will take it over, there is no doubt that they will continue playing a bigger part. In other studies, Macs have a 5.5% share in enterprise, so the numbers themselves are malleable. But, according to IDC, Mac sales in enterprise have been growing at a 50% a year rate for over three years now. IDC has also said for over 20 years, that the more Macs in an organization, the less expensive it is to run. That hasn't changed. In all previous studies I've read, Macs ARE easier to maintain than Windows machines. This is the first one that says otherwise.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/9/2014 | 12:25:59 PM
Re: Take over?
"71% of organizations support Macs"

Now that Macs provide the Office Suite--and I'm sure other products that I don't use--the systems are more compatible. Time was a PC couldn't read a Mac document at all and vice versa.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/9/2014 | 12:27:11 PM
Re: Take over?
Mac sales in enterprise have been growing at a 50% a year rate for over three years now.

I wonder if that's solely due to iPhones and iPads.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
7/9/2014 | 1:19:01 PM
Re: Take over?
Many younger folks' first computer experience is smartphone devices, almost none of which are Windows-based. There is also the continuing disgust over Microsoft's planned obsolescence, forcing users to abandon perfectly good XP machines for 7 machines that do nothing new for them. If they pull the same thing with 7, forcing their users to adopt Window 8, 8.1, or the upcoming Windows 9, anything can happen. Microsoft is poisoning its own waters.
Henrisha
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Henrisha,
User Rank: Strategist
7/9/2014 | 1:26:58 PM
Re: Take over?
I'm a little surprised at that number/percentage. I was always under the impression that most offices only have Windows support, so this is a bit of good news. Shows inter-platform support and makes the job for many people easier.
Henrisha
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Henrisha,
User Rank: Strategist
7/9/2014 | 1:27:29 PM
Re: Take over?
I would think that iPhones and iPads make up a huge bulk of that. Will be interesting to see how other platforms respond, specially Windows.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/9/2014 | 1:31:54 PM
Re: Take over?
@soozyg    I don't think it is due solely to iPhones and iPads.  Many companies are using the mac mini as a desktop or backend server.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/9/2014 | 1:36:51 PM
Re: Take over?
@Henrisha    I think a lot of companies are not too impressed with Window 8.1 and this view is probably the biggest reason Macs are invading the enterprise.    So I agree it will be interesting to see how MS responds to this real threat to it's enterprise market share.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
7/9/2014 | 2:04:51 PM
Re: Take over?
"Over 70% of respondents said employees perceive Macs as easier to use than Windows PCs."

Wow, that's high. Macs are definitely prettier and they pass the cool test, but I disagree that they're easier to use. Windows UI is arguably more intuitive than a Mac. But the problem is not the UI, it's that Windows is loaded down with too many updates, and AV software, and has not caught on with young people because it never made any headway in mobile. Add to that Macs coming in the back door through BYOD as more millennials join the workforce, and you can see this situation not getting better for Microsoft.
Charlie Babcock
IW Pick
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
7/9/2014 | 2:16:59 PM
If Microsoft is getting weaker on the deskto, what's not to like--VMware
Nice analysis here by Michael. VMware as the sponsor of this survey is trying to get the survey to perform a balancing act. Give the end users what they want, which seems to be Macs and Macbooks. But put virtual desktop infrastructure on them so that they can access their existing Windows and Office applications and Windows servers. Weaken Microsoft as a desktop vendor, strengthen VMware as a virtualization vendor. Not bad for one survey. 
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