Are Macs Taking Over the Enterprise?

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

territory: the United States. Plus, even if more enterprises are supporting Macs, they might not be supporting the machines for all employees. The survey found that 71% of respondents' companies support Apple computers, but only 66% said people use Macs at work.

Companies generally commission and release these sorts of studies because the studies support the need for whatever products the companies happen to sell. VMware's survey is no different. The report states that IT pros consider Macs neither more secure nor easier to manage than Windows PCs. It also states that many enterprise applications won't run on Macs. Given these challenges, nearly 90% of respondents said their organizations would derive value if they were to provide Mac users with Windows virtual desktops; that is, with the sort of thing VMware sells.

Still, VMware's findings echo several similar reports. In a survey of 309 IT pros by Apple-centric management vendor JAMF Software, around 90% of respondents indicated their company supports iOS devices, and around 60% said their company supports Macs. VMware found, not only a somewhat higher rate of Mac acceptance, but also near-identical support for iPhones and iPads. Management vendor Good Technology's regular reports also indicate iPads -- whose popularity many have linked to growing enthusiasm for the Mac line -- account for around 90% of enterprise tablet deployments.

The research firm Forrester has also detected an uptick in enterprise Mac adoption. In a June interview with InformationWeek, Forrester analyst David Johnson said companies have become more interested in Type 2 hypervisors that allow companies to run Windows programs on Apple machines. Nevertheless, iMacs and MacBooks have a long way to go before they push Windows out of the office. According to Forrester's most recent survey data, Macs account for only 2% of enterprise desktops and 6% of enterprise laptops. The firm found that 8% of employees want their next work device to be a Mac, however.

Surveys aside, Apple's sales data points to increased Mac adoption. During the company's earnings call in April, execs said Macs had gained market share in 31 of the past 32 quarters, with MacBooks performing particularly well.

Will Apple's recent enterprise gains actually become the "invasion" touted in VMware's report? While we wait to find out, the survey results include some humorous justifications employees offer when requesting a Mac. One worker wants a Mac because he prefers fewer buttons on his mouse. Another employee said a MacBook Air would match her purse, and another tried to assure his employer that "only Macs display the color red in the proper shade." At least one survey respondent said a candidate for a job at his company refused to join if not given a Mac.

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