Are Macs Taking Over the Enterprise? - InformationWeek
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Are Macs Taking Over the Enterprise?

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

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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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User Rank: Apprentice
3/3/2016 | 8:39:15 PM
OS design flaws
This is just my opinion, but I believe Apple computers will inevitably encroach on the enterprise market, simply due to the superiority of the design of its operating system.  As we all know it's unix based.  That alone is a huge advantage.  Windows is married to the registry, which is a disaster on all levels in my opinion.  It's a proprietary database, that is presented to the user as a file system like...thing?  Developers can write or overwrite values all over the place, and it's confusing in general.  It's also the main reason 99% of software needs an installation to run, and many needing a reboot because of it.  Permissions are inferior, and overall security is much, much weaker.  Developers can write hooks to intercept operating system calls etc.  It's difficult to know what malware even is on Wndows.

OS X on the other hand doesn't require installtion for 90% of its apps. Just drag and drop. It's concept of bundles is very effective and simple for the user. Framework version issues are practically non-existent.  The OS is a true 64 bit OS running 64 bit apps.  There's no system32,syswow64 nonsense, or Program Files, Program Files (x86).  On Windows, system and software settings are defined in various places, in various ways, and are difficult to find in some cases.  OS X basically has System Preferences for the system, and each app has a Preferences dialog.  Those settings are mainly stored in plist files, which are just basic XML files that can be found in one of a few places. Nice, simple and effective.

OS X is also highly customizable with things like Services, the Scripts menu, Folder Actions, Automator etc.  For developers python, ruby, perl, apache, javascript for automation, applescript, java, swift, bash, zsh, sqlite, mysql etc are all installed by default.  The OS also comes with some great applicationss installed for free.  Many more than Windows.

I could keep going, but you get the idea.  Overall, it's difficult to argue that OS X is not a superior OS in my opinion, and many of the reasons are due to mistakes made decades ago by MS. 
User Rank: Ninja
7/15/2014 | 1:22:47 PM
Re: Take over?
This is one of more confusing articles I've read, along with discussion thread. This survey would have been much more enlightening if it said WHAT people are actually doing with Mac at work.

Let's face it, some jobs at high enough level don't use anything but email, browsers and opening documents (whether PDF or Office). Sure Mac works for that. Some jobs involve apps which run in browser, so assuming apps work OK in Mozilla/Safari (which is browser I never test my apps in, I don't write for public use), Mac is OK.

Silicon Valley is about software development, graphic design and marketing. Does Google run an ERP system?  Do any of Silicon Valley run inhouse ERP systems or non browser applications written for Windows? There is very little legacy in Silicon Valley. So including them in this conversation seems a little silly. Take a look at what GM, P&G, CitiGroup, General Electric, etc are doing, that is what is relevant. Outside of Sales & Marketing and executives, I'd be very surprised to see many Macs.

The most ridiculous thing in this article was people who buy Mac and then run a Windows VM so they can use certain apps. That makes no sense from cost point of view. Where is the common sense financial governance in these companies? If they are that stupid, they better have a darn good product on market or they won't be in business long.

Some of you who have commented that Mac's are just so much more usable than Windows. I'd be very curious to hear some examples. I don't know what you are doing but I use very little "Windows" itself. I boot machine, then click on icons/links to launch applications I use. I'm rarely using "Windows". So how does Mac fundamentally change that?
User Rank: Ninja
7/12/2014 | 12:19:32 PM
Re: Take over?
But I swear, any time I go to a Silicon Valley company, I see more Apple machines than PCs.

Do you think that's true because of where Mac started? If Steve Jobs had lived in, let's say, Michigan, do you think they'd be prevelant near the Great Lakes? Or is it totally a Silicon Valley phenomenon?
Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
7/12/2014 | 11:33:12 AM
Re: Take over?
Hi, Technorati. :D 

I see. I haven't heard anything about Windows 7. Not yet, at least. It doesn't sound like a good move, does it? 

It's nice you can enjoy working with your Macs at home. :) That browser story sounds nigthmarish. :/ 

User Rank: Ninja
7/11/2014 | 10:05:31 PM
Re: Take over?

So, you use a Mac at home and a PC at work?


Hi S.F. !    Yes,   I use  Macs at home but very rarely used them in the work setting I am in presently.  I usually work in  Linux and/or OS X environments.  These environments that are most popular in my particuliar niche - which is the entertainment industry.


I like Windows 7 for the most part but I have been forced to use Windows 8.1 in order to learn Windows based programming.   So in a sense I use it in the enterprise but I think I am very rare at this point.  Windows 8.1 is probably more of a portable OS, but I would not be surprised to see MS push it into the enterprise.   I think I read somewhere MS is discontinuing Windows 7 ?   I hope that is not true but if it is then what is left for enterprises ?   They will just stay with what they have whether it be XP or 7.  I am not sure what the benefit of this is so hopefully I am wrong.  

But my initial frustration was not even in trying to do any thing major, I just wanted to surf the net with the browser ( Chrome ) of my choice.   This turned into a painstaking effort, only to find out why my browser would not work due to in not being in Windows 8 mode !     Are you kidding me ?  Well every since I accepted the fact that there is a " Window 8 mode " I have been able to surf problem free.


I love my Macs - they are always my computer of choice and I intend to get a better one that doesn't run so  hot, but the fact that I am an engineer forces me to say in tune with Wndows.

User Rank: Strategist
7/10/2014 | 5:57:50 PM
Same story different year... the answer is still no.
Every couple of years I read an article like this. And the story always goes something like this...

Wow, Apple in the enterprise! Check out this case study where [fill in the blank] company is migrating to all Apple and dumping M$! ---- Time Passes ---- [Silence] ---- Company dumped the Apple system and went back to M$ due to cost, incompatibility and the rest of the usual suspects of reasons.


Apple's new "innovations" and changes are going to be a game changer in the enterpise setting! --- Time Passes --- Oh, I guess not so much, never-mind it looks like every-other vendor is doing it now.

The reason these stories happen the way they do is simple. Apple's target market is the consumer [read home user] environment, not business. Apple never has understood the enterprise environment from the beginning. Even the open source Linux community has a better understanding of the needs of the business enterprise environment. If Apple truly was targeting business, they would have their own Apple branded Office suite that was compatible with everything and integrated with MS Exchange. They would make it simple, powerful, and beautiful. Then they would market it to the M$ userbase as well as the Mac faithful. They have the talent, but they don't do it. That is the first indicator, not scattered samples of data of small statistically insignicant groups. The real killer of Apple's penetration into the enterprise market is the closed ecosystem mentality. By thinking that people will play with their toys (overlooking the massive price disparity in TCO that the comptroller decides using) then migrate to a subpar feature set of enterprise services, Apple keeps shooting themselves in the foot.

While M$ does need to get it's focus back (Read stop looking at Macs for enterprise interface usability) one must keep in mind Windows 8.x is the typical even numbered OS mistep Microsoft historically makes. If they look back and learn from the mistakes (again) and listen to their core business clientelle, they will retool, get back on track, and lock the competitors out of the market due to simple resistance to change. It happens every couple of years.

I do not see Apple corp maintaining it's position and relavance with the loss of Steve Jobs. The "innovation" cycle has stopped. Now you just have a bunch of pretty and over-priced executive toys. This does not add value to the operation of an enterprise and that is the bottom line.
User Rank: Apprentice
7/10/2014 | 10:54:16 AM
Doesn't mean much
I think this survey as you mentioned sponsored by VMware does not mean much. The sample size is small probably mostly silicone valley based users and firms but even if it was across the US the reality is that saying a organization supports Macs is not very convincing, though we support macs it just means that if you happen to be an exec you can certainly get a MAC and plug it in to the network, but no we dont have a version of Office that we can install on your Mac, no we dont have a copy of Visio or MS project and yes you have to use the Java based versions of many of the other apps we use because they do not make MAC versions and yes that means not all the features are supported. 

But hang on if you really want to use a MAC we can install Parallels or VMware and install Windows on it so you can use it like a PC, oh so then what are we really using a PC or a Mac, so confused......

BTW its funny doing the trade show circuit where a companys staff all have Mac books (looking hip and cool) but the company itself only provides a windows version of their software.

The reality is that saying that a company supports MACs is very misleading.

My two cents

BTW I have a Macbook Pro but use my Lenovo laptop all day long.
User Rank: Author
7/10/2014 | 9:05:31 AM
Re: Take over?
Interesting you make this connection to the iPhone Michael -- I have a company-provided Mac and iPhone for work, and I have pretty much zero connections between the two.
Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
7/10/2014 | 7:43:38 AM
Re: Take over?

"Over 70% of respondents said employees perceive Macs as easier to use than Windows PCs."

And you said: 

"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."

So, you use a Mac at home and a PC at work?

I have never used Windows 8.1, or have the intention of even trying it. But what I do remember is that when I switched from PC (to never, ever come back) to Mac I had no difficulty at all. Oh, yes, the first five minutes I was trying to use things that worked on PC and were different on a Mac, but I was expecting that and it was over in, as I said, five minutes. Plus, I loved all my new Mac findings. :) 

Maybe I am a fast learner, but after a few minutes of having my hands on my Mac I had the feeling we already had a great understanding. :) I also remember my first minutes on my Mac were full of surprise and joy when discovering all the cool things a Mac can do that PCs can't. So, for me, using a Mac has been earier and much more enjoyable than using a Windows PC. 

I understand that employee who said he wouldn't join the company if he were not given a Mac. I wouldn't either. I simply can't see myself going to Windows PC frustration on a daily basis. :/ 




User Rank: Ninja
7/10/2014 | 1:44:33 AM
wake up call
I hope this kind of surveys are a wake up call to Microsoft to make Windows 9, not only  the best Windows yet, but also a free upgrade from 8/8.1 and 7.

Will enterprises jump faster on the bandwagon of Windows 9, if it is a free upgrade?
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