Are Macs Taking Over the Enterprise? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Software // Operating Systems
News
7/9/2014
09:06 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

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
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

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

Next Page

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

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Susan Fourtané
0%
100%
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. :/ 

-Susan
ChrisMurphy
50%
50%
ChrisMurphy,
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
33%
67%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
7/10/2014 | 7:43:38 AM
Re: Take over?
Technorati,

"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. :/ 

-Susan 

 

 

Michael Endler
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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.
Shane M. O'Neill
50%
50%
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.
Charlie Babcock
IW Pick
100%
0%
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. 
Shane M. O'Neill
50%
50%
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.
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Slideshows
10 Things Your Artificial Intelligence Initiative Needs to Succeed
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/20/2021
News
Tech Spending Climbs as Digital Business Initiatives Grow
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  4/22/2021
Commentary
Optimizing the CIO and CFO Relationship
Mary E. Shacklett, Technology commentator and President of Transworld Data,  4/13/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll