Daniel Eran Dilger
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Report: Mac adoption expanding in the enterprise

Prince McLean, AppleInsider
Despite the lack of any clear and obvious enterprise strategy at Apple, analyst Benjamin Gray of Forrester Research reported an incremental gain in enterprise Mac use among the 2,500 organizations the company tracks, representing 50,000 end users.

Report: Mac adoption expanding in the enterprise
“Apple’s singular focus on user experience has resulted in some success in the enterprise—without even trying to break into the market,” Grey wrote in a report cited by eWeek on Friday, noting that Mac deployment in the enterprise has climbed from 1.1 percent in October 2006 to 3.6 percent in October 2007, and by June 2008 reached 4.5 percent. That’s much lower than Apple’s nearly 20 percent share of the US consumer PC retail market or its 8 percent share of the entire US PC and server market, but significantly higher than Apple’s 3.5 percent share of all PCs and servers sold worldwide.

According to Grey, enterprise Mac adoption has been pushed upward by consumer demand. “Strong iPod branding and sales have led to greater consumer sales of Apple PCs,” the report stated. “In turn, this has lured enthusiasts and small workgroups with supple IT departments beyond the standard domain of design and media.”

That increase is bucking the established mindset that gives Macs the cold shoulder in business settings. “Enterprises often see Macs as expensive solutions that add unwanted variety to an already complex IT management and support operation, while providing little in additional productivity,” Grey wrote.

Despite the prevailing negative perception of Macs among business users, many corporations are now investigating increased use of Macs and looking at platform diversity as a strength, not a problem. Additionally, the enterprise platform is slowly shifting away from Windows-based hardware and toward web-based standards that can run anywhere. “Emerging client virtualization solutions shift the focus from standardized hardware to more secure and manageable PC architectures and operations,” Gray wrote.

Macs in Enterprise

While Apple has promoted its move to Intel hardware and new Mac’s ability to run Windows software natively to consumers, it has not expended much effort toward marketing this message directly to enterprise customers outside of a few key markets such as education, hospitality, and video production. Businesses seem to have grasped this advantage themselves. The Forrester report revealed that Intel Macs climbed from from 63.2 percent to 79.9 percent of the installed base of Macs within the enterprise in just an eight month period from October 2007 to June 2008.

In addition to consumer mindshare captured by the iPod and the increased compatibility of Intel Macs, the iPhone is also expected to ignite a halo impact over the enterprise. In its initial iPhone Software 2.0 announcement, Apple reported that over a third of Fortune 500 companies had sought access to the company’s iPhone Enterprise Beta program.

In contrast, while Microsoft has been pushing hard to get companies to adopt Windows Vista, its growth in the enterprise has been well below expectations. The company originally set a goal of 20 percent adoption by the end of 2007, but Forrester’s study found only 5 percent by October 2007 and 8.8 percent by June 2008.

  • http://www.enterprisesystemsbackup.com pdeguise

    Apple’s approach in the enterprise market of late has more been a “softly softly” approach, or perhaps even “entry by stealth”.

    A lot of the established enterprise server/PC vendors – e.g., Dell, HP, IBM, etc., may accept competition with Apple in the consumer marketplace as unavoidable, but given their high domination of the enterprise market, Apple wouldn’t benefit by being seen as actively trying to compete – yet. The slow/gradual penetration of enterprise customers via halo effects serves Apple well since they’re not dependent on enterprise revenue streams. They can afford to wait for their visibility to increase in enterprise customers to the point where staff and management start actively planning deployment of Apple solutions.

    Thus, rather than having to actively engage in competition in what is quite a cut-throat market, Apple can have customers bat for them.

    Steve Jobs said that Apple TV is a “hobby” for Apple; one could argue that enterprise involvement is sitting somewhere between “hobby” and “core business” for them – it’s at a good point where they don’t have to invest a lot of work for the sales they make, their customers do much of the selling, and there’s good money to be had by not having to enter into price-wars with competition.

  • beanie

    Why is Forrester Research paying Benjamin Gray to do Mac Enterprise research? They are not. The article is titled “Corporate Desktop Operating System Trends, Q4 2007 Through Q2 2008: Windows Vista Deployments Are Finally Ramping Up, While Mac Continues Its Slow March On The Enterprise.”


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