BW: Apple Backs into Enterprise Amidst Vista Open Revolt

Since Steve Jobs returned to Apple, Apple has catered to the individual purchaser, people who appreciate what they get for their money. Big business has been a distant second priority. These days, however, several factors have come together to make Macs acceptable in the enterprise: the iPhone, the coolness of Macs, and Microsoftis misstep with Vista, according to BusinessWeek on Thursday.

In the past, employee requests for a Mac on the desktop were met with a resounding rejection by IT managers who conjured up any possible reason to avoid supporting the Mac. With the recent growth in sales of Macs to consumers, millions of iPods and iPhones in place, and the pain of Vista, an opening has appeared. Employees are no longer willing to settle for a "Windows-by-day, Mac-by-night" existence.

Microsoftis Vista problems are perceived as an enormous technical mistake, and many enterprise employees and managers are in open revolt against a forced migration away from XP, perceived as good enough for business. Now, Apple is smelling blood. "Most of the companyis iIim a Maci ads are aimed at taking Vistais rep even lower, including one in which a yoga instructor gets stressed out about how Vista screwed up her billing system," Mr. Burrows wrote. [TMO notes that the reference to this ad is significant. It may be the best of the "Get A Mac" ads and literally goes for jugular.]

Apple still doesnit have an account representative for every business that wants some attention. Apple also avoids major enterprise agreements and secret briefings that would tie their hands, preferring instead to let the course of consumer technology remain dominant in their designs. Whatis interesting, however, is that in many cases, Apple doesnit have to lift a finger. Employees themselves are demanding Macs, and with more frequency, IT managers are acquiescing the author noted.

The impetus is appearing first on college campuses. A survey of 1,200 college undergraduates by Student Monitor revealed that almost half of those who intend to buy a notebook computer intend to buy a Mac. "Many of todayis technology decision-makers will ultimately be replaced by Mac users," said Eric Weil a partner with Student Monitor.

Dr. David B. Yoffie, a Harvard Business School professor who teaches top executives, is seeing more and more Macs in his classes. "Suddenly, the Mac is acceptable among these folks, and it all happened in the last year," he said.

The extensive article with input from Arik Hesseldahl, Stephen H. Wildstrom and Jay Greene is the best analysis to date of Apple stance in the Enterprise.