Macintosh Acceptance in Enterprise Continues Unabated

What was a slow, incremental trend is turning into something stronger as more and more corporations have changed their approach to the Apple Macintosh. In the past, many emotional reasons prevented the adoption of the Mac, but in 2008, a new set of criteria has emerged in the IT culture that is leading to significant Apple penetration in the enterprise.

Ms. Laura Didio provided TMO with an advance copy of the independent ITIC and Sunbelt Software, non-sponsored Web survey. [Non-sponsored means that no external company paid for the research.] The survey survey polled over 700 corporations worldwide on a variety of technology and business related topics.

Survey Results

Here's a summary of the results for Apple in the enterprise:

  • Over two-thirds of the 700 survey respondents – 68% -- indicated they are likely to allow their end users to deploy Macs as their corporate enterprise desktops in the next 12 months.
  • Seven out of 10 businesses – 70% -- rated the security of the Apple Mac and OS X as “Excellent” or “Very Good.”
  • An 82% majority of corporations rated the reliability of the Mac hardware and OS X 10.x as “Excellent” or “Very Good.”
  • Over three-quarters of businesses – 77% -- have Macintoshes present in their environments.
  • Almost one-quarter or 23% have a significant number of Macintoshes (> 50) present in their organizations.
  • Half of all the survey respondents – 50% -- said they plan to increase integration with existing Apple consumer products such as the iPhone to allow users to access corporate Email and other applications.

The Modern Mac Consciousness

A phone chat with Ms. Didio, a principal with ITIC, revealed several interesting, modern effects. She confirmed that there is a identifiable "consumerization of the enterprise." What that means is that the consumer awareness of Apple's advanced technology Macs, iPods and iPhones combined with personal purchases of those items at home has opened the door to the same products in the enterprise. That's often despite the objections by older, Microsoft/PC oriented IT managers. However, many of them are retiring.

There was a time, 15 years ago, when corporations had the best technology and home users were stuck with slow, modem-based Macs. Nowadays, Apple maintains a slavish devotion to the latest technologies, sometimes to the irritation of some. However, it has a payoff in consumer technical appreciation. Consumers with MacBooks, built-in iSight cameras, SSDs, DisplayPort, lighted keyboards, and synced iPhones tend to carry that technology into their work place, a kind of "consumer sensibility," and insist that it be made available there as well.

It's been well documented that the Apple "Get a Mac" ads have aided this process of helping to define the consumer consciousness.

The missteps by Microsoft with Vista have also helped the process. While Vista is likely more secure than XP out of the box, corporations have at their disposal additional technologies that close the gap. On the other hand, application and driver incompatibility problems have offset the security advantages. The ITIC report found that almost two years after the release of Vista, only 10 percent of the respondents have deployed Vista. XP is the primary desktop for 88 percent.

This is despite the fact that when those 10 percent actually deployed Vista, 27 percent said that Vista's performance, reliability and security were Very Good or Excellent.

A Mathematical Progression

Recently, I wrote an analysis of the mathematics that are leading to the acceptance of the Mac in the home. The best estimates are that in the U.S., Apple has about a 10 percent market share and, perhaps, 3.5 percent worldwide.

However, numbers for Apple's specific penetration in the enterprise and government are hard to come by. I have seen estimates of about two percent, but it may be more in late 2008. What the ITIC study suggests, along with others I've seen, is that Apple's presence in the enterprise is still on the very low side of the Gaussian growth curve, but that it is accelerating, and, most importantly the same cultural forces that are driving the Mac into the home and colleges are starting to appear in the enterprise.

It may take quite a bit longer for Apple to get to a very desirable market share in the enterprise, say, 20 percent, but if the current trends continue with the "consumerization of the enterprise" and the seemingly inevitable mathematical progression, brought on by Internet communication, it's not hard to predict continuing growth and success of the Mac in business and government.

How fast that acceleration will be in the enterprise is anyone's guess right now, but it's likely to mirror Apple's success with the consumer. After the U.S. recession is over and Baby Boomer IT managers start to retire in droves, the acceleration could very well increase.