Where Apple leads, Wintel follows years later

“Will it matter? Will the world really change now that Apple is rolling out a sub-$500 Mac named after a cute little car? Will the Mac Mini have any impact on corporate IT at all? The answers are pretty clear: Yes, no and sure, but not the way Mac lovers might expect,” Frank Hayes writes for ComputerWorld. “Let’s get the obvious analysis out of the way upfront: A $500 price tag won’t make corporate IT shops crave Macs. Heck, if Apple gave them away with a $500 bill taped to each machine, we still wouldn’t use them. The transition costs would be too high. But will the Mac Mini have an impact on us? Probably. And it’ll likely almost all be good news.”

Hayes writes, “We’re used to writing off Apple as irrelevant because Macs don’t run Windows software. (Strictly speaking, they can, but it’s usually not worth the trouble to make that happen.) There might be some Macs in marketing or some other odd corner of our corporate world. But Macs — with a measly 3% market share in desktop computers, by units shipped — aren’t mainstream. They’re not for us. That’s corporate IT gospel.”

Hayes writes, “But notice: Even at just 3%, there are still only seven companies in the world that sell more computers than Apple does. And most of those seven companies are sweating, because there’s not much they can do to innovate or differentiate in the lock-step, beige-box game… So if Apple wants to abandon floppy disks or sell computers in funny colors or shapes, it can. In contrast, PC makers have been trying since 1999 to get away from the beige tower and legacy features. So far, they haven’t even managed to get rid of parallel printer ports… Where Macs lead, PCs follow… For corporate IT, there’s no downside to the Mini. And any upside will take a year or so to hit us.”

Full article here.

41 Comments

  1. And all the while, we Mac-users just keep on enjoying our experience… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” /> Magic word: mind, as in We don’t mind!

  2. eh, why can’t they become leaders too? Printers have been using USB FOREVER, so why not get rid of the parallel port? Who’s really gonna care when most people get a new printer with a new pc? Who’s gonna care if you drop floppies when someone could just transfer the data using their old computer (or get a usb floppy drive if you love those disks so much). Dell, HP and all the rest could be “leaders” in scrapping the old and coming out with new stuff if they wanted to. There are two reasons why they don’t. A) They know about new technology and are just scared to make a big change…orrrrr B) they have no clue where technology is going and just wanna squeeze what they can outta PC buyers. I’m leaning towards option B.

    magic word: true, like what I just said above ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue laugh” style=”border:0;” />

  3. I dunno Dave, 5 years down the road some large companies may have priced out the osX advantages and switched. There is also room for Apple to create a slightly larger mac (with a real harddrive for instance) especially for business.

    Stockport cellar dwellers eh?

  4. It really is that difficult for PC manufacturers to change features or standard I/O ports.

    In my business, I am still using 12-13 year old dot matrix printers for multi-part forms. They obviously do not have USB ports, and I don’t have want to replace them, as it would require a major software re-write inside the application and report writer.

    I run my own small business (15 employees) and have always used Apple/Macs at home. Despite hating windows, I have found it IMPOSSIBLE to switch to Macs for my business so far (I do use a 17″PB for myself though ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> )

    Apple has a major challenge to overcome the legacy requirements of businesses.

  5. Sure, maybe the corporate IT industry is not going to consider Apple (not yet anyway). That’s the whole point of being corporate. It takes alot of guys in suits to make a single decision, and it’s not usually based on the overall good, but the short term effects and costs that the executives are willing to make. Anyway, I’m not in corporate IT, but I am in IT, and I’m proud that I can sit here and waste time surfing the net because all my servers are XServes running OS X, 10.3, and I don’t have to do much to maintain my network of 450 users. Piece of cake.

  6. Joe

    I really can’t see it happening. If anything bites into Windows domination of the corporate space, it’s going to be Linux. Apple’s constant supply problems, mixed with IBM’s support of Linux, basically rule Macs out of large scale companies. I don’t think the mini will change that, but at least the Mac will benefit from a lot more business software being ported.

    As for Stockport, I’m beginning to give up hope. Looks like we’re heading down 🙁

  7. Apart from Dave H’s Stockport County thing (at least he doesn’t support Manchester City, which would be as least as disappointing but more expensive), he’s right about the SME thing for Mac mini.

    In the USA and the UK, the average company is actually quite small: on the last Government stats I researched, the average business in the UK had 16.8 employees.

    If Apple could get its head out of its collective ass, it would realise that there is some value in going after that kind of SME market with a pre-configured deal starting with an Xserve and 5 Mac minis. Option packs would provide screens/keyboard/mice and add-on packs would add 5 Mac minis at a time.

    Add in a deal from a reliable broadband supplier, and – here’s an idea – develop some advertising that shows how OS X works for business and watch the deals come in.

  8. Joe, Actually, I just want to know if you’ve ordered a mini yet. Maybe you’ve said and I just missed it. I wonder that every time I see your name in these comment sections.

  9. It works the other way around. How often do you have to wait for a Mac port of software?

    Where Windows leads, Macs (sometime) follow.

    I’m amazed at how easily you can make the same arguments either way and be correct. Yet… in every zealot’s eyes, you’re a trolling idiot.

    I use both Macs & PCs. They both work quite well for me. Right now though, I wish the PowerBook upgrades were worth the wait. 🙁

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