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.


  1. “There’s job security in virii repair and replacment for IT people.”

    the people who have to spend all their time removing virii are grunts at the bottom of the pecking order who have do all the crap work. why would anyone want to stay in that job longer than is absolutely necessary?

  2. Mac stealing corporate IT? Might not be practical more importantly because of the open source Linux. But, do I care? I’m always the center of attraction with my iBook around and I love that distinction. People who cannot get away from the mundane stinking Windows better not have the privilege of using a Mac.

  3. It doesn’t have to be a sudden violent switch. I would like to see more businesses gradually add Macs in where they will fit compatibly in the network. And there are tons of places in a large business where this is true. Software costs would be more than offset by reduced downtime and less cost in IT support. Let the IT guys start to produce something that will be new and benefit the company rather than just spend all their time running around putting out small fires.

  4. Just read the full article. This was one of the more significant quotes I thought:

    “What if the Mini takes off? The Mac might edge into being a viable option for corporate IT. Then we’d have three options on our short list: generic Windows PCs, generic Linux PCs and Macs. Remember the “10 and 2” rule: “Ten is too many; two is not enough.” It would be really good to have three flavors to use in playing vendors off one another”

  5. Unitbob: What part of the word MAJOR do you not understand? Cappuccino PC? Pu-lease

    And did you notice that the only machine they sell that is as small as the Mac mini USES A PENTIUM III. Yes, I said a Pentium III.


    magic word: coming …no comment.

  6. Dave H:

    Actually, the 0.8 often represents the learning-impaired company accountant who never looks beyond the sticker price of the computer. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  7. Re: Unitbob and cappuccinpc.com

    Just checked out cappuccinopc, Unitbob. Sure, you can get all kinds of barebone systems for under $500, but by the time you include the add-ons required to match the mini’s minimal specs (256MB RAM, 40GB 2.5″ hard drive @4200 rpm, CDRW/DVD-ROM drive and Windows XP), your sub-$500 pc is over $800.

    Granted, you can save by going Linux rather than windows (I won’t even get into the OSX vs. windows debate), but you’re still comparing apples and oranges because the mini has faster front side bus, faster ram and larger l2 cache than the sub-$500 pcs I saw at cappuccinopc.

    On the pro-pc side, yes you’re getting more expandability for your money. Some of the pcs support 2 GB of ram, and have more ports. By the time you plug your keyboard into a mini, you’re down to one USB and one FireWire port. The cappuccinos also give you more flexibility on the kind of hard drive they will accommodate (faster, larger 3.5″ drives, including serial ata) and pci expansion.

    Is that expandability worth the extra bucks? That’s up to the user, but for what you’re getting when you buy the mini, I’ve yet to see anything in its class.

  8. Actually, the 0.8 often represents the learning-impaired company accountant who never looks beyond the sticker price of the computer.

    MCCFR, truer words are rarely spoken! It’s been my experience that the expression ‘you get what you pay for’ never stands a chance against the ever-reliable ‘the project was awarded to the lowest bidder’.

  9. http://www.pricewatch.com/ > click on ‘PC Windows’ or ‘PC No OS’. There is a list of shops and manufactures a mile long with PCs in the sub $200 range, complete machines, they’ll even throw in a mouse and keyboard, and they are all faster than a mac mini.

    The fact that these are not “Major” manufactures is the beauty of PCs, they don’t have to be IBM or HP, any company can make them and sell them. If you’re not sure about quality buy Intel chips only lots of people make Intel chipset motherboards and are very reputable, and they are NOT Intel (Abit, Asus, Iwill etc.).

    As for “Major” I spent about a minute looking on http://www.dell.com and found this :

    399.99 comes with a 19 CRT or 17 LCD and a printer, funny now the ‘entry’ desktop is a 2.8GHz. Guess if you have an entire company 4x the size of Apple just making processors they make them a little higher quality.


    Every stat on this PC is better than the mac-mini. That is unless you’re a fanatic and truly believe that a 700MHz PPC is actually faster than a 3.4GHz P4. In this case there is no PC made that can out run an Apple IIGS.

    Realistically the mini doesn’t even come close to the price a PC@1.7GHz/256mb/40HDD would go for, not that anyone still sells a model that old. You’re really just paying for an off white case with a little fruit on it.

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