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.

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