InformationWeek: Intel-based Macs won’t cause many businesses to replace their Windows PCs

“Now that Apple Computer has started using Intel chips, is it time for businesses to replace their Windows PCs with computers from the company that introduced personal computing to the world? Probably not,” Thomas Claburn and Darrell Dunn report for InformationWeek.

“By using standard Intel chips in its computers, Apple is assured of an abundant supply of state-of-the-art silicon at commodity prices. It also means that its Macintosh computers can keep pace with Windows machines as Intel keeps improving processor performance. And by rolling out Intel-based computers last week, six months ahead of schedule, Apple avoids a slowdown in sales, as customers won’t be waiting around for the new models,” Claburn and Dunn report. “For Apple users, the news is all good: The new computers using Intel’s Core Duo dual-core chips offer two to five times the performance of previous Apple computers. And Apple is selling the PCs for the same price as its older, slower computers.”

“But for companies that mainly use Windows computers, the faster Intel-based Macs don’t provide many reasons to make a quick switch to new hardware and a new operating system. The reasons most businesses don’t use Macs–insufficient software availability, compatibility, and interoperability–won’t disappear simply because Apple switched processors. David Frederickson, program director for defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp., has long used Apple computers at home. But the company’s move to Intel processors probably won’t change the computer systems Northrop buys, mostly because government contracts generally require the use of Windows. ‘The current version of the Mac OS is far superior to the Windows OS as far as the user interface and the security you can set up,’ he says. ‘But the type of chip in the system isn’t the deciding factor. It’s basically the operating system and functionality they wrap around it.’ That means Apple is unlikely to increase its share of the business market any time soon. But the “halo effect” of the spectacularly popular iPod and Apple’s easy-to-use digital-lifestyle computer software, along with the move to Intel chips, may help the company grab more of the consumer market,” Claburn and Dunn report.

“Apple is starting to gain some ground. It sold 1.25 million Macs during the last three months of 2005, up from 1.05 million a year earlier. That increase helped fuel record quarterly revenue of $5.7 billion, though most of the growth came from sales of 14 million iPods, up 10 million units from the same period a year ago,” Claburn and Dunn report.

“Eric Seiden, a VP at wholesale distributor and importer Interstate Screw Corp., which has five Macs and two Windows computers. ‘It’s not necessarily a pro-Mac thing, but it’s an anti-Microsoft and -Windows thing,’ he says. ‘Windows is prone to viruses and security flaws. My whole goal is I want the computer to work for me, and I don’t want to spend my whole life fixing the damn things.’ [But], as long as crucial business apps from vendors such as Oracle and SAP aren’t available on the Mac, Apple’s computers–regardless of which chip is inside–won’t be a serious option for many businesses,” Claburn and Dunn report.

Full article, with interesting survey results about why some businesses use and for what purposes, here.

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37 Comments

  1. “For Apple users, the news is all good: The new computers using Intel’s Core Duo dual-core chips offer two to five times the performance of previous Apple computers.”

    This info is used quite a bit in news articles.
    Doesn´t it make all the previous Macs looks like slow pigs? That Intel running computers were always superior to the PowerPC Macs?

    I would like to see some real time tests of software on the Mactels to see if they are 2-5 times faster. Anybody got a new Mactel? How is it in the speed dept?

  2. >David Frederickson, program director for defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp., has long used Apple computers at home. But the company’s move to Intel processors probably won’t change the computer systems Northrop buys, mostly because government contracts generally require the use of Windows. ‘The current version of the Mac OS is far superior to the Windows OS as far as the user interface and the security you can set up,’ he says. >

    Government offices are years behind the times. Oh, and it’s your money they p-ss away, so what do they care???

  3. HI

    I wish these writers of these articles we read and what they write would take a few pc classes especially Comp 101. Maybe than they would really understand the difference between cisc and risc processors. It’s like saying cray computers are slower than desktop computers in there eyes…. Get it write.. Joke

  4. “insufficient software availability, compatibility, and interoperability–won’t disappear simply because Apple switched processors. “

    Amazing the continued generalizations. Yeah not ALL software is available, but folks this is the real reason for the switch and the atom bomb is yet to be dropped.

    The fact that the chip isn’t the deciding factor is jsut the thing. Apple wants to make this an OS vs OS battle and eliminate the processor as a reason to object. as well as level the software playing field.

  5. Huh, corporate IT drones. Don’t expect any miracles guys. We need Wine/Codeweavers on Mac/Intel NOW! Only then are we even gonna see the forward looking ones rethink.

  6. Yeah, so what’s the point, I agree that that just because Macs now are using Intel doesn’t mean there will suddendly be a mass exodus in the business community..

    Apple isn’t targeting the business communtiy, they are targeting consumer users, and yes, there are enough consumer who will be making the “switch” to make a notable increase worldwide Mac marketshare.

    In all honesty, I don’t think Apple will ever beat out the Microsoft/PC marketshare, but I do think we will see Mac marketshare up around 10% again!

  7. I wonder how a 1.9g (in the iMac) power pc chip stacks up against a duo core 1.83. . . . .I mean wasn’t it argued that a factor of 1.5 was used to equate the risc & cisc chip performance. A 1.9 risc x 1.5 = 2.85 cisc? Shouldn’t this figure to be about the same or slightly better for a dual core, NOT 2-3x faster?.
    RDF in play here?

  8. Just a quick comment on the quote about Apps vendors such as Oracle and SAP… Unaware I guess, Oracle is a browser based Application suite and therefore does not require any specific platform to run on, i.e. a brower is a browsers is a browser.

    From the techie side of Oracle, they have written versions of their tools and their database that work on the MAC. Plus just to note, Oracle themselves use xServers in house to run their Collaboration Suite for email, calendaring, meetings, etc.

    I wonder if Claburn and Dunn should spend more time researching before they put they put their foot in their mouth.

  9. id like to know the specific applications the these guys need. this would be pretty useful information for apple to have.
    there are applicaions that are only on windows of course, i know some CAD apps, but what are the business apps that they they require? that arn’t on mac.
    lets pressure them into building mac versions, as well as educate them on the total cost of ownership deal. i cant beleive that people still think that a dell is cheaper, when you get the final price including tax, and compare it to an apple system, the apple is usually MUCH MUCH cheaper, but i guess closed minded people dont even look.
    also its a job protection issue, these IT managers dont switch or even consider apple because they are scared of it. they dont know about apple and how it can perform in a networked environment.
    apple should definately package together advertising direct to possible businesses, outlining the benefits, simplicity etc.
    but if you could have just one market what would it be? the consumer market with potential for great applications to run like iLife, or would you have the pretty drab affair of business? consumer market would win hands-down. maybe apple have decided to concentrate almost solely on consumers. makes sense.

  10. agree that business and government applications of pc technology are almost universally biased towards windows and dell because of standards and price. disagree that this will not change because there are no apps for mac like oracle and sap.

    both (oracle and sap) are moving to enterprise services models that are html/java based and macs do not lack the software to use those applications (apple may be wise here to get a special version of safari certified as an explorer clone-or this might be a nice job for the open source sorcerers). the biggest hurdles are the eyetee gatekeepers who want to minimize their headaches by specifying the simplest model for operations support in the name of cost savings when in reality their budget is the most wasted expenditure in any corporation.

    in most large businesses, the people who use eyetee are not the ones that manage it. so saving the eyetee manager’s budget sometimes translates into sub-optimizing the real revenue generating portion of large organizations. save a nickel, lose a dollar. my personal observation is the less eyetee managment impacts the everyday workers life, the more they know about the tools they are using and the better job they do. it is an eyetee myth that to have an engineer worry about their computer is a waste of engineering time. these are some of the reasons businesses that have eyetee management departments don’t buy mac desktops.

    btw, i think nsa (the spook folks) certify osx server as a secure enterprise server. windows server is approved conditionally (chuckle). sap requires unix or windows, oracle supports osx server. filemaker and 4d are best of class for small and midsize businesses. so the lack of business support is more of an support industry bias than a hardward or application bias.

    the issue of mac desktop use in business is more promising because of the industry migration from the client server mopdel to the enterprise services model. the battle in the server room is quite a bit more challenging.

    that said, i believe that the apple strategy to win the consumer war is probably more significant than the business desktop war. why? as a consumer, you or i do not have to deal with an eyetee bozo to buy the computer we want to use at home. kind of like redefining the mp3 market, apple is going to redefine the consumer electronic entertainment market. their competitors will not be dell and microsoft, but delivery folks like google and yahoo. end user competitors like sony and samsung. today apple has a lead. let’s see if they are smart enough to extend the mindshare they have today.

  11. what people seem to forget is that the intel in the new apples is next gen. when it goes into pcs it will make old windows comps look slow too. not because its intel vs g5/g4 but because its new versus old tech.

  12. I wonder how a 1.9g (in the iMac) power pc chip stacks up against a duo core 1.83. . . . .I mean wasn’t it argued that a factor of 1.5 was used to equate the risc & cisc chip performance. A 1.9 risc x 1.5 = 2.85 cisc? Shouldn’t this figure to be about the same or slightly better for a dual core, NOT 2-3x faster?.
    RDF in play here?

    Who said that current Intel chips ain’t RISC?

    The legacy IBM PC instruction set (ie classic intel binary instruction set) is not RISC but Intel chips are very much so. They just use an intermediate microcode layer to appear CISC like to the software. So there you have it.

    Not that it doesn’t matter, anyways. The notion that RISC is greatly advanced over CISC is an old prejudice of the academia. Like their favoring of the OSI network stack (which nobody really used!). Like their announcement some time ago that microkernels are THE thing of the future (well, Linus proved mr. Tanenbaum wrong in this one, and all three major OSs are either monolithic or hybrid, like OSX). Like they said that RDF (Resource Description Framework) and semantic web is the future. Anybody seen it, lately? Like they said (30 years ago!) that AI is really ready to be human-like. We know the results. Academia has its prejudices. And all eager young students take them at wholesale value and loom around forums passing on the “truth”. Well, I for one, am more pragmatic.

    In this light, the RISC = 1.5 x CISC is a really silly calculation! WTF?! This is even more hilarious than the Mhz myth!

    The new chips are not 2-3x faster, this is only on selected SPEC benchies, and quoted by Steve for marketing reasons. But they ARE 1.5 times faster (up to something like 2.5 times faster in special cases I guess). Newer generation, 65 m tech, re-designed pipeline, all count. Which is quite a feat for a CPU just out!

    Oh, and Altivec is not the be all end all that steps all over SSE. Specially SSE3. It just has a better name, and people are took Steve wholesale when we cheered for it. Wait till he sings the praises of SSE3.

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