Pfeiffer Consulting: Mac vs Windows: Total Cost of Ownership, Productivity and Return on Investment

Pfeiffer Consulting has released a 200 page report, “Macintosh/Windows: Cost and Productivity Analysis – Total Cost of Ownership, Productivity and Return on Investment,” (1999,00€) that details the results of an international survey of Macintosh and Windows platforms in professional publishing. The report is based on extensive international market research covering companies from the United States and 5 European countries, as well as extensive productivity and efficiency measures. The report is specifically conceived to provide corporate IT decision makers with data-driven analysis and recommendations, this book-length research study provides a unique resource in the complex process of choosing the right computing platform.

Pfeiffer says, “This report provides strategic data and analysis for IT decision makers who need to gain in-depth understanding of differences between Macintosh and Windows computing platforms in terms of total cost of ownership, efficiency/productivity, and return on investment. Created with extensive involvement from major publishers and media groups in Europe and the United States, “Macintosh/Windows: Cost and Productivity Analysis” provides real-world total cost of ownership information on Windows and Macintosh platforms, covering purchase costs, cost of deployment and administration, as well as security-related costs. In addition to extensive market research and international data collection, extensive productivity benchmarks developed specifically for this research project provide detailed data on the productivity and user interface efficiency of the two platforms, both for common user interface operations and for publishing specific tasks and workflow situations.”

Pfeiffer recommends the following groups of interest:
• Senior IT executives
• Corporate IT decision makers
• Technology managers in publishing and media groups

Key Information contained in the report:
• Research data: purchase, administration and security costs for both platforms
• Key data on the attitude of IT decision makers to operating systems.
• Complete results of productivity benchmarks and user interface efficiency measures
• Cost analysis and TCO data based on reported purchase costs, lifespan of computers, staffing and adminsitration data
• ROI projections based on market-specific productivity measures
• Analysis and Recommendations

More info here.

IT-Enquirer has an article about the Pfeiffer Report that explains, “Pfeiffer found that needs and attitudes differ greatly depending on the level of involvement. In most corporations, Windows machines are used for office tasks and general computing. Macintosh computers on the other hand are used by creative users –that is at least the traditional break-up of users. Pfeiffer, however, has a far more granular approach to who uses Macs: he says Macintosh computers are deployed mainly in deadline-driven departments– a distinction which allows for greater accuracy in determining what type of group exactly benefits from using Macs.”

“Pfeiffer also distinguishes three levels of attitude towards the Mac platform. The anti-Mac group as a strong tendency towards standardisation of computers to the Windows platform. Consequently, as soon as it is possible –read: whenever the same functionality seems to be delivered on Windows machines– the Macs go out the door and are replaced by Windows machines. Pfeiffer reports that the main reason for doing so is that Macs are perceived as being difficult to integrate with Windows PCs. The report states that most organisations in this group were still using Mac OS 9 instead of Mac OS X,” IT-Enquirer reports.

“The anti-Mac group was long countered only by an almost fanatic group of Mac-afficionados. It looks like this has changed. Pfeiffer sees a second group which he calls critical but pragmatic. This group considers Macintosh computers better suited (more mature) than Windows with respect to publishing functionality and overall productivity. This group looks upon Apple as not being a good enterprise player. The report states this is because Apple does not provide for a proper technology road map, and for not making hardware fully backward compatible,” IT-Enquirer reports. “Of course, the latter is a contradiction in terms, and the respondents in this group should know better: it is by making everything so far backwards compatible that Windows is inferior to Mac OS X in several areas. The third approach is the pro-Mac attitude: this group will only use Windows when they really have to, and where they see an economic benefit in using Windows.”

“The report does state Windows support personnel could easily support Macs as well. A rather large minority says that staff would need extra training. Surprisingly, a large number of administrators say they feel replacing Macs with Windows will increase administration costs. Companies that have made the move from older Mac OS systems to Mac OS X experience a decrease in support requirements in comparison to the older systems. Users tend to find the user experience on Mac OS X better and more efficient than on Windows. User preference is reported by Pfeiffer to be a significant hurdle in corporate plans to standardise to Windows,” IT-Enquirer reports. “Pfeiffer states the Mac has less “user interface friction” than Windows has. The term cleverly defines what users at least instinctively feel when they switch back and forth between a Mac and a Windows PC. This User Interface Friction is most aggravating when working on a tight deadline. That’s why the report sees their impact most noticeable in those deadline-driven environments… What surprisingly is no longer a differentiating factor between Macs and Windows PCs, is cost. Pfeiffer states the purchase cost of a Mac and a Windows PC have become very close, particularly when compared on a per-year basis for the expected life-span of the computers.”

Full article here.

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Related articles:
Apple Macintosh simply does more and costs less than Windows PCs – February 14, 2006
FBI: Viruses, spyware, other computer-related crimes cost U.S. businesses $67.2 billion per year – February 01, 2006
Windows to Mac switchers: recommendations and Total Cost of Ownership analysis – September 29, 2005
Apple Macs are less expensive than Dell PCs – April 24, 2005
Apple Macs are far easier, cost less to manage than Windows boxes – March 02, 2005
Novell CEO: ‘Microsoft sucked $60 billion out of IT industry that could have used for innovation’ – September 13, 2004
Switching from Windows to Mac OS X costs less than you think – August 18, 2004
Windows worms and viruses cost companies average of $2 million per incident – July 08, 2004


  1. Reports of this type have been released with regularity for YEARS, but it seems that the entire entrenched FUD driven Windows-cintric IT sector either cannot read or does not comprehend the reports’ conclusions.

    One would think that corporate bean counters would have pushed big shifts to Mac OS X, especially with money saving trends like outsourcing and “creative accounting” and the scourge of viruses, malware and spyware.

    It’s interesting that Macs are getting easier to use, are more stable than they used to be (vs. Windows, of course) and cost about the same as Windows machines… YES, if they are configured about equally, of course.

  2. “…and resort to using the left pinky finger for the control key which is weaker and more awkward.”

    May I suggest Schrimer’s or Alfred’s introductory piano practice books. Working on those lessons might be tough, but it’ll strengthen those pinky fingers! (Plus make your arpeggios sound sweet as hell – you may even sound like Rick Wakeman with a little sweat!)

  3. I completely agree that the Command key is easier to get to than the Windows control key.

    While we’re on piano, though, just to assuage anyone thinking I have small hands that can’t reach the Control key way over there, I routinely reach and play 3 keys over an octave and can reach, though not productively so, 5 keys beyond an octave.

  4. I’ve played piano since I was five. I mastered Wakeman’s Six Wives of Henry VIII years ago. (I also have an unlabeled LP studio pressing of Rick in a practice session. Fun to listen to.)

    I do use right-click in many apps especially the Finder but that has little or nothing to do with most of the common key combinations like command-Q. Besides the point is some people are more productive with mostly keyboard navigation. Like the piano, I produce more with both hands on the keyboard. I’m sure that three handed people can do it all.

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