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. Good thing I don’t have to pay that amount to find the difference… having to do administrative work on both platform I can tell you if it was not for Windows many people in my division would not have their job. Mac issues are far less than Windows here…

    Say Cheeze!

  2. TF: You said Gamecocks. <cue Beavis laughter>
    I saw Yes in 1974 at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis. Lasers, floating cloud-like shapes with lights spinning inside. Poor Deadheads probably didn’t know that other acts were just as mind-blowing! I met Jon Anderson on a solo tour. Nice but very strange. His pen that sprayed gold ink was a bit odd.

  3. 1974? Wow, I was only 4…. Still a huge Yes fan, though… I had a chance recently to see Wakeman in concert in Charlotte, but could’nt talk my wife into going…

    Yea, I’ve heard that Jon was a weird one….hmmm…wonder what Mac product he uses….?

    All musicians are weird to one degree or another….I ought to know…

    And, BTW, I’ve got an autographed poster of Jon, Alan White, and Trevor Rabin that an old girlfriend gave me back in high school when they came to Charlotte on their Big Generator tour….Big deal….

  4. Doesn’t this just reinforce what we’ve known for a while now?

    Wanna surf the web and write letters, get either a Mac or PC.
    Wanna get some work done, get a Mac.

    I think even reports like this (although I’ll admit I haven’t read the whole thing) downplay the power of OSX combined with it’s strong ties to Apple hardware. Everything flows smoothly, and things just work- the iTunes/iPod combination is a perfect example. As far as power, I’m sure OSX can hold its own against the best server/enterprise computers out there. After all, they have a couple of computers on the Supercomputer list, don’t they?

  5. Jeff: Not a Manilow fan but he deserves respect for hard work and some catchy ad jingles. My first concert was Beethoven. Symphony 1, Op. 21 in 1800. We yelled for violin solos. I shouted, “Freebird,” not realizing how far ahead of the times I was. We all held up lit candles at the end hoping for an encore. Several powdered wigs caught fire. Hemp was everywhere. Good times.

  6. Folks,

    The report doesn’t matter; the facts don’t matter. The IT shops repeatedly score with false anaylsis of “efficiency of oneplatform” and their need to control everything on my machine. it doesn’t matter to them them that they maake my job more difficult – they just need that job security…

  7. Jedi Contortionist –

    I’ve got click, control-click, command-click, click=[enter] and app-switch-click&scroll; on my five-button programmable trackball with scroll wheel.

    Get a clue and stop acting like a snotty little puke.

  8. Jedi Master,

    If you haven’t got the message yet, plug a multi-button mouse into an OS X Mac and use the right button. If its an Apple Mighty Mouse, set the mouse preferences to activate right-click (it’s off by default). BTW, this is s pretty nice option… I’ve seen many very young and very old users who get confused by a multi-button mouse. Can Windows do that?

    MW – “maybe”: Maybe if you’d actually USE a Mac you’d not put your foot in your mouth.

  9. Jedi Master,

    WOW! I don’t think I’ve seen that stupid of a comment in a while. Thanks for the laugh you moron. Next time try pulling your head and your windoze box out of your ass and take a good look around before you make a complete fool of yourself.

  10. Good afternoon. A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.
    I am from East and learning to write in English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: “Which is a crime actually mentioned by name in our constitution, right alongside the word treason.”

    Thank 🙁 Miliani.

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