Prejudice keeps Apple Mac out of the enterprise

Apple Store“Apple Inc. is currently putting significant effort into gaining major penetration of the education market here in the UK, seeing it as obvious territory for its products. It has good case studies and reference sites, which testify to lower set-up and maintenance costs for deployments of Macs in schools. It provides training for teachers, and even has a section of its website dedicated to education ( It is, however, finding it hard work because the big brands in UK education are RM (formerly known as Research Machines), which focuses on the education market, Cisco, which has its Networking Academy Program, and of course Microsoft,” Mike Davis writes for Enterprise Networks and Servers.

Davis writes, “Unfortunately, Apple is still perceived from its brand as ‘specialist IT’ and ‘consumerist.’ with its computers being favored by the media industry, and its impressive recent fortunes being delivered on the back of iPods and iTunes. This does not just apply in the education market but also in mainstream business, where I have often been told by Butler Group subscribers that they would not consider the 1u rack-mounted Xserve as a replacement for their Dell or IBM server, because Apple ‘are best at iPods and design’ and ‘are not a real computing company.’ Yes, it can be argued that Microsoft does well in both the business and consumer markets, but again, people buy an Xbox, not a Microsoft Xbox, and Microsoft software including Media Center is not deployed on Microsoft-branded hardware.”

“Brand is a lot more than a logo, as Apple Inc. knows from its recent challenge in court from Apple Corp. regarding the distribution of music through iTunes. The company [Apple] is going to have to do a lot more to change business and IT decision-makers’ perceptions of its position including, I believe, potentially having a different brand for ‘business’ products. For although I am listening to my iPod while I type, my Butler Group computer is an HP notebook running Microsoft Windows,” Davis writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In February, Apple displaced Dell to take the #1 spot in the western Europe education market, with15.2% share and saw a similar increase in their UK education market share rising to 12.5%. So, whatever Apple is doing is obviously working better than Davis’ article would have readers believe.

To paraphrase our “Take” on this subject back in March: IT people have been given the role of “decision makers” when they should not have that power. If CEOs and upper management in many industries want the upper hand over their competitors, they’d be smart to stop being lazy, learn about technology, investigate the Mac’s advantages, take back their rightful decision-making power, and make the best technology decisions for their companies. Or hire people who are able and willing to do so. If it means they’ll have to reduce their IT departments because Macs are less prone to trouble, so be it.

Obviously, IT “pros” will not decide to move to the Mac platform if it means their staffing levels and power within the organization will be diminished. In our travels, we’ve found that the open-minded IT person, one who will seriously consider the Apple Mac option, is an extremely rare find. Apple will have an uphill battle breaking into corporate environments unless and until the decisions are made by people focused on benefits to the entire company, not by those who are choosing technology that helps bolster their own job security and power.

Related articles:
Macs vastly outnumber Windows PCs in Isle of Man schools – May 12, 2006
Apple Mac is #1 in European education market, pushes Dell down into second place – February 03, 2006
Apple takes No. 1 spot in western Europe education; next step: overcome corporate IT ‘mistrust’ – March 05, 2006
Defending Windows over Mac a sign of mental illness – December 20, 2003


  1. Wow.


    What the freak do you guys do for a living? Everything in every industry?

    Way to go on your observations. They are very keen.

    John Gee

    (not sarcastic)
    (very impressed lately with MDN comments)

  2. And the above article highlights why a Sun-Apple merger could work, because if Apple & Sun combined Apple would be taken more seriously in the enterprise.

    I’m not making a business case for the merger, because since I don’t know the numbers, I have no prediction as to whether it would work.

    But I’m quite sure that Wednesday Dvorak was spouting someone else’s reasonable speculation…

  3. the isle of man example says it all

    the whole computer system ( mac based ) handled by just a few guys

    if the education system in the uk went mac , all those wankers would lose their overpaid jobs , so of course they won’t let macs in

    a bit like the nhs computer fuck up

    it’s all back handers and corruption

  4. I think skill set is also part of the problem, as seifert alluded to. The vast majority of IT personnel have been educated on only Microsoft systems. (I’m a recent IT graduate, though I work in software development). This means they only know Microsoft, and not even UNIX, which would help ease the transition to Mac.

    It’s hard to recommend something you know nothing about, in addition to the economic reasons mentioned by MDN as well.

  5. My relative has recently started a medium-sized company selling his patented anti-phishing software for banks. He’s totally equipped his company with Macs for the simple reason that he doesn’t have to spend any of his time worrying about on-line security.

  6. shows how good windows is, he had to listen to his ipod, cause his hp couldnt play itunes as well word at the same time ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> lol

  7. It isn’t job security that has IT folks concerned; it has more to do with the notion of “asset inertia.” It means simply that since a massive investment has already been made in a certain infrastructure, it will take a very compelling rationale to change that infrastructure.

    Image: 10,000 PC’s in an organization, and someone comes along and says, “switch to Mac’s”. It isn’t going to happen, and it isn’t because people are arrogant or ignorant. The economics have to be there.

    That’s not to say Macs couldn’t be phased on over time. For example, many companies replace their PC’s every 3 years, meaning 1/3 are replaced each year. Some of these replacements could be Macs.

    But to an overworked IT staff, this is adding more work, not less, because they still have to support the older PC infrastructure; and there is natural resistance to this approach.

    Apple needs to promote itself as an IT company – that will help. The perception now is that it is a consumer-products company, and that doesn’t play so well in IT. Who will buy a server from a music store?

  8. In February, Apple displaced Dell to take the #1 spot in the western Europe education market, with15.2% share and saw a similar increase in their UK education market share rising to 12.5%. So, whatever Apple is doing is obviously working better than Davis’ article would have readers believe.

    Another fine example that journalists are, for the most part, ignorant of their subject and too lazy to learn enough about it, to write an accurate article.

  9. Why should Corporate IT take Macs when Apple are so damn secretive about upcoming products all the time? Let’s go into theory for the moment. Pretend a company with 40k employees decided two years ago to phase out their PCs and replace them with Macs. One year and 15,000 computers in, Apple suddenly announces it’s moving to the Intel architecture. This means that whoever made the decision to adopt Apple looks stupid all of a sudden. EVERYONE around him/her is pointing out their bad decision. Their career is gone, and the company has to rethink their entire decision about the remaining 25,000 machines.

    I would like nothing better than to see Apple make inroads into the enterprise, but until they change their attitudes towards business, it isn’t going to happen.

  10. I believe Apple is making progress toward becoming a larger factor in the business arena – however, as with most things Apple does, they will jump in with both feet when they feel they are in a position to do it well and succeed. They aren’t there yet. They are too dependent on MS office – the defacto standard software for businesses and, if I am not mistaken other standard big business aps also are not yet native for the Mac (e.g., Oracle, Lotus Notes, etc.). I believe if/when these products come to the Mac (inevitable as the Mac gains market share in the consumer space, education, small business etc.) and apple has more internal infrastructure to support the demands of big businesses, you will see them move into this market in a big way. If I had to guess I would say somewhere between 3-6 years from now.

    Just my 2 cents.

  11. And what would be the issue there? The company would get the rest of Macs as Intel base. Both PowerPC and Intel based Macs running the same operating system, OS X, services created with and for PowerPC continue to work flawlessly and without interruption…

    Not only that, a company would go with AFS, Apple Financial Services, where one can protect the investment against obsolescence by having the clause that whenever a new model/technology comes from Apple your old hardware is SWAPPED with the new one.

    I’d say that the guy who had proposed Macs in is 40k employees corporate business is up for a promotion. The company is getting 40k new Intel Macs without losing initial investment.

    WHY I know about it? BECAUSE I DID IT!

  12. The problem Apple faces in all corporate-mentality markets, be it enterprise or education, is legacy software and installed base. Most enterprise-class business software is written on Windows and for Windows. I’m IT & Web Services Manager at a $15M/yr commercial print company and I can tell you that our Macs are beloved in prepress and nonexistent anywhere else, simply because they can’t run the client application for our ERP system, which is Windows-only. Also, they can’t run Outlook and Entourage as a replacement for Outlook pretty much sucks.

    Now, yes, that scenario is changing, for a couple of reasons. Maybe you can run the ERP software in a VM environment like Parallels. Maybe CrossOver Mac will be the killer app that finally opens the door to running Windows software on a Mac without installing Windows. And more and more, web-enabled apps are being developed in Java, which is a great platform leveler.

    But the fact of the matter is that the business world has Windows pumping deeply in its veins. To compete, the Mac has to be able to run Windows software totally seammlessly and transparently. It has to run Windows software better than Windows does.

    I hope to see that coming because I waste hours every day administering idiotic Windows problems that shouldn’t be happening. I’m a dedicated Mac user since I got my first Mac Plus in 1986.

    Happy Labor Day. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  13. “Apple displaced Dell to take the #1 spot in the western Europe education market, with15.2% share”

    But it’s not an Apple vs Dell battle but an Apple vs Everyone Else Battle.

    Even taking MDN’s figures as true (Seldom smart practice) then it’s still 84.8% Other 15.2% Mac.

    “open-minded IT person”

    More likely an MDN “open minded IT person” is not one who’s critically evaluated the Apple option and rejected it, but only one who’s critically evaluated the Apple option and accepted it. I beleive the former are quite common and the latter are quite rare.

  14. Lots of good thoughts.

    But you know, I am tired of trying to help people. Let those who are too stupid or lazy, fail.

    A friend recently asked me about which computer to buy. I considered their knowledge (none) spare time (none) computer ability (none) and suggested a Mac Mini or laptop. They thought that it was a good idea and would consider it when they were ready to buy.

    Later, a relative, hooked them up with a new HP laptop for about $1400.

    I got it set up for wireless (took about 2 hours) and tried to trash some sample files I had used to show them how to make things work.

    I could not empty the trash. The computer would not let me. !!!!! AFter another hour, I found that if I did 8 specific steps, then the computer would let me empty the trash.

    I just walked away. I wonder what they will do when they get loaded with spyware, viruses, and a full trash.????? I am sure someone will try and help for $150 per hour. Hey, its not my money, time, etc.


  15. MDN Writes: “Apple will have an uphill battle breaking into corporate environments unless and until the decisions are made by people focused on benefits to the entire company, not by those who are choosing technology that helps bolster their own job security and power.”

    W. Edwards Deming, the American quality guru, talked about exactly this phenomenon. He said that most companies set the stage such that their employees are most likely to do what is best for the employee rather than what is best for the company. Deming then defined steps which management should take so that employees will do what is best for the company. America didn’t really listen to Deming, but Japan did (Deming was part of the post-war revival of Japan).

    Since most American companies do not operate by (nor even know of) Deming’s principles, don’t look for larger businesses to adopt Mac’s anytime soon. Small business will be the first (and many already have). Then medium sized businesses. Big business will be a day late and dollar short (and will be bringing up the rear).

    MW: “fact,” as in “that’s a fact.”

  16. One more thing to be pointed in this subject. I’m 100% sure that Apple do not use ruindous in the company, they don’t need it. We con see at Apple Store all computer is a Mac. The iTunes Music Store run on a Mac and WebObject and most likely Apple use Xserver and Xsan too. For sure they use Sun Solaris, SAP and Oracle for their ERP but never use ruindous server 2005. Do you think if there is a better case then Apple? The CEO just need to visit Apple and see under what system they use to run their buseness.

  17. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make the stupid sonofabitch drink.

    Microsoft has to screw up big time for Apple to take away significant market share.

    Contrary to MDN’s opinion on this issue, the cheap, XP clone version of Vista will work on all existing Windows XP hardware. There will be no significant cost to business to stick with cheap Dells and low end Vista.

    Microsoft hasn’t screwed up. One version of Vista is backward compatible. End of story.

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