Conditions are right for Mac to grow beyond its niche in business, some say it’s already happening

“While in the past few years Apple has gotten the most attention from iPods and iTunes, a financial report Wednesday shows it’s selling more Macintosh computers than ever before. What’s more, some see the company expanding beyond its niche status in the business world,” Thomas Claburn reports for InformationWeek.

“Apple sold 1.61 million Macs during its 2006 fourth fiscal quarter, breaking its previous quarterly record of 1.38 million Macs sold, in the first fiscal quarter of 2000. The company sold 8.72 million iPods during the fourth quarter. That represents 30% growth in Mac sales and 35% growth in iPod sales over the same period last year,” Claburn reports.

“Apple’s only real strength in the business world is in graphics and publishing. But Robert Irlbeck, president of Evolution Networks, a systems integration and software development company based in Oakland, Calif., says he sees Apple making gains in other areas, particularly among “alpha geeks”: Senior IT pros who have gravitated to the Mac because of its Unix foundation,” Claburn reports.

“Irlbeck says he has seen several small companies move to the Mac platform, but notes that some barriers remain. While Apple’s decision to move to Intel chips took some of the risk out of buying Macs, he says many businesses still have to run Windows for applications like Microsoft Project or Visio, or certain Web applications that depend on Internet Explorer,” Claburn reports.

MacDailyNews Note: Remember those “roadblocks thrown into the mix by Microsoft… proprietary ‘tech’ that’s designed to keep Windows users shackled to Windows” that we talked about yesterday?

Claburn continues, “Small- and medium-sized businesses will continue to be more receptive to Apple than larger companies, predicts technology analyst Rob Enderle. One problem is Apple’s refusal to provide product roadmaps to large companies, Enderle says, the way that Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and other tech companies do. However, the fact that Intel details the direction of its chip development may satisfy IT managers looking for something more than Apple’s semi-annual theatrics. Another potential problem for Apple, says Enderle, is that government agencies want competitive bidding for contracts. Because of regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, the government tries to avoid sole-sourced deals, and Apple is the sole supplier of Macs.”

“And don’t forget that the Apple generation will become tomorrow’s professionals. “Fast forward four years from now, where this entire freshman class at college that has gone in with an iPod and a MacBook is getting ready to graduate,” Hoopes says. ‘I think we’re going to have a very interesting dynamic on our hands in that a lot of people, new workers in the workforce, knowledge workers, are going to demand that they work on Apple [Mac].’ A CIO at a large U.S. university, who requested anonymity, says that the percentage of incoming freshmen using Macs at his college increased from 11% in 2005 to 25% this year, reversing years of decline.Claburn reports.

Full article, with even Enderle making sense, here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve made Mac usage a condition for accepting employment in the past. Not that you have to go so far, but we figure, if you’re going to spend 8-10 hours per day at work on a personal computer, why consign yourself to hell when heaven’s just a Mac away? At work, ask for a Mac, and keep asking regularly. Sometimes they’ll do it just to shut you up. Call it a PC on the forms. Avoid the names “Apple” and “Mac.” Tell them it runs Windows. Do whatever you have to do. Because once you get Macs into a Windows-only shop, wonderful things start to happen.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Getting Macs into businesses despite the IT department – July 19, 2006
Apple takes No. 1 spot in western Europe education; next step: overcome corporate IT ‘mistrust’ – March 05, 2006
FBI: Viruses, spyware, other computer-related crimes cost U.S. businesses $67.2 billion per year – February 01, 2006
Survey shows Apple Macs owned by nearly 10 percent of US small and medium-sized businesses – February 17, 2005
Group of America’s largest corporations complain about software vulnerabilities, security expenses – May 20, 2004


  1. On January1st, IBM will stop reselling Lenovo computers. Maybe then will I be able to use my Mac more frequently at work ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  2. “Oh my GOD, without Powerpoint, we can’t do anything in our office” -FUD induced paronoid work drone.

    Yeah right.

    Powerpoint is a fluff application for communicating at a 6th grade level.

    I think we can live without it in the New Mac Economy (TM).

    (although last time i checked, I already had powerpoint on my ibook)

  3. There seems to be a real fear about Macs in many IT peoples’ minds. Many would lose their jobs if Windows wasn’t around. At my wife’s work, for example, there is an open hostility to Macs, to the point of setting up systems that exclude Mac users. Somehow, Apple has to change these prejudices in order to make inroads into big business.

  4. The only way I would be able to run a Mac at work is if Autodesk ported Autocad and the Land Development Products to the Mac. I do not wish to run Windows XP under Bootcamp just to run Autocad. Side note I had to reboot 5 times yesterday and I was running simple tasks. Ugh……

  5. Yesterday we denied that anone but a few arty types were ever going to use a Mac.

    Today, small and medium sized business are switching to Macs. But its not for big business.*

    Tomorrow we will say…err what will we say.

    *Anyone reckon that that market leading innovator and $60billion company called Apple Computer Inc uses Windows?

  6. I have first hand experience that the Mac is coming back to business. Ever heard of SAP Corporation. Yes there bringing in the Mac. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  7. I’ve been saying it for years: Macs have to begin to show measurable gains in the non-creative workplace. When that begins to show up on the radar we will finally see general consumption of Macs move dramatically upward in dramatically fast time – Just watch. This has been the perceptual road block all along.

  8. Vista (no matter how awful it really is) will kill this talk. Dead. Apple is going to have to be satisfied with single digit market share now and forever.

    Really, better for the Mac faithful – maybe it will keep Apple from tumbling into the trap of mass producing a slew of mediocre machines all lined up on the shelf with Dells, HPs, etc., etc.

    The future: a larger tiny hand held moving picture box called the iPod Video with operations you can control by touching the screen. Oh, and you can make telephone calls with it. And, take low res pictures.

  9. Fear in IT people’s minds? No such thing from my perspective. IT techs and managers are more receptive to the Mac than they have been in years. They are also becoming healthily cynical towards Microsoft and its products. I don’t think it would take much to tip a few medium to large companies into switching to Mac. One glaring factor is the lack of an integrated Exchange type product. Apple could solve this by working with Novell to get Netmail running on and integrated into OSX. Novell would fall over themselves at the chance of a new market and both companies would benefit greatly.

    As for Project and Visio, Omnigroup are working on that one. As long as there are compatible alternatives, the need for the original product diminishes greatly.

  10. “… breaking its previous quarterly record of 1.38 million Macs sold, in the first fiscal quarter of 2000 …”

    heh. That previous quarterly record in first fiscal quarter 2000? That particular record was mostly from the then phenomenal distribution of those G3 iMacs. Eh?

    No particular point, except perhaps to call attention to the reality that off-the-charts sales periods create notable bodies of legacy hardware users by default, a circumstance which Apple has not been notable for having to address in the past. Now the monster sales are happening once again. At last. And I’m guessing Apple is ready for some legacy circumstances this time around. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  11. JOHN: thank you. very good info on SAP. they are a player to shift the balance.

    Mr. Peabody: That cracks me up – “non-creative workplace”

    Tommy Boy: I was just a little incredulous that someone considers not having powerpoint as a barrier to switching.

  12. “Because of regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, the government tries to avoid sole-sourced deals, and Apple is the sole supplier of Macs.”

    And the biggest problem of all? Microsoft is the sole supplier of Windows.

    This has lead to a virus, trojan and spam crisis in the computer industry.

    Sarbanes-Oxley is a good reason to buy MacOS. Get some diversity into the infrstructure, so the world isn’t held hostage by Microsoft.

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