WSJ: Apple makes inroads with Macs that can run Mac OS X, Linux, Windows

Apple Store“When Apple Inc. last year switched over its line of Macintosh personal computers to chips made by Intel Corp., the move came with a nice side benefit: Users could run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system on their Apple machines because Windows and Macs shared the underlying silicon components from Intel,” Nick Wingfield reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Now the support for Windows on Apple hardware looks to be playing a key role in persuading some users to switch to Macs from Windows PCs, including small businesses, education and other professional markets that have tilted toward Windows for years.”

“Helping Macs gain a bit of ground within the workplace are a growing array of programs that let the machines run Windows or Windows applications on Macs with little loss of performance. Last April, Apple began offering a free test version of a program called Boot Camp that lets users run Windows on their Macs if they own a copy of the Microsoft software, though users can’t operate both Microsoft and Apple operating systems at once. Apple plans to integrate Boot Camp into a new version of the Macintosh operating system, dubbed Leopard, due out this spring,” Wingfield reports.

Wingfield reports, “And software from other companies, such as one called Parallels Desktop for Mac, from SWsoft Inc., of Herndon, Va., enables a more convenient scenario: running Mac and Windows on an Apple computer at the same time.”

“Apple is making small inroads in the professional market with its critically acclaimed line of Mac desktop and laptop computers, and even slight market share gains can bring meaningful new business to the company. Last year, Apple accounted for 4.4% of all new PC shipments in the U.S. professional market, up from 3.6% in 2005 and 3.2% in 2004, according to the research firm Gartner Inc. Apple’s share of total new PC shipments in the U.S. jumped to 5.4% last year from 4.5% the prior year, Gartner says,” Wingfield reports.

Wingfield reports, “Over the holiday quarter, Apple sold 1.6 million Macs, 28% more than in the same period a year earlier and nearly five times the growth in global PC shipments overall in the period. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs this year said the company’s research showed more than half of all people buying Macs were new to Apple computers.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “JP” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Wingfield also writes: No one believes Microsoft’s dominance of the professional market, which includes businesses, education and other nonconsumer fields, is in any imminent jeopardy. Analysts say such organizations, especially big companies, have far too much invested in Windows for Apple to ever win a big share of the market.

Analysts are wrong every day; often multiple times per day. If Apple Macs can run WIndows and people who have access to both find they like Mac OS X better than WIndows, why does “no one” supposedly believe that Microsoft’s dominance is in any imminent jeopardy? We guess it depends on your definition of “imminent.” Microsoft’s dominance is in imminent jeopardy, Mr. Wingfield. Refuse to count us, if you will, but we believe that implicitly.

In the full article, Wingfield even reports on Wilkes University’s move to dump all Windows PCs and replace them with superior Apple Macs precisely because only Apple Macs can run Mac OS X and Windows (and Linux). Make the leap, Nick; logic is your friend.

We often see variations of Wingfield’s two sentences in many articles. Basically, they go something like this: “It’s okay, Apple’s growing fatser than the PC industry average, only Apple Macs can run all of the world’s software, if you buy a Mac, you get two computers for the price of one, the vast majority of people who are exposed to both OSes overwhelmingly choose Mac over Windows, there are myriad reviews that say ‘Windows Vista disappoints, so get a Mac,’ and Mac market share is growing; taking share from Windows, but, don’t worry, Microsoft Windows will continue to dominate.” That makes no sense. Zero. We favor logic here.

Why are so many people so afraid to imagine an end to the dark ages of personal computing? Too many MSFT shares in the mutual fund? We have no such problem. Apple Mac will embrace, then extinguish – whether analysts grasp what’s happening or not.

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  1. Of course microsoft’s “dominance” isn’t going to wane. If some businesses are buying Macs to run OS X and Windows, then they’re still buying Windows. What this really does is muddy the waters. Microsoft’s numbers could increase, AND Mac OS X numbers could increase too, because the numbers can now overlap.

  2. If it increases Apple sales, I don’t mind if IT types consider buying Macs as a safety net. If Windows becomes crippled with viruses, they have the virus-free OS X safety net. Uptime saved.
    Then perhaps over time they will realize what most Mac users have known for years.

  3. Unfortunately, his take may be right. People don’t continue to use Windows because it’s the rational choice, it’s what they’re used to. In time, MDN, hopefully logic will win out.

  4. MDN, if you have ever worked in “big business” you would understand why the analysists are right about dominance in business. There are simply too many MSCEs in IT departments for Macs to even get a foot in the door, plus then there are the prioprietary apps, and no Parallels is not a good option, as nice as it is. They just will go for the easiest solution, running Windows.

    However in Education I don’t believe they are correct, I see every day Macs making inroads back into schools and Universities. In research Macs are getting huge, especially due to their Unix underpinnings allowing certain fields such as Astrophysics to move to Macs wholesale, which they could not have done to Windows.

  5. pog,

    You’re thinking short term. What we’re seeing now is the begining of the end of Microsoft’s dominance. Sure, there are lots of MSCEs and proprietary apps right now, but remember that two years is a long time in high tech. What will the landscape be like in four or eight years? No one knows, but you can be sure that many more people getting into IT and those rising in the ranks now will have a much different attitude about the Mac, and a lower opinion about Windows.

    My guess is that by 2010 it will be clear to even staunchly Microsoft dominated IT departments that room must be made for other platforms in corporate networks. Homogenous networks, like thin computing, are bad ideas compounded by the really bad idea we call Windows.

  6. Having all IT components come from the one vendor is much easier for the IT support staff. This is not just a Win vs Mac issue, but others e.g. Outlook vs Lotus, Exchange vs Novell or Office vs OpenOffice. The competition must be WAY better, cheaper or do something MS cannot to compete.

    Yet business seems happy that MS is not better, they aren’t demanding the products are cheaper (though governments are) and MS just promise the bits that are missing.

    With a switch to Mac, companies keep the MS bits the IT Support need (Office, Exchange connectivity, Entourage) and any bits missing on 20% of computers can be run under Parallels. Yes, it will sell more MS gear for a while, but the ‘one vendor’ safety net is bypassed and eventually broken.

    Once a company (or government agency, university, etc.) begins to deploy Macs formatted as Mac, BootCamp Win or Parallels, they will adopt supporting technology (servers, apps, printers, etc.) to match their new SOE (Standard Operating Environment) and Windows-only PCs and Windows-only apps will be on the bottom of the list of choices. Visio will go, Publisher will go, Access will go, McAfee will go. Eventually Exchange and Outlook will go. IT support will breathe a sigh of relief as they now have a complete choice of software.

    I wish Apple would licence their hardware designs to HP or Sony so we have choice on the hardware side too. Although a single source of OS was never an issue for enterprise, so why should a single source of hardware bother them.

    As MDN says more succinctly: Embrace then extinguish!

  7. @Pog

    You know, many of the benefactors of educational institutions are big business, without whose help couldn’t make a radical switch like the one being conducted by Wilkes, and conversely, the threat to withhold funding keeps other institutions from doing just that.

    Could big business be conducting their own trials of mass deployment of Macs in an institutional setting in return for deployment data and trend analysis?

    I mean this is after all business, right? Return on investment trumps loyalty, love, and luminaries.

    Besides, one of the tenants of education is to provide a diverse landscape conducive to learning, which is their ROI, whereas big business’s deployment of computers is more vertical and focused to better make money.

    On another level, these educational institutions who are switching to Macs are teaching some of the brightest minds in the country that there is more than one solution to every problem.

  8. You nay sayers seem to ignore the fact that if the Mac percentage of a major company’s desktops and notebooks creeps up to become significant, someone in the chain of command will have the bright idea to make all in house, company software cross platform. When that happens, the Windows usage will fall dramatically.

  9. Whether or not Microsoft remains dominant is up to Microsoft. Vista was designed to lock up content for the content cartel with Microsoft maintaining its monopoly by holding the keys. It’s a bad OS precisely because it wasn’t designed for PC owners. Microsoft’s monopoly is eroding because acting against your customers best interests isn’t a good long term strategy.
    It will take a major cultural change but the sooner Microsoft accepts that its monopoly position is headed for the exit doors the sooner it can become a fierce competitor.

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