BusinessWeek: More office workers are demanding Macs. Is business ready? Is Apple?

“Soon after Michele Goins became chief information officer at Juniper Networks in February, she decided to respond to the growing chorus of Mac lovers among the networking company’s 6,100 employees. For years, many had used Apple’s computers at home and clamored for them in the office as well. So she launched a test, letting 600 Juniper staffers use Macs instead of the standard-issue PCs that run Microsoft’s Windows operating system. As long as the extra support costs aren’t too high, she plans to open the floodgates. ‘If we opened it up today, I think 25% of our employees would choose Macs,’ she says,” Peter Burrows reports for BusinessWeek.

“Funny thing is, she has never received a single sales call from Apple. While thousands of other companies scratch and claw for the tiniest sliver of the corporate computing market, Apple treats this vast market with utter indifference,” Burrows reports.

“Once an object of devotion for students and artists, the Mac is becoming the first choice of many. Surging demand for the machines led Apple to predict revenues will rise 33% in the second quarter, to $7.2 billion, even in the face of an economic slowdown,” Burrows reports.

“What’s less obvious is that the enthusiasm is starting to spill over into the corporate market. It’s a people’s revolution, of sorts, with workers increasingly pressing their employers to let them use Macs in the office. In a survey of 250 diverse companies that has yet to be released, the market research firm Yankee Group found that 87% now have at least some Apple computers in their offices, up from 48% two years ago,” Burrows reports.

“IBM and Cisco Systems are running similar tests on whether to let Macs into the office. Google ( has allowed employees pick their machine of choice for years,” Burrows reports. “Others are sure to follow suit.”

“Apple is getting help from an unlikely rival: Microsoft. Vista, the latest version of the software giant’s Windows operating system, looks like it could turn out to be one of the great missteps in tech history. Not only does it lack compelling new features, but analysts say Vista requires companies to buy more expensive PCs, incur hefty training costs, and to deal with maddening glitches,” Burrows reports. “Certainly, Apple’s ad team seems to smell blood. Most of the company’s ‘I’m a Mac’ [sic: “Get a Mac”] ads are aimed at taking Vista’s rep even lower, including one in which a yoga instructor gets stressed out about how Vista screwed up her billing system.”

Apple “Get a Mac” ad: Yoga

MacDailyNews Take: Burrows then offers a highly perplexing assessment of Apple’s Mac prospects in large companies:

Apple will find it more difficult to gain ground in large companies…there are software limitations. Some industrial-grade programs won’t run on Macs, including the popular software from Germany’s SAP that companies use to run everything from operations to sales. Getting Microsoft’s Exchange e-mail to run on the Apple machines is often a huge hassle, which makes them a nonstarter in some offices.

MacDailyNews Take: Why are we highly perplexed? Because right in the previous paragraph Burrows just explained:

Since Apple adopted Intel’s microprocessors as the brains of its computers in 2006, Macs have been able to run Windows just like any Intel-based PC. In addition, Macs can run what’s known as “virtualization” software, which lets people use the Mac operating system and Windows at the same time and switch easily between them.

MacDailyNews Take: A Mac booted into Windows is just a nice-looking piece of hardware running Microsoft’s bloated, upside-down and backwards, bad copy of the Mac OS. Slumming it with Windows, it temporarily ceases to be a Mac; it is just an Apple-branded PC running an inferior OS. It runs SAP’s software, Microsoft’s Outlook, and anything else any other Windows PC runs just the same, thanks. And, by the way, Apple Inc. is a very large company, with approximately 21,600 full-time employees plus an additional 2,100 temporary employees located in offices all around the world, and they all use Macs; because Apple never shortsightedly shackled themselves to proprietary Microsoft “solutions” that always attempt to force the use of Windows. Macs can run large businesses. Here are a couple of other examples: Japan’s Aozora Bank dumps 2,300 Windows PCs for Apple Macs – April 03, 2006, Largest automobile processing company in North America dumps Windows PCs for Apple Macs – July 16, 2007

Burrows continues, “Demographic trends may be on Apple’s side. All those college kids wielding iPods have created a deep pool of potential Mac users. According to a survey of 1,200 undergrads by researcher Student Monitor this year, 43% of college students who intend to buy a laptop plan to buy a Mac, up from 8% in 2003. ‘Many of today’s technology decision-makers will ultimately be replaced by Mac users,’ says Eric Weil, managing partner of Student Monitor.”

There is much more in the full article – recommended – here.

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

32 Comments

  1. This is where I’d like to see Apple partner with IBM, CISCO, ADTRAN, even possibly DELL. The Enterprise market is huge. I’ve worked with several AM 100 law firms with over 1000 employees, and every single firm uses Windows XP Dell devices. Imagine what Apples stock price would be if these machines were MACs or atleast PC running OSX … the article in business week is fair and accurate. Entterprise is a HUGE weakness for Apple and VERY MUCH A MISSED BUSINESS OPPOURTUNITY … atleast at the moment anyway.

  2. Enterprise, Government and the Military are the Big Three missed business opportunities of Apple.

    Apple seems to be recovering somewhat on the Educational Market.

    A lot of money to be made there in those sectors.

    I’d love to see an Apple mainframe or super computer at some point too…not a bunch of Mac Pros or servers networked together.

  3. The profit margins are abysmal. Corporations want to charge top dollar for their products and services, but they don’t want to pay their taxes, their employees, or pay for their computers. It’s why the economy is in the toilet.

  4. @Screw the enterprise

    Watch out, man: Your anti-capitalist bias is showing. And FYI: The economy is not in the toilet; only your perception thereof is.

    As Hamlet was wont to say, “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

    “If we believe it, it’s true for us, so if we believe we’re right, why then, right we are! And what the real truth of the matter may be, well, that’s not our concern. We congratulate ourselves on our superior ‘spirituality’, our depth and sensitivity and wisdom and intuition, and pity the poor benighted materialistic wretches who deny our spiritual truths. Heads I win tails you lose, swings and roundabouts…it’s a good old world, after all. — Kassandra

  5. Certain Enterprises pay their CEO’s huge bonuses even as the business goes down the toilet. Now, are you thinking these CEO’s – or other C-class execs – even care what computers the mere employees use? NOW who’s retarded?!? Spend less money per seat for a Dell and get more in your pay-check … sounds like a plan to these C’s.
    May they all rot in jail … except, they share their (company’s) wealth with the political candidates so THAT will never happen.

    Thank you for sharing this moment from Your Daily Cynic.

  6. Apple needs to offer bounties for the larger developers like SAP to develop Mac version of their software.

    If they can get a 100 million$ seed fund for iPhone app development, then why not for the Mac in general. This could go a long way to getting more companies into the Mac fold.

  7. I have been running a medium sized business since 1989 on Macs. It’s been spectacular. Hardly any computer problems to speak of. The couple of Windows computers we had for some proprietary vendor things (very annoying because they were web based) have had all kinds of problems. Big business can adopt Macs. Someone needs to come up with big business software to compete with SAPand MS and others. It will happen. Who is going to do it. Like MDN said Apple is a huge company run on Macs….

  8. I think Bootcamp was a top-secret Leopard feature until hackers forced Apple to let the cat out of the bag to prevent a support nightmare.

    Apple wouldn’t build a feature that allows Windows to run on Macs unless they were confident not just that the customer would prefer OS X over Windows, but also that software companies would prefer to develop OS X versions instead of requiring the user to use Windows on the Mac (as Stamps.com does now).

    In other words, Apple wasn’t just betting on OS X, they were betting on their development tools, too. Most companies wouldn’t take that risk, because if they lost those bets, they’d end up making Windows boxes.

    They are winning that bet.

  9. “Scuse me… SAP client runs 100% native on the Mac OS. No virtualization or Boot Camping required. (it’s a Java app). Been doing it for years. Kudos to SAP folk!

  10. Randian,

    Watch out, your naivety is showing. If you really believe that we live in a Capitalist society, you need to take a good look around. Capitalism has devolved into Feudalism. The Corporate Lords make 98% of the money, and the rest of us serfs eke out a living from the scraps. Here’s one example: Exxon makes nearly a billion dollars per week in PROFIT: how much did you make last week? I said ‘makes’ because let’s face it, they aren’t EARNING it. Earning it would mean that they’re making money by creating ways for us to be rid of oil. Instead, they spend a paltry few million on wind/solar and call it investing. It’s disgraceful.

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