Apple CEO Tim Cook.
It's been clear for some time that the iPad has taken the enterprise by storm as employees tote it to work and companies buy fleets of them.
But Apple's PC, the Mac, has never been as dominant in the workplace, u ntil now, according to new research from long-time Microsoft rival, VMware.
VMware queried 376 IT professionals and found that they are increasingly being asked to buy and/or support Macs in the enterprise by employees who want Macs, not Windows machines.
"Microsoft Windows has dominated enterprise desktops for close to three decades but it appears its reign is coming to an end. As BYOPC ["Bring Your Own PC"] and BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] continue to transform the enterprise, Macs have become a popular and preferred option compared to Windows PCs," says Erik Frieberg, VP of Marketing, End-User Computing, VMware, in the report.
That is clearly hyperbole (and we'll show you why in a minute), but VMware's research does jibe with other stats that show Macs are finally making significant inroads in the lucrative enterprise market.
First, let's add the grains of salt: This survey was a mere 376 people, hardly big enough to showcase the whole world of corporate PC use. It was commissioned by a company that is trying to sell software that competes with Microsoft. VMware wants companies to buy what's known as "virtual desktops," where users download Windows and Windows apps over the network on any device they want, such as a Mac. They would do this instead of buying new Windows PCs.
That said, VMware uncovered some interesting nuggets.
Employees are asking for Macs, not just iPads
73% of respondents said they are supporting Macs because users are asking for them. Only 40% said they are using them to run applications that only run on the Mac.
They are doing this even though managing a bunch of Macs is harder for many of them than managing a bunch of Windows PCs. Almost 40% said that Macs are harder for IT to deal with than Windows.
This jibes with a similar study of 300 IT professionals commissioned by Jamf Software, which makes its living by helping IT professionals manage Apple devices. It found that nine out of 10 companies officially support Apple products particularly iPhones (91%) and iPads (89%), with more than half supporting Macs (60%).
In that survey almost all respondents, 98%, say they expect employees to be using more Apple devices in the next three years.
Consumers are buying Macs
It's also true that while the PC industry has been in decline, mostly thanks to the iPad and other tablets, Apple Macs have grown more popular. It's not too surprising that as people use iPads and iPhones they also want to use a Mac. Apple has designed its products to work together, everything from getting iMessages on a Mac, to sharing documents and photos in iCloud.
In Q4 2013, Apple sold 2.1 million Macs, which represented nearly 14% of the PC market, Gartner reported . That was a whopping 28.5% year-over-year increase over the number of Macs Apple sold year before, compared to 2% growth of the overall PC market.
However, that was the holiday quarter, which is heavily influenced by consumer buying. If enterprises were flocking to Macs big sales would also have been seen in Q1 2014, when Microsoft ended support of Windows XP and companies rushed to upgrade their PCs.
Apple sold 1.5 million Macs that quarter, Gartner said, down almost 4% from the year-prior quarter and accounting for about 10% of the overall PC market.
Plus, in sheer numbers, Windows PC sales still out number Macs by a mile, mostly due to enterprise purchases. People and companies bought 14 million PCs in Q1 2014 and, again, only 1.5 million of them were Macs.
So Apple has a ways to go before Windows reign in the enterprise really ends. But the numbers show that enterprises are definitely paying a lot more attention to the Mac.
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