Forrester Research has had a change of heart when it comes to Macs in the workplace - and while that headline appears to be somewhat of a blow to Microsoft, it also validates what Google has been touting with its Chromebooks.
A new Forrester report, as told by Fortune, explains that Macs are now the computer of choice by the power users of a company - "executives, top sales reps and other workaholics" - for two reasons. One reason is silly but true: just as execs and other high-profile employees drive luxury cars or wear expensive suits, the computer they carry into a business meeting is also a status symbol of sorts.
The second reason has a bit more meat to it. Fortune, which obtained a copy of the $499 report and excerpted it in a post, quoted one of the report's reasons why power users prefer Macs over Windows:
Time is the only thing that these fierce competitors can't make more of. Many of today's corporate PCs are saddled with management, backup, and security agents that can bog down a PC. Employees want their PCs to boot in 10 seconds, not 10 minutes, and they don't want to have to get a cup of coffee while opening a 20 MB spreadsheet in Excel. They're drawn to uncluttered Macs — especially those with solid-state drives, which are more responsive and boot in seconds.
Did you notice that fast boot times were mentioned twice? Since the beginning, Google has been selling fast boot time as part of its Chromebook pitch, arguing that browser-based computing in a cloud environment is not only more efficient but also much faster. The report also noted that users are impatient about the time it takes to open programs like Excel - but that's a bit misleading. Boot times for those bloated Office programs can also take some time on a Mac, as well.
Google's other selling point has been around Google Apps, which competes with Microsoft for business productivity programs. While not nearly as feature rich as Word or Excel, Google Docs and the other productivity programs open quickly in the browser and allow access from any Web-connected device.
It wasn't that long ago that Forrester and others were suggesting that there was no reason for an IT department to support anything outside of a Windows world, that Windows was the standard. Now, they realize that Mac users are "information workers who use new technologies and find innovative ways to be more productive and serve customers more effectively."
"Mac users are your HEROs," or Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives, and should be embraced by IT departments, not hinder, the report said.
As a Mac user, I'm glad Forrester is finally recognizing the importance of the power user. As someone who also sees value in what Google is trying to do with Chrome, Android and the browser, I think Forrester will soon be recognizing that Google users, more so than Mac users, are the real HEROs of IT.
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