Why enterprise networks run Windows, not the Mac

Summary:Have you ever considered why the Mac is so well suited to the home environment? Has it ever occurred to you why the Mac is great with multimedia, with fun stuff like graphics and movie editing, but not so great at the serious stuff?

Have you ever considered why the Mac is so well suited to the home environment? Has it ever occurred to you why the Mac is great with multimedia, with fun stuff like graphics and movie editing, but not so great at the serious stuff? With these, have you ever pondered as to why you very rarely see a bunch of Macs in an enterprise, corporate setting?

My esteemed colleague and friend, Chris Dawson, asks whether universities should be gently weaned off Microsoft products; Office and Windows included. Open source should be included in universities, and indeed they are. They are free, they are malleable and edited according to each institution's needs provided they have the time and money, and they promote entrepreneurship.

Apple have won awards for their "interesting" approach at advertising, winning the 2007 Grand Effie Award, with over 70 adverts to their name. They work in non-sequential continuity by comparing a Mac to a PC - or rather, Mac computers running Mac OS X vs. any other device running any other operating system, but always taking a petty jab at Windows. But what they have inadvertently done by pointing out that, even though Macs are more fun, "easier to use", more exciting to use and are great for the aforementioned multimedia items, it's not serious operating systems.

That to me, makes it sound rather unsuitable for an office, corporate, enterprise or university environment. They haven't just shot themselves in the foot, they've executed the Mozambique drill on themselves.

It's not to say that they haven't made some headway in the last few years. My university has a dedicated Mac lab on the Medway Campus, aimed primarily at the music and multimedia technology students. However there's only one reason why I can possibly comprehend why they have done this - equality. It's almost like segregation of a "race" of students not having a single Mac on campus. A fair number, no where near a majority though, of students use Macs and the majority of those have some design inclination.

The other, clearly obvious issue, is compatibility. No matter which way you look at it, even though Microsoft (on occasion) release software which is Mac compatible, the two companies just epically fail at making anything competitor-compatible. Steve Jobs once said:

"iTunes on Windows is like giving someone a glass of ice water in Hell."

Maybe so, Steve, but when the user interface is almost unreadable and when a sporadic blue screen of death comes out of nowhere, I would call that a gross screw-up on your part. Microsoft aren't exactly brilliant at designing/converting software for Mac but at least they get it half right.

But even still, most of the university-applicable applications do not run on a Mac machine. Boot Camp would allow you to use Windows on a Mac machine but then that would defeat the entire point; licensing issues are confusing and the hefty costs of the Mac hardware would render the entire project unfeasible, especially in this economic climate.

Windows has been around for decades, and took the early lead with ordinary lay consumers early in the computing market to ensure people started using it in the first place. Ever since Windows 98 came out, the marketing push had geeks nursing a semi and almost wetting themselves with excitement. With the cheap costs of Windows and the even cheaper and more economical cost of the PC in the late 90's meant schools were snapping them up faster than a fatty buying cakes in a bakery.

As a result, we have been forced to use Windows. Those who have gone their separate ways, parted with Microsoft and converted to the Church of Apple have done so with anxiety but eventually found their true calling. We all know how to use Windows and have been taught to do so since we were little nippers, so we automatically use what we are more comfortable with. This hasn't changed at all, even at university level.

One last thing, Mac has the fashion vote. Nobody outside the personal four walls of their home office or even their house cares about fashion, especially in the workplace. You want something that works, something that can be upgraded without lengthy deals or excessive costs. The fact of the matter is Apple put more money than sense into their Mac devices to make them look nice, rather than suitable in terms of costs for working or studying environments.

So, without going into the technical details of hardware specifications or in depth into licensing and building costs, it's clear to me why the Mac won't work in the enterprise. The iPhone does, and will continue to, but Windows and the two-decade old PC has firmly taken the seat at the top and won't be shifting until Microsoft cuts support for the last ever Windows operating system.

Don't hold back, you know you want to say something...

Topics: Windows, Apple, Hardware

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.