Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

Summary: Dave Johnson sets the record straight: the rise of Macs in the enterprise stems from employees having better computer hardware at home than they do at the office.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware
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A couple of weeks ago, I proposed that I&O Professionals should repeal Mac prohibition and find ways to empower employees who are choosing Macs in increasing numbers and bringing them to the office. This was based on fresh 2011 research with Forrester clients, vendors and survey respondents, and concluded that not only were the numbers of Macs in enterprises increasing rapidly, but that the people choosing their own technology for the office, are often the highest performers.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune's Apple 2.0 picked it up right away and made a very astute observation: that Forrester's stance on Macs in the enterprise had seemingly flip-flopped. His conclusion was based on a 2007 Forrester report on enterprise desktop trends in which Forrester observed: "Macs can be ignored for all but niche business groups." The conclusion was based on the data of the time which showed Microsoft's enterprise desktop market share at 95%, but also noted that Apple's had doubled. We also observed in the same report that "Microsoft is not innovating", and "Vista is having a tough time in enterprises", based on data which showed slow uptake of Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7.

My conclusion, with the benefit of another 4 years of IT history (a lifetime for many companies in this industry), is that the market was uncloaking the barrel of a smoking gun. In review, I now believe Apple fired a mortar round in 2006 when it released the first MacBook Pro based on the Intel architecture, followed by a series of controlled explosions with each new round they fired, culminating in the latest MacBook Air based on the Core i7 processor family and Sandy Bridge. However, in 2007 while the beginnings were just beginning to be evident in the data, the succeeding 4 years have made the trends undeniable.

When we compare this ballistics report with the fact that most enterprises skipped Vista in favor of 7, and extended their PC hardware refresh cycles to 5-7 years, we can see that many end users have been working on Windows XP (released in 2001) and outdated hardware for a long time -- perhaps too long. Employees with the money to buy their own computers for the office have been doing just that. The industry is calling it consumerization. I've been jokingly calling it insurrection, though there is more than a grain of truth to the characterization.

The real take-away should be that the rise of Macs in the enterprise is a symptom of a much larger issue, because in fact the data also shows high demand for Windows 7 (of course demand for Macs has grown much faster). The real issue then is that several factors have come together to create a situation where employees often have better computing hardware at home than they do at work, and they are taking big steps to correct this imbalance. Further, that more of these people are choosing Macs than ever before, because they perceive a satisfying overall experience. In our follow-up to the initial report, we will explore the data and specific approaches for enabling Macs in more detail.

Topics: Apple, Hardware

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46 comments
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  • RE: Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

    So what you are saying is a 2011 Mac runs faster then a 2001ish PC wow who would have thought.

    Hardware upgrade cycles more then anything else is leading to loss productivity. Better/faster computer = the possibility for more work to get done. It is not rocket science
    AceOfClubs
    • RE: Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

      @AceOfClubs

      That theory doesn't explain the growth of Macs in the workplace.

      After all, there is an increase of people bringing their 2011 Macs to work vs. those that are bringing 2011 Windows PCs.
      Harvey Lubin
      • RE: Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

        @Harvey Lubin Actualy, in most offices, people bring there computer home with them, not the other way around. I would never allow a home computer to be put on our network!
        rmark@...
      • RE: Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

        @rmark@...
        Agree.
        For those of us who are allowed to utilize personal computers in addition to the work ones have to go through agreements and still only have very limited access.

        A personal computer on a confidential / restricted network.
        Not very likely.
        rhonin
    • RE: Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

      @AceOfClubs are you intentionally dense, or just lying? Many companies are only using 2 year old hardware. Ironically 2 year old Apple hardware often runs better than 2 day old Dell cheap crap. If you buy cheap crap it is join to run like crap.
      Rick_Kl
      • RE: Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

        @Rick_Kl Most PC refresh cycles are 3 years as it takes that long to depreciate them off the books. Based on the economy, most enterprises are trying to stretch that out to 5 years.

        So in a lot of cases a new Mac is being compared to a 5 year old Dell. And they can't be that crap if they last 5 years running 24x7.
        dazzlingd
  • Just have to love the mythical appeal of growth rates...

    Let me demonstrate something about growth rates. Take a 3% growth rate of 1 billion PCs and compare it to a 20% growth rate of 10 million Macs. It's still more PCs each month (3,000,000 vs 2,000,000), which means the total installed base of PCs is still growing faster than Macs. That means total share of all installed computers is actually shrinking for Macs, despite a growth rate 7x higher. Math is a wonderful way to distort reality. (Caveat: I am not representing the numbers in this post as REAL numbers. They are just to demonstrate the potential distortion of comparing growth rates.)
    BillDem
    • If what you say is true

      @BillDem

      Then how has Mac share risen from 5% to almost 10% over the last 6 years?

      The indisputable fact is: more people are choosing macs and switching away from Windows than ever before

      My nieces college just 4 years ago didn't support macs, now over 70% of the students use MacBooks. This is happening all over the country. And as these young people, that live and breathe Apple products (to them Microsoft is a dinosaur) take over IT jobs and enter the workplace, we'll reach a tipping point where Mac share will grow even faster.
      ShazAmerica
      • Mac share

        @ShazAmerica that 10 percent figure that a few bloggers boast about is
        only for the USA...worldwide, MacOS still only a bit over 6 percent.
        wizard57m-cnet
      • RE: Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

        @ShazAmerica

        In case you were unaware of this, there are other "places" that are not part of the US. It is called the "world". In this "world", Apple doesn't have 10% share, they have less than 7%.

        http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=9&qpcustomb=0&qpct=2
        Qbt
      • Um yeah but it was not all that long ago that Apple world wide had only 2%

        @Qbt... So even your news is great for Apple:)

        No matter how you slice it!

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • When those college students enter the workplace, they'll be in for a shock

        when they realize that, their company, and most of the world, don't use Macs in the office, and that the tool of choice is Windows PCs.
        adornoe
      • RE: Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

        @ShazAmerica "over 70% of the students use MacBooks"
        Either your niece attends a very, very exclusive college, or there are only 10 or 12 studdents with computers ...
        Or your stat is crap.
        radleym
    • RE: Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

      @BillDem

      Your figures are WAY off!!!

      NetApplications recently reported that in the USA there are 6 Windows PCs for every Mac:
      http://macdailynews.com/2011/11/01/netapplications-apple???s-u-s-macintosh-web-share-hits-all-time-record-14/

      So using some elementary level arithmetic, if we set a figure of 300 Million Windows PCs in the USA, that means that there would be 50 Million Macs in the USA.

      That is a ration of 6:1.

      NOT a ratio of 100:1 as you apparently believe.
      Harvey Lubin
  • That's not what he's saying at all

    For the past fifteen years, every study I've read stated that even in similar work environments, Mac users are more proficient and efficient. But there are numerous variables. Is it because macs boot faster (no loading of crapware)? Less downtime for service or virus scans?

    Or is it based more on the person? That the type of person that buys a Mac is more conscientious and just a better worker?

    The only way to know the real reason wold be a controlled experiment: take an office full of the latest Windows computers, then let the employees that are as prominent with a Mac (maybe they have one at home) as they are with Windows, switch to a Mac at work.

    If their productivity increases, then it is directly related to the computer,

    BUT

    If the ones that switched were top producers before they switched, then the whole experiment is moot!
    ShazAmerica
    • RE: Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

      @ShazAmerica

      A couple things wrong with your post. An IT department that lets its users ever see pre installed crapware is a worthless IT department. All computers should be "cleaned" prior to being given to an employee.

      Service patches another function that IT should control and push to computers during off hours. Apple pushes updates to clients just like Microsoft does, it is just Microsoft addresses possible issues faster thus keeping a safer environment.

      Anti Virus every PC or MAC should have anti virus protection. They should also be kept up to date and run gasp daily/weekly. MACs are not immune to viruses, security holes, or bugs.

      As far as boot time, Got me there I think anyway. Macs boot pretty fast, but it is hardly a major deciding factor. As a modern PC boot time is not far behind.

      For the record, I am actually using a Mac Book Pro, but with VMWare and windows 7 and 8. My home machine is windows 7 machine.
      AceOfClubs
      • Boot Time?

        @AceOfClubs
        LMAO!!!!
        By the time my work pc boots and goes through the security, scripts, connections, scans and setup it is usually 4-5 minutes minimum.

        Has nothing to do with the model or OS.

        By comparison my AW boots in 50sec or so and my ASUS UL (SSD) in about 20sec....
        Then again I cannot compare to my work notebook - very different setups.
        rhonin
  • subhead needs fixing

    "better computer hardware at home than they do at home."
    no
    "better computer hardware at home than they do at work."
    davebarnes
    • RE: Did Hell freeze over? Not yet, but it's getting cold!

      @davebarnes Yep...I quit reading after that, figuring the rest of the article was
      just more stupidity
      wizard57m-cnet
  • Makes Sense; Windows is junk

    It gets bloated by IT and their need to "control" the machine. And "standardize" so that everyone works the same way. Sadly we don't. Everyone works their own way and needs to have accommodations for that.

    And there's the productivity boost from OSX that you don't get from Windows. Multiple desktops (via spaces and Expose) mean I can organize based on tasks. Ie: Send e-mail and word processing to one desktop, spreadsheets to another, and multimedia on another, etc. The fact that OSX runs longer and with less intervention from users increases productivity.

    I can get more done quicker on OS X than I can on Windows 7. And I've been using Windows since 3.0 and OS X since 10.1.
    itguy10