The real reason Macs never got in the enterprise

The real reason Macs never got in the enterprise

Summary: ZDNet's Ed Bott recently gave six reasons why the Mac never made it in the enterprise. But I saw the real reason when I proposed bringing a single Mac into my company: IT is crazy.

TOPICS: Apple, Windows

In 2002 my marketing group was preparing its first product launch, which meant media production for web, print, audio and video. Then, as now, most media people preferred the Mac.

So I proposed bringing a single Mac into marketing for that purpose. And I saw for myself why Macs hadn't made it into the enterprise.

Batsh*t crazy!
The IT director went nuts. Long ranting emails that came down to no how, no way! Most of Ed's six reasons were offered up, but they didn't matter.

I tried reason.

Support? As an experienced tech marketing group we had people who could support the Mac. Like we'd call people who knew nothing anyway. No!

Network? Connection to the pre-Wi-Fi network was out of the question. OK, we'll sneakernet media from network connected PCs to the Mac. No!

Windows-only apps? We didn't have any.

Cost? Covered by my budget. No! All the gnarly hidden costs! Such as? They couldn't name any but they KNEW they were there.

Bottom line: IT didn't care what compromises I was willing to make or the facts of media production on Windows XP. There was no way a Mac would be allowed on the premises.

Finally the CEO asked me to give up the Mac idea. IT had been ranting to him as well and he didn't have time for it.

Nor did I. In any event engineering slipped and that announcement never happened.

The Storage Bits take
Ed's 6 reasons are just a rehash of the FUD that IT groups everywhere throw up against the Mac. The fact that Mac support was and is less costly than Windows support made no difference. 

That users are more productive on a Mac even today - not least because they aren't calling support every week - who cares?

Malware? Under control! Until it isn't.

Hardware cost? Not much of a difference, then or now, on equivalent configurations of similar quality.

That almost a third of Windows users are still on 12 year old XP while almost all Mac users are on a three year old or younger version? Not a problem, because, well, uh. . . .

Macs never made it into the enterprise because IT groups were universally and emotionally opposed. The real "reasons" are emotional rather than technical.

IT organizations hate change because it screws up the smooth running of IT. So they reflexively fight all change.

Most of the time they lose. In the 70s IT fought minicomputers. In the 80s PCs. They fought PC networks. BYOD, cloud computing and pretty much every other advance in IT over the last 40 years.

If it were up to IT we would still be running everything on IBM mainframes in batch mode. Data access through a locked-down hierarchical SNA network only.

The Mac? That was a battle IT won.

And users - like me - lost.

Comments welcome, as always. What's your experience?


Topics: Apple, Windows

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  • Crazy talk

    Look at Mr. Bott's #s 5 and 6. Those are facts. They just are.

    And TCO is completely anecdotal. I'm not saying Macs aren't cheaper, but you shouldn't say they are, either.

    The bottom line is that MS has developed a world-beating package of enterprise support. And that makes IT's life easier. So, they stick with it.

    If Macs truly offered a competitive advantage, those companies that used more Macs would outmaneuver those that don't, and there'd be more Mac companies today. But they clearly haven't. So, in this sense, the proof is in the pudding.
    x I'm tc
    • We have a couple of Macs here...

      and they cause nothing but problems. One won't let itself integrate into the domain. Another keeps corrupting its Outlook database, meaning the Core i7, SSD based MBP Retina needs around 2 hours to start Outlook! It being the CEOs Mac doesn't help.

      Then there are the, "how do I do x Office?"
      "You can't."
      "But I've been doing that for years!"
      "Not on a Mac you haven't. That is a known 'feature' since 2004."

      Ot the classic, "why are the fonts blurry?" Because Apple say they are rendered to look closer to how they will look on paper. That doesn't cut it, when all the work is onscreen and will not be printed.
      • Blurry fonts

        In all my years in and around the arts trades, I've never heard this. And now that the displays on Macs are going so high res, I'm DEFINITELY never hearing this.

        Is this something other than Adobe Creative Suite you're talking about? Because type looks gorgeous in InDesign and Illustrator on a Mac.
        • OS X fonts

          it is the system fonts. In Windows, the fonts are rendered to look good on screen. They have nice, sharp lines. On OS X they are rendered to be as true as possible to printed fonts. This is fine if you are doing DTP.

          In Windows on my iMac, I can read the screen fine, in OS X I need a special pair of glasses for VDU work, because the blurry outlines give me headaches and I cannot focus on them properly.
          • It is only you; never heard such ridiculous complaint

            On the contrary, I always hear how much better fonts look on Mac. And it is not from DTP people.
        • You don't know what you are talking

          Always was, always been, always will be far superior the font display on mac OS X than on Windows.
          I work EVERY day on Windos 7 & maverick, back & forth.
          • Me too

            I have a 27" 2012 iMac and a 2010 Windows PC with Windows 7 on my desk, I also use Terminal Server. The Windows PC and terminal server sessions are much more relaxing on the eyes.
      • We have a few Macs here

        We are roughly split 50/50. The Macs just work. The PC's constantly have:

        1. -- Viruses (even with Enterprise virus protection)
        2. -- Corrupt software requiring reinstalls (or complete OS reinstalls)
        3. -- Encryption software that completely hoses the machine, requiring a rebuild

        Macs at first glance seem more expensive -- but you just can't compare a $900 business Dell to a $1800 Mac -- the quality of screens, bodies, keyboards and weight is just night and day. You have to go quite upmarket for a Windows machine (and resulting cost) to be close.

        And I'm definitely not a Mac fanboy -- I'm typing this on a home-built i7 running Windows 8.1. Why don't I have the above issues compared to my coworkers? Because I've been in tech for 25 years and understand it. But for people who just need computers for personal productivity, Mac wins every time. Even for home use -- I just replaced an Acer my daughter had (full of viruses and falling apart) with a Macbook Air -- and she couldn't be happier.
        • Do you think two could be related to one?

          In fact I suspect a lot of Windows support costs can be traced back to one. As for three how is that a problem with Windows?
        • Viruses. Not any more.

          I'm an IT Director at a school. (about 200 PC's).
          Ever since I brought the domain up to Windows 7 and removed the users local admin privileges about 3 years ago I've had a total of one virus where I had to re-push an image. Other user-level based annoyances don't do damage and can be removed simply by deleting the local cache of the user profile. Even that has only happened about four times.

          The students have Mac Airs in 6th 7th and 8th grade. They aren't joined to the domain and can't be managed/updated/group policied/etc.. The only thing they have going for them are the aluminum body which prevents damage much better for kids than the netbooks we used to hand out.
          Only about 1/3rd of the Airs have sucessfully installed Mavericks. The rest are getting the same error, which can be found on apple support forums, with no answer at all from Apple. After spending a few hours straight looking for a solution, I've had to just say I don't support the upgrade to Mavericks. Very disappointing.

          It's so night and day for me that it's almost a non-argument.

          For my organization, Windows far trumps Mac.
        • You forgot

          drivers issues. I have friends with Windows and they always seem to constantly have driver issues. One thing that's almost non-existent on the Mac.
          • Depends

            If you are buying enterprise grade PCs from a company like Dell or Lenovo, they are selling the exact same system to hundreds of corporate customers and all their drivers have been tested and supported. It costs them money when drivers do not work and money is the best motivator to ensuring a stable system.

            Now if you try to install some other device or if you are upgrading a PC to a newer OS that it was never built to run, you may run into driver issues. But frankly, I have not had a driver issue since Windows 7 and I load lots and various machines. The only ones that give me any grief are the engineering workstations because they are using high end graphics and server grade chips and drives.
            Rann Xeroxx
        • Wrong on all accounts

          1. With PCs running W7, running as User, and with enterprise grade AV; we get the same amount of viruses on our PCs as we do on our Macs mostly because both are User space infections.

          2. Why would corrupt software require a reboot? Just restore to the last restore point.

          3. Not sure what encryption software you are using but Macs can be corrupted just like a Windows running BitLocker can, nothing magical about Mac encryption.

          Mac are nice, Mac OSX is nice. But there is nothing a Mac does that enhances personal productivity over a Windows PC. And I, too, am both a PC and Mac user (typing on my iMac 27"). In fact some things, like File Explorer, are far more useful on Windows than Mac while other things, like drop install apps, work nicer on Mac.

          Both my daughters have PCs I got them last year, they cost $250 each, and they are virus free and look almost new. They carry them around the house and my oldest takes her's to school. Don't get me wrong, I think the MBA is one of the best ultrabooks on the market, even defining the category before Intel. But at $1,000 that is way too much for my budget.
          Rann Xeroxx
      • Outlook is evil on the Mac

        Answer is simple - don't use Outlook for Mac under ANY circumstances. It is well-known to be bug-ridden.
        Ian Procter
        • Outlook is....

          evil no matter what platform it is running on. I am still amazed that as an industry we put up with this piece of junk software and all of it's bugs.
        • Outlook is crap

          old technology from last century
          • outlook lives

            Outlook is just fine. One of the best apps out there.
          • No

            Outlook is the most powerful collaboration suite on the market today coupled with Exchange. Name another that even comes close. If you are not an enterprise user than its overkill.
            Rann Xeroxx
        • Yeah

          Microsoft does a piss poor job supporting their own software.
          • Microsoft 'support'

            RichDavisi is right. I use Outlook 2007 and it's been sh@t on three times - by windows 'update'. Now I have to 'protect' Outlook from wu, which I am beginning to believe, as some others have suggested, should be practically classified as malware in it's own right. microsoft are 'aware' of this problem. They just haven't 'fixed' it.