Mac OS still not apple of enterprise eye

IT managers continue to resist Apple's desktop OS, notes analyst who adds consumerization of IT and desktop virtualization software are helping bridge gap between Microsoft's Windows OS.

IT managers are continuing to place their trust in the "tried and tested" Microsoft Windows operating system (OS) over Apple's Mac OS, although desktop virtualization and consumerization of IT have helped Apple gain a bigger foothold in the enterprise arena, an analyst noted.

Bryan Ma, associate vice president of client devices at IDC Asia-Pacific, said Apple's share in the enterprise desktop OS space has been inching upward. According to figures by IDC, Cupertino's PC shipment in the first quarter of 2011 made up 1.8 percent of the enterprise market in the Asia-Pacific and Japan region. Comparatively, it was 1.6 percent in Q4 2010 and 1.3 percent in Q1 of that year.

When the consumer market is included, Apple's share spikes marginally, the analyst pointed out. PC shipment for the first quarter of 2011 goes up to 2.6 percent, a 0.1 percent bump from the previous quarter's 2.5 percent, he said during a phone interview.

However, Apple's pie of the market is still smaller than Microsoft's Windows OS, Ma noted, attributing this disparity to IT managers' purchasing decisions.

Their reluctance to move away from Redmond's software is because Windows is a "proven system" that is dependable and has many applications. An extra OS would just be a "headache" for them, the analyst said.

The IT departments' reliance on Windows presents opportunities for desktop virtualization software vendors though, said Ma. He cited Citrix and Parallels as examples of companies benefiting from users' preference for Mac products yet wanting to utilize Windows-based programs. Apple, too, recognized this market when it introduced its Boot Camp application, which allows users with Intel-powered Macs to install both Windows and Mac OSes, in 2006.

Another trend that is easing Apple into the enterprise arena is consumerization of IT which sees employees bring their personal devices to work, the analyst noted. Companies such as Citrix would have bring-your-own-computer initiatives and give their staff monetary grants to buy their preferred devices, but this is still largely limited to U.S.-based companies, he said.

Asked if the growing Mac-targeted security attacks are one of the roadblocks for adopting Mac OS, Ma pointed out that there are still a lot more blackhats targeting the Windows platform.

Intego, a security company specializing in Mac software, disagreed. Company spokesman Peter James said in an email that the spate of recent attacks on the platform signifies an "increased attention", and their successes will be an encouragement for others to follow.

For companies and consumers on Apple's Mac OS, he urged them to deploy robust anti-malware protection.