Mac and iPhone adoption are growing -- but not in the enterprise
Despite Apple's growing reputation, adoption of Macs and even iPhones by large businesses remains tiny: about 3.5 percent for Macs, according to Forrester Research, and about 3 percent for iPhones, according to TBI Research. For Macs, this represents zero growth. For the iPhone, its growth remains insignificant when compared with the BlackBerry's 63 percent share of the enterprise smartphone market.
Outside the enterprise, Macs are doing better, accounting for either 8.8 percent or 9.4 percent, depending on whether you believe Gartner or IDC, respectively, up from 8.6 percent a year earlier (both firms agree on that number). And iPhones are doing a lot better in the broad market: iPhone sales have steadily zoomed all year, and now represent about 30 percent of all smartphones sold in the U.S., according to ChangeWave Research -- closing in fast on the RIM BlackBerry's 40 percent share. Moreover, Gartner reports that 99.4 percent of all mobile apps sold in 2009 were to iPhone users.
So with Mac OS X Snow Leopard's and iPhone OS 3.0's improved business capabilities,why isn't Apple doing better in the enterprise?
I believe the answer is simple: Apple has intentionally created a glass ceiling it has no intention of shattering. My conversations with Apple employees over the past decade have always been off the record when it comes to the topic of Macs in the enterprise. The company has had no intention of signaling any active plans to serve the enterprise.
In a sense, Apple views enterprise sales as "collateral success" -- a nice-to-have byproduct of its real focus: individuals, developers, and very small businesses (designers, consultants, and other "knowledge worker" types). Sure, there are some retail and professional-services businesses that have gone all-Mac -- I know a midsize veterinary practice in San Francisco that is all-Mac, for example. And sure, there are examples of midsize and even large businesses adopting Macs -- though usually as an option for just a portion of the workforce. But the reality is, despite showing signs of currying favor with the business market, Apple retains a decidely non-business persona.
Macs in enterprise: The bigger you are, the harder it is
One factor working against Apple's prospects in business environments is that fact that businesses that have gone all-Mac have had to figure out themselves how to make it work. For smaller businesses, that's not so hard to do. Microsoft Office for Mac has perhaps 90 percent of the capabilities of the Windows version, for example, and if you need Visual Basic support, you can use the older Office 2003 version rather than the VB-less Office 2008 version. For email, there are clients for Exchange, Lotus Notes, and Novell GroupWise available. The Mac OS, of course, supports POP and IMAP email servers as well.
Mac OS X supports Active Directory and LDAP, so you can enforce Windows Server-based policies on Mac users. And if you want to manage software distribution on Macs, you can use a Mac OS X Server to do so, with the benefit of its ability to share policies with Windows Server. Plus, there are several good departmental-scale client management tools for Mac OS available.
Using Parallels Desktop or EMC VMware Fusion to run Windows lets you cover the specialty needs some users may have that the Mac can't support, such as running ActiveX-based apps in Internet Explorer or running Windows-only apps like Microsoft Visio. (To use the Mac's ability to run Windows means you need to pay $75 for the virtualization license in addition to whatever your Microsoft group license agreement's per-user fee is for Windows.)