The iPhone may have opened the door for Apple in the enterprise, but it was the one-two punch of the iPad and revamped MacBook Air in 2010 that really did the trick, an analyst said today.
The result: An end to Microsoft's long-running monopoly in the enterprise.
"If you do an inventory of the devices people use for work by operating system, not just those used at work, there's already a significant share of devices that are not Windows," said Frank Gillett, an analyst at Forrester Research.
"More than a quarter of those devices are running something other than Windows. And what with it taking Microsoft years to drive Windows Phone, and the upcoming Windows 8 'Metro' interface beyond that, and how hard Apple and Android will push back, it's the end of Microsoft's monopoly for devices used for work," Gillett said.
"That lock, that's over and done with. We're in a heterogeneous environment, due to the increase in use of mobile devices, hardly any of them Windows, and a dramatic increase in using technology at home or out of sight of enterprise IT," Gillett added.
According to Forrester, which polled more than 13,000 employees and IT personnel in 17 countries, more than one-in-five enterprise workers now use an Apple device -- often, one they purchased themselves.
Gillett stressed that the survey looked not only what was used on the office premises, but for work, no matter the location.
"This is about workers using Apple products for work, regardless of where they do so, which in many cases is in the home or at least out of sight of IT," Gillett said.
He called Apple's enterprise strategy "non-traditional," as a way to differentiate it from the route that, for example, Microsoft takes by building in features and creating management tools specifically for business.
"Do they have a traditional enterprise strategy? No, but they have a focus on the individual by making products that delight end users. Further, when they do support enterprise IT, such as with their support for Exchange [on the iPhone], they do it in a way that doesn't make [users] run to IT for support."
Forrester's survey showed that 15% of the polled workers use one Apple-branded device at work, while another 6% use more than one of the iPhone, iPad and Mac trio, for a total employee share of 21%.
More of those polled -- 11% -- said they used an iPhone than either an iPad (9%) or a Mac (8%).