Survey: 8 in 10 businesses now using Macs
Enterprises love the Mac's reliability, rely on virtualization, reports Yankee Group
Computerworld - Nearly 80% of businesses have Macs in-house, nearly double the percentage that said they had users running Mac OS X two years ago, a research firm said today.
"Then, we were talking about onesies and twosies," said Laura DiDio, a research fellow at Yankee Group Research Inc. who conducted a survey of more than 700 senior IT administrators and C-level executives. "Now the number of actual users is very significant. A number of the businesses said that they had 50 or 100 or even several thousand Macs deployed."
In early 2006, when DiDio last polled corporate IT professionals on Mac deployment, 47% said that they had Apple Inc. hardware in their environments.
DiDio was impressed with the growth of Macs in business, considering that Apple Inc. has put little to no official effort into that part of the market. "This isn't a tidal wave, but it's certainly a sustained trend," she said. "Apple has a beachhead in business. Where it once had just 1-to-2% market share in corporate, now they're up to 8-to-10%," DiDio added.
Twenty-one percent of the firms surveyed reported that they had deployed more than 50 Macs. "This isn't Mickey Mouse; it's not just onesies and twosies anymore," DiDio said. "Apple's graduated into the big league."
Among the reasons businesses cited for adopting Macs, the most surprising was the ability to virtualize other operating systems, primarily Microsoft Corp.'s Windows, on Mac hardware. "That's clearly spurring some businesses," DiDio said. "A number of the respondents said, 'Oh, guess what, we're using the Mac to load Vista or XP on there and using Mac hardware."
More than a quarter of the firms surveyed — 28% — said that they are running Windows in a virtual machine on the Macs they have. Slightly fewer (22%) confirmed that their Macs are set up to boot either Windows or Mac OS X using the latter's built-in dual-boot utility, Boot Camp.
DiDio called out virtualization software from Seattle-based Parallels and Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware Inc. as the tools enterprises are using to run non-Apple operating systems on Macintosh hardware. IT professionals noted that the reliability of Apple's hardware was a factor in shifting to Macs. Almost eight out of 10 of the people surveyed rated Mac hardware reliability as either "excellent" or "very good."
"There's no doubt that user confidence in the reliability of both the Macintosh hardware and software products is having a tangible impact on corporate purchasing and deployment trends," DiDio wrote in a draft of a report based on the survey that she will soon release.
Other enterprise IT administrators said they had gone virtual in an attempt to sidestep the management overhead required for Windows on physical PCs. "Many of our Windows developers have switched to XP and Vista virtual machines running on Macintosh hardware to circumvent the downtime they experienced with the unreliability — viruses, spyware, disruptive automatic updates — of Windows XP running on PCs," one IT manager told DiDio in a follow-up interview.
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