Business Week has a great write up on Macs in the office. Apparently more and more companies are becoming receptive of a dual platform environment, and more and more employees are requesting better computers (yea, I said “better”).
I’ve found consistently over the years that they are just more reliable requiring much less effort to keep running smoothly for years on end. I can’t recall a similar experience even with Windows XP, which is clearly the winner of the Windows family. Less time fighting the OS is more time being productive. Not to mention the improved usability just allows for more efficiency (Exposé is still amazing).
I don’t think the reason for the rise in corporate popularity is so much about the usage of an Intel processor, but because of OS X. Most companies I’d venture won’t want to pay for dual OS (and emulation) since that bloats the cost of the workstation. Some obviously will, but not too many. The rise I’d say is mainly attributed to applications becoming more web based, meaning less proprietary software installs. All you need these days is an office suite (Office X, Google Docs) web browser (Safari or Firefox) and email (Entourage, Thunderbird, Apple Mail). Apple’s also made giant leaps in ensuring compatibility with other platforms such as NFS, SMB even Active Directory.
Linux is totally usable in the workplace, but lacks the usability and the sparkle to compete with Apple in this new open market thus far. Ubuntu’s made great strides, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to Leopard’s polish.
Apple does however sorely need a mid-range line to compete further, and to enhance it’s business and consumer sales. Essentially an iMac but trading the built-in display for some expansion at the same cost as the iMac line. The result would be a pretty impressive line up. It likely wouldn’t kill Mac Pro sales since anyone currently spending $2,500+ is likely still going to be willing to drop that cash for the top models. It would likely impact Mac mini and iMac sales slightly, though it’s a reasonable trade-off. Apple would still have a hard time pushing it’s display’s to accompany those computers, due to Apple’s rather high price as opposed to a more generic Samsung or Dell, but they could easily introduce a lower end for general office use, and make the current models a higher class.
It will be interesting to see how Apple decides to go after this market share.