Report: Macs cost less to run than Windows PCs

News 17 Mar, 2010

A new survey of IT professionals in enterprise-size organisations shows the majority find Macs cheaper than PCs despite their high initial cost.

A survey of IT administrators in mid- to large-sized companies has revealed that Macs cost less to manage than Windows PCs.

A total of 260 administrators with experience of both platforms were asked by the Enterprise Desktop Alliance (EDA)to rate the cost of managing computer networks in a month-long online study conducted at the end of last year.

Overall, 65 per cent of respondents said Macs were cheaper than PCs to troubleshoot, with the remainder evenly split between saying the cost was about equal (19 per cent) and judging Windows PCs as cheaper to maintain.

And despite Macs coming with a higher initial cost, the difference in maintenance costs were sufficient for 29 per cent to cite lower total cost of ownership as a key reason their organisation opted for Macs.

When it came to judging the cost of managing systems, administrators were asked to score Macs and PCs on six categories: software fees, cost of training, troubleshooting time, supporting infrastructure, help desk calls and system configuration.

In categories such as troubleshooting, user training and help desk calls, three times as many administrators said that Macs cost less to manage.

The EDA is a collaboration of enterprise-class software developers focused on easing the deployment, integration and management of the Mac in traditional Windows-based environments.

And any nagging doubts as to the impartiality of the group won't have been helped by the following statement from EDA president T Reid Lewis, who is also Group Logic chief executive: “administrators in organisations that have both Mac and PC platforms have the experience to determine whether managing Macs is less expensive. The members of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance provide products and services that make deployment and management of Macs easier to do.”

In addition, Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Jon Oltsik warns that there might be hidden costs to managing Macs. “In the past, you generally needed specialized tools to manage Macs,” Oltsik told CIO.com.

“If this is the case, then you will have redundant tasks and management systems. Another issue is skills, as you may need to hire or train a PC administrator on the Mac platform. A Mac administrator may cost more than a PC administrator.”