The enterprise wars are over. Apple has won.

Windows may have dominated desktop computing for the last two decades, but the shift to mobile has favoured Apple, not Microsoft.

Inside the Enterprise: Back in the '90s, industry watchers were calling time on Apple. The company's products seemed lacklustre; the early promise of its Mac computers had failed to stop the juggernaut that was the IBM and Windows PC.

For the company that claimed to have invented the desktop computer with the Apple II, the Mac's market share was just a few, small percentage points. Even early adopters and advocates of the Mac in business such as BP switched to Windows.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The iPhone and specifically, the iPad, have changed that. Apple devices are now commonplace in companies that would have either shunned desktop Macs, or reluctantly issued them to a few graphic designers and other "arty" types. Data from Citrix, for example, showed that last year, 58 per cent of devices using its enterprise mobility service ran iOS.

Other research, by HIS iSupply, shows that the iPad continues to lead the tablet market, despite the growing popularity of Android devices. Microsoft phone and tablet OS market share remains a long way behind that for conventional Windows.

And anecdotal evidence suggests that the changes go beyond the popularity of iPads. Drop into any city centre caf, or at least one with decent Wi-Fi, and the chances are the that Macs will outnumber PCs; sometimes there are no PCs at all. In the caf where your correspondent wrote this article, there was one solitary PC user, and even he had an Apple sticker over the logo on his Dell laptop.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Apple, then, seems to have benefitted from another trend in the IT industry: bring your own device (BYOD). Given a choice, and the budget, knowledge workers seem to choose Apple; analyst figures suggest that the firm's best-selling machine is the lightweight MacBook Air.

Users buying or picking their own laptops seem unconcerned by the Mac's supposedly less business-friendly features, such as Mac OS 10.8, the Mac App Store or Microsoft's far from perfect Mac version of Windows.

Perhaps the fact that the Mac can run Windows, or the move to browser-based enterprise applications and cloud computing means these things don't really matter. Or perhaps Apple's long-standing claims about superior ease of use equating to better productivity really hold true.

Or maybe, for some users, Windows 8 despite all its enterprise features feels more awkward than earlier versions of Windows, or the Mac OS. Certainly, it is interesting to see that when people spend their own money, they are happy to pay a premium for a Mac.

Advertisement - Article continues below

But this also suggests that Apple's strategy of making the Mac more iOS-like, rather than building a more PC-like tablet, is the right one. Most of us consume more data or information than we generate during the working day, and even for some relatively complex creation tasks, tablets are improving. Adobe has a neat version of Photoshop for the iPad, and Apple's own video editing app, iMovie, shows just what can be done.

Of course there is still a need for heavier-duty computers for some tasks, just as there are tasks that still suit a desktop PC more than a laptop. But a few years ago, it was hard to convince an IT department to support an Apple machine of any sort. Today, that is no longer the case.

Stephen Pritchard is a contributing editor at IT Pro.

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now


Mobile Phones

Apple pays Samsung $1 billion penalty for ordering too few OLED screens

14 Jul 2020
Mobile Phones

Sign up now for the $25 iPhone “batterygate” payout

14 Jul 2020

How to delete apps on Android and iOS

6 Jul 2020

The New York Times ends partnership with Apple News

1 Jul 2020

Most Popular

Careers & training

IBM job ad calls for 12-years of experience with six-year-old Kubernetes

13 Jul 2020
Business operations

Nvidia overtakes Intel as most valuable US chipmaker

9 Jul 2020
cyber attacks

Trump confirms US cyber attack on Russia election trolls

13 Jul 2020