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In a sign on how much the Mac is being embraced as a business tool, leading industry research...

In a sign on how much the Mac is being embraced as a business tool, leading industry research firm Forrester is now urging IT departments to support Apple's (AAPL) PCs, given widespread employee interest in using them. Nonetheless, 41% of enterprises still block all access to company resources to Mac users.
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Comments (7)
  • D_Virginia
    , contributor
    Comments (2280) | Send Message
     
    Let's see, if you ran a large IT department for a large company, why might you not want to support Macs very well?

     

    - It's just one more platform to configure and support
    - No hardware vendor competition = higher prices
    - Very little hardware upgrade options
    - Almost no custom hardware options
    - Some software simply isn't available for Macs
    - Much software is usually available for PCs first, and Macs later
    - Software patches are usually available for PCs first, Macs later
    - Any custom software you've made is probably for PCs
    - As Macs gain in popularity, especially in businesses, so will the popularity of trojans and other malware for Macs

     

    Don't get me wrong, it will shift over time, especially given the current and future focus on web applications. And more power to them (Apple, that is).

     

    But when you have a business to run, it's not remotely as simple as "employees want to use them".
    27 Oct 2011, 08:28 AM Reply Like
  • madbcolumbus
    , contributor
    Comments (124) | Send Message
     
    maybe you will spend less money on hiring a full IT department.
    27 Oct 2011, 08:52 AM Reply Like
  • Jkirk3279
    , contributor
    Comments (575) | Send Message
     
    When an IT department adds another twenty PCs, they add another Tech, and their budget gets bigger.

     

    They like this.

     

    Adding Macs doesn't increase their budgets much at all. Just adding RAM to some iMacs in the Graphics Department got turned down because nobody had thought to even budget for it.

     

    The big deal in IT is finding ways to deal with their myriad problems.

     

    The latest trend is in Virtualization; one Master Copy, a whole bunch of basically dumb PCs.

     

    You turn on the PC, and all it knows how to do is ask for an OS download from the Master Copy.

     

    The entire OS gets pushed to it.

     

    You use the PC, and however you try to screw it up, when you shut it off the entire OS partition is scrubbed.

     

    The Head of Software at our college finished telling me all this, with a sparkle in her eyes. She was so happy.

     

    I said, "Oh. You mean like Apple's NetBoot." "Boot fifty computers from the OS on one Server".

     

    She was confused as she doesn't know much outside the M$ realm.

     

    Now, Apple came up with NetBoot... must have been almost eight years ago now. And they released it open source.

     

    But it took about another five years for a PC user to copy the idea and start working on it.

     

    ******

     

    "- It's just one more platform to configure and support"

     

    Studies done by the US Army, et al, show that it doesn't cost any more to support a mixed environment of Macs and PCs.

     

    In fact it's better than pure Windows, as the Macs will continue to function when all the PCs are shut down with the latest virus.

     

    "No hardware vendor competition = higher prices"

     

    A common error. By the time you purchase a Dell configured similarly to a Mac Pro, the price differential shrinks. Especially if you add in the support, A/V, and upgrade costs Windows users seem to overlook.

     

    "- Very little hardware upgrade options
    - Almost no custom hardware options"

     

    What exactly is there to upgrade on a Mac?

     

    WinTel has a plethora of graphics cards, most of which are there to replace the cheap junk that ships standard. Try running MasterCAM on a standard Dell graphics card, it's sad.

     

    But if you really want a faster video card for the Mac, they exist. Less demand for them though.

     

    "- Some software simply isn't available for Macs"

     

    All modern Macs can run all Windows software. So that's kind of a dead horse.

     

    "- Much software is usually available for PCs first, and Macs later"

     

    See above. Run the Windows version if necessary, although I don't recommend it.

     

    "- Software patches are usually available for PCs first, Macs later"

     

    Macs have a lot less need for software patches.

     

    Windows software often seems to ship with strange problems... the latest AutoCAD 12 for Windows is oddly buggy.

     

    Mac software is a tighter market. It's possible because there are fewer weird hardware combinations to cause software to glitch.

     

    "- Any custom software you've made is probably for PCs"

     

    Again, see above. Custom Software will run just fine in Boot Camp, or Parallels, etc.

     

    "- As Macs gain in popularity, especially in businesses, so will the popularity of trojans and other malware for Macs"

     

    Windows users keep saying that, but it doesn't seem to be much of an issue. Apple has taken a few precautions, and you can get free MalWare scanning software if you want it.

     

    But the only real attack vector that works on Macs is tricking users to go to hacked websites. And that's pretty much an equal opportunity offender.

     

    Apple could lock down the websites we're allowed to go to, but they choose not to. We wouldn't like it.

     

    ****
    28 Oct 2011, 09:29 PM Reply Like
  • D_Virginia
    , contributor
    Comments (2280) | Send Message
     
    These debates are always fun, let's get our nerd on! :)

     

    Full disclosure, I'm not an opponent of Apple. I have an iPhone and an iPad, and I like them both (though my phone is jailbroken, and I would be somewhat unhappy with it if I didn't have certain jailbreak apps).

     

    But I think the cost-benefit numbers for Macs are way too high, both at home and for businesses.

     

    Regarding viruses/malware:

     

    I maintain that viruses will increase as market share increases. This is tough to argue for or against, as there's really only one data point for a mass market share OS, and that's Windows. But hacking competitions routinely demonstrate hacks for OSX and Linux alike -- but the criminals don't put a whole lot of effort into those because the market share isn't there.

     

    As for browsers being 'equal opportunity', this year's PWN2OWN would beg to differ:
    http://bit.ly/u9SbBt/

     

    Regarding hardware costs:

     

    Let's pull a comparison right now, as close to apples-to-apples as we can get.

     

    Let's start with the low-end workstation, for employees that don't need much computing power (secretaries, document writers, spreadsheet-jockeys, etc)

     

    The base Mac Mini is $600, $750 w/ warranty:
    2.3GHz Core i5, 2GB RAM, 500GB drive

     

    The lowest end Dell, a Vostro 620 is $300, $400 w/ warranty:
    2.7GHz G630, 2GB RAM, 250GB drive

     

    Sure, the Mac Mini is beefier -- but what if I don't need beefier? Apple doesn't let you scale down, it puts my costs at nearly twice the price.

     

    And let's pretend for a second that you don't need A/V for Macs (which I think you do, or you will soon), and that there aren't free A/V suites for PCs (which there are, and they're quite good) -- you still probably need Windows virtualization on the Mac, so Fusion or Parallels will set you back about the same price per machine. Let's call it a wash.

     

    Macs: $750 per employee
    PCs: $400 per employee
    Apple premium = ~85%

     

    So, on the low end, it seems to me that Macs are nearly twice the price of PCs. You get more, but you might be getting a lot of stuff (hardware and software) that you really don't need. Apple doesn't let you scale down.

     

    Now let's go high-end (well, low high-end). These are for your engineers, developers, etc.

     

    A Mac Pro is w/ warranty is $3300:
    2.8GHz Xeon, 16GB RAM, 1TB drive, Radeon HD 5770 1TB

     

    A similar Dell, a Precision T1600, w/ warranty is $1900
    3.1GHz Xeon, 16GB RAM, 1TB drive, Nvidia Quadro 2000 1TB

     

    So...same problem here, no? And I think the Dell's Nvidia quadro 2000 is actually a higher end card than the Mac's ATI Radeon HD 5770.

     

    Macs: $3300 per employee
    PCs: $1900 per employee
    Apple premium = ~70%

     

    So is OSX worth nearly twice the price? Really?? Why? That would have to be a LOT of "employee happiness" ROI for that investment to make sense...

     

    You sound like you know your stuff, so please, do tell. :)
    29 Oct 2011, 11:37 AM Reply Like
  • Jkirk3279
    , contributor
    Comments (575) | Send Message
     
    "Macs: $3300 per employee
    PCs: $1900 per employee
    Apple premium = ~70%

     

    So is OSX worth nearly twice the price? Really?? Why? That would have to be a LOT of "employee happiness" ROI for that investment to make sense...

     

    You sound like you know your stuff, so please, do tell. :)"

     

    There are a few points.

     

    1) The low end. Apple doesn't even have one. PC makers generally have loss-leaders, cheap boxes they make almost no profit from.

     

    It gets the brand name out there, or so the theory goes. If they retain 50% of those customers on upgrade, they will sell them a better model next year.

     

    Then there's the mid-range, and the high end where the profit actually comes from.

     

    Apple starts at the mid-range. There's no profit in cheap boxes and it doesn't improve the brand name to build them.

     

    So you picked the wrong base comparison.

     

    The Mac Mini would compare to the midrange Dell.

     

    "A similar Dell, a Precision T1600, w/ warranty is $1900
    3.1GHz Xeon, 16GB RAM, 1TB drive, Nvidia Quadro 2000 1TB "

     

    Ah, correct me if I'm wrong. The T1600 comes up as an "entry level quad core workstation".

     

    What about comparing the high end Mac to the high end Dell ?

     

    The Mac Pro has four, six, eight, or twelve cores.

     

    A Mac Pro with two four-core processors would be $3,238.00

     

    The "Dell Precision T7500 Workstation, Six Core Intel® Xeon® Processor X5650, 2.66GHz, 12M L3, 24GB DDR3 ECC, 3x1TB HD (RAID 5), 1.0GB NVIDIA® Quadro® 600, Quad MON, 2 DP & 2 DVI [T7500]" is on Amazon for $5,877.77.

     

    And that's only six cores. Although three 1 TB HD's are nice. Quad monitors are too. More RAM is always better.

     

    I don't have the time today to dig around and build a spreadsheet showing every model Mac Pro and Dell, with all possible configurations. And I wouldn't start such a project for less than $500 cash. Too boring.

     

    But I hope this illustrates; you can always find a cheaper Dell to compare to a higher end Mac Pro, and I can aways find a maxed out Dell that doubles the price of a Mac Pro.

     

    "So is OSX worth nearly twice the price? Really?? Why? That would have to be a LOT of "employee happiness" ROI for that investment to make sense..."

     

    Yes, actually, it's worth more than twice. Because you don't need to pay IT personnel to babysit for you, or to spend months learning to do everything yourself.
    30 Oct 2011, 12:25 PM Reply Like
  • D_Virginia
    , contributor
    Comments (2280) | Send Message
     
    > The low end. Apple doesn't even have one.

     

    Agreed -- but a lot of businesses NEED one.

     

    From a cost-benefit standpoint, most people have way more computer than they need. You don't need a Mac Mini or a "mid-range" Dell for email, web, and documents -- the low-end is more than adequate, and therefore more cost effective.

     

    > There's no profit in cheap boxes and it doesn't improve the
    > brand name to build them.
    > So you picked the wrong base comparison.

     

    No, you're picking the wrong metric. :)

     

    I'm not disputing that Apple is a good INVESTMENT, because they absolutely are.

     

    I'm disputing that companies would be well-served by migrating to Apple products for their enterprises, and I'm disputing that Apple will rapidly gain market share in the business computing space anytime soon.

     

    A (smart) business buys the least expensive tools that meet their needs. Why put so much horsepower on an accountant's desk? It's a waste.

     

    > you don't need to pay IT personnel to babysit for you

     

    Once upon a time this was very true, but not today. Most IT costs today are user error, hardware issues, or issues with vendor or the companies' own software.

     

    Windows has evolved to be stable enough and user friendly enough to easily go head to head with OSX in those departments. Back in the 90s, employees might have needed to have an IT guy editing their autoexec.bat and config.sys files twice a week, but those days are long, long gone.

     

    > or to spend months learning to do everything yourself

     

    Again, a fallacy perpetuated by Mac users who haven't touched Windows in over a decade. If nothing else, what most businesses /will/ have to do is re-train their PC-experienced workforces to find their way around OSX...and to use iTunes to sync all their non-music! Sorry, that little bit of hilarity never ceases to amuse me. :)
    30 Oct 2011, 02:22 PM Reply Like
  • ersatzgenug
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    The PC has always been the camel created by the committee trying to get around patents of the Apple racehorse. Apple early on had technical and creative talent and no marketing sense. That is why we are a business nation still using mainly PCs.
    28 Oct 2011, 08:33 AM Reply Like
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