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Study: Macs Gaining Ground Against Windows PCs in Enterprise

Enterprise users "overwhelmingly" prefer Macs over Windows PCs, according to a study commissioned by VMware and conducted by Dimensional Research.

The survey's results, released by VMware last week, were based on responses from 376 IT professionals. It found that 71 percent of enterprises now support Macs and 66 percent have employees who use Macs in the workplace.

VMware didn't ask respondents to what extent Macs are deployed within their organizations. While the share of Macs in use has increased over the years, according to IDC, the share of Macs dropped slightly to 10.3 percent in the first quarter of this year from 11 percent in Q1 2013. However, that may be a reflection of the overall decline in PC hardware sales over the past year.

Nevertheless, with more employees using their personal Macs for work and execs often preferring them over PCs, the presence of Macs in the workplace continues to rise. Consequently, VMware -- which has a vested interest in the decline of traditional Windows PCs in the enterprise -- is asserting that the survey findings show the dominance of Windows coming to an end.

"For companies, the choice is very clear -- they need to respond to end-user demand for Macs in the enterprise or they will find it difficult to recruit and retain the best talent on the market," said Erik Frieberg, VMware vice president of marketing for End-User Computing, in a blog post. "They also need to provide IT administrators the tools to support a heterogeneous desktop environment. Otherwise there will be disruption to the business."

Despite user preference, the VMware study shows 39 percent of the IT pros believe Macs are more difficult to support, and 75 percent don't believe they are any more secure. "While employees clearly prefer Macs, there are challenges from an IT perspective that Macs must overcome before they can replace Windows PCs in the enterprise," Frieberg noted.

Exacerbating that challenge, 47 percent said only some applications that employees need to do their jobs run on Macs, and 17 percent reported none of their apps can run on Macs.

VMware naturally sees these findings as lending credibility to its desktop virtualization lineup, including its Fusion Professional offering, which lets IT create virtual desktops for PCs and Macs, as well as its Horizon Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offerings.

The survey also found that less than half (49 percent) of organizations unofficially support user-owned PCs, while 27 percent officially have such policies. The remaining 24 percent don't support user-owned PCs.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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