Apple is making serious in roads at long last with business users due to a perfect storm: Vista's woes, excitement about the iPhone, and promised enterprise applications for the iPhone. Here's what you need to know to switch.
They aren’t exactly fleeing like lemmings, but it’s safe to say many business users are less than thrilled with Microsoft’s latest operating system, Vista. While nine out of 10 computers in the world are PC’s running on Windows, the latest numbers show a steady trickle of users abandoning Microsoft-based PCs in favor of either Apple’s Macintosh or a Linux-based PC.
“Last week, I got the blue screen of death again and I swear that it’s the last time I’m reinstalling Windows. I expect it will take about three years, but I’m converting my office over to Macs,” says Reuben Swartz, founder and president of Mimiran, a software company that specializes in pricing analytics based in Austin, Texas.
In a Net Applications survey released in June, Macs hit a record 7.8 percent of the total operating system market share, up 5.69 percent in just one month. At the same time Microsoft has hit an all time low dropping a half of a percent to 91.17 percent. This may not seem like a big deal given Microsoft’s continued overwhelming dominance. But consider this: just five years ago Microsoft held just under 98 percent of the operating system market share, while Apple’s Macintosh bumped along at a measly 1.43 percent according to OneStat.com.
How feasible to make the transition
The question is, for small business owners like Swartz, just how feasible is it to make such a huge transition in technology and what steps would a company take in implementing such a commitment?
“Apple’s backend systems aren’t anywhere near Microsoft, so large businesses won’t be going to Macs anytime soon. But smaller businesses don’t have that problem. I haven’t had a lot of customers converting over, but I’ve had some. All of them were businesses with ten computers or less,” says Josh Kaplan, president of Rescuecom, a nationwide IT consulting firm based in Syracuse, N.Y.
Kaplan offers the following tips to get the ball rolling:
Weighing the pros and cons
Capital costs, retraining, a lengthy rollout process, possible compatibility issues -- it’s easy to see why nine out of 10 users are still sticking with Microsoft. Making the switch is clearly a big commitment and, perhaps, just too intimidating for most companies.
However, the computing landscape is undergoing dramatic changes these days that some would say is setting up a perfect storm of factors to ease those anxieties over switching platforms.
Of course, there is a third option out there: Linux-based operating systems. But that’s a story for another day and one sending a chill down the spines of both Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Apple CEO Steve Jobs.