Apple’s enterprise mojo: One in 5 use iPhones, iPads, Macs at work

Forrester Research today published an interesting and extensive analysis (via CNET) based on a large-scale poll of 10,000 information workers from North America and Western Europe, including 3,350 higher-ups that make purchasing decisions. The report, titled “Apple Infiltrates The Enterprise And Reshapes The Markets For Personal Devices At Work,” found out that 21 percent use one or more Apple devices (the figure includes gear they had brought in).

Nearly half of businesses, or 46 percent, now issue Macs to their workers. That is up by more than half in two years (36 and 30 percent in 2010 and 2009, respectively). Moreover, hardware decision makers envision a 52 increase in Mac adoption in their companies this year. Out of those firms that issue Macs, a healthy 7 percent of all personal computers issued are Macs. The report said Macs in enterprise plus Microsoft’s poor mobile offering both signal that “Windows’ dominance is at an end.”  This sounds a lot like Forrester’s take on the post-PC era.

As for iPads and iPhones, 27 and 37 percent of companies officially support Apple’s tablet and phone, respectively. Things get even more interesting as 31 percent consider supporting the iPad in 2012 (55 percent for the iPhone). Microsoft cannot be too happy with this survey. So, who exactly gets to use Apple gear? Your bosses, that’s who! More information is available below.


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Too little too late for the Windows tablet?


A Windows 8 tablet mockup

If you believe today’s Forrester Research report, a Window of opportunity is closing fast as customers are losing interest in the forthcoming Windows 8-powered tablets. Microsoft on its part previewed Windows 8 two months ago and won praise for its touch interface. To be perfectly honest, the UI does look nice and interesting and support for ARM/x86 architectures and app market makes it better suited to compete in the post-PC era. But timing is everything and “Windows 8 is going to be very late to the party”, Forrester argued. Here’s the gist of their report:

For tablets, though, Windows really isn’t a fast follower. Rather it’s (at best) a fifth-mover after iPad, Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, HP’s now-defunct webOS tablet, and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. While Windows’ product strategists can learn from these products, other players have come a long way in executing and refining their products — Apple, Samsung, and others have already launched second-generation products and will likely be into their third generation by the time Windows 8 launches. Meanwhile, newer competitors like Amazon (Kindle Fire) and Barnes & Noble (Nook Tablet) are reshaping consumer expectations in the market, driving down price points (and concomitant price expectations), and redefining what a tablet is.

Interestingly, Microsoft has a web tool that, when accessed on one’s iOS or Android device, lets one run an emulation of Windows Phone 7. In what some might dub a sign of desperation, Microsoft is reportedly readying a version of the Office suite for iPad - an ironic move, really, as they didn’t even announce Office apps tailored for Windows 8 tablets.

Announcing Windows 8 well ahead of the promised late-2012 release may have backfired as the excitement surrounding Windows 8 tablets wore off and competitors like Apple and Google can close any perceived advantages. In the first quarter, 46 percent of U.S. consumers yearned for a Windows tablet, Forrester noted (your chart goes right after the break). Last quarter, consumer interest plummeted to just 25 percent. Apple went from 16 percent to 28 percent and Google from 9 percent to 18 percent. But even though more people yearned for a Windows tablet than an Android one, Forrester notes:

Microsoft has missed the peak of consumer desire for a product they haven’t yet released.

Of course, gauging demand for an unreleased product can be misleading and even Forrester analysts were forced to change their ideas of how the market works when early iPad sales caught everyone flabbergasted. On the other hand, we do know Windows 8 tablets won’t ship in volume before this time next year. And herein lies the problem…


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Forrester relents: Recommends Macs for business because your boss wants one

IT managers’ thinking is influenced by a myriad of business factors, including research studies advising them not to adopt Apple’s computers. But their attitude is changing as Forrester Research, one of the most outspoken proponents of the Mac-free business environment, now backpedals on their 2008 report which called for a total banishment of Macs in the workplace – even for the most mundane tasks such as handling email.

According to the Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt, a new Forrester survey (available for sale on the corporate card here) of 590 IT managers, Mac users comprise “the 17 percent of information workers who use new technologies and find innovative ways to be more productive and serve customers more effectively”. Wow, talk about change in stance. But wait, there’s more. “Mac users are your HEROes and you should enable them not hinder them”, the report concludes, HEROes being a Forrester acronym for Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives.

Just like with iPhone, “Macs are being freewheeled into the office” by corporate higher-ups – typically executives, sales reps and other workaholics – who rely on MacBook Pro machines rather than Windows notebooks which “are slowing them down”:

Employees want their PCs to boot in 10 seconds, not 10 minutes, and they don’t want to have to get a cup of coffee while opening a 20 MB spreadsheet in Excel. They’re drawn to uncluttered Macs — especially those with solid-state drives, which are more responsive and boot in seconds.

That, and the looks…

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CES: In 2011, despite competition, iPad will win

That’s the conclusion from Forrester Research in their latest research which predicts US tablet sales will double this year.

They now anticipate tablet sales last year of (a deeply conservative) 10.3 million units, thanks to stronger than expected iPad sales. And they think iPad will take the ‘lion’s share’ of a market they expect will double in size (to 24.1 million units) this year, despite all those new CES-introduced ‘competitors’. Read more