Apple will be just as accepted in the enterprise as Microsoft by 2014, if a recent study by tech research company Gartner is to be believed.
Microsoft has long been the reigning champ within business circles — and Windows’ desktop market share still sits at a whopping 84 percentage points ahead of Mac OS — but Gartner believes that Apple will translate its recent successes with the iPhone and iPad over to its future Mac products. As businesses continue to open up to consumerization, or the adoption of consumer devices in the workplace, Apple will continue to grow at Microsoft’s expense — according to the study at least.
“Going forward, Apple will continue to benefit from consumerization and will continue to evolve Macs to take on more iOS characteristics, which will contribute to acceptance of Macs in the enterprise,” said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “As such, enterprise acceptance of Apple will continue to be driven by consumer demand.”
Microsoft has made a push into the smartphone and tablet markets in recent years with its Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Windows RT operating systems, but adoption rates of those products have been low thus far. That means that if consumerization continues to grow (and it shows no signs of stopping), Microsoft will be at a disadvantage, just because so few people own its mobile devices in the first place.
As it stands now, Gartner predicts that Microsoft’s longtime stranglehold on the enterprise is reaching its end. The study doesn’t claim that Microsoft will be obsolete by any means, just that “enterprises should plan for continued consumerization and for the fact that Apple will continue to be a significant beneficiary.”
Of course, whether or not things will play out this way is still anyone’s guess. Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) alone should keep Microsoft a major player in the enterprise, and Macs are still miles away from being as prevalent as Windows machines. Plus, it’s worth remembering that Microsoft’s real heavy hitter in the tablet space, the Surface Pro, is scheduled to arrive in just a few days, so that could sway more enterprise IT in the Redmond clan’s favor.
Nevertheless, Gartner has enough reason to believe that the tide is turning, so a significant shift in the working world may be coming soon. Maybe.