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VMware Predicts Macs Will Invade the Enterprise

A study commissioned by VMware finds enterprise users "overwhelmingly" prefer Macs over Windows PCs. According to the survey of 376 IT professionals conducted by Dimensional Research, 71 percent of enterprises now support Macs and 66 percent have employees who use them in the workplace.

VMware, which of course has a vested interest in the demise of traditional Windows PCs in the enterprise, didn't ask to what extent Macs are deployed within respondents' organizations. While the share of Macs in use overall has increased over the years, according to IDC, the share of Macs dropped slightly to 10.1 percent last quarter from 11 percent year-over-year. However, that may reflect the overall decline in PC hardware sales over the past year. Nevertheless with more employees using their personal Macs at work and execs often preferring them over PCs, their presence in the workplace continues to rise.

Consequently, VMware is asserting that the findings show the dominance of Windows is 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's VP of marketing for End-User Computing in a blog post last week. "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 that 39 percent of the IT pros surveyed 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," Freiberg noted.

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

That trend is good news for Parallels, whose popular Parallels Desktop for Mac allows Windows to run as a virtual machine on Macs. I happened to catch up with Parallels at TechEd in Houston in May, where the company also announced a management pack for Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). The new tool gives admins full visibility of Macs on an enterprise network, Parallels claims. In addition to network discovery, it includes a self-service application portal, an OSX configuration profile editor and can enable FireVault 2 encryption. The management pack can also deploy packages and prebuilt OSX images as well as configuration files.

VMware naturally sees these findings as lending credibility to its desktop virtualization push, including its Fusion Professional offering, which lets IT create virtual desktops for PCs and Macs, as well as its Horizon desktop-as-a-service offerings.

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

Are you seeing the rise of Macs in your organization? If so, would you say an invasion of Macs in the enterprise is coming? How are you managing Macs within your shop?


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/07/2014 at 9:30 AM


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