Apple is a top three PC vendor for enterprise, report claims

When it comes to corporate notebook purchasing, Macs are just as likely a choice as HP, with Dell still ahead, according to 451 Research.

Apple, Mac, MacBook Pro, iPad, iPad Pro, Windows
Daniel Masaoka / IDG

The Windows 7 replacement cycle has begun, and recent 451 Research data seems to suggest Apple could benefit from this: iPads are the tablet of choice and Apple is among the top three potential manufacturers for corporate PC purchasers.

When prediction becomes reality

Some tech industry observers predict enterprise users will move to more heterogenous technology deployments, mixing on-site servers with cloud service providers, iPhones, iPads, Macs and Windows machines.

As business technology becomes increasingly data-driven with approachable mobile front ends, the needs of enterprise IT are changing fast.

The rate of digital transformation is driving many enterprises to adopt cloud service providers for key tasks, integrating disparate solutions with help from sometimes third-party master system integrators. The result? There’s a trend for some key infrastructure to be supplied by agile, scalable third-party vendors.

This is changing what enterprise IT needs. It also means it is now far easier than ever before to put together and manage mixed platform environments. That’s great, given so many incoming employees expect their business kit to be as easy to use as their iPhone.

What the Changewave data shows

In a recent report, 451 Research tells us: “Apple and Dell maintain strong positions in corporate tablets and PCs.”

The report notes that while tablet purchases remain more or less stable (with iPads by far the popular choice), the company also sees an “uptick” in PC purchasing. It also explains that corporate spending plans for laptops and desktops are both up from the last quarter, with notebooks more than twice as popular as enterprises become ultra-mobile.

It is worth noting that Dell is the top choice for desktops, followed by HP, with Apple the third-place choice, as recently predicted by IDC. When it comes to notebooks, Apple’s focus on mobile means it is just as likely a choice as HP, with Dell still up front.

Apple also claims the active installed base for both Macs and iPads is at an all-time high, boasts of a 92% satisfaction rating among business users of iPads and says that 78% of those planning to purchase a tablet plan to get an Apple iPad.

What does this mean for Windows 7 upraders?

In short, it suggests the vast majority of Windows 7 replacers will stick with Windows, though it is also true that a big chunk of corporate PC purchasers will choose to move to an Apple notebook, desktop, or even an iPad.

It is interesting that the data pegs Apple and HP as neck and neck in terms of laptop sales. Given HP’s recent strength in PC sales and Apple’s relatively flat Mac sales trajectory, year-on-year, I think we’ll have to wait and see what (if any) activity happens to change this.

Meanwhile, recent Gartner data points to a 3% decline in Mac sales.

It is also potentially true to say that the impact of any Mac adoption in corporate markets must be mitigated by slowness in consumer PC sales.

What can Apple do?

One thing Apple is expected to do that might help it secure additional marketshare in the enterprise space is to introduce new Macs. Indeed, one could argue that if ever there was a time at which the company should introduce an upgraded semi-professional notebook, this is it.

With Microsoft effectively forcing a corporate replacement cycle with the end of support for Windows 7, I’m willing to bet that a capable Mac laptop in the sub-$1,000 bracket (where the MacBook once sat) might be all the machine some enterprise buyers feel they need.

This may be precisely what the company intends, given recent claims from the world’s current favorite AAPL analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo:

"We forecast that Apple's major new hardware products in 1H20 include the 4.7-inch LCD iPhone, iPad Pro, MacBook Pro/Air, smaller wireless charging mat, UWB tag, and a high-end Bluetooth headphone," he wrote.

What Macs are coming?

Apple upgraded the MacBook Air in July 2019. Feedback for that Mac was pretty positive, but its weakness is likely the butterfly keyboard, borrowed from MacBook Pro.

It seems reasonable to anticipate replacement of this in any new model, and Apple could conceivably pick up some of low/mid-range PC-replacement sales in the corporate markets simply by doing so – and adding a slight speed-bump to keep things fresh.

Alternatively, that recently published Eurasian Economic Commission new laptop filing could turn out to be a 13-in. MacBook Pro, which may also help incite interest from enterprise purchasers. (I feel that the speculation around an all-glass iMac is unlikely to be met.)

Apple in January confirmed that a huge number of customers purchasing Macs and iPads are new to the platforms. Apple CFO Luca Maestri noted that “around half of the customers purchasing Macs and iPads around the world during the quarter were new to that product.”

Apple may not replace every EOL PC over the next 12-months, but it’s more likely to do so than it once was, and we should see this reflected within 2020’s PC and tablet sales. All being well...

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Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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