Is Microsoft losing ground to Apple in the enterprise? It appears to be, at least on the client side, according to Frank Gillett, analyst with Forrester Research.
For years, the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows operating system has been commonly recognized as the dominant force in enterprise clients. But Gillett said Apple has begun making inroads among information workers with both its iOS and Mac OS X operating systems, especially with managers, executives and younger workers.
“Have you noticed an increased presence of Apple products in public spaces and workspaces in the last few years?” Gillett asked in his blog Thursday. “Turns out that 21 percent of information workers are using one or more Apple products for work. Almost half of enterprises (1,000 employees or more) are issuing Macs to at least some employees—and they plan a 52 percent increase in the number of Macs they issue in 2012.”
Forrester just released a new report, “Apple Infiltrates the Enterprise and Reshapes the Markets for Personal Devices at Work,” compiled from a series of surveys that looked at both IT decision makers and the choices they were making for their organizations, and also at information workers and the tools they use to perform their work whether at work or at home.
Gillett said Forrester found that 21 percent, about one in five, information workers use one or more Apple devices for work. Unsurprisingly, iPhones are the most ubiquitous Apple device in the workplace; the report found 37 percent of businesses are currently supporting the iPhone and support is projected to rise to 55 percent in 2012.
The iPad is the next most popular device. Forrester’s report found that 27 percent of companies supported the iPad in 2011, and 31 percent are looking into supporting it.
But it’s not just iPhones and iPads. Mac computers are also making inroads, Gillett said. Forrester found that eight percent of information workers use a Mac for work. The percentage of enterprises that issued computers running Mac OS X in 2011 was 46 percent, while 36 percent of SMBs also issued Macs in 2011. Gillett said IT decision makers in 2011 forecast a 52 percent increase in the number of Macs they will issue in 2012.
It should be noted that among companies that issue Macs to employees, about seven percent of the personal computers issued are Macs.
In all, 15 percent of information workers use one Apple device (iPad, iPhone or Mac computer), five percent use two of the three types of devices and one percent use all three.
Managers and directors are the most likely users of Apple products in the enterprise. Forrester found that 27 percent of managers use an Apple device and 41 percent of directors do, while only 14 percent of lower-ranked workers do.
Youth and income level are the other determinants. Forrester found that younger workers are twice as likely to use Apple products as older ones, and higher income workers are also more likely to use Apple products. However, Gillett noted that use of Apple products is pretty strong down the income scale, with adoption of Apple products reaching almost 17 percent among the bottom quartile of workers who make less than $12,000 per year.
Gillett said information workers in countries outside North America and Europe are also more likely to use Apple products for work.
Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals.