Finally, the Mac in business. It’s about time

For years the common thought was that the Windows PC was the only computer that was business-worthy. Office Suites, spreadsheets, databases and many more elements were considered vital and necessary for small businesses and large corporations to function.

The prevailing thought was that Apple’s products, especially the Macintosh, were unable to tackle corporate challenges.

However, as many businesses now adopt not only Macs in their IT infrastructure, but iPhones and Xserve products as well, these thoughts are changing.

The belief that Macs were not serious business machines began with a poor first impression or, more accurately, three poor impressions in response to Apple’s venture into the business market.

The Apple III (1980)

This was Apple’s first attempt at delivering a high-end machine that appealed to the business professional. Many technical problems marred this endeavor and, as a result, it damaged the company’s reputation. Whatever edge they would have had against competitors in the business segment, including the fact that this product was available one year prior to the introduction of the IBM PC, was lost.

Apple Lisa (1983)

Another high-end computer with a revolutionary new Graphical User Interface directed at the business community. Businesses simply could not justify its high cost and paltry set of features. After the Mac was introduced, which included the same Graphical User Interface at a significantly reduced price, Lisa was discontinued.

The Macintosh Office (1985)

Consisting of a network file server, local area network and a network laser printer, the Macintosh Office was meant to bring serious competition to IBM in the business arena. Due to many broken promises of integral business features and an inability to deliver timely and comprehensive solutions, that objective was not achieved.

What developed was Desktop Publishing. This helped to position Apple as a serious computer within certain business units and market segments such as marketing departments and media companies. Infiltrating other businesses with their products would take a couple of decades.

The New Apple

Apples market share has been steadily growing at a very high rate. NPD had reported Apple’s U.S. Mac market share at 14 percent earlier this year. This number is remarkable if you look at the fact that Apple’s U.S. retail PC market share last year [the year before? You mean last year, right? Do you ever say “the year before” when you’re referring to last year?] was 9 percent. Take into account the record number of Macs sold in the last quarter and you can be sure that those market share numbers are still on the rise.

The Mac Is Back

Due to the increase in Mac sales and therefore their broader exposure to consumers, more users are exposed to their ease of use, unique design, as well as their more powerful, stable and secure operating system. This phenomenon [greater exposure is a phenomenon?] is driving businesses to adopt Macs. A few key reasons are that they can join office networks and exchange files effortlessly with each other and their Windows PC counterparts and they are not limited to running any one operating system but can accommodate many different ones including Windows and its associated programs at native speeds, if the need arises.

Companies, large and small, have come to the realization that due to the increase in functionality and the decrease in licensing and maintenance costs, Macs make more sense.

The Phone Business

iPhones are also entering the business arena. With the release of the iPhone 2.0 software, corporate security, Microsoft Exchange and other necessary enterprise features have been added to facilitate business adoption. With the recent revelation that the iPhone outsold the RIM Blackberry handset last quarter, strong infiltration into the business market seems inevitable, especially when recognizing that the iPhone has only been available for sale for 15 months versus the Blackberry, a staple of corporate communication, which has been around for the past 9 years.

The adoption of Apple products in business will be driven by the consumers who use, enjoy and recognize their benefits. This enlightenment continues to occur as well as the realization that as technology allows us to perform more powerful and complex tasks, the experience of accomplishing those tasks should not be so arduous and technically difficult that you would not choose to pursue the objectives you set out to achieve.

Apple As Zen

Instead, the tools that we opt to use in the pursuit of our dreams, whether they be in a personal or professional sense, should be enjoyable to use to increase efficiency, decrease frustration and perhaps find that moment of Zen in an otherwise hectic world.

My personal experience mirrors this article. My office had been operating on a Windows PC structure for four years. During that time, numerous calls and countless hours regarding computer problems had supplanted my office staff from the work of the practice to interaction with IT professionals on a regular basis without an end to the disruptions and breakdowns.

Due to my extremely pleasant experiences with my first Apple computer, a year old MacBook Pro, I decided to take a leap of faith and convert the office as well as retrain my staff to utilize the new hardware and software because the success of my practice was at stake. I can now concentrate more on the care of my patients instead of focusing on the aggravation brought about by my previous computer system.

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