Exploding Mac sales drive Apple to the enterprise

Apple held its recently-acquired fifth-place position in the French PC market in the final quarter 2009, Gartner has confirmed, conceding Apple has had “significant growth” across Europe, where PC shipments totalled 20.2 million units.

Meanwhile US surveys suggest that growing profile in the consumer PC market is driving Apple to a resurgence in the enterprise, where IT admins seem more willing than ever to support the Mac as part of a hybrid or purely Mac network.

In 2009, PC shipments reached 64.8 million units in Western Europe, representing flat unit growth from 2008.

“For the first time in 2009, it was in the fourth quarter that we saw the three major countries in Western Europe posted growth,” said Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner, based in the UK. “The Western European PC market performed better than expected. Despite the tough economic conditions the consumer PC market provided vendors with a source of growth. The vendors that were able to execute their strategy clearly benefited from the consumers’ propensity to purchase PCs.”

“Outside the top five vendors, we saw Apple, Samsung, Lenovo and Sony post significant growth compared to a year ago. Collectively, these vendors are increasing share and putting considerable competitive pressure on the top five vendors,” said Mr Atwal.

“The PC market in the UK has also become heavily dependent on mobile PCs as they accounted for 70 per cent of the total PC market. The consumer mobile PC market continued to dominate the market with growth reaching 24 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009. The continued uptake of mini-notebooks has been the driving force providing an ideal platform at the lower price point for the consumer,” Atwal alleged.

PC shipments in France totalled 3.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2009, an increase of 4.5 per cent compared with the same period in 2008 (see Table 3). In 2009, PC shipments reached 10.8 million units in France, a 1.7 per cent increase from 2008.

“The fourth quarter showed the strongest PC growth in France last year,” said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner, based in France.

Apple made its debut among the top five PC vendors displacing Toshiba. Apple performed well in the mobile PC market despite the company’s decision not to enter the mini-notebook market. Apple refreshed its iMac and Mac Mini lines which bolstered desktop PC sales during the quarter.

The increased profile of Apple in the consumer space continues to drive visibility in enterprise markets, survey results from the Enterprise Desktop Alliance confirm. (NB: The survey is of 322 IT admins from large US orgs who are already running hybrid networks).

These results show that 66 per cent of IT admins expect to increase the number of Macs in their business in future, driven by user preference, increased productivity and ease of technical support.

“As a greater percentage of enterprise applications become OS-neutral, the cost to support a more diverse hardware and OS mix will decrease, making Macs a more viable choice for a greater number of users who continue to demand them,” according to Michael Silver, vice president and research director at Gartner in the their report, “Gartner Predicts 2010: PC End-User Issues.” “Providers that sell enterprise-class Mac solutions and Mac services may see an increase in demand.”

Among the issues that ranked as “very” or “extremely” important to the 322 respondents were:

  • File Sharing between Operating Systems 79%
  • Security 79%
  • Client management (inventory, patches, compliance) 72%
  • Active Directory integration 66%
  • Cross-platform help desk and knowledge base support 60%

“Despite the uncertain economic conditions, Apple can expect the Mac to continue to find acceptance in large organizations,” said T. Reid Lewis, president of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance, and CEO of Group Logic. “More and more solutions are available to help these enterprises address their integration and management issues.”

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