David M Smith

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David Mitchell Smith
VP & Gartner Fellow
16 years at Gartner
30 years IT industry

David Mitchell Smith is a vice president and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research, where he specializes in the impact of catalytic technologies such as the Internet, Web 2.0, cloud computing and consumer technologies. Read Full Bio

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Corporate crapware – will consumerization help drive it or eliminate it.

by David M. Smith  |  January 19, 2012  |  3 Comments

Barely a day goes by without more news about Macs gaining in the enterpris and I still see the occasional rant about crapware (e.g., the loads of preinstalled software that comes loaded on consumer PCs by hardware manufacturers). On the surface, these seem unrelated concepts. But I think there is an interesting connection.

Crapware in the consumer PC space is a well known scourge that has been around for a while, and has become a bit less of a problem but has not gone completely away.

And of course there is indeed a large increase in uses of Macs in business and it is driven largely by individual use and demand and the increasingly popular BYOD movement (e.g., consumerization). It is not being driven by IT department, nor are huge volume corporate purchases driving it. While Macs are indeed excellent machines, they look even better than they are when compared to typical enterprise issued Windows machines rather than to a more state of the art consumer PC, (even with some crapware. Why? Several reasons. First, the typical enterprise machine is often not modern hardware, but even it is, it is often running a ‘corporate image’, somewhat locked down, and including all kinds of what I call ‘corporate crapware’. Much of this is software included for security purposes and software provisioning. Antivirus, software installation automation, end point protection. The list goes on and on. Often it is configured to run at inopportune times with no consideration of the user and it slows boot times to a crawl. It is not uncommon for corporate machines to take several minutes to boot, while a modern Windows machine without crapware can boot in as little as 30 seconds, quite comparable to a consumer Mac. No wonder people whose exposure to Windows is of corporate Windows are so sour on it. Which This makes Macs seem even better than they are. Macs are typically purchased as consumer machines with no crapware at all.

Careful what you wish for

One of the things that Mac users may look for as their constituency grows in enterprises is support. Here is where they need to be careful what they wish for. There are different levels of support. Typical “full support” by many in IT means corporate images and the path to crapware. Thus negating much of what people like about Macs. Yes, I have seen corporate images on Macs and they usually do much the same as they do to a PC – ruin the experience significantly.

There is no reason why PCs in use in corporate environments can’t provide a much better experience than they do today. Even with security programs and other additions, which are not by themselves always the problem, these can be set up to intrude less. And consumerization is demonstrating that sometimes “less is more” when it comes to managing systems.. With BYOD not limited to Macs, PC users can insist on crapware free machines – meaning free from consumer crapware and corporate crapware.

The Mac vs. PC debate is one of the oldest around. It should happen without the burden of crapware handicapping anybody.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Adam   January 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I won’t name my company but we have over 100,000 windows machines in our enterprise. We have tons of corporate crapware but it is getting better.

    The other thing not touched on in here is the cost of the machine. We have some Macs but not many. There was a “pilot” program going on and one thing that struck me… the cost of the machines. The HP machines we are using were priced at $900. The Macbook Pros they were buying were ~$1900. Give me $1900 to spend on an Alienware laptop or something and even with the corporate crapware it will probably be a comparable experience to the Mac.

  • 2 Ken W   January 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Macs in the past had much to offer people, like easy media applications like Guitar Band. The premium price was mis-spent because the old Macs were geared to personal not business apps.
    Now I think Mac devices offer mobility, which does have a place in business. The mobility makes BYOD a new front for IT infrastructure management. Is there an app for that?

  • 3 Thomas   January 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Most if not all extra applications is about compliance, security and support. Every organisation who cares about it will need it on peoples own devices as well – or people will be connecting to isolated networks and only reach servers using technologies like remote desktop.