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.