by Thomas Wailgum

It’s a Mac Mac Mac Mac World: And I’m in PC Hell

Mar 25, 2010
Enterprise Applications

When will enterprise IT wake up and smell the advantages of giving users the platform that they want?

I want a MacBook for my work. There, I’ve said. It’s what will make me do my job better. I’m convinced of it. I’ll be happier, for sure. Less apprehensive about picking up some random virus that could wipe out my hard drive—which has happened numerous times before on my various PCs over the years.

I’m working on a Windows XP-based ThinkPad now, and let’s just say I’m less than satisfied. Colleagues of mine, also on PCs, are feeling the same. Tweeted one yesterday: “Trying to cover high-tech news with a jerry-rigged PC setup is not ideal, just sayin.” I loved that. Some days, it feels like I’m racing in a NASCAR event driving a 1973 El Camino.

Apple MacBook

I’ve worn the proverbial mock black turtleneck before: I’ve enjoyed plenty of Macs up until about six years ago, when my work group became all PCs, all the time. And now it’s like some type of unrequited love story from a sappy movie.

Sure, I own an iPod, but it’s a pretty pathetic Shuffle from the days when, I think, Woz was still on board. I’m in the market for a smartphone, but due to the lack of AT&T coverage where I reside, that iPhone 3G is officially “out.”

I’m not a true fanboy or addict, especially when compared with’s Apple guru, Tom Kaneshige, who admits that he’s got it bad for his iPhone. I’m more of a recovering Apple-holic who’s been forced to attend an IT management detox program—a Jobsian cleansing by my company, if you will. Make no mistake: I am still tempted by the sweet Apple drug all the time.

You’re probably thinking that I could just buy myself a MacBook to use, say, on the weekends for personal stuff. But, really, that would be pretty masochistic, wouldn’t it?

At my sons’ elementary school, there’s not a PC to be found. Teachers, administrators and students (of responsible age) are all using Macs. Wireless connectivity allows them to do their schoolwork anywhere in the building. They all tote their white Apple notebooks with glee.

It’ll be interesting to watch my boys’ computer choices play out—Macs will abound throughout elementary and high school. Then at college, they’ll probably indulge in some type of Apple device to do most of their core computing. And then what? The Real World and…”Here’s your low-cost, Chinese-made PC running Windows XXVII.”

What the what?

My colleague Tom has done a fair amount of writing on the costs of Macs vs. PCs in the enterprise. And here’s what he writes in a recent article: “Macs in the enterprise aren’t just cheaper to manage—they’re a lot cheaper, according to a new survey released by the Enterprise Desktop Alliance.” (For the record, I saw the receipt for my ThinkPad, and the four-figure charge on the invoice didn’t seem that far south of what a Mac will run you.)

The same kind of situation occurs everyday with users and enterprise software. Users want intuitive graphical interfaces; in many cases, they still get the status quo: rigid, legacy software. (See: 5 Reasons Businesses Still Hate Enterprise Software.)

If the overall TCO of Macs isn’t that too far out of whack from the corporate norm—meaning your CFO won’t suddenly go into cardiac arrest when he sees the bill—then why not give users the types of devices, or software, or working arrangement (i.e., teleworking), that they actually want?

If the hardware (keyboard and screen) is the most critical interface between users and their success with business applications, then why wouldn’t the business want to give employees the most user-friendly piece of hardware that they actually want to use?

Perhaps it’s IT’s way of keeping us all from hurting ourselves. After all, someone has got to “traffic cop” all this IT infrastructure. (Reminds me of that Simpsons episode when Homer’s long-lost half brother appears. His brother owns an automobile manufacturing company, and he allows Homer to design a car for the “average” American man, since Homer is just that. It’s an unmitigated disaster.)

If there’s anything more pathetic than a devout, see-no-evil Apple Fanboy, it’s a Fanboy wannabe, like me, being deprived of his Apple salvation by The Man.

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