It's a question I get asked all the time. Do I buy a Mac for my business or a PC?
More than a decade ago, the answer was pretty clear: Get a PC. For years, Microsoft owned the corporate ecosystem. Servers ran Windows. Networks were more easily configured for Windows. Thousands of Microsoft employed, trained or partner-geeks were available to help support the famously-less-than-reliable Windows operating system. Businesses bought PCs. Sure, there were Apple products for the corporate world, but these were mostly used by a small group outliers -- those organizations that were generally in the arts, design or education industries.
Then things changed -- Microsoft lost its mojo. People bought iPods, then iPhones, then iPads and iMacs. The Mac, particularly the Mac Pro, became a more accepted tool in the business world. As networking software improved and more developers wrote applications for the iOS platform, I began to see more and more Macs sprouting up at my clients' offices. Apple's applications were cooler and its devices just worked better than the Windows counterparts. Its products gained market share in the business community. And even as more people migrated towards devices and laptops, its desktop -- the Mac Pro -- symbolized the company's resurgence against Microsoft's declining Windows operating system and the PCs that relied on it.
Then . . . Apple blew it.
Last week, the company confirmed what just about every Mac Pro user could tell you about their flagship business desktop: It sucked. According to this report from The Verge, "Apple admitted that its flashy 2013 Mac Pro redesign was a mistake, and executives indicated that Apple intends to better support its professional users in the future."
The Mac Pro was so poorly designed that its creators were unable to upgrade its specifications for more than three years. Embarrassed by the mistake, the company essentially swept the product line under the rug, ignoring its user base and the tech community who waited vainly for any significant updates. The backlash has been considerable and the complaints "scathing," according to The Verge report. Things deteriorated enough that a group of executives from the company convened a mini-press conference to admit their mistakes and announce that they had nothing to announce -- other than a redesigned Mac Pro is still a year away.
There's no need to criticize Apple because you can't really blame them for ignoring the Mac Pro. The user community represents "only a single-digit percent of total Mac sales" and Mac sales are only about 10 percent of Apple's revenue. Apple, like the rest of us, doesn't have unlimited resources. It's been focusing its attention on more profitable products and investing in new ones. The company left itself exposed to abuse from the small, yet vocal, community of Mac Pro users and is taking its lumps. Its a great company and I don't dispute its strategy, but by ignoring its business desktop products it has allowed Microsoft to regain more control with better, faster and more productive equipment running the highly rated Windows 10 operating system. Apple blew it.
But, that’s not your concern, is it? What's more important than Apple's business is your business. Sure, you've been equipping your people with laptops and tablets because more and more of them need mobility. But, the fact is that you still need desktop computers. I know this because every time I visit a client I see the majority of the people sitting in cubicles and offices -- where they sit every day -- with desktops in front of them. Businesses in 2017 still need accountants, managers, customer service teams, inside sales groups and other employees who are stationary in the office. They use PCs. When those desktops wear out they will be replaced by new desktops, and when new people are hired for office jobs they will also require new desktops. You will buy a desktop PC because, like the rest of my clients, when you evaluate the cost you'll agree that a desktop PC offers more bang for the buck (more power for less cost) than a laptop.
So will your next desktop be a Mac Pro? No, it won't. Given Apple’s recent history with this product line, that investment seems like a bad idea. Instead you will buy a desktop PC that runs Windows because it's not only less expensive but -- let's face it -- it seems to work better than the current line of Mac Pros. You've got enough problems in your professional life as it is -- why invite Apple's problems into your office as well?
One final, important note: While I'm doing my best to be objective and I love Apple, please also know that my firm is a Microsoft Partner.
Gene Marks is president of The Marks Group, a ten-person Philadelphia-based consulting firm specializing in sales and marketing technologies. Gene is the author of six books, most recently, The Manufacturer's Book Of List (CreateSpace - Oct...