Windows 7 Release May Put the Brakes on Apple Enterprise Growth

News Analysis: Apple's performance is besting the top companies in the tech industry. Apple market share, buoyed by sales of iPhones and iPods as well as Macintosh PCs, has grown substantially. Enterprise rejection of Windows Vista may have made it easier for Macs to infiltrate corporate offices. But that could change when Windows 7 is released later in 2009.

Apple announced its quarterly financial data July 21 and, once again, the Mac and iPod maker is performing extremely well.
According to Apple, its quarterly profit has risen to $1.23 billion, representing a 12 percent gain year-over-year. It beat Wall Street estimates on revenue and earnings per share. Once again, the company is one of the most profitable in the tech industry.
Apple's success is partly due to its vision. The company wasn't content to simply offer computers, so it analyzed the space and delivered compelling products that appeal to consumers across a wide array of markets. There's no debating that Apple has achieved its success in no small part because of the consumer appeal of its products.
But is that all? Is the company enjoying this success solely because of its own vision? It's debatable. A quick glance at Apple's financial data tells a slightly different tale: Since the release of Windows Vista, Apple has been far more profitable than it was when Windows XP was leading the charge for Microsoft. Granted, that's partly due to the success of the iPod and the release of the iPhone, but is there more to it than meets the eye?
Vista was a nightmare for Microsoft. Designed to be the follow-up to XP and the operating system to carry the Microsoft banner going forward, it failed in the enterprise. Most companies opted to stick with XP out of fear that Vista's hardware requirements were too great. Worse, it suffered from compatibility issues when it was released, causing headaches for some companies when mission-critical applications stopped working on the new operating system.

It got so bad that Dell, Hewlett-Packard and other major vendors gave users the option to exercise "downgrade" rights, allowing customers to buy a Vista PC but have the vendor install XP instead.
The enterprise had two options after Vista was released: Stick with outdated hardware until Windows 7 hit store shelves or venture into uncharted territory by buying Macs and deploying Mac OS X networkwide. For some companies, the latter option was impossible-they were using applications that only worked with Windows. But other companies weren't tied down to a single operating system and opted instead to try out Apple products. Since then, Apple's market share has grown consistently.
At the same time, Apple's iPod and iPhone business has grown, as well. Even consumer market share has grown in the same period. Part of that might be due to Vista and Microsoft's many false starts.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...