Apple making big inroads in business with OS X

Apple Computer’s UNIX-based Mac OS X operating system is making inroads in the business community, according to a report by market research firm Jupiter Research. The report tracks desktop and server operating systems in medium to large sized business.

The report found that 17 percent of businesses with 250 employees or more were running Mac OS X on their desktop computers. Twenty-one percent of businesses that had 10,000 or more employees used Mac OS X on their desktop.

Mac OS X Server is also doing well with businesses. Nine percent of companies with 250 employees or more used Mac OS X Server, while 14 percent of companies with 10,000 employees or more used Apple’s Server software.

Due reporting techniques, comparisons to where Mac OS X was last year at this time were not available. However, Jupiter Research Senior Analyst and author of the report, Joe Wilcox, characterized the numbers as significant for Apple.

“What we are seeing is Mac OS X taking share away from traditional UNIX installations,” Wilcox told MacCentral. In some cases, OS X is taking share away from Windows, as well.”

Wilcox explained that large businesses with expensive UNIX systems are opting for Mac OS X when they upgrade for a variety of reasons. OS X is winning out over Linux in some cases as well, said Wilcox because these businesses would already have UNIX expertise on staff; OS X has a good stable of server applications and it can run traditional UNIX apps; and OS X is more viable as a desktop platform.

Jupiter also sees opportunities for Apple with companies that currently run a UNIX and Windows combination. With Mac OS X’s UNIX underpinnings, companies can use Apple’s operating system to replace the other two.

Microsoft’s Windows Server operating system saw a marginal decrease in installed base this year, according to the report.

Wilcox said it was too early to gauge reaction to Apple’s recent announcement that it intends to switch to Intel-based systems next year. While cost will be definitely be a factor, Jupiter’s Wilcox said that is not always the largest cost center.

“With a lot of these systems the biggest cost is software, not hardware,” said Wilcox.

Linux users also represent a big pool of potential switchers, according to the report.

“I’m surprised to see just how much Mac OS X has captured the interest of potential Linux switchers,” said Wilcox. “Companies that were considering Linux are now buying Mac OS X instead.”

Update Clarified the percentage of companies using Mac OS X client.

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