Apple Gaining on Microsoft in Enterprise Sales, Report Says

Apple Inc. is becoming a favorite of information technology departments, with the popularity of the iPad and Mac computers eroding what businesses are spending on Microsoft Corp. machines, according to a new report.

The Cupertino, California-based company will sell $10 billion worth of iPads and $9 billion of Mac computers to enterprise customers this year, a 58 percent jump, Forrester Research Inc. said in its global IT market outlook report. By contrast, computers and tablets running Microsoft’s Windows software will decline 3 percent this year.

Apple is the “biggest disruptive force in the computer equipment market,” Forrester said in the report released today.

The company is leading the so-called consumerization of IT, in which people use technology gadgets for both personal and work tasks. By expanding its leadership in consumer electronics to business customers, Apple is bucking a global slowdown in IT spending. Forrester estimates that global IT purchases will rise 5 percent to $2.12 trillion in 2012, versus last year’s 10 percent growth rate, as companies ratchet back spending amid a sluggish global economy.

Apple doesn’t break down how much of its sales are from business customers, though in October it said that 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying the iPad. Forrester said that Apple isn’t doing much to drive the sales and that businesses are adopting its devices because of their popularity for personal use.

“The Apple assault on the corporate market has so far taken place without much formal Apple support, and probably with Apple itself understanding its full extent,” Forrester said.

Microsoft software and Intel Corp. semiconductors still dominate the corporate market. Businesses are projected to buy $69 billion worth of Windows-Intel PCs and tablets in 2012, and $68 billion in 2013, the report said. Apple’s Mac and iPad sales to businesses will total $28 billion in 2013, according to Forrester.

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