Who Says Macs Aren't Used In Businesses?

Arik Hesseldahl

I was at the Hewlett-Packard analyst's meeting today and a funny Mac-related thing happened. I happened to sit right behind a four people folks from Soleil-Cross Research, three of whom were typing notes on MacBook Pros.

Now if you've never been to a meeting full of Wall Street financial analysts, let me tell you this: Seeing a Mac in the room is a rare thing. It's a PC fest, full of Windows-running Dells and Thinkpads and so on. But as you probably know, MacBook Pros stand out, prominently showing their lit Apple logo right on the lid for all to see.

Later during a Q-and-A session with CEO Mark Hurd, Shannon Cross asked Hurd a few questions, her MacBook Pro caught his eye. "That notebook you've got there is a challenge to us," he said, adding that he'd be sure to send someone down to see her later to talk about HP notebooks. Sure enough, during a break after Hurd's remarks, an HP exec stopped by to drop off a few business cards.

Meanwhile, Cross and her colleagues were happily running all the applications they needed, including a very slick-looking Java-based Reuters terminal application. From where I sat, I could see all three of these MacBook-carrying analysts were very busy and very productive, sending IM's checking quotes, staying up to speed on the moves of the market, with not a single Windows application needed.

Later on Todd Bradley, head of HP's personal systems group, which is the group responsible for HP's PC and notebook sales, needled Cross and her colleagues a little more, saying he "hoped to visit with you and convince you of the error of your ways."

Nice. Start a sales approach with an arrogant comment. Great approach, Todd.

I chatted with Cross after all this and asked if she was in any way swayed by all this odd attention by HP's senior management. "My problem isn't with HP notebooks," she said. "It's with Microsoft." Concern about viruses, spyware and the many hours of lost productivity that derives from them was the reason for her choice.