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Just say “no…”

I saw a great “lead-in” article on CNET tonight called “Why CIOs are saying no to Macs.”

(No, it’s not because they’re all “maroons” [1], although some CLEARLY are. Many are otherwise quite intelligent, reasoning individuals. Sometimes, it is because they report to a CEO who is a maroon.)

The CNET article points to an article by the same name under the heading “Operating Systems” at

The article estimates the Macintosh desktop market, which has been climbing for some time, at about 8% (Note added October 20, 2009: …but see the LATEST numbers HERE!), but “the business world remains immune to the pull of Apple’s hardware, with few – if any – workers in most companies using anything other than the classic Wintel combination, in spite of demand for alternative desktop options from staff.”

Well, let’s clarify that statement a bit. I think that it SHOULD read, “the stodgy (definitions 2-5) element of the business world remains immune….”

It is humorous to me to hear this discussion. I heard this discussion LONG before I became a Mac user and LONG before MacOS X existed. Back in the 1980s (Note added October 21 2009: Remember, Macintosh was not INTRODUCED until 1984 [a woman running with a big sledgehammer… large-screen TV… YOU remember!] :-) ), a company that employed me had one Macintosh, purchased by a marketing manager, because, frankly, PCs could not produce the results that she needed. Later, at another company, I provided technical support to a group of Mac-using scientists at a pharmaceutical company, who had responded to their IT department’s and management’s attempts to push Macs out of the company, by bringing in THEIR OWN Macintoshes and cable and “LocalTalking” (not ethernetting) them together! (Yes, it was THAT long ago!)

The excuse given for “saying no” to Macintosh now is the huge investment that a lot of companies have made in Windows and Windows software and the cost of conversion. (This argument has its merits, which is WHY it was used! :-) )

But is that the real reason, or just the excuse?

Although I have learned through exposure to many types of systems on the desktop, that Mac is the system for me, I have always believed that people should use the system with which they are most productive. (Note added October 8, 2009: …and viral infections are NOT productive!) (Note added October 21, 2009: Is letting people use the systems with which they are most productive such a radical idea? [Apparently….] :-) You would THINK that corporate management would be interested in maximizing the productivity of their workers. Especially NOW, when Windows programs can be run easily on Macintosh.) (Note added October 31, 2009: Yes, there goes that “heavy investment in Windows software” argument! :-) )

A number of my employers, but not all, were willing to “take the productivity hit” by forcing me to use Windows. The smartest companies that employed me either gave me a Mac OR gave me BOTH a PC (with administrative rights) and a Mac. With companies that were not as smart, but were flexible, I used the company PC running Windows alongside my OWN Mac, while working as a home-based employee.

Many companies are ALSO willing to take the productivity hit of becoming infected with any of the thousands of Windows viruses and malware products, and the additional productivity hit of cleaning them all up! (Note added October 21, 2009: …and they are willing to risk the REALLY SCARY POSSIBILITY of infecting their CUSTOMERS and reaping very bad publicity from the event.)

So what is the REAL reason for CIOs “saying no” to Mac? I strongly suspect, for just the “intelligent and reasoning” CIOs now (not the maroons, or those with their heads in the sand), that the real reason MIGHT be the FEAR that they have been WRONG all of these years!

At one of my last employment situations, I was actually surprised to see that all of the staff members in my group, except the “sycophant to the Director,” :-) had Macintoshes at home! As for the “training costs” associated with Macintosh – Mac programs are designed to work alike; other ways of functioning are deemed “not Mac-like.” On Windows, every program can work differently and present users with a productivity-robbing learning curve.

(Note added August 14, 2011: Yes, you guessed it! The sycophant to the Director REPLACED the Director, who seems to have been laid off (not undeserved). The former Director got re-hired elsewhere as a Senior Director. And you wonder why American business is in the shape that it’s in…. :-) KAYAK seems to “tell it like it is” in this YouTube video. Incidentally, the executive in the KAYAK video seems to be using a Windows PC! :-) )

The article has the following quote:

“Apple has for a long time been associated with producing the best OS system so long as you’re a creative artist or designer. Until it shakes off that image, very few IT heads are likely to carry out a wholesale replacement of their Windows XP/Vista operating systems to the Snow Leopard OS,” Turning Point’s Adebayo said.

This, despite that fact that Vista remains vulnerable to remotely triggered “Blue Screen of Death attacks” and other maladies…. (Remind me never to consider working for Turning Point!) The statement above translates to a need for MacOS X to shake off the image of being the best system for creative thinkers and dumbing itself down to suit the masses! :-)

What a claim to fame! :-) Hire workers who are not creative and lack imagination, and give them an operating system to match! (Note added July 3, 2010: At least it SOUNDS like that is what Mr. Adebayo is saying….)

(Note added January 31, 2010: An important point that I did not specifically “spell out” is that those research scientists at the pharmaceutical company that I mentioned above ARE “creative artists” and “designers,” whether their management recognizes them as such, or not!)

Look what happens when a company is BOLD enough to embrace Apple products. What happened to AT&T, which wanted ALL of the U.S. users of iPhone, but which, until very recently, lacked the network to provide even MMS, and still lacks “tethering”! (Note added January 30, 2010: AT&T now offers tethering for most smartphones (but NOT the Apple iPhone!), and it costs an additional $30/month.) According to CNET, “… for the first time, AT&T has scored worse than all four <sic?> major U.S. wireless operators in terms of overall customer satisfaction for smartphones.” The CNET article is entitled, “Is the iPhone hurting AT&T’s brand?” No, AT&T is hurting ITS OWN brand, but it was not so obvious until AT&T embraced iPhone. (In fairness, it was obvious to me from the last “house call” that AT&T made to my home that the organization REALIZES that it has a customer service problem and is working on it.) (Note added October 4, 2009: But take a look at this article in The Register that summarizes user problems with AT&T….)

If you were a CIO, would you take a chance on doing THAT to YOUR company, by embracing Macintosh? Would your “kind and gentle” CEO understand? Or would he or she FIRE you…? :-) (I remember, in my distant youth, the old expression, “Nobody has ever gotten fired for buying IBM.” :-) )

(Note added July 3, 2010: IBM has standardized on Firefox as the default browser for its 400,000 employees! [As an old Netscape T-shirt in one of my drawers says, “Mozilla strikes back!:-) ] I was ALSO surprised to learn that some IBM employees are running on Macs and Linux, as well as Windows. I just wanted to include this recent information in this entry for whomever has been reading it a lot lately [hopefully, not SOLELY my friends and readers in Redmond, WA. :-) ].)

Or even worse…! What would happen if Macintosh SUCCEEDED in your company and cut costs and increased productivity? How would you explain THAT?!!! :-) (…and your earlier opposition to Mac…?)

So it looks like the REAL reasons for corporate CIOs not embracing Macs are: 1) the CIO is a maroon, 2) the CIO has his/her head in the sand and is unaware of the merits of operating systems (FIRE these people – they are not doing their jobs.), 3) the CIO reports to a CEO who is a maroon (Well, there are a lot of corporate CEO maroons out there!), and 4) the CIO is not a “risk taker” (If the person were a risk taker, he or she would not be working in corporate IT.).

So long as the rewards for just “saying no” are greater than the rewards for increased productivity and decreased downtime from malware, the situation is unlikely to change (it has not changed in my working lifetime). The best hope is that, since PEOPLE are smarter than CORPORATIONS, an informed workforce that has adopted Macintoshes at home will become intolerant of (what a post-doc friend of mine used to call) “entrenched bozosity” (the “state of being a bozo“) in the corporation.

We shall see.

(Note added June 24, 2010: Since I wrote this entry, new AT&T data plans have emerged that allow tethering for iPhone [with iOS 4] at $20 [additional] a month, :-) and Google is phasing out Windows for internal use, for SECURITY reasons, after being the victim [along with 33 other Silicon Valley companies] of a cyberattack originating in China.)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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