MacBooks are more secure and offer more value over time than PCs, according to a year-long internal review by Cisco.
The tech company analyzed data from its workforce of 130,000 people after giving staff a choice between Apple laptops and PCs, Fletcher Previn, Cisco SVP and CIO, said during a Wednesday presentation at the Jamf Nation User Conference.
Mac users were five times less likely to be targeted by cyber threats and had nine times fewer viruses than users of other devices, the analysis found. Nearly 9 in 10 Mac users took advantage of biometrics to boost security, compared to fewer than 3 in 10 non-Mac users.
While the price tag for Apple devices is a commonly cited barrier to enterprise adoption, MacBooks can be cheaper than the alternatives in the long run, Cisco found. Depending on the model, Mac devices yielded projected savings of between $148 and $395 over a three-year period compared to PCs.
Cisco measured ROI using a total cost of ownership calculator developed by its engineers and found Mac users required one-third fewer IT admins. In addition, employees using Mac devices reported slightly higher IT support satisfaction, Previn said.
An open-source version of that TCO tool is now available from Cisco, the company said Wednesday.
Previn also touted the streamlined upgrade process for macOS Ventura, which took just one month compared to the six-month timeline for Windows 11.
PC market stumbles
Cisco’s internal analysis comes at a volatile period for the PC market.
Normal wear and tear coupled with product upgrades typically leads enterprises to refresh laptops roughly every four years. But reliable refresh cycles were interrupted when the economic outlook soured last year.
PC shipments took a post-pandemic hit that manufacturers are only now beginning to recover from. Companies that stocked up on laptops to support remote workers trimmed discretionary spending and delayed purchases, contributing to an annual year-over-year decline of nearly 6% in 2022, according to IDC.
The downturn continued through the first half of 2023, leading IDC to forecast a 13.4% decline this year. But, as the market begins to stabilize, Apple may be poised to gain on its three biggest competitors, Dell, HP and Lenovo.
“It's important to remember that Windows 10 end-of-support comes in 2025 and this will drive commercial refresh regardless of whether companies are waiting on more advanced PCs or just needing to update an aging installed base,” Ryan Reith, group vice president for IDC’s worldwide mobile and consumer device trackers, said in an August report.
Employee preference plays a role, too. When given a choice, nearly one-quarter of Cisco’s workforce switched to Mac from PC devices, Previn said. Mac usage now stands at 60% of Cisco staff.
“It seems clear that Apple sees an opportunity to continue its growth in the commercial segment and this will be an angle to watch closely going forward,” Reith added.
IDC now expects a 3.7% year-over-year uptick in PC shipments next year. Gartner Director Analyst Mikako Kitagawa also forecasted market recovery in 2024, as cyclical enterprise demand picks up after Q2’s nearly 17% year-over-year falloff in shipments.
“The rate of decline in the PC market has slowed, indicating that shipment volumes may have reached their lowest point,” Kitagawa said in a July report.