Nick Carr points to university data that suggests good reasons to host e-mail, but the data from the IT department at Amherst College is much more telling about a clear and present danger to Microsoft's enterprise dominance: students prefer Apple, and particularly for an area of traditional weakness for Microsoft, mobile devices.
Even as analysts suggest that Apple is in for a slowdown, the company's progress with today's students and tomorrow's employees is outstanding, suggesting that now may be time to stick with Apple, not dump the crop:
- Students in the class of 2012 who registered computers, iPhones, game consoles, etc. on the campus network by the end of the day on August 24, the day they moved into their dorm rooms: 370 students registered 443 devices.
- Number of students in the class of 2012 who brought desktop computers to campus: 14.
- Number that brought iPhones/iPod Touches: 93.
- Likelihood that a student with an iPhone/iPod Touch is in the class of 2012: approximately 1 in 2.
- Total number of students on campus this year that have landline phone service: 5.
- Mac or PC? Of the four classes currently on campus, the classes of 2009 and 2010 are more likely to own Windows, while the classes of 2011 and 2012 are more likely to own Macs.
Granted, students are mobile by definition. They change their rooms, they attend different classes, and so on.
But so is today's enterprise, and Apple has a strong and growing share of the laptop market, which is where profits and opportunity abound.
I don't know about you, but most of my life is spent on my laptop, filling in the gaps on my iPhone (and previously BlackBerry). The only desktop I've considered in the past five years is one to place in my family room so that I can more easily monitor my children's use of the Web. In that case, I don't want mobility, but that's the exception to the rule.
And the mobility that I and a rising number of others are choosing? Apple. I wouldn't be banking on a long-term Apple slide right now.