I’ll agree wholeheartedly with Cringely’s conclusion that Macs are persona non grata in the enterprise, but I disagree with his argument about the motivation behind that status.
Working in an IT department—albeit on the Web side of the group—I have to say that he projects way too much thought to the animus towards Macintosh. In my experience, the animosity is strictly knee-jerk and unthinking. They don’t get the Mac and they’re not interested in learning about it.
It could be a function of comfort with the known and being uninterested in re-learning everything they know. I would believe that if it weren’t for the fact that knowledge obsolescence is a way of life in IT circles. We went from Novell Netware to Active Directory and ColdFusion to Vignette (ASP) without any internal conflict or derision. Bring up a switch to Macintosh and I guarantee they’ll laugh at you as if you were off your rocker. These same people would seriously consider a move from Windows to Linux (or Windows to *NIX on the server side).
From conversations, I don’t think anyone is aware of reduced IT staff needs that would result from conversion to Macintosh systems. If they’re aware of it, it’s only because they totally discount the idea that TCO is lower in the Mac world. Like I said, I don’t think that they resist Macintoshes out of fear for their jobs.
My theory is that they’ve had some experience with a Macintosh at some point that has colored their perceptions and they’re unwilling to revisit (and revise) that stigma. They hear that it’s a good machine for graphics or great for kids in education and they assume that it wouldn’t be useful in the enterprise. Or they may have had some experience at the business end of a Mac zealot that left them with a bad taste.
They’re completely off base, more so now that Mac OS X is around because it’s all about interop and the recognition that Macs must play nice with their Redmond brethren. How can that perception be burst? I think it’s going to have to take some serious columns and features in the major IT magazines that executives read before they’ll take Apple seriously. And they would take it seriously because the executives care less about what OS is out there than they do about increasing profitability through decreasing staff. Or so I think.