Apple really wants your next PC to be a Mac — and the timing’s right

Apple appears to be taking a small step to make it easier for enterprises to upgrade their clapped-out old legacy Windows systems in favour of new Macs.

Easing the Windows pain

The snag for Windows users upgrading to Macs has always been the challenge of bringing all the data across to the new system.

Apple already offers its Windows Migration Assistant to make it easier to migrate, and now it seems it is about to improve this solution when it ships macOS 10.14 Mojave.

The assistant has always been able to migrate quite a lot of Windows data across to the Mac, but August 5-published release notes accompanying the Mojave version of the software seems to suggest that the assistant is about to become even better at bringing documents, email, contacts, and calendar data from third-party Windows apps “such as Microsoft Outlook.”

(I will note that the assistant could already handle some Outlook data.)

If this improvement turns out to be as significant as some sites claim, Apple must hope that making it easier to migrate will tempt Windows users, including enterprise users, to take to the Mac.

What about the timing?

Apple knows its own product release cycles better than anyone.

What the rest of us know is that the company has been trying to keep Mac sales alive with MacBook Pro and iMac Pro models, pending more hardware upgrades over the next 12 months, culminating (I guess) with the release of the unicorn-status Mac Pro, which is going to have to be the best computer in the world to justify the hype — and the wait.

Assuming Apple meets those targets (and there’s plenty of cynics who want to see the company fail), then it may hope to create the kind of resonant PC hardware that made the Mac great again in the late 1990s with iMac.

Apple knows that to restore faith across the Mac congregation, it needs to create a system that really captures popular imagination, albeit at the high end of the market.

If it succeeds in this, then it makes complete sense for Apple to put a few plans in place to make migrating to the Mac super-easy for Windows users.

Apple’s partners in the space (Parallels, for example) will likely also have insight into this plan, so it will be interesting to see to what extent Windows virtualization software improves on the Mac. Little details like these can ease the transition and silence opposition.

Climate change

Enterprise IT purchasing will also be looking at Apple’s platforms with interest.

They are already likely to be equipping some staff with Macs.

They will almost certainly be using iPhones, will find prospective employees may reject job offers if they can’t use iOS, and may also be interested in exploring the improving integration between Apple’s Mac and mobile devices.

They will also be considering IBM’s claim that it costs three times as much to support Windows systems as it costs to support Macs.  

The climate around an Apple migration has changed.

Enterprise users have stuck to Windows in part because of the cost of porting legacy Windows applications to new platforms. However, as their old IT infrastructure creaks way beyond E.O.L. and in the face of increasingly aggressive Windows ransomware attacks (such as the one that harmed TSMC this week), they recognize that legacy applications must be replaced with more agile, cloud- and standards-based solutions that can easily be accessed using a modern, standards-compliant Mac, iPad, or iPhone.

Agile business evolution and development demands all the key tools used across the enterprise are up to scratch, and those legacy applications hold the entire business back.

In this environment, even a small but valuable improvement in something as mundane as Apple’s Windows Migration Assistant may help persuade enterprise purchasers to take a walk on the Apple side. After all, the software that once locked them into one platform needs to be upgraded anyway. Which is great news for cross-platform application developers seeking new business opportunities.

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