Apple's products are so widely used in business that Window's dominance is now at an end, according to research which also found CIOs feel "protected" by the Apple brand .
iPads and iPhone have been gradually seeping into offices over the last few years, at first sneaking under the CIO's radar, but increasingly as part of the corporate procurement process. And this is now extending to Macs, as well.
According to analyst group Forrester one in five "information workers" claim to use an Apple device for work, with 11 per cent using iPhones, nine per cent using iPads, and eight per cent using Macs.
Forrester said Apple users are more likely to be senior in rank, higher paid and younger: managers are more likely to use Apple products than staff — and 41 per cent of workers at the level of director or higher use them. Adoption of Apple products by senior management is forcing IT to support the devices, which then makes it easier for the rest of the company to get hold of them, too.
The analysts' research found that last year 46 per cent of enterprises issued Macs to employees - up by more than half in just two years - and in companies issuing Macs, seven per cent of all personal computers issued are running Mac OS X. But only 30 per cent of respondents report that their companies support Macs, which Forrester said implied a significant percentage of companies issue Macs but don't officially support them.
Apple's strength among executives and the absence of a Microsoft mobile offering means that "Windows' dominance is at an end," the report said.
In its report Forrester said: "In a fragmented market for mobile devices, customers and partners will look to anoint a solid number two alternative for a full range of personal technology — and they'll choose Apple because of its strength with individuals across smartphones, tablets, and Macs."
Apple's ascendancy will put a squeeze on Android hopes to conquer the enterprise, as Forrester points out the consistency of Apple's product line up is more comforting to execs that the fragmentation of Android: "Forrester hears from CIOs that they feel protected by Apple's brand and app store strategy in a way that they don't with Android products," the report said.
However, even if Windows loses its dominance, Microsoft Office will stick around: "The rise of Apple, Android, and other mobile devices means that the Windows share of all client devices in the workplace will shrink to below 50 per cent. Microsoft's Office franchise will remain strong because of Microsoft's growing support for Office on non-Windows devices and because of the stickiness of two decades' worth of documents in Office format," Forrester said.
The analyst firm said professional services firms will also start to fill the gaps around support, services and applications that Apple - focused on its products - is unwilling to fill.
Steve Ranger has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Steve Ranger is the UK editor-in-chief of ZDNet and TechRepublic. An award-winning journalist, Steve writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture, and regularly appears on TV and radio discussing tech issues. Previously he was the editor of silicon.com.