Microsoft and Apple continue to spar for enterprise-level dominance

Walk into any American office today – unless it's in a creative industry like advertising – and you're more likely to see Microsoft desktops and laptops than you are Apple products. Conversely, if you're walking down any city street or getting coffee, you're going to see more iPhones, iPads and Mac laptops.

There's a clearly established divide between the preferences of individuals and those of businesses, but is the line beginning to blur?

Forrester Research has conducted its own studies around the topic, predicting last year that businesses would spend 58 percent more on Apple products than they did in 2011. When corporate employees do use Apple products, they're often using their own devices, not ones supplied by their company. An estimated 20 percent of enterprise employees use Apple devices.

In a ComputerWorld analysis of that study, contributor Preston Gralla said that Apple will "make some inroads" in enterprises in the near future, but Microsoft will continue to be the dominant force.

Of course, those critiques are one year old at this point. A piece last week from InfoWorld arrived at the same conclusion, suggesting it may be time for businesses to invest more heavily in Apple training for their IT departments.

"The conventional wisdom that Microsoft owns the enterprise is changing, if for no other reason than Apple's popular personal products are invading IT, whether IT likes it or not," Mel Beckman wrote. "IT can't put Apple users back in the bottle. Understanding these differences will help IT deal with the rising tide of device diversity – and might aid Apple in filling its gaps in enterprise service."

It's through Apple training and proper Mac integration that IT departments will be better able to respond to the ongoing challenges presented by these devices.