Why supporting Macs is about more than business growth

Brian Best

No matter which side of the Mac/PC divide you sit, the fact is that Apple’s market share has been consistently growing over the past decade. While it may have been true in the past that Macs were restricted to creative companies doing design, graphics or video, that’s certainly not the case now. The wide adoption of the Apple devices has meant that Macs are being used throughout a range of business sectors.

This means two important things for MSPs:

  • Supporting Macs offers a great opportunity to grow their business 
  • There are real risks to not supporting them

Growth potential

The argument for MSP business growth is obvious: Apple has been growing while everyone else has been shrinking. According to PC shipping estimates from Gartner, in Q4 of 2015 Apple broke into Gartner's list of top five worldwide PC vendors. In that quarter the company shipped 5.7 million computers, giving it a 7.5% market share. That's up from 5.5 million and 6.7% market share in the same quarter of 2014 – equating to an overall year-over-year growth of 2.8%. 

Of course, not all of these computers will be heading into life in the business market. However, to highlight the genuine shift in adoption, last year the Wall Street Journal reported that IBM had more than 110,000 Apple devices being used throughout its organization – including 50,000 MacBooks. The report adds that the company can see that figure growing to 200,000 and it was making it easier for its employees to shift from Windows to OSX. 

Growing popularity = growing threat

On top of this, the old belief that Macs don’t get viruses is nonsense – security issues are an increasing concern for the platform. According to research by Bit9 + Carbon Black, 2015 was by some distance the worst year on record for malicious software aimed at the operating system, and malware on the Mac now represents a meaningful threat to the user.

So, the Mac market is in need of security help, and who wouldn’t turn down opportunity to add machines to their managed services agreement?

The risk of doing nothing

Another point is slightly less obvious, but equally important to your business. With the growing number of Macs in the workplace, not offering support is an unwise option.

Firstly, there’s the direct risk to your business. If you do have customers with Macs and you’re not supporting them, you’re not offering a full service, and that is going to lead to unhappy customers. If those customers find someone to support their Macs, then the likelihood is that their chosen Mac solution provider is going to ask who does their PC support. This means there’s a very real chance that you’ll lose the customer to someone who can support all their platforms. 

Secondly, and possibly most importantly, there’s a very real threat to your customer’s business. Having unsupported machines, and therefore unpatched machines, on a network means you have a ticking time bomb of a security threat and the risk of data loss – or worse. 

If you’re not already supporting Macs as part of your MSP business, maybe you need to be asking yourself some pretty tough questions. Supporting the platform is now about more than growth—it should be a business imperative.