Last year, GE launched a pilot program that lets its employees choose between a Mac notebook and a PC desktop. The program is not well-known, and only 1,000 employees have chosen a Mac over a PC. This number is expected to rise as more employees become aware of this option, and new employees join GE because they consider the company's policy to be contemporary.
Apple faces an uphill battle as it tries to make inroads into the corporate marketplace. Microsoft may be losing some consumer appeal, but it has entrenched itself into business. Even the progressive GE has about 300,000 computers, most of which are still Windows-powered PCs. If it's a Windows Machine, it most likely has Microsoft Office and ties into Microsoft's server software. Apple has iWork and Lion Server, but they can't compete with the functionality and support offered by Office and Windows Server 2008.
Cost may also be a factor that limits Apple's infiltration into the corporate marketplace. In this lean economy, companies may not have the funds to buy Mac hardware and opt for an inexpensive PC. If Apple wants to unseat Microsoft, it may have to significantly discount its hardware to entice frugal companies to switch.
Though the numbers are small, it still is gratifying to see businesses offering Macs to employees who want them. If enough Macs make their way into circulation, perhaps this much-needed business productivity and server software will develop around the platform.