Windows 7, the successor to the perception-plagued Vista, may reach users in public beta as early as mid-January 2009.
However, some of those surveyed acknowledged that their businesses would leave Windows for either open-source alternatives, primarily Linux, or for the Mac OS. "Just one-half of 1 percent said they were in favor of Linux or open-source," said DiDio, "but 2.5 per cent said they were going to switch to the Mac."
DiDio continues to be impressed with the Mac's infiltration of the enterprise, and repeated her contention of last summer that in many cases, the numbers of Macs in a company is significant, not just one or two here and there.
"Nearly a quarter said that they have more than 50 Macs," said DiDio. "At that point, you have to say 'that's traction for the Mac'."
But not all is rosy ahead for Macs in business, she warned. "As we see more Macs creep into the enterprise, you get some push-back from IT managers.
They're saying, 'As we get a significant number of Macs, we need better network management tools, we need enterprise-grade technical support.'
"They can't have people going to the mall [and the Apple store there] to get technical support," DiDio argued.
Apple will need to make a decision soon, said DiDio, whether to explicitly market its machines to business, or continue its hands-off attitude. "They've been taking a wait-and-see approach this year, and not publicly said what their strategy is going to be, or if they even have a strategy," she said.
Elsewhere in her survey results, DiDio reported that nearly half of the IT managers said that they planned to increase integration with other Apple consumer-oriented products, including the iPhone.
"Apple has always been considered a 'cool' company, what with its iPod and iPhone," said DiDio. "But at the same time, this move [into enterprises] is not just a coincidence.Apple has been very vocal about things like the Safari browser and vocal about advanced features and functions of the Mac OS that matter to business, like desktop search and automatic backup.
"I think this is just the cusp of this trend," she concluded.