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Macs are Everywhere

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December 26, 2013 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: AAPL , MSFT

Board: Apple

Author: 0gre

I've worn a lot of different hats over the years, I've pretty nearly done every possible IT job known to man. Desktop support, network design, server administration and support, web developer, database developer, IT manager... nearly run the gamut, I haven't done SAP or mainframe support but I've had a piece of nearly everything else at some point in time. Until a few short years ago, nearly every one of my peers in professional IT and development has used a combination of DOS and/ or Windows. The reason was pretty straight forward, all of the best tools were on Windows. If you were a system admin, all of the support tools were there. If you were a developer, you had the best development tools and platform.

Back in the late 90's I personally switched to Linux as my default setup for a variety of reasons, the biggest being it had better tools for what I did and it was more reliable (at the time). There were a few Unix/ Linux nuts, but by and large we were a rare breed.

Then, sometime during the late 90s something happened. There was this new thing, the internet, and suddenly Unix servers were king again. Windows made some pushes onto the web and I think managed to grab as much as 40% share at one point in time, but that trend reversed. Windows (server) simply wasn't the best tool for the job. Even then though, I was still one of the few Unix/ Linux nuts out there poking away at (RedHat/ Debian/ Gentoo/ whatever flavor Linux I favored at the time) Linux.

It was at this point in time, when Linux commanded 60%+ of the web that Apple dropped a new OS called "OSX". I started hearing about how developers were nibbling at using OSX and it was BSD inside. A couple years later I bought my first iMac too, mostly for my wife and kids, I still used Linux and had a much more powerful desktop. But a funny thing happened with that iMac, it was nothing. Literally nothing. My wife and kids had it for 5 years and aside from a hard drive failure, I never had to do anything with that machine. Easily the most reliable computer I'd ever owned.

At the time, I didn't have much choice about work PCs, it was Windows or Windows, and my pirate version of Linux. Since then, I've switched jobs and I'm almost exclusively a web & database developer and eventually when I bought a new system, I bought a MacBook Pro for myself and every system since that point has run OSX. Why? For the same reason I loved the first iMac, near zero maintenance.

As I was re-learning web development, I still saw mostly Windows software being used in the trade. There were a few OSX guys and a few Linux nuts, but Windows was still king.

For the TL:DR crowd
So fast forward to the present... I've been spending the last month or so updating my skills. In the past 5 years, a set of new technologies has been quietly taking over the web, particularly on the client side. If you're in the industry, you probably recognize some of the names: Backbone, Ember, Underscore, Lo-dash, Bootstrap... etc. So I've been ploughing through the tutorials, screencasts, and documentation and I noticed something.

Macs are everywhere
No, seriously, If you are a web developer*, Macs are everywhere. About 8-9 out of every 10 screenshots in documentation are from Macs, if you chase down a screencast for one of these environments, it's more often on a Mac. If you listen to Javascript or web oriented podcasts, the host has a Mac. Even podcasts which have a Windows bent, often one or both hosts owns a Mac. Windows has a small representation, but Macs are massively over-represented in the web development community. I don't have any solid statistics, but outside of the ASP.net community, Macs outnumber PCs significantly. More important, the community leaders of almost all of these projects are using Macs and most of the tools used are available on the Mac.

Developers are not a huge percentage of users, but they are highly influential. A computing platform is defined by the strength of it's developer pool. In this case the platform isn't actually the Mac though, it's the web browser, HTML/ CSS/ Javascript. In essence this is simply a community of professionals who have migrated away from Windows.

What does this have to do with Apple's bottom line? Without any real statistics to back it, it's just a random data-point. In general, I see professionals who's incomes are derived from technology choosing Macs much more often now.

* I'm certain Windows has about 100% of the ASP.Net developers, but IIS and by extension ASP.Net service less than 25% of the total web server traffic and it's largely used by corporate sites. 

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