NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I have been called every name in the book that evokes clueless imbecile for my repeated takes that Apple (AAPL) will crush Microsoft (MSFT) not only with the consumer, but in the enterprise (via the consumer). And, finally, we have preliminary proof I might not be so stupid after all.
In articles from 2012 (Office Will Determine Whether Microsoft Can Beat Apple), 2013 (Apple Killed Microsoft: The Media Buried the Lede) and 2014 (Microsoft's BlackBerry-Like Collapse Is Already Happening), I was out in front and wholly consistent.
My overarching theory: As we saw with the artist formerly known as RIM (that's BlackBerry (BBRY)), employees ultimately demand to use the preferred devices in their personal lives for work. And this leaves IT departments with no other choice than to make it happen. Just as iPhones and iPads have become ubiquitous in the workplace, MacBooks and, quite possibly Apple productivity software, could achieve the same.
Enter a VMware study (heard through Business Insider). While the research isn't perfect (small sample size, VMware competes with MSFT, etc.), it coalesces with recent reports that marginalize MSFT Office and Windows and/or support data that Macbook marketshare grows even as PC purchases continue to decline. And it lends veracious support to my theory that consumers ultimately rule the workplace. Let's take some of the findings, via BI, point-by-point:
73% of respondents said they are supporting Macs because users are asking for them. Only 40% said they are using them to run applications that only run on the Mac.
The first sentence backs my theory. The second actually surprised me. In fact, it tells me that Apple's penetration of the enterprise with its software might be further along than even I thought. Forty percent seems high. If Apple does what I think it should -- continue to improve its iWork productivity suite -- it could really hurt Microsoft.