Is the time approaching when Apple will grab a significant share of the enterprise market? The answer is 'yes', according to Joe Habraken, an assistant professor with the University of New England and an author of numerous IT books.

Speaking at the IT360 conference in Toronto recently, Habraken said that Apple could be the new competitor to beat in the enterprise market.

"I think the biggest threat to Microsoft depends on how some of the Mac Intel hardware evolves," said Habraken.

He observed that the growing emphasis on multimedia applications and visual communication could also tilt the balance in favour of Macs.

Habraken said that Apple has made a very clever inroad into the enterprise market via the education space. "Most students own iPods and then they own Macs. Apple has also inserted its products in many middle schools and high schools," he said.

"These kids are going to go into the workplace and become middle managers or MBAs - they'll either control the purse strings or the IT purchases. It might reach that tipping point where people say, 'Why can't we run Macs as an enterprise machine?'"

This proposition will seem all the more attractive if the workers can enjoy the best of both worlds by running a Windows environment on a Mac for the times when it is better-suited to a certain task.

Habraken observed that the MacMall, the top direct reseller in Canada, has been selling MacBook Pros and iMacs with Windows XP installed on them.