Mac OS X can help Apple gain a foothold in corporate markets because small and medium-sized businesses are building an appetite for alternatives to Windows, in-depth research shows.

A study by the Yankee group concludes that Apple cannot be discounted from the business-machines picture.

Yankee Group senior analyst Laura DiDio. said: "There is a cumulative dissatisfaction [with Windows]…and it raises the possibility that OS X can gain new footholds in an overwhelmingly Windows world."

DiDio added: "Corporate user resentment towards Microsoft is at an all-time high”, generated “by its perceived monopolistic practices, hyperbolic marketing, ongoing security woes, and habitually slipping ship-dates of major new product releases, as well as confusion surrounding the overall .NET strategy."

Apple's strength, she says, lies in its faithful following among graphics and product departments

But the report stresses that Apple's bid for Windows users – as seen in its Switchers ad campaign – could be inhibited by Macs running on PowerPC rather than Intel chips. This means existing PC users searching for a better operating system can’t merely change their software in order to switch to OS X.

DiDio also mentions the irony that Microsoft is still the largest application vendor for the Macintosh. All shipping copies of Microsoft Office for Mac OS X are file-compatible with those for Windows. Far fewer utility and shareware applications are available for OS X, she claims.