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Mini Poll Apple's success as a manufacturer of consumer electronics is beyond question. The kit has become an accepted part of many people's lives, and the brand is one of the most well respected and desired on the planet.

You might think this is good or bad. You might not care. This is secondary to the fact that the Apple phenomenon is with us and it has consequences that cannot be ignored.

While some point to Apple's innovation and knack for making technology and services highly accessible for the masses as a force for good, others highlight its controlling and often proprietary behaviour - arguably stimulating the reversal of a 20 year old trend towards openness and interoperability.

But what happens when all of this spills over into the world of business IT? We used to talk about "Mac creep" taking place in different parts of the organisation as users made unilateral decisions, independently of IT, to acquire Apple via local budgets or expense accounts. More recently, with the iPhone, it seems less of a creep and more of explosion - at least that's the perception, as Apple handhelds are apparently getting hooked up to corporate Exchange and Domino servers across the world. There is then the iPad, which comes out of the box almost begging to be hooked into the corporate network.

Many people are so taken with Apple kit that they naturally want to bring it into the workplace or persuade their organisations to "go Apple" in preference to Microsoft, Nokia and other corporate incumbents. It's the most prominent example of the consumerisation of IT in action.

What's not to like? After all, if users get the kit they want, they are more likely to make full use of it for business advantage, aren't they? And if they are willing to spend their own money to acquire it, that's even better, isn't it?

If you have thoughts on the Apple phenomenon, tell us what you think in our latest Reg reader survey - and rest assured, we have left space for you to express your opinions as openly and freely as you like. ®

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