Programs that offer corporate some latitude and personal discretion in their technology choices are growing, said the NYT on Friday, and while the relaxing of IT standards mandates means there are plenty of market losers (HP, Dell, Lenovo, RIM and other enterprise-centric vendors), there’s one big winner: Apple.

At companies like Kraft Foods, rather than providing some employees with a standard laptop configuration, a stipend is offered to let staffers simply go out and get what they want. This shift toward a ‘bring your own device’ policy, also in place at companies like Netflix and Citrix, provides a substantial advantage for those technology companies that know how to market to consumers instead of corporations.

A Forrester Research study cited in the article also shows how IT’s ability to lock down the ecosystem has been challenged by smartphone preference, with 48 percent of the surveyed information workers buying their phones with no regard for corporate standard-setting. Forrester’s Ted Schadler sees this shift in the balance of device-approval power being driven by change at the top: “What broke the camel’s back was the iPad, because executives brought it into the company and said ‘Hey, you’ve got to support this.'”

The full measure of the Mac’s benefit from these moves toward IT openness may be hard to quantify, but in the case of Citrix, it’s there in black and white: 46 percent of the nearly 1,000 participating BYOD employees chose to buy a Mac. Citrix’s CIO, Paul Martine, delivers the understated quote of the day: “That was a little bit of a surprise.”