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Apple Businesses

Apple's Macworld Looking To Corporate Users 287

Posted by Zonk
from the hi-i'm-a-business-mac dept.
coondoggie writes to mention a Network World article about a focus on corporate users at the upcoming MacWorld Expo. Along with the consumer announcements (iTV, iPod stuff), there will be several elements dedicated to introducing IT pros to Apple hardware. From the article: "The show has really evolved. For a long time it was a consumer-oriented show and those of us who are from the enterprise space - there weren't very many of us - would use it as a place to meet and compare notes ... Now Macintosh in the enterprise is becoming more recognized and there are tracks that are specifically for us enterprise people. We don't have to sneak off anymore."
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Apple's Macworld Looking To Corporate Users

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  • by Soong (7225) on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:12PM (#17476634) Homepage Journal
    to start using Macs and then my company will port our software to Mac. Or is it the other way around, where we port and then our customers can switch to Macs?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BlowChunx (168122)
      Just wait and your competitors will make a better cross platform app that will hurt your bottom line. Then you will start "innovating"...
    • by FellowConspirator (882908) on Friday January 05, 2007 @03:13PM (#17477790)
      If the software was well-written, it would be platform independent. There's no excuse in this day an age for anything other than system software and utilities to be platform-dependent. Platform independence was hard years ago, but not today. Not only do you have Mac and Linux (particularly on the server side) gaining market share (and Windows slowly decreasing), but you increasingly have situations outside the US where government mandates preclude the use of Windows for many purposes.

      You company is reducing it's potential customer base.

      I work for a big biotech company and we definitely give preference to vendors that are platform agnostic. Research users are given a choice of Mac or Windows platform, so we've got 1:4 Windows Mac at the desktop with all computational chemists and biologists have an additional Linux workstation. We no longer purchase applications that require Windows servers. We no longer purchase apps that are of general interest to research unless they support at least Mac and Windows. Linux is preferred for instrumentation control. All compute-intensive, modelling, and simulation software is expected to run on Linux. All web-apps have to work with Firefox on Windows/Mac/Linux.

      There's some historical reasons for those positions (UNIX and its variants is more or less the exclusive platform for modern biology and chemistry, for example), but I see similar situations appearing in other fields where Linux and Mac are dominating in academia today.
      • by jrockway (229604) <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:21PM (#17479168) Homepage Journal
        > There's no excuse in this day an age for anything other than system software and utilities to be platform-dependent.

        Yes there is. Having your code compile on another platform doesn't count as "platform independence". Apple users expect your app to integrate with their other Mac apps. If you've written your app according to MS's HIG, then it's not going to work. Now you have to maintain two user interfaces (and if you have a UNIX version, 3 or 4!). Making a crap product is easy these days, but it's still hard to make a good one.
        • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:43PM (#17479716)
          You reply to a post about specialized scientific software by talking about the Apple interface guidelines. The fact is that we have a couple of categories of applications, and research oriented software is a separate market, and a first version without a super Mac-centric UI is not an issue. If the Darwine crew ever gets ported to Quartz, then compiling against WineLib would sufficient as a v1.0 port.

          Get it on the Mac, get it running, keep rev'ing, with each Rev becoming more Mac friendly.

          No, you can't ship an IM client that breaks the UI guidelines, but if you're the only player (or one of three) in the specialized market, then you ship whatever you can and keep rev'ing. Be the first to ship a Mac version, and you'll get more sales... possibly not Mac sales though. If the CEO, CIO, or anyone in a decision making capacity happens to LIKE Macs (runs one at home, whatever), then simply supporting Macs may sell your Windows software... because they hope that when all the pieces are in place, they'll migrate to a Mac network.

          People are too short sited and like straw-man arguments to avoid understanding the large chunks of the software market.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ash-Fox (726320)
        If the software was well-written, it would be platform independent.
        I guess all Aqua-based applications aren't well written.
  • Run ads making fun of spreadsheeting, budgeting and other IT tasks and promote the ability to do video, photo and music. Then go the IT shops and try to sell a brand identified photo video and music to do spreadsheets and budgeting. Wow! Apple's strategy is not comprehendable to mere humans like us.

    Look at all the DRMs it is pushing in iPod. Look at how they stymie interoperability. Look how cavalierly they ignore all my settings and repeatedly install iPodhelper and other junk in the start up tray. Look

    • Re:Great strategy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bemopolis (698691) on Friday January 05, 2007 @03:01PM (#17477518)
      Okay, it's a slow Friday and I'm bored enough to feed the troll...

      Run ads making fun of spreadsheeting, budgeting and other IT tasks and promote the ability to do video, photo and music. Then go the IT shops and try to sell a brand identified photo video and music to do spreadsheets and budgeting.
      Because we all know the way to get an IT shop to shift platforms is to run ads on broadcast TV. "Hey boss, don't get Macs — their ads mocked my fiefdom of valuable spreadsheeting." *Cue sad violins*

      Wow! Apple's strategy is not comprehendable to mere humans like us.


      Yes, all of us "mere humans" in IT and on Slashdot can't comprehend why Apple would target consumer Macs with consumer apps to consumers. Why aren't they advertising their exciting BUDGETING SOFTWARE on their U1 SERVERS!! THEY'RE CRAZY!!

      Look at all the DRMs it is pushing in iPod.


      All of which were forced on it by content providers. Of course, you can always rip your CDs into one of a few DRM-free formats and add them at will. It's not like iTunes ever, say, defaults to add DRM to CDs you rip, or tacks it onto files you *shudder* "squirt" to your friends. Either that or you misspelled Zune.

      Look at how they stymie interoperability. Look how cavalierly they ignore all my settings and repeatedly install iPodhelper and other junk in the start up tray.


      Yes, because Apple's strategy is to make using an iPod on a Windows machine difficult and pedantic. Or maybe, just maybe, this is symptomatic of the inherent byzantine shittiness of making things work with Windows. I have no relevant experience, really, as I am not a spreadsheet budgeting monkey and hence not a target of their blatantly IT-offensive advertising.

      Look how aggressively they try to associate Apple executables with every damn file type there is. Make no mistake, Apple is just a Microsoft wannabe that failed miserably to be Microsoft.


      Yes, if only it were possible to, say, set all files of a given type to open by default with a different app. And if only it were as simple as using a pull-down menu in a Get Info box. And if only I could travel back in time 10+ years or so I could come up with that idea before Apple incorporated it into their OS. THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!

      This post seems a bit longer than my inital reaction, which was to suggest that you go FUD yourself. But as I said, slow Friday.
      • Yes, if only it were possible to, say, set all files of a given type to open by default with a different app. And if only it were as simple as using a pull-down menu in a Get Info box. And if only I could travel back in time 10+ years or so I could come up with that idea before Apple incorporated it into their OS. THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!

        Clown.

        Let's see, there's a PDF on my desktop. Right click, Properties. Looky here, says "Open With ..." and has Adobe Acrobat Reader selected. And look, there's a button m

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by stewbacca (1033764)
          Who's the clown? You just proved his point for him. The first guy was bitching that Apple makes everything open with Apple software, so the second guy merely pointed out, in Applespeak, how to change that on a Mac. Then you go and tell the second guy how to do it on a PC, thus proving his point to the first guy. Point being, if you don't want Quicktime to open your video file, change it yourself. I fail to see the part where the guy was ripping on Windows change file associations...he was merely statin
    • Put this into a text file named SoftwareShouldNeverAutoStartItself.reg (name is optional, as long as it has the .reg).


      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Cur rentVersion\Run]
      "QuickTime Task"=-
      "iTunesHelper"=-



      Make sure there is a blank line at the end of the file. There also shouldn't be any spaces in "CurrentVersion", so fix that (lameness filter). Save it, and double click on the file. Problem fixed.

      This is one thing that always annoys me with Windows apps.
  • by micromuncher (171881) on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:28PM (#17476932) Homepage
    Apple has never got it. Ever. It means Corporate or Enterprise IT. If you look at their history in dealing with Big companies, you see recurring mistakes over the past 15 years. Some examples... In the early '90s, Apple was IN BASF. One of the things BASF liked was Apple seemed to be actively supporting the platform. They chose to over look the lack of engineering tools for the great support Apple was giving them. Then Apple Europe restructed and all the close working relationship was dropped. By '95, Apple was pretty much out of every european production/manufacturing company.

    I was working as an Apple developer for 10 years in engineering. Every WWDC I would argue (with the sci-eng evangelist; a position they found hard to staff) that incentives to VARs would not break into corporate IT. Productivity alone doesn't cut it. The world needs Apps, and Apple needed to bend over backward to support developers brave enough to try for that 1%. Suffices to say... the strategy has not changed. Incentives to VARs and pushing the illusory ease and security envelope.
    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:20PM (#17479152) Homepage Journal
      Apple has never got it. Ever. It means Corporate or Enterprise IT

      That's true. Fortunately NeXT took over Apple, and NeXT was exclusively Enterprise. So they have the talent to do it. Now that they have the hardware and the software necessary to do it on a large scale, here's hoping they actually pull the trigger.
      • The mindset is fundamentally the same; FTA, one 'advantage' being pushed is the security... A variety of reputable sources have already pointed out that this is illusory. Windows flaws are exposed because tens-of-thousands of hackers are pounding on it. MacOS X has two orders of magnitude less hackers; but as it gains in popularity, so do people with malicious intent. MacOS X might have been based on Mach Unix, but MacOS security is NOT Unix. Just google MacOS X Security Flaws.

        And don't forget, NeXT (I
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by arminw (717974)
          ....Just google MacOS X Security Flaws........

          Yes, and there is not even ONE that will affect an out of the box Mac by the mere act of connecting it naked to the Internet. There millions of Macs, but not even ONE piece of malware that has affected more than a handful of users, if that. Macs are much more secure, but no computer can be secured against clever social engineering and careless net habits. There are bad neighborhoods, where a woman has a high probability to get raped or mugged. There are bad plac
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *
          A variety of reputable sources have already pointed out that this is illusory. Windows flaws are exposed because tens-of-thousands of hackers are pounding on it. MacOS X has two orders of magnitude less hackers; but as it gains in popularity, so do people with malicious intent.

          Don't beat the dead horse. By that reasoning there should be 5+% of the worms available for Mac OS X. Or perhaps millions of unix machines is a useless target for spewing spam? Hardly. Not to mention the street cred of being the f
  • by Nutsquasher (543657) on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:33PM (#17477028)
    The thing is, unless Apple can seamlessly integrate their desktop OS into Active Directory like how 2000/XP (and soon Vista) already do, they're not going to be considered as a major player in corporate IT land. They need to be able to plug into currently existing infrastructure, be centrally managed, and offer an improved Net Present Value over PC's.

    I just don't see that happening for a number of reasons, asides from having to wait for Samba-4. It's going to be really tough to convince a CFO to buy new $2,000 MacBook Pro's for its users, plus copies of Parallels/VMWare Fusion, plus a Windows OS (not sure if MVL applies to Apple-based hardware - anyone?), and any other number of pieces of software that they need.

    With bulk-licensing programs, it's much cheaper to replace old PC hardware with new while not having to worry a whole lot about licensing (so long as you did your homework when you spent the money). That's because you're moving from Windows 2000 to Windows XP, per say. There are very few vendors that'll let you move a license across different OS's.

    Also, you have to re-train end users on how to use a different OS with its own quirks, provide HelpDesk support for dual-OS's (unless you ditch windows entirely; good luck with that), and you can't centrally manage them like you can with 2000/XP boxes in a properly implemented Active Directory environment.

    Exchange support in Entourage is crap too since it relies on WebDev (IMAP/POP are your other options, which aren't good corporate solutions). Mac Excel != PC Excel. You get the point.

    I do see Apple making inroads in the SoHo (Small Office, Home Office) area. Here you don't need a Domain infrastructure, workers are their own help desk, and so long as your work doesn't rely on some PC-only software, you can get by. The problem here is these customers are very price sensitive, so a Dell $500 special is much more appealing than what Apple offers.

    On the IT side of things, I use a MacBook Pro with OS X, XP, and Gentoo Linux loaded on it, running in Parallels. It's my main box, and I love it for a few reasons:

    1) 3 OS's on one machine instead of 3 OS's on three machines. Wonderful!
    2) I personally like OS X as my main desktop environment over XP and Gnome.
    3) I need access to all 3 OS's to do my work, which is pretty rare.

    On the downside:

    1) No docking station support.
    2) No Serial/Parallel/Modem cables - all needed by IT Pro's to hook into existing networking gear, and to provide legacy support.
    3) The battery sucks relative to previous PC laptops I've had (2-3 hours use vs. 5-6 on a PC laptop).
    4) No floppy drive.

    Ready for Corporate IT land? It still has a long ways to go. For a power user like myself? Yeah, it fits nicely.
    • by SlamMan (221834) <squigit@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:56PM (#17477412)
      Not going to dispure your #1, I'd love a docking station for Apple's portable line (yes, BookEndz makes something they call a docking station, but those are rubbish).

      #2 is a no issue, you can get USB serial adapters for $10. Modems (when necessary), can be handled via USB adaptor. I'm scratching my head on why you'd need to worry about needing a Parallel connection though.

      3) I'm in the 4 hour range on my laptop with moderate energy savings set up (dimm the screen a bit, no cd in the drive).

      4) My office hasn't bought a laptop with a floppy drive in it in something like 5 years. There's a few USB one around if someone needs it, in the IT office near the old Zip drives.
    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      The thing is, unless Apple can seamlessly integrate their desktop OS into Active Directory like how 2000/XP (and soon Vista) already do, they're not going to be considered as a major player in corporate IT land. They need to be able to plug into currently existing infrastructure, be centrally managed, and offer an improved Net Present Value over PC's.

      I just don't see that happening for a number of reasons, asides from having to wait for Samba-4.

      How is Samba involved with this? (Only a tiny amount of OS X

    • hahahaha! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:54PM (#17479898) Homepage Journal
      No floppy drive... you crack me up.
    • by Reaperducer (871695) on Friday January 05, 2007 @05:12PM (#17480230)
      4) No floppy drive.

      Damned straight!

      When will Apple realize that modern offices run on eight inch floppies?

      Until Apple starts supporting 9-track tape drives, they're never going to be taken seriously in the enterprise. And until I can dock my Powerbook with a paper-tape reader, I will never let one in my business -- not by the long, grey hairs of my chinny chin chin.

      What's that you say? Apples can use $15 industry-standard USB 3.5 inch floppy drives?

      Nevermind.
    • by gozar (39392)

      The thing is, unless Apple can seamlessly integrate their desktop OS into Active Directory like how 2000/XP (and soon Vista) already do, they're not going to be considered as a major player in corporate IT land. They need to be able to plug into currently existing infrastructure, be centrally managed, and offer an improved Net Present Value over PC's.

      OS X client can bind to AD right now, but to manage the computer, you would need an OS X Server (10 user version is all you need if you store the home direc

    • by CatOne (655161) on Friday January 05, 2007 @08:32PM (#17483174)
      AD Integration has been there for a number of years. You use the Directory Access application in /Applications/Utilities, and there's an AD tab where you enter the relevant information. It provides authentication and full single sign-on. You can also change the password on your Mac and it propagates to AD. So what's the issue?

      You can also manage the Macs via AD, if you want to lock them down. This requires a schema extension -- extensions that Apple has registered with the IANA. This historically has made some AD administrators nervous, especially back in the day when you couldn't reverse schema additions. These days, the scripts are fairly widely available -- install them on a test or staging server and see how it works.

      So this provides very good management, the main limitation at this point is it's necessary to use Apple's Workgroup Manager application to do the management of the Macs, and point it to AD. Most Windows administrators are used to using GPOs for management and are reluctant to use another tool. If this is too much of a hurdle (you know, that whole "learning new things" thing which may be scary to people whose brain filled up getting their MSCE certification), then look for 3rd party tools like Centrify's Direct Control (http://www.centrify.com) which allow you managemetn of the Macs totally via GPOs.

      Pretty much any way you WANT to manage Macs from AD, you can. Each option has a few caveats, and is not 100% like using AD to manage Windows machines, because they are different machines. But all solutions WORK, and in fact they WORK QUITE WELL.

      As far as MVL, it does apply to copies that run in Parallels. So you're covered there -- the expense is the copy of Parallels... which is $79 list, and I'm just betting if you asked them for 500 copies that they'd negotiate a bit.

      Regarding Entourage... you're right, it's not as good as Outlook. But for many folks, it's sufficient. As far as Excel... I've never personally had an interop issue between Windows and Mac versions of Excel or Word. Then again, I'll freely admit I don't get many documents that are loaded down with large numbers of VBA macros. Whenever I get a "enable Macros?" dialog I say no -- so that point is moot anyway. With the main use of VBA being to transmit viruses... it's a wonder they're really still prevalent on the Windows side. And I say this having written a few custom decision support systems based in Excel and Access, that used custom OLE controls no less, back in the day.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    1) A fully working version of Outlook needs to be available on OS X. This means proper support for public folders (email, contacts, and calendars), accessing directory information (GAL), task requests, etc. Outlook Web Access sucks, having to make Mac users use Citrix to access Outlook on Windows sucks, and Entourage is a joke.

    2) Proper support of Active Directory integration, without third-party utilities.

    3) Support for something similar to Group Policy (or having GP objects for OS X able to get added to
    • by norkakn (102380)
      "3) Support for something similar to Group Policy (or having GP objects for OS X able to get added to an existing Active Directory setup) so we can control user's machines."

      What in particular do you need? Here, we override settings based on both computerand group. Any plist can be overridden.
    • Shops that embraced Active Directory and Outlook and the rest of Microsoft's proprietary stuff are stuck with Microsoft. Sorry.
  • These days even SMBs want e-mail, tasks, calendars and contact lists that follow them around. Exchange and over the air sync services like Good Mobile Messaging provide that. When Apple can offer that they *might* get a foot in the door.
  • Has adopted a 'do it yur damn self' approach to desktop and deskside support. So from the perspective of which costs less to maintain Windows vs anything else, they've already made the decision that they don't care and it makes no difference. Reduced productivity is preferable to hiring someone to fix it. Of course wherever possible patch and software maintenance and updates are automated and desktop builds are standardized in as much as a such a diverse bunch of desktops are deployed and they do a good job
  • Apple is going in the right direction. Active Directory in terms of failover and replication still beats the pants off of open directory. Open directory is good, but it feels like NT 4's style of domain architecture: Master and slave replicas, manual promotion/demotion, and no seamless failover. Active Directory is nice, multi-master replication with inter/intra-site DC failover.

    Love Microsoft or not, Group Polices rock. They are very flexible, and can tweak very detailed settings right out of the box.
    • by norkakn (102380)
      "no ability for machine specific settings VS user specific settings"

      Uh.. what? I'm pretty sure that I'm using both.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pandrijeczko (588093)
      Love Microsoft or not, Group Polices rock. They are very flexible, and can tweak very detailed settings right out of the box. You can even make custom ADM templates if you are so inclined.

      For around 30 years UNIX has had a simple security model of "you", "your friends" and "everyone else in the world". Apply that simple model with diligent use of userIDs and groupIDs, add a sprinkling of NIS(+) or even LDAP, throw in some use of "sudo" and you can control just about anything you need to.

      Yep, it took me

  • by grouchomarxist (127479) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:36PM (#17479530)
    The article's title is misleading. It refers to "Apple's Macworld", but Apple doesn't hold Macworld, a convention company is responsible for it. Apple and the Steve Job's keynote is a big part of the attraction of the show, but it isn't Apple's show. There is nothing in the article that suggests Apple has a new focus on corporations. There is the MacIT conference, but that appears to be run by the same company that runs Macworld.
  • I think one of the single most important factors holding back the Macintosh in the corporate arena is the lack of a clearly defined product lifecycle for OS X. Correct me if I'm wrong, but nobody outside Apple seems to know, on authority, how much longer we'll receive security updates for 10.3 or 10.4.

    It's difficult to justify widely deploying any given platform, even one as nice as OS X, if you don't know when the product will be forcefully obsoleted.

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