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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:It's hopeless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ignignot (782335) on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:17PM (#17476730) Journal
    Unless those apples cost less to keep up / maintain / their software is cheaper / they use less power.
     
    By far the largest cost in IT is man hours. If you drop those by a little, you can save more than an apple will cost you.
  • Great strategy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:20PM (#17476782) Journal
    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 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.

  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:25PM (#17476880)
    Macs also last longer and require less day-to-day maintenance which negates the increased upfront costs.

    My last job, I admin'd a network and supported over 100 users at an all-Mac shop, by myself. This was in the late 90s, so it was pre-OS X. Most of my day was spent reading and surfing the web in my office. I dealt with the occasional hardware failure. Once in a while a Mac would get cranky and I'd have to go run Norton Utilities on it to fix it up, which it very seldom failed to do. Most of my support calls were to help people deal with Office documents sent from Windows-based clients/vendors/etc, because this was before the antitrust stuff really kicked into gear and Microsoft was merrily using their ever-changing Office file formats to force upgrades and keep competitors at bay.

    Eventually the company decided to migrate to Windows "to be compatible with the rest of the world." Fantastic choice. The IT staff quickly tripled, and we really needed a fourth because of all the shit that went wrong with Windows and the crappy Dells the company settled on. I very quickly got tired of it and left.

    Apple has made great strides since then with OS X, and would already be a force to be reckoned with in the enterprise if it weren't for empire-building PHBs who must preserve their big budgets and staff of minions to tend to temperamental Windows boxes.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:44PM (#17477194)
    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 an existing Active Directory setup) so we can control user's machines.

    We can deal with Office lagging a bit, or not having Access available on the Mac. But these three things, especially #1, are what's keeping Macs from coming into the office both here and at many other places. Given how weakly these items have been implemented over the past few years, I'm not holding my breath for any major improvements in the near future.
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AliasTheRoot (171859) on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:48PM (#17477238)
    Which the grandparent hadn't even bothered to read up on. "It's a Mac it can't do those stuff". Yet OSX Server is a drop in replacement for an NT Domain server without the honerous CAL pricing (It's SAMBA/LDAP/CUPS etc etc with a decent centralised management toolset).
  • by SlamMan (221834) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `tigiuqs'> 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.
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:59PM (#17477454)
    I'm a big mac fanboy, but it sounds like *you* don't know what you're talking about.

    A lot of business apps, nasty as it is, are VB based, or require IE.

    Also, OS X/Open Directory doesn't come close to Windows/AD. You simply can't lock down a Mac environment the same way you can on Windows, and you don't have near the number of management tools or control that you do with AD.

    I wish you could do all this stuff on the Mac...I really do, but you can't.
  • by SlamMan (221834) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `tigiuqs'> on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:59PM (#17477458)
    I've set it up. It's not as good as actual AD integration on an XP/2k box. You can use it for authentication (most of the time. there's issues with mandatory password changes), but AD does much more than that.

    Its definitely a step in the right direction though.
  • 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.
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JavaLord (680960) on Friday January 05, 2007 @03:11PM (#17477746) Journal
    The funny thing to me is, the PHB's never calculate the employee downtime into the picture. For example, sure maybe you can save yourself a $40,000 tech if you are running macs and you have less problems, but they don't take into account the $100,000 of lost sales when the sales team can't work because their PC shit itself.
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:2, Insightful)

    by towermac (752159) on Friday January 05, 2007 @03:28PM (#17478052)

    And big networks NEED this kind of functionality
    You mean NON-functionality. You just said they can't do anything but the narrow tasks you specifically allow them to do. That's what a Windows network needs to function. I don't get how most techs today strip the office machines down to slightly more functional than the terminals we had 15 years ago and then act like they've built something special. You think the majority of the users show up for work wanting to break things? Anyway, you guarantee that office drones will never rise to the level of power user that way.
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dan828 (753380) on Friday January 05, 2007 @03:31PM (#17478132)
    The Mac Mini at $599.00 is really a different animal than the ~$500 Box you'd get from dell or the like. And the first Minis (the PPC ones) were woefully underpowered such that it had difficulty running the supplied OS in its standard configuration. I bought one and was very disapointed with it. The new ones may be better, but I'm sure not going to fork out another $599 to find out. Also, they are only a viable option if you already have usb keyboard and mouse plus a monitor. If you need those, you'll end up, price wise, in the Core 2 Duo desktop with 19" flat panel range.

    If Apple was serious about this space they'd come out with a ~$1000 expandable box, or even a Mini that you could easily open and upgrade (poping the case open with a pair of putty knives and voiding the warranty isn't a viable option most places). Frankly, Apple equipment is aimed at consumers and high end video/audo workstation users. None of their equipment, IMHO, is appealing to enterprise.
  • Re:I for one.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jrockway (229604) <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:18PM (#17479090) Homepage Journal
    Apple needs to put docking connectors on their laptops before they're going to be taken seriously in the enterprise. I switched from Apple to Dell for this reason alone. (OK, and Dells were $1000 cheaper at the time for the same system. Now that the price gap has closed, I'd be willing to switch back to Apple.)
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Friday January 05, 2007 @05:07PM (#17480154)
    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 a while to get used to it but compared to the complete and utter confusing mess Microsoft have made of users and policies, it's still a doddle...

  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Friday January 05, 2007 @05:22PM (#17480458)
    If the software was well-written, it would be platform independent.
    I guess all Aqua-based applications aren't well written.
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bwalling (195998) on Friday January 05, 2007 @05:38PM (#17480720) Homepage
    The office I work in has about 300 people in it and 6 (that I know of) IT staff that do nothing but fix our computers. If you assume that each one costs the company $150K/year

    I'm sorry, but if it takes 6 IT people to support 300 people/computers, then none of the IT people are worth $150K/year, even with benefits and payroll taxes included in that number.
  • Re:I for one.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bryan1945 (301828) on Friday January 05, 2007 @06:19PM (#17481492) Journal
    As for docking connectors, is that really a sticking point now that there are wireless (bluetooth) keyboards and mice available?
  • by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Friday January 05, 2007 @06:32PM (#17481710)
    Even if an app feels like a windows app while running on a mac, the fact that it does run on the mac is sufficient to prevent platform lock-in. Making the app behave like a mac native app is almost literally icing on the cake.

    An ugly tool is better than a tool that won't work.
  • Re:It's hopeless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday January 05, 2007 @06:46PM (#17481916) Homepage Journal
    Macintosh computers work and are priced fairly. Some arrogant dismissal doesn't change that.

    Fairly? That's one way to look at it I guess. Another way is that the majority of business users will be served just fine by a $500 PC, and that apple's only offering in that price range is expensive and comparatively difficult to expand. In business, it simply doesn't matter that your computer looks sexier than the next guy.

    Or put another way, pretty much any business whose needs are suited by OSX... they'd also be suited by Linux, which would be even cheaper. So why use MacOS, which ties you to specific hardware? It's not like there's anything special about Apple hardware any more.

  • Re:I for one.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jrockway (229604) <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Friday January 05, 2007 @07:29PM (#17482550) Homepage Journal
    Yes. Because there aren't wireless monitors. Nobody wants to sit at a desk all day staring at a 12" screen that's a centimeter away from the keyboard. Also, many enterprises require a wired Ethernet connection.
  • Re:I for one.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by laffer1 (701823) <luke@@@foolishgames...com> on Friday January 05, 2007 @07:47PM (#17482710) Homepage Journal
    Maybe if someone makes the software for the Mac...

    http://www.aviinc.com/projectors-displays/wijet.as p [aviinc.com]

    There are wireless monitors. :)

    I don't see the difference between plugging in to a dock or connecting two cables to use a real monitor and keyboard. (the mouse plugs into the keyboard) Three cables if you require wired networking. You could even get a wireless KVM switch if you didn't want as much clutter right on your desk or didn't want the cables to pull as much.

    Are you really that lazy? Often docking stations cause the system to overheat, at least on the dell systems i've seen in the past.

    On a side note, the smallest display apple sells is 13" widescreen now. You could always buy a MacBook Pro and get a 15" or 17" like most dell systems ship with.
  • by takev (214836) on Friday January 05, 2007 @07:48PM (#17482720)
    Actually there are reasons to not write platform independent code.
    In my free time I develop a reasonable successful audio recording application for the Apple (Boom Recorder).

    Before I started I thought really long and hard about if should I write an application that would be platform independent Apple, Linux, Windows or only for Apple.
    On the one hand I would have needed to write lots of abstractions between: completely different Audio APIs, User Interface APIs and Custom User Interface drawing. On the other hand I could use the tight integration that Apple's Cocoa offers between the user interface and the actual objects. I've decided to build a native Cocoa application and I have not regretted it (except for the sometimes angry emails from people who want it do be a Windows application).

    I especially like Cocoa's bindings, this allows me to link user interface elements directly to the data in the object model, without the need for controller objects. Even better Cocoa includes standard controller objects to handle a lot of functions for you, for example: you can bind a user interface element directly to a preference; thus the user interface element keeps its state between invocations of the application.

    As the largest part of my application is the user interface, simply drawing it and directly binding it to the object model allows me to develop quicker and include new features requested by customers. If I would have made a cross platform application, it would have meant maintaining the abstractions and having to program the user interface control instead of simply drawing it.

  • by arminw (717974) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:52PM (#17484394)
    ....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 places on the Internet that gets Windows systems infected easily because they are weaklings in security. A Mac is more like a 250+ pound football player. Someone with a gun could mug him too, but a mugger with knife or a baseball bat might go for an easier victim.
  • Re:I for one.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Scudsucker (17617) on Friday January 05, 2007 @11:50PM (#17484802) Homepage Journal
    Apple needs to put docking connectors on their laptops before they're going to be taken seriously in the enterprise.

    Yes, you need to preserve those 8 seconds a day you spend plugging and unplugging those cables.
  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday January 06, 2007 @07:04PM (#17492104) Homepage Journal
    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 first blackhat to do a major infect of OSX.

    Why is it so hard to admit that some OS's have a better security model than others? Why must they all be exactly the same leaving 'sploits to be a function of marketshare only?

    And the real benefit of the x86 architecture is now all those x86 hackers can move their expertise from Windows to MacOS.

    Eh? Windows 'sploits rarely if ever take advantage of x86 vulnerabilities, except the jump to an address in data space pages flaw of older Intels to execute shellcode. I haven't checked but I'd be shocked if Apple didn't enable the labeling of pages as non-X on their machines as all the processors they've used support that feature. Granted it took Intel a decade to catch up with the rest of the CPU world.

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