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Can Apple Penetrate the Corporation? 500

Posted by kdawson
from the awareness-gap dept.
coondoggie sends us a NetworkWorld story on the prospects for Apple gaining market share in the corporation. A number of factors are helping to catch the eye of those responsible for upgrading desktops and servers, the article claims: "Apple's shift to the Intel architecture; the inclusion of infrastructure and interoperability hooks, such as directory services, in the Mac OS X Server; dual-boot capabilities; clustering and storage technology; third-party virtualization software; and comparison shopping, which is being fostered by migration costs and hardware overhauls associated with Microsoft's Vista." On this last point, one network admin is quoted: "The changes in Vista are significant enough that we think we can absorb the change going to Macs just as easily as going to Vista."
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Can Apple Penetrate the Corporation?

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  • why not? (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:35PM (#18173796) Homepage
    Can Apple Penetrate the Corporation?

    Why not? They're already penetrating consumers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Brunellus (875635)

      Steve's potency seems never to have been in doubt.

    • Re:why not? (Score:4, Funny)

      by elmedico27 (931070) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @08:07PM (#18175194)
      I am so glad this is Slashdot, you have no idea how pissed I was gonna be if the first comment on this page wasn't a penetration joke :-)
    • Re:why not? (Score:4, Funny)

      by mrbluze (1034940) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @08:17PM (#18175334) Journal
      But consumers don't wear chastity belts, are much looser and would easily accommodate an apple. Much harder to penetrate a corporation - have to try it with a thin client or something like that - an apple would just get crushed.
    • Re:why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @10:15PM (#18176428)
      Purposely missing the joke. The is a solid reason for Corporations not to use Macs. Sure right now they are the Hot Platform and arguably just as good if not better then most other Computer Platform of the same market, and the prices a competitive (Yes they are, I don't want to hear about some el-cheap-o Dell PC that just match one or 2 specs, If you match them up pound for pound spec for spec the prices are very close). But the issue is the same issue of why Microsoft got dominance early on. It is the fact that Apple primarily run OS X and OS X only runs on Apple. So in 2, 5, 10, 20 years when Apple Quality begins to drop and stink like it did in the early-mid 90's companies software are stuck with Apple. At least with Microsoft Windows if what ever PC brand they are using begins to loose it competitive edge they can switch quite easily. Just think about IBM when they sold their PC Unit to Lenovo. A lot of companies (especially government) when it came to upgrade their PC they just went with Dell, HP or whatever without much hassle, with little Major Software redesigns or intensive training classes. Now they may go with Macs but they will just put Windows only on them and not take advantage of Mac OS, which would be pointless because you have better selection with other PC distributers. Linux is getting better but still there is little effort in making a good Desktop Linux and the fact that MS Office has a huge dominance. For your own Personal PC go with a Mac it is great even if you use it for work. But for a wide scale company layout going with Apple would only be a short term gain with a huge long term risk.
  • I'd like to see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mgabrys_sf (951552) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:36PM (#18173804) Journal
    Some concrete numbers on admin costs between the two platforms. Whatever reasons you proscribe to the whole Windows vs Macs vs every electronic plague on the planet, I suspect there's some serious cost-benefits to making the switch at the corporate level.

    If nothing else I'd love to see a larger market-share for Apple just to cut down on the number of spam-generating zombies out there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bastian (66383)
      I don't have any concrete numbers, but I used to work at a company that used run a mixed Mac/PC shop. Story goes, a couple years before I started they transitioned to being nearly 100% Mac because the cost to develop & maintain in-house sofware was much higher on Win than OS X.

      Having recently switched from being a ObjC/Cocoa developer at that company to being a VB.NET developer at the new job, I'm willing to believe it.
      • Re:I'd like to see (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @07:48PM (#18174980) Homepage Journal
        Similarly, I've worked as a software "consultant" developer at quite a number of companies over the years, and I've seen Macs everywhere. The pattern is interesting: Most of the non-IT management uses Macs, while the IT people have the usual ongoing war between the Microsoft and the linux (or Sun) fanboys. The attitude of the non-IT management folks is generally "Those IT geeks can keep their user-hostile PCs; we'll just stick with something that dummies like us can actually use without swearing and tearing our hair out twice a minute."

        They approve purchases of Microsoft (and/or IBM) junk because they believe that the IT people will get all sulky and sabotage anything else foisted on them. They buy Macs out of their own department's budget. Either IT is willing to support Macs, or there's a separate Mac support group somewhere else. Not that the Macs (or linux or Sun) machines need much support, of course.

        Now, this is just a string of personal anecdotes; I don't pretend to know what the rest of the world is doing. But I know of a number of companies where Apple can sell very easily, because the non-IT management already knows and loves them.

        When someone asks "Can Apple penetrate the corporation?" they are really asking "Can Apple subvert IT departments' love of Microsoft and IBM?" This is going to be a much harder sell. The IT people who are amenable to weaning are also likely to know about Sun, Red Hat, and the others. So those are Apple's real competitors. If an IT department is Microsoft-only, chances are that nobody there will even listen to anyone trying to sell them something else, no matter how good it might be.

        I got a Mac Powerbook a few years back, partly so that I could really learn what was so good (and bad ;-) about it. Now I can talk fairly knowledgably to the non-IT management types about the pros and cons of the topic. But I haven't found any way to talk to IT types about the topic at all. It's simply not open to discussion. Some of them already hate MS, but those already have a non-MS laptop of their own and don't need convincing. The rest aren't about to listen to someone like me.

        I did have some fun a couple of years back, on a project where I'd been told that all the IT folks were dyed-in-the-wool IBM- and Microsoft-lover types. When I asked individuals, I actually found that almost all of them had linux on their home machine, and at least half had finagled a linux box at work, too. They worked on IBM/MS machines because that's what they were paid for, but they all wanted a good machine for their own use. Sometimes their work machine was dual-boot; sometimes they had two machines. And a few also had Macs.

        The real problem is the intransigence of IT management, whose careers are married to IBM and/or Microsoft. In many corporations, everyone else is already convinced.

        Of course, as a multi-computer sort of geek, I wouldn't have seen any corporation where everyone loves IBM and/or MS. I wouldn't even be invited inside the doors of such places. So take my comments with a big "FWIW".

        • Re:I'd like to see (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Bastian (66383) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @07:58PM (#18175084)
          "Can Apple subvert IT departments' love of Microsoft and IBM?"

          I'm not sure it's even a love of Microsoft and IBM so much as a love of control and hostility to change, especially change not implemented by them.

          I've seen a government office's IT department refuse to send a standard USB mouse to a team that needed one for a Mac they had purchased because "we don't know how to support a Mac." Even after the head of the team had calmly explained to them that all they need to know in this particular case is how to tell a USB connector from a PS/2 connector. I don't see anything there but the IT department trying to play power games - something that I see hints of every single time I go out to visit a client site.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by MidnightBrewer (97195)
            At my former employer, a large university, the IT department informed us that they were no longer supporting Macs. Actually, they'd apparently said this a few months earlier and we'd never noticed because we didn't have any reason to talk to them unless we had network issues (and, yes, they would then tell us that they didn't support Macs, although the problem was pretty much always turned out to be the building's router or somewhere outside.)

            By their own admission, the IT people lived in fear of people fi
  • I've always thought (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hawthorne01 (575586)
    the Mac Mini was perfect for enterprise desktops. Small, competively priced, easy on power, and you can just plug in your old monitor, though you may want new mice and keyboards with them. And now with dual-booting and all the other things the article mentions, it seems pretty logical.
    • by Amiga Trombone (592952) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:49PM (#18174090)
      Yes, but the challenge isn't so much the hardware, but the availability of applications that are actually used in corporations. I've tried using my Mac as a work computer, and I just couldn't do it, even with Virtual PC on it (not every application likes being virtualized).

      Ironically, as a corporate desktop, Linux is probably better supported than OS X.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hawthorne01 (575586)
        But do the vast majority of enterprise users need more than MS Office (or the equivalent thereof), a calender/organizer, email, and a browser? Now, in the IT Department, I can see the need, but most business computers are little more than dumb terminals.
        • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @07:01PM (#18174320) Homepage Journal
          The sad thing is Yes they do.
          Often they use many client server/database programs written in shudder VisualBasic.
          Often the company completely depends on them.
          For example in my office we depend on Goldmine, USP Shipping software and a number of small programs what we developed in house using Java. We chose Java to make it easy to move to Linux or the Mac but we still depend on a few Windows programs for our day to day operation.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by volsung (378)
        Maybe you have already tried this, but I would highly, highly recommend Parallels [parallels.com] for running Windows apps if you have an Intel-based Mac. Now that they don't have to translate from x86 to PPC on the fly, virtualization on one of these new Macs is nearly as good as the real thing. Jump into fullscreen mode, and you won't notice the difference. And check out the "Coherence" feature in the latest release, which lets you have Windows windows (not stuttering there) next to Mac windows.
    • For less than the price of the mini I can buy a full up business desktop, loaded with vista, 1GB of ram, 80GB of
      disk and on top of that I get a keyboard, mouse and 19 inch flat panel display...and this is from a major distributor, warranty on site etc.

      Now do not get me wrong even I would not mind having a mac, but I am not paying 4 times market value to do it.
      • actually no you cant.

        Dimension E520 wth Intel® Dual-Core Processor = 599 and there is no monitor included. and if you want the freebees just go to Macmall and other resellers who will package in off brand monitors and stuff.

        • by codepunk (167897)
          I don't know what you are looking at but they list a 520 with 17 inch monitor for 499 which is the same price as the lowest end mini.
  • Yes and Maybe No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by otacon (445694) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:41PM (#18173924)
    Yes I can see how switching to a Mac could absord the cost of Vista and it's hardware requirments but what about the cost of training a whole enterprise of users on MacOSX.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)

      but what about the cost of training a whole enterprise of users on MacOSX.

      I would think that there is a training cost of migrating to Vista. It may not be as dramatic as from XP to OS X, but there is a cost. Also you would gain cost saving due to less maintenance of fewer viruses, malware, etc. Finally, any training cost may be offset by the loss in productivity due to Vista [slashdot.org] as well as all time users will spend clicking on prompts.

      You are about to post a reply. Cancel or Allow

      Allow.

      • by otacon (445694)
        I agree...however if the cost after it's all said and done is similar, most larger corporations will stick with what's familar and not go through the trouble...in the long term there may be savings like you said from maintainence, but in my short experience at a large corp you better present some dramatic cost savings if you want your project approved.
      • Re:Yes and Maybe No (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JimDaGeek (983925) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @08:14PM (#18175288)
        The cost of training is crap. Stick any user on a Mac or Linux desktop that is setup well and there won't be much need for training.

        The big cost is all the custom software that was written with an MS-Only IDE, to MS-Only API's and specs. That is the real killer.

        I am a senior programmer with more than a decade of experience. During that time about 90% of my work has been MS-only stuff.

        I have written C code for Win32
        I have written C code for Solaris
        I have written C code for Linux
        I have written C++ code for Win32
        I have written C++ code for Solaris
        I have written C++ code for Linux
        I have written Java code for Win32/Solaris/Linux
        I have written VB code for Win32
        I have written C# code for Win32


        The funny thing, all the code I have written for non-MS OS'es has been pretty portable. The MS software, well, that has been MS-Only. MS designed their whole software "ecosystem" to lock you in.

        So the real cost of switching from MS is not in training, but in re-writing custom apps. Notice I didn't say _porting_. Most MS-Only apps don't port very well. MS made it this way for a reason, to lock-in customers. The more MS software your company uses, the more locked-in you are.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mgabrys_sf (951552)
      Ditto. I'm curious about those costs too because I've been multi-platform for so long I can't even relate to the idea of training people to learn how to click on a brushed metal window instead of a Microsoft one. I know that Start Button / Apple menu is going to cause wholesale panic around the company cafeteria.

      Corporate riot ensues, Wall Street collapses, dogs and cats living together - MASS HYSTERIA!

      Just explaining the lack of a BSD is going to be comedy gold baby! And the OSX wirly rainbow thingie is al
    • by djupedal (584558)
      What about it?

      May be that shifting from XP to OS X is easier than from XP to Veesta.

      Office apps? Done. Local admin? Done. Open/close/save/new? Trivial.

      Using the trash might take a bit, but hey, no such thing as a free lunch.

      I would worry more about the hapless IT staff than I would the users. The statistic I recall said for Windows, you need one admin for every 30 ~ 40 boxes/users. OS X is more along the lines of one for every +100.

      Move to either minis or iMacs and run strictly LCDs...the energy savings alo
    • Re:Yes and Maybe No (Score:4, Interesting)

      by laffer1 (701823) <luke&foolishgames,com> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @07:04PM (#18174372) Homepage Journal
      Vista is very foreign feeling compared to any windows release since Windows 95. OS X is not that hard to use. Most people can barely print documents and view websites. I think corporate users can be just as lost on OS X as they are in windows.

      The real argument against a transition is software compatibility. However, its possible that even a vista deployment would require virtual pc + windows xp for some applications. Lets face it, many products just don't run on vista yet. Some will never be supported. I still know people using Lotus 123 in upper management in a hospital. IBM is not going to update smartsuite for vista compatibility. They claim it mostly works in 32 bit vista but not x64. This is one example. Since lotus is not available for the Mac, its an even transition. Of course the real problem is that corporate users think they need all the extra crap in office. There's always two or three people who just love access or infopath and can't get enough of it.

      In the end, it all comes down to requirements. Its just as possible that Linux could "penetrate" the desktops.
  • by ThousandStars (556222) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:42PM (#18173930) Homepage
    And people perenially point out the problems:

    You can't get enterprise level support. I.e. next day overnight shipping for parts, 24-hour tech high-level support, etc. Getting a damn power supply should be easily done online a la the stuff Dell and HP offer. Speaking of that, it's also damn near impossible to get an online system apart from the basic Apple store.

    No xMac. [arstechnica.com] The Mini helps in this regard, but Apple still doesn't offer a basic tower.

    Exchange client/server. It's not good enough until it's perfect.

    Uncertainty regarding OS X and hardware. The enterprise doesn't like not knowing what Steve Jobs is going to pull out of his hat in six weeks when you need new hardware today.

    The first point is probably the most important, and the article doesn't really address how things have changed. Ever since 10.1 people have speculated Apple is finally pushing into the enterprise... maybe this time it will be. I'm skeptical given Apple's past intransigence. And I'm posting from a PowerBook.

    • by jcr (53032)
      I wouldn't say that Apple's pushing into the enterprise so much as the enterprise is pulling Apple in.

      -jcr

    • by sakusha (441986) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:55PM (#18174216)
      You're missing some basic information here.
      Apple does have an Enterprise sales division and they are quite different from the consumer division, you get dedicated Apple representatives for your account. Onsite service contracts are available for server systems. Apple has always had self-servicing programs for enterprises, although the investment in spares can be a bit high.

      Another factor is your allegations that uncertainty over future products hampers enterprise planning. The switch to Intel changed this picture considerably. Apple's future products track rather closely to Intel's.
      • by ThousandStars (556222) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @08:13PM (#18175264) Homepage
        They do have an enterprise sales division that still doesn't do most of the things I'm describing and only *really* works well if you're deploying thousands of Macs at once. If you buy even a dozen a month, they're not much use.

        I'm also not sure your generalizations fly. From the board I read -- Ars Technica's -- most people who *do* actually manage Macs in large environments haven't seen much Improvement. See, e.g., here [arstechnica.com] and here [arstechnica.com] and here [arstechnica.com] and here [arstechnica.com] for a variety of threads discussing the issue. Every time OS X.n+1 is about to arrive, so do threads wondering if this is the time for OS X in the enterprise. Look in particular for the posts of a guy named dhaveconfig, who manages a uni setup in Australia and is well-versed in Apple's various enterprise failings.

        you get dedicated Apple representatives for your account. Onsite service contracts are available for server systems. Apple has always had self-servicing programs for enterprises, although the investment in spares can be a bit high.

        This is true, but you STILL have to jump through Apple's hoops and you STILL don't get many of the things I cited in my original post. To be sure, Apple is looking better in the enterprise than they have in the past, but that's more an accident than anything else, and more a result of dividends from their other strategies. And "better" in this circumstance just means, "not as abysmal as they used to be," which is hardly an accolade.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Greyfox (87712)
      The "Technology Road Map" issue is a red herring. The question is do you want to play with Jobs, who plays his cards close to his vest or do you want to play with Bill Gates, who's bluffing wildly and never shows the hand he says he has? Microsoft's technology "Road Map" is essentially the same strategy IBM perfected back in the day -- announce a blue sky set of features for the next product to keep the customers waiting on that nifty new technology and then deliver a quarter of the announced features a cou
  • Our Business (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekmansworld (950281) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:43PM (#18173954) Homepage
    While our workstations are still Windows only, I've managed to make to make our office's server environment 100% OS X Server. Ironically, our MS Access database application is now served by a mySQL backend on an XServe.

    However, corporations and businesses in general are prone to using a lot of custom-designed software built by Windows-only outfits. Until that changes, Apple will have a hard time penetrating the corporation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kris_J (10111) *

      However, corporations and businesses in general are prone to using a lot of custom-designed software built by Windows-only outfits. Until that changes, Apple will have a hard time penetrating the corporation.
      Bingo. And a lot of us are also stuck with Dell contracts because they're the cheapest "name brand" Windows PCs (or some such).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:43PM (#18173960)
    For Microsoft it is an inability to grasp and implement computer security concepts.

    For Open Source it is an inability to make hard and reasonable choice in UI design.

    For Apple, it is a complete lack of understanding of the corporate computing mindset. Also game development, but that's a whole other subject.

    • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:53PM (#18174170) Journal
      Understanding a customer and choosing to pursue that customer are two separate things. Apple's a Fortune-500 company themselves, and they use their own products not only on desktops, but in massive IT projects like the iTunes music store and the Apple Online Store. The fact of the matter is, Apple has to decide what to spend their time and money pursuing, and they can do a lot better selling iPods, iPhones, and iMacs than they can if they were to completely take over Sun's entire market.

      -jcr

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        and they can do a lot better selling iPods, iPhones, and iMacs than they can if they were to completely take over Sun's entire market.

        I again notice that for your server market example, you used Sun, the current loser (by a long shot) in the server market. Sun's market share is hovering ~10% compared to ~30% for HP & IBM.

        I take your point that Apple's not trying to pursue the server market, but your assumption about Apple's motivations for doing so is absurd. Take a look at IBM's server revenue and comp
  • by ernest.cunningham (972490) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:44PM (#18173976) Homepage
    As a developer and inhouse tech I use my MacBook Pro as my dailey machine, as I can run Mac OS X (Native OS), Windows XP, Vista etc, in virtualised environments where I can test each environment before deploying anything. So for the techs the new MacBook Pro laptops are especially in range for migrating to. However, the major hurdle I see in enterprise adopting Mac OS as their main OS and replacing workplace pc's with Macs is that there is no current Mac OS "Terminal Services" style server implementation. So no thin clients, no centralised licensing control etc. I will be the first to admit (as a huge Mac fan) that windows terminal services in enterprise where most users use solely MS Office, and the likes of FileMaker or Oricle etc works a treat. Unfortunately Apple does not have an answer to this yet on the market. Replacing laptops in enterprise with Macs is another thing altogether, as it can connect Windows Terminal Services (Via RDC Application) and be a great reliable work horse on the road. That is just my thoughts
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If it was the decision of the network administrator - maybe. If it was only the question of hardware and money, maybe.

    But no one from mid or upper management will put his/her corporate future on the line for the Mac. The fact is, that the corporate higher crust is literally in love with Bill and Microsoft, the poster boy of the Wall Street crowd.

    Besides, the corporate upper crust always goes for the safer bet. No one was fired for using Microsoft.
  • "The changes in Vista are significant enough that we think we can absorb the change going to Macs just as easily as going to Vista."

    I doubt IT is going to suddenly fund the changeover of all your current machines to OSX or Vista without a damn good reason. I can see keeping your existing systems until such a time that they no longer fit your needs and you need to upgrade, then switching to Macs.

    Changing from Windows to Mac incurs other costs, such as having to purchase new copies of Office suites. If you

  • Not a chance. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:47PM (#18174036) Homepage
    Honestly the osX product is far better in a corperation than windows but it's the apps that rule.

    All the little expensive sales,marketing and billing apps are windows based. These companies that make this vertical market crap cant program for windows properly, porting to osx would be impossible for them

    I am ignoring things like outlook and the other staples, Most businesses live for the vertical apps for their industry. Engineering needs Autocad, Marketing needs their apps, CableTv needs their special CableTv apps. etc...

    Until you port all that, you cant get the "apple penetration".

  • They are already all over publishing or sound/video production. Will they penetrate companies that run a dozen of visual basic apps and care enough about costs to not want slick glossy finish or a webcam on their computers? Not likely, but Linux with Wine just might. IT might find that they can understand, customize and remotely manage a Linux distro better than the mind boggling complexity of Vista.
  • by Grail (18233) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:49PM (#18174080) Journal
    The executives who control the decisions are addicted to their Exchange-powered Blackberries (even if it does mean that all their corporate messaging goes through a company in Canada). At two companies that I've worked for, we used to be Linux/Mac based, but then one exec got a Blackberry. Within weeks we'd switched over to Windows XP/Exchange.

    Until Apple offers a Mail/Calendaring system that's as functional as Exchange, I don't see Apple being adopted by corporations any time soon. Though perhaps the iPhone offers just enough functionality in a sexy enough package that the executives will be tripping over themselves to get the latest expensive status symbol.
  • by That's Unpossible! (722232) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:49PM (#18174106)
    But not the way you'd expect, top down from the IT department. Nope, it's happening from the ground up, as people start buying Macs on their own, bringing them into work (or working from home), and the IT guys are scrambling to integrate them. Then the IT guys start to like the hardware, they buy it for home use, they push it for work use. It creeps in. I've seen this happen at my own employer, as well as with some of my friends' employers.

    Especially at small companies. The company I work at was 100% Windows just 2 years ago. Now we are 90% Mac (only holdouts being our servers, and the dev machines that work on the servers). The impetus was security -- get everyone using Macs since they're safer for browsing/email -- but in the end, people just liked them better, and they require less maintenance. I know, because I'm the guy maintaining them.

    A friend today (new Mac convert) was groaning about getting help from his office IT guy for his MacBook, on a printing issue, because that IT worker was openly hostile to Macs. Only months ago, that IT worker was laughing when he heard my friend was considering a Mac, don't get it, it's not compatible with our stuff, you won't be able to do what you need to on there, etc. I just received an email, literally 10 minutes ago -- this same IT guy heard about his printing issue today and WANTS to help. Why? Because more of his other customers are moving to Macs, and now that he's had to use them, he actually PREFERS THEM! He's thinking about getting one for himself!

    The vista people are looking at is increasingly filled with Macs... the Wow starts now for sure, but perhaps it wasn't what Microsoft was expecting... as in Wow, there are a lot of Macs in this office.
  • One show stopper (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:51PM (#18174130) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft pulling MSO ( and native exchange ) support for Apple.

    Pretend as much as you want that there are 'alternatives and i dont need it', but MSO *is* the de-facto standard out there. Without it, Apple will continue to be a niche player in the business world for a long time to come ( if not forever, unless things radically change someday ).

    But is being a ( rather large ) niche player really all that bad? They still make great products and make gobs of money. Do they *need* to attack Microsoft's stranglehold on the corporate market?

  • In the process (Score:3, Informative)

    by spindizzy (34680) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:51PM (#18174146)
    We're actually going through this currently at work. I work at a large government department which traditionally has locked down the environment very tightly. As we're a multimedia design/web development area outside IT we've been mandated to use Windows PCs up to now but recently we've been trialling a Macbook Pro to see how well it integrates with the standard environment.

    It's been a surprisingly trouble free experience, even though the IT department are loath to become involved in an official capacity (though unofficially individuals are interested and have provided invaluable help). All the major applications are supported and with more of the departmental apps being web based and standards based (especially determined by accessibility requirements) looks to become easier over time.

    With rumours of moving away from a common environment things could become easier still.

    What problems we have encountered have been sorted by brief research on the net and we're currently establishing a business case to transition to Mac Pros in the near future for our business unit.

  • by misleb (129952) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @06:56PM (#18174230)
    I like using OS X on the desktop and all, but I'll be the first to admit that OS X is not ready for the "enterprise." Things one might take for granted on Windows such as ODBC are very poorly implemented on OS X. Other examples where Apple is lagging behind is their supposed "directory services." Yeah, it is LDAP, so technically it is a directory (hierarchial), but for the most part it still acts like an NT domains. That is, it is basically a flat user/group space. Workgroup Manager does not work well with large user sets. It is not at all suited for larger corp environments where you might have a large directory with partitions and such that span WAN links. Although I have not personally used Active Directory much personally (I'm an old Netware/NDS/eDirectory guy), I get the feeling that is much more mature and featureful than OpenDirectory.

    Heck, Apple has only just very recently adopted ACLs for filesystem permissions... and they are still pretty clunky to manage. Like you can't just go to a folder on a server and "Get Info" and check permissions inheritance and such. You have to go through Workgroup Manager or figure out how to use long chmod strings.

    The list goes on and on. I think Apple is going to remain the "odd man out" in corporate environments. At least until Leopard. We'll see what Apple comes up with then, but Apple still seems to be focused on home/niche professional users. I don't see it becoming a general office platform for some time.

    -matthew
    • by jcr (53032)
      Other examples where Apple is lagging behind is their supposed "directory services."

      Actually, this is an area where Apple regressed from what NeXT had. Using NetInfo, it really was possible for five full-time sysops to handle four thousand users' workstations. LDAP is a very poor substitute.

      -jcr

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by misleb (129952)
        LDAP isn't the problem, per se. It it is the way it is implemented. Apple needs to utilize the hierarchical structure and implement partitioning and add directory level permissions. For example, you often want to make localized admins that only have rights to particular parts of the tree and the users/servers/services therein. These are the kinds of things I miss from my Netware/NDS days. NDS was awesome.

        -matthew
  • what a joke (Score:2, Insightful)

    I can't believe people are celebrating the onslaught of the only software giant with more proprietary vendor lock-in and questionable business practices than Microsoft. And then there's the practical application- it's like people forgot MS Office and Visual Studio existed...

    How is this remotely cost effective or practical? This is like recommending that UPS start using Lexus SUV's to deliver packages...

    Vista desktops fall right into microsoft-powered corporate networks the same way XP does... it's not the "
    • I can't believe people are celebrating the onslaught of the only software giant with more proprietary vendor lock-in and questionable business practices than Microsoft.

      I didn't see anything about SCO in that article.
  • the mini is weak and is not that easy to service.
    the mac pro cost is too high for most office use.
    There needs to be mid-tower that is easy to open up to add ram, and pci-e cards, change out bad parts, and so on.
    The i-macs with there build in screen don't work that well as they take up more space then a monitor + desk top on the ground.
  • by ironwill96 (736883) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @07:06PM (#18174396) Homepage Journal
    Because of the shift to Intel processors, Apple has been suggesting the possibility to our University (~ 12,000 users so on par with a medium-sized corporation) of pitching Apple as a "hardware" solution NOT an operating system. The idea being to put Imacs and Macbooks in the hands of everyone and just have them boot to Windows by default. Throw in a windows style mouse and keyboard and voila, there is no difference except you are running on nicer looking hardware.

    Many will say "Apple is more expensive". Totally not true. Based on educational pricing we have been comparing what we can get to get a 20" or 24" iMac with 2GB ram and 3-year APP etc. vs equivalent machines/warranty/features from Gateway and Dell and guess what, Apple is CHEAPER. The same holds true for laptops as well. We can't see any reason why not to move to a dual-boot or Parallels based platform (and no the new EULAs dont affect those of us using Vista enterprise - virtualization is allowed). Why not view a high-end Apple machine as your Vista upgrade path? We are seriously thinking of doing this as a method to not only get new machines that can run Vista well (have been running Vista on my Macbook Pro with full Aero support since last summer!), but also allows us to more easily support a mixed platform environment so whoever needs/wants to run Mac or Windows applications can. This helps us out tremendously with applications such as R-25 and Banner for compatibility issues we've had with our Mac users and lets everyone use Final Cut Pro to do their video editing etc for the departments that need it. I see this is as a win-win situation, so please enlighten me as to the downside i'm not seeing.

    Also, we have an Apple-certified service center (as well as Gateway certified) so we do on-site hardware support already so the support isn't an issue in our organization.
  • by Logic Bomb (122875) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @07:15PM (#18174548)
    I'm a former Apple employee, my current job is primarily about supporting Macs, and I do independent Mac-related consulting on the side. And even I think most of the time, for most employees, it's dumb for large companies to shell out $$$ for individual computers. Remote terminals based on something like a Citrix server are so completely the way to go. The vast majority of corporate users do email, web, spreadsheets, and text documents. Most organizations already give users a network home for their documents rather than running backup software on every single desktop computer. It makes no sense to go through the headaches of software management, hardware maintenance, etc on hundreds/thousands of computers when you can do it all with a few servers.

    I love it when Apple moves into a new space. But until you can do something like a Citrix session to a Mac OS server, I don't think their stuff has any role as a standard workstation in large businesses.
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @07:26PM (#18174732)
    By way of example, I understand that the Vatican is evaluating the X-Serve group's latest content filtering product, the X-Communicator, as well as the ODBC (Open Deity-Base Converter) standard, used in a supernaturally-high-availability cloistering add-on. Also, to help fulfill the proselytizing requirements of most modern organized religions, a new bulk-email package code-named "Ad-Minister" is currently under development.
  • Sure! I'm game. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peacefinder (469349) <alan@dewitt.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @07:27PM (#18174738) Journal
    Absolutely yes. I'd buy Apple desktops - and cheerfully pay the premium to run Parallels/XP on some of 'em - if Apple made the right hardware product. I would buy seven next week. But right now, they don't make what I need.

    The Mac Pro is grossly overpowered for what we need, which makes it much too expensive for us to consider. The Mac Mini's laptop-class hard drive is probably too unreliable (and not user-serviceable enough) for our 5-year desktop replacement cycle. And while the iMac is about right in many ways, I already have LCDs throughout so buying an all-in-one makes no sense for us.

    What I'd need to buy Macs for the office is a headless machine that delivers a single Core 2 Duo, a gig of RAM, integrated graphics, and a basic desktop-class SATA drive in a user-serviceable chassis for around $1100.

    But Apple does not seem to be interested in the low-end desktop market, so it's back to Dell for me.
    • So you already have LCDs for everybody.
      Buy $999 iMacs ($1074 with 1Gb) and give everyone dual displays...

      or buy $1199 iMacs with the following specs and give everyone dual displays:

      17" 1440 x 900 pixels ATI Radeon X1600 graphics 128MB of GDDR3 SDRAM Mini-DVI video out with support for DVI, VGA, S-video, and composite video output. Support for external display with digital resolution up to 1920 x 1200, analog resolution up to 2048 x 1536

      2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
      1GB memory
      160GB hard drive1
      8x DL SuperDrive (DVD
    • Make this:
      * Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 Merom 2.0GHz Socket M Processor.
      * Mobile Intel 945PM Express Chipset.
      * Mini tower chassis (serviceable).
      * MicroBTX logic board.
      * 60GB 3.5" 7200-rpm SATA hard drive, 8 or 16MB cache.
      * 2GB DDR2 SO-DIMM PC2-5300.
      * PCI-Express 16x slot, with an Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT in it.
      * PCI-Express 1x slots.
      * Gigabit Ethernet.
      * On-board sound.
      * Combo Drive.

      $999 per system (as spec'ed above).

  • ...that corporate world is not going to wait every year until MacWorld to find out what the product roadmap is.
    Apple will have to ditch the culture of secrecy (they can keep it for the consumer stuff) over their roadmaps. Corporate buyers need long lead times and intro and dicontinuance notices. And corporate IT wants plenty of notice on technology directions from all their key vendors (partially so they can warn off the ones that are about to make a mistake) so Apple's attitude about this would HAVE to change.
  • by chill (34294) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @08:12PM (#18175258) Journal
    Many larger corporations and governments are loathe to go with sole-source suppliers. If Dell screws up, there are a dozen other suppliers to get computers from. If Apple screws up, then you're screwed. No one other than Apple sells those machines.

    Smaller companies and schools may be able to get away with this, but I'd never recommended it for any large company I was working for.

    Now, I'd have no problem recommending OS X if it ran properly and was supported on non-Apple hardware...
  • by hhr (909621) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:48PM (#18176224)
    Apple's business practices make it difficult for a large corporation to widely adopt Apple computers. Notice how, to get maximum hype, Apple reveales nothing about their future plans. Then one magic day every few months Steve Jobs get's up on the podium and says "The new giga-flux apple server is now being manufactured and will be available in two months!" Crowd goes ga-ga. The computer, while great, has relativly limited configuration options. Because it has to work.

    Large corporations need to plan out their PC purchases over time spans measured in years. What kind of commputers will Apple sell next year? Ask Steve, but he isn't talking. What if I need configuration option X and Apple doesn't support it? Well then, you are SOL.

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