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Macs Gaining a Bigger Role In Enterprise 383

Posted by kdawson
from the i-want-my-os-x dept.
rev_media tips a short article up at InfoWorld giving some numbers on the increasing Mac presence in businesses. "We're seeing more requests outside of creative services to switch to Macs from PCs," notes the operations manager for a global advertising conglomerate. They "now [support] 2,500 Macs across the US — nearly a quarter of all... US PCs." Another straw in the wind: "Security firm Kapersky Labs has already created a Mac version of its anti-virus software for release should Mac growth continue (and the Mac thus [find] itself prey to more hackers)."
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Macs Gaining a Bigger Role In Enterprise

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  • Low starting point (Score:4, Interesting)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:31AM (#23211518)
    Well when you've got such a low starting point it's not hard to improve is it? i think this deserves a dilbert comic, something like marketing showing a 100% increase when they only sold 1 extra unit.
  • I call bullshit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:42AM (#23211578) Journal
    That was a very inflated summary... fuck

    FTFA

    "We're seeing more requests outside of creative services to switch to Macs from PCs," notes David Plavin, operations manager for Mac systems engineering at the U.S. IT division of Publicis Groupe, a global advertising conglomerate. There are so many requests that Plavin now supports 2,500 Macs across the U.S. -- nearly a quarter of all Publicis' U.S. PCs.
    There that sorts it out, 2500 is no where near 1/4 of all US pc's... damn

    Besides, uhmmmm, ok, so Mac is gaining ground. How much is that about the Mac vs. about Microsoft being shit for the last three years? Vista did more than an 'own goal' they are giving points away to EVERYONE else. Of course Mac will get some of them. It doesn't hurt that the iWHATEVER has been so popular. It's called the halo effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_effect [wikipedia.org] and so Mac gets more customers right now. Lets see how long they keep them? The halo effect has been shown to be quite a peak-then-die thing unless the product has real staying power.

    Don't get me wrong, Mac has some serious positive qualities and I'm not going to bash it (other than being proprietary and expensive) but this story is not taking into account the halo effect nor the gains made from MS defectors. Defectors? Why don't we just describe them as passengers on the titanic looking for a life raft without having to resort to building their own?

    I have a couple of friends (who have obvious desires for Mac due to musical or creative arts reasons) who have opted for a flashy balls out Mac because, and I quote "I just want something that works and I don't have to fuck with it, no matter what the cost is."

    Mac will get those votes. With the looming recession I don't think there will end up being all that many of those votes, especially when GNU/Linux is making so much headway. I'm not declaring a winner or anything, just saying that the optimistic view of this FA is .. well, overly optimistic given the other facts of life.
  • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:45AM (#23211588) Homepage
    Nah, according TFA, you don't need Mac tech skills:

    After all, as Publicis' Plavin notes, Macs -- which cost the same as equivalently configured business-class PCs -- are cheaper to support because they are easier to support.

    To which I might add, "Citation Needed".

    I'm a recent Mac switcher with years of Windows experience. It's not all that easy to get OS X to work and play well with Active Directory and Windows networking (or maybe it's the other way around). IT lets me play with the Mac because I'm pretty self sufficient. Most enterprise OS X users aren't going to be particularly savvy - they'll need lots of help (like always).

    And finally, the cynic in me wonders how many of those Macs are really running XP / Vista under boot camp while at work... Not that there is anything wrong with that. You'll look cool and all, even if you're running the same dorky programs as everyone else.

  • by vrillusions (794844) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:55AM (#23211636) Homepage
    My "introduction" to macs--aside from school--was at my current job. I am a web developer/it manager. I first thought it was odd everyone used macs but after I got used to it I'm glad. The amount of questions asking about their computer locking up or not being able to print or something is practically nil. When something doesn't work it's usually something more significant than just the windows "shut down and reboot" mantra.

    EVERY employee uses a mac. From graphics designers (of course) to the IT department to accounts receivable and billing. From an IT standpoint being able to have a native terminal to ssh to remote servers is very handy. Yes I know of cygwin but terminal on mac is just there. We literally only have two windows machines only because of some software that only works on windows.
  • Re:Fed up with MS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:58AM (#23211658) Homepage

    Even the Linux users all have a windows or apple machine.

    Well, that's obviously because this isn't (yet) the year of Linux on the desktop. That's next year.

    But seriously, I think it's because, on a Mac, you can run OS X, Linux and / or Windows of whatever flavor. The latter OS being the most important. Once it becomes more common for enterprise level apps to be written for *nix or just as web apps (shudder), you can then easily migrate the worker-drone clients to a cheap Linux box. Or convert your cheap Dell box into a cheap Linux box.

    I see that as happening in the next couple of years - then OS X will be marginalized in the enterprise unless the mythical cheap Mac mini tower (i.e. the brushed aluminum beige box with an Apple logo) actually gets by his Steveness. Mobile users will still have Mac Book Pros, artiste-types will have their cheese graters, but the cubicle critters aren't going to get anything that fancy.

  • by Santana (103744) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @01:18AM (#23211764) Homepage

    They've already made the mistake of not allowing open source software on the iPhone (one of the many reasons I don't get one)

    Are you being sarcastic? Nowadays it's difficult to say. I have just finished to watch Steve Jobs' keynote [apple.com] about the brand new iPhone SDK, which is a heck of a platform for development, either proprietary or open source, and the App Store that will let you distribute your application to every iPhone on Earth.

    I'm not sure what's wrong with those Mac bashers around. You know, just stating to not want to be a "Mac fan" because you like tactile response is stupid for itself. Intel based Macs running UNIX plus open source software and a great set of development tools is anything a geek that respects him/herself wants to get his/her hands on.

    And before anybody mods me down, I'm not a Mac fanboy. I've been programming for Windows, Unix and Unix-likes (Linux, OpenBSD) on Intel and SPARC for years and never owned a Mac until recently (two weeks ago aprox.) and I'm amazed. I'm currently writing this message from Safari while whatching my terminals (cloning repositories, building software, the usual stuff.)

  • by moofrank (734766) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @01:25AM (#23211792)
    The article asserts in a couple of places some very amusing things: 1. Apple SAYS that it integrates cleanly in Active Directory environments. (In our experience, it doesnn't). 2. "That Apple Enterprise support doesn't exist is a popular myth." (We actually paid for Apple Enterprise support and work in a major metropolitan area. We and our VAR could actually never manage to locate Apple Enterprise support. I'm calling myth.) Admittedly, I'm writing this on my Macbook Pro with an Iphone in my pocket. Supporting a handful of macs is easy. Supporting hundreds is a major pain.
  • "free software" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Santana (103744) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @01:53AM (#23211900) Homepage

    You seem to assume that I believe on the "Free software" religion and its prophet RMS. I'm sorry to break it to you, but not every Slashdot reader is a free software loon.

    But maybe you got something right, after two weeks with a Mac, I think I've started to love this thing.

  • Here too... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by adnonsense (826530) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @01:54AM (#23211902) Homepage Journal

    Small company, newly formed IT/development department. Turned out all four of us preferred OS X as our desktop environment, and it didn't take long for the boss guy to convince himself he needed one to (and very happy with it he is). Just found out one of the sales people has come over to the dark^H^H^H^H Jobs side, and the external consultant guy has a MacBook Air (which is a subject of constant ridicule as we are Ethernet-only for reasons of paranoia).

    (Personally I need a laptop which runs an internationalized UNIXy environment and plays well with the hardware without me having to spend time fiddling about with the OS , and OS X has saved me a great deal of time in this respect).

  • Re:"free software" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Telvin_3d (855514) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:00AM (#23211920)
    Just wait until something breaks. Something minor like a fan. And taking to the nearest Mac approved retailer, handing to the actual tech who will fix it and picking it up the next day. No phone calls to automated systems. No shipping.

    Happened to my MacBook. Was completely my turning point from 'this is kind of nice' to 'from my cold, dead hands'.
  • by bartron (772079) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:10AM (#23211950)

    I'd love to roll out more Mac laptops but the main thing holding it back is complete lack of a first party dock connector for the portables. Not everywhere is the same of course but where I work it's an OH&S problem with loose cables hanging about the place.

    I know about bookendz and they might be ok but it's hardly an elegant solution and the aesthetic is so non-Apple. I would jsut like a single connector on the bottom of the Mac that connects to a dock that has all my shit permantly plugged in to it...is that so hard?

  • Re:Fed up with MS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pandrijeczko (588093) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @04:50AM (#23212648)
    Apple sold well over 8M Macs in the last year, that's a whole lot of sales to beat.

    As I've said on here many times before, I've worked in the telecoms/IT industry for 25+ years now as a techie of various types.

    And in ***ALL*** that time here in the UK, I have seen a total of ***THREE*** Macs anywhere - one was a notebook owned by an American trainer on a course I did, my friend has a Mac gathering dust in its box in his study because his boss gave it to him not knowing what to do with it and he doesn't know what to do with it either, and the third was a student posing with one in a local coffee store.

    Yes, Macs may have a higher penetration in the US, I'm not arguing that. But over here in the UK (and I suspect Europe), I suspect more people still own Amigas than they do Macs - they really are ***LOW*** penetration over here.

    Also, please bear in mind that in Europe, Linux penetration is far higher than it is in the US which also goes some way to explaining why Macs are very uncommon.

    You need to realise that despite the very good Euro/Dollar & Sterling/Dollar exchange rates currently, over here we never benefit too much from those because US manufacturers consistently rip us off for pricing. Only the other day, I picked up an O'Reilly book in a bookshop that had a $49.99 cover price but was £39.99 to buy in Sterling - nowhere near the 2:1 Sterling/Dollar exchange rate that there is currently.

  • by kamochan (883582) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @05:38AM (#23212814)

    You can cite me: our company has moved 80% mac since 2004. That resulted in 50% cut of IT support personnel, because there simply isn't that much to do. And 80% of the work for the remaining IT support personnel is dealing with the remaining 20% of Windows installations (most of which are a few experts' desk/laptop machines).

  • Re:"free software" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kklein (900361) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @05:49AM (#23212846)

    My MacBook's HDD died about a month ago (there may have been a bit of abuse that triggered it--I don't put my backpack on the passenger seat anymore) and after troubleshooting it, called it in. The tech didn't waste my time with stupid crap; he just asked a couple questions and sent me a box. It got there Friday evening after work.

    Sunday morning, before I had even made coffee, it was back with an upgraded HDD, no questions asked.

    I missed one day of work with it. I was back at work on Monday, ready to go.

    I was an Apple fanboy back in tha day, then I was a mean vilifier of the Mac, and now I have sold all my PCs and have a 100% Mac house.

    You don't notice how bad the user experience on Windows (or even worse: Linux) is until you notice that your computer hasn't done anything remotely annoying for a week--and that you never turn it off, just put it to sleep.

    Granted, naysayers will point out that it's a proprietary system that you can't just get any old hardware for, but that's actually its strength. MS can't keep up with the driver issue, and Linux developers most certainly can't. But I still can throw any SATA HDD or PATA DVD drive in my Mac Pro, and I just put a fanless cooler on my video card today. I run all my Windows-only stats stuff under Fusion with no noticeable performance hit, and the thing works like a UNIX machine on a network (i.e. correctly and easily).

    I am not a fanboy, I don't think. I made an educated decision to buy a Mac, and it has been really nice. Not perfect. Far from it. I can't stand Apple Stores (pretentious, my god, pretentious). But I am really glad I switched.

  • by Lars512 (957723) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @06:10AM (#23212924)
    Perhaps another take is that some of Apple's practices, which work fine with their current market share, would be considered draconian if they were the dominant vendor.
  • by theurge14 (820596) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @09:00AM (#23213460)
    It has never occurred to me until your post that Macs may be resisted in the enterprise due to job security.

    Somewhere the Maytag man is yawning.
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @09:09AM (#23213498)
    They are already draconian. The only people who don't consider Apple's practices to be tyrannical are Apple fanboys and people who don't know or care about anything beyond whether or not their computers gets them to Facebook/Myspace/whatever.

    In reality, though, Apple could never keep a dominant position for long, at least not with their current practices. The word "antitrust" comes to mind...

  • by theolein (316044) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @10:16AM (#23213802) Journal

    Nah, according TFA, you don't need Mac tech skills:


    After all, as Publicis' Plavin notes, Macs -- which cost the same as equivalently configured business-class PCs -- are cheaper to support because they are easier to support.


    To which I might add, "Citation Needed".

    I'm a Mac system admin. You're right and wrong. Macs tend to behave better under stress than Windows does, but there are many problems on OSX, a number of which are related to, very much as in Windows, legacy PPC stuff running under the Rosetta emulator. Apart from which, just as in Windows, if users are allowed to load their machines with crapware, they become unstable

    I'm a recent Mac switcher with years of Windows experience. It's not all that easy to get OS X to work and play well with Active Directory and Windows networking (or maybe it's the other way around). IT lets me play with the Mac because I'm pretty self sufficient. Most enterprise OS X users aren't going to be particularly savvy - they'll need lots of help (like always).
    Again, you're right and wrong. The Mac users in our company, which has become 80% Mac in the last two years, tend to manage the basic things much better than the Windows users, but they run into problems in the more complex things. I think the Mac is genuinely easier to use for beginners, but more advanced stuff, like LDAP binding, network homes etc are totally beyond their grasp, for the most part.

    And finally, the cynic in me wonders how many of those Macs are really running XP / Vista under boot camp while at work... Not that there is anything wrong with that. You'll look cool and all, even if you're running the same dorky programs as everyone else.
    The only Mac users in our company who use Windows, are me, so that I can provide support, and the users who have apps that only run on Windows, like CAD stuff.
  • by analog_line (465182) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @10:41AM (#23213938)
    I do freelance support work for Macs primarily (though I deal with plenty of Windows machines as well), and I've helped switch several small companies partially from PCs to Macs. Generally, once the "how do I do this" calls stop, and the users get some familiarity, the new Mac people stop calling for months. The die hard Windows people I deal with also tend to be the least technically inclined, and generally I'll see them every few months to fix the results of their incompetence before they either run out of money in the budget to pay me to fix it, or decide that it's me who's incompetent and allowing all these viruses and spyware on their machine and go call the Computer Geeks at 2-3 times my rate.

    There are a few people that have made the switch, and end up just not wanting to change the way they've always done things (despite the fact that they'd called me in to totally reformat and reinstall Windows 3 times in the last few months) and who pitch a fit about it, but there just isn't much you can do about them.

    Plenty of the switchers I've dealt with run Parallels to run the one or two Windows apps that they just can't be without for whatever reason, but I haven't ever (depsite offering several times) had to install Boot Camp on anyone's machine to effectively switch them back. I have had a couple customers that who exchanged some quite old Macs for cheapass, low-end Windows machines, but that's was for cost reasons primarily, rather than preferring the Windows platform (and they're spending more money on my time as a result).
  • by dregs (24578) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @10:52AM (#23214022)
    Want to know what the biggest apple problem in the enterprise is ?

    Just try leasing them, on a 3 year lease, and find out at the end of the lease theirs no replacement machines because apple has run down the channel due to a new product announcement, that is yet to happen.

    Happens on a regular basis to us, and then the new machines doesn't support the current release of OS X, so we cant deploy until we fully test in any case, as it only runs 10.5.2 or later, not earlier or some such rubbish.

    Apple is light weight and no where near enterprise ready.
  • Re:Fed up with MS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by frehe (6916) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @11:26AM (#23214272)

    the most important advantage of gnu/linux and free software: you actually own the software, you don't just license it.
    You don't own GPL licensed software, unless you've written it. For instance; can you republish it under another license, such as the BSD license, or close source it? IMHO, GPL is just a "benevolent dictatorship" like form of regular Microsoft style software licensing. It's restricts what I can do with the software, and in addition tries to lift those restrictions to a moral high ground.
  • If so, they're not using them right. Macs are a pain in the ass to administer. They're great for end users, so you do avoid some of the stupid calls once you've answered EVERY question about why they are different than Windows. However, Apple's server product is an abomination. They change behavior with OS updates and you have to buy new versions to get security patches as they phase out after about 2 versions. If you consider the difference in the OS release schedule between windows and Mac OS, it is much more expensive for small deployments. If anything happens to your open directory setup, Apple will tell you to start over. If you're lucky, you were smart enough to export your users so you only have to reset the password for everyone! Combine with that fun things like php not having any modules that are common, lack of java 6, and random crashes with Leopard Server, and you have one of the most annoying products I can think of. The only useful thing about OS X server is the control over client systems. That is why you buy it. At work, we have a FreeBSD webserver because we couldn't get NFS mounting to work consistently between two xserves. The FreeBSD machine has much better uptime and it's a beater Dell Precision 1.4Ghz POS. In apple happy land, you're supposed to use dynamic AFP mounts for everything. It sucks when you're trying to serve web pages! Best of all, if a Leopard client connects to a 10.4 server, it sets an ACL on the home directory to explicitly block access by everything but the user thus blocking serving web pages! (if the user uses their webspace, it's mapped to a ~/Sites directory) I suggest anyone looking at doing Mac deployments consider buying a real server to go with it. It could be BSD, Linux, Windows Server, even Solaris. The problem with Macs is their inflexibility. It's great from a user perspective because it's hard to get into trouble, but when you're trying to work magic common on Windows or *NIX installs... Yes, I'm the Mac sys admin for a university computer science department.
  • Fourth. Apple is almost wholly dependent on the final opinion of Steve Jobs. [...] The fact that Apple made the default Dock in 10.5 a weird faux 3D thing that is very difficult to use due to the changes, making it often very hard to see what applications are running.

    The Dock is, as always, the most obvious interface fuckup Apple has made, and boy did they ever.

    The NeXTStep Dock was brilliant. It's probably been imitated more than anything else but the Windows taskbar (let's face it, everyone wants a start menu now. Apple put more stuff into the Apple menu in OSX, probably due to just that.) Then they totally hosed it for OSX. If your desktop is somewhat full then icons appear behind the dock. You have to either hide it or lasso that icon with some other icons before you can drag it out. It also changes size from the center by default, making your icons a moving target. The Dock is 100% garbage, the implementation is crap, it is nothing but eye-candy and it's bad eye-candy at that.

    This is, unfortunately, pretty much the story of the whole OS. OSX is a boondoggle, we would have been MUCH better off with BeOS (seriously folks, the best objection to BeOS is that it isn't "truly" multiuser whatever that means, and who cares on a desktop box anyway?) but we got the cult of Steve Jobs and his amazing transforming NeXTStep instead. Now, it might be true that Apple would be gone without Jobs today, but I will go to my grave protesting Apple's stupidity in adopting the OS of yesteryear instead of moving into the future. They had their chance to advance computing, and instead decided to go with more of the same old shit we'd already seen. There is basically nothing new in OSX; everything cool in it was already present in NeXTStep, which was fairly peppy on a 25MHz 68040. MacOS prior to X, which does a tiny fraction of what NeXTStep does, was never as responsive on a Quadra as NeXTStep was on an '040 turbo slab. BeOS, on the other hand, kicked the shit out of MacOS 9 (for example) on a PPC Macintosh.

    For the record, I'm not a BeOS fanboy, I don't run any variant of it and I'm sure not buying specific hardware so that it will run properly. I already went through all that shit with Amiga and already got better. But I maintain that Apple completely blew that decision, from a technical standpoint.

  • I think the Dock thing is subective. A lot of people I talk to hate the Dock.

    A lot of people I talk to love the Dock.

    I fall into the latter category. I agree with the GP on the Leopard dock being annoying; hell I developed an app t change it from the default 3D to a more sedate and retina-pleasing 2D one.
    But I still like it, and consider it one of OS X's nicest GUI features. Hidden, with the icons on "zoom" mean I can have a tiny dock that I never see unless I need it, and then I can see exactly the icons I want, not the other ones that stay tiny and out-of-the-way.

    As for the BeOS thing, yeah, you're probably right. If they had bought BeOS, the same gui people would have worked on it to make it more "Apple-ey", which would mean you'd still have Aqua. Maybe they'd even of put a Dock in there, which I think would be awesome (an Aqua-like BeOS).
    But it would have been faster for multimedia which is a BIG thing nowadays (iLife anyone?), and the multi-user thing isn't.

    But, that ship has passed, and we've got what we've got: Unix.
    It's a good OS. Sure, maybe an enhanced version of BeOS would be better, but we can't say that now.

    Maybe, in some dark black-ops like basement in Cupertino, Apple are playing with BeOS still, planning to make it in the "next big thing" when (if) Unix starts to show it's age. Who knows...

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