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The Mac In the Gray Flannel Suit 392

Posted by Soulskill
from the apple-of-my-eye-t dept.
oDDmON oUT points us to a BusinessWeek story about the increasing use of Apple products in the corporate sector. Many companies are finding that their employees are pushing for the transition more than Apple itself. Quoting: "While thousands of other companies scratch and claw for the tiniest sliver of the corporate computing market, Apple treats this vast market with utter indifference. After a series of failed offensives by the company in the 1980s and 1990s, Chief Executive Steve Jobs decided to focus squarely on consumers and education customers when he returned to Apple in 1997. As a result, the company doesn't have ranks of corporate salespeople or armies of repairmen waiting to respond every time a hard drive fails. He believes it's difficult for any company, including his, to be effective at satisfying both corporate buyers and consumers."
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The Mac In the Gray Flannel Suit

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  • Repairing em' (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hawkeye05 (1056362) <Hawkeye05@Gmail.com> on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:20PM (#23292278) Homepage
    I can't imagine what it would be like having to fight that shiny white plastic in able to swap out parts... No Thanks.
    • Re:Repairing em' (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:24PM (#23292318)

      I can't imagine what it would be like


      I'm sorry you have no imagination. Here's some help:

      My wife's shiny white plastic iMac (3 years old) died on Thanksgiving. I took it to the nearest Apple store the next day, the busiest shopping day of the year. They replaced the power supply for free. I was in the store for half an hour.

      I now have a mac, too.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by v1 (525388)
        I have to admit you got lucky. There are very few parts you could count on them having in stock, and that's one of them. There was a recall (REP) on the imac g5 power supplies so they would have had a few on hand if they were sensible.

        Otherwise you have to wait one whole day for the parts to come in.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:41PM (#23292450)

        You went to the Apple store and had it fixed? This is why Slashdot is no fun any more.

        Where's the story about using a Dremel, an old VCR, a soldering iron, and a Perl script to fix it yourself?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        My shiny new Macbook Pro's power supply (6 months old) died on a Sunday. I took it to the nearest Apple store next Monday, a calm day without much business. Though the power supply as obviously broken and had warranty, they refused to replace it right away and insisted on sending i back to Apple. Since I need my Apple for work I had to buy a replacement. A week later I got in fact a replacement for my broken power supply back, which turned out a larger, older version.
        Two weeks later my Macbook Pro died (sti
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mooreti1 (1123363)

        I can't imagine what it would be like I'm sorry you have no imagination. Here's some help: My wife's shiny white plastic iMac (3 years old) died on Thanksgiving. I took it to the nearest Apple store the next day, the busiest shopping day of the year. They replaced the power supply for free. I was in the store for half an hour. I now have a mac, too.

        Yes, carrying a Mac in one at a time to a repair store in a corporate environment of 1000+ users is extraordinarily obvious! How could I have been so blind!

    • Re:Repairing em' (Score:5, Insightful)

      by v1 (525388) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:46PM (#23292512) Homepage Journal
      Shiny white is relatively easy. When you get to the shiny black ones, there you have trouble. All the parts are behind the LCD panel, which is behind the display bezel, which is behind that really thin large sheet of glass.

      (that's 21 screws, five cables, two suction cups, and 15 minutes to get past)

      And care to imagine how difficult it can be to keep from getting a spec of lint between that glass and LCD panel when servicing it?
      • by MoonBuggy (611105)
        Any of the iSight or newer white ones have much the same arrangement, actually, but sans glass (I thought it was plastic, but I may be wrong). The worst of it is the adhesive metal tape around the LCD - it's difficult to remove, sticks to everything and generally gets in the way.

        The repairability of Apple machines seems to be very oddly hit or miss - the original white G5 iMacs are a pleasure to work on; the main components are even held on their own sub-assembly meaning that it's a relatively quick job to
        • by aesiamun (862627)
          I just replaced the keyboard, bottom case and battery connector to my first gen macbook (white). It took about 2 hours and about $200. Apple would have charged me more than that and I refuse to pay for apple care from a previous debacle.

          I don't see the problem with fixing it yourself. The parts are easily available from iFixit and the time it took wasn't that far above what I expected for a complete tear down and build up of a laptop.

    • by CSMatt (1175471) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:31PM (#23292880)
      3-step process for repairing Macs:

      1. Throw away defunct Mac
      2. Buy new Mac
      3. Profit!!!
    • Re:Repairing em' (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Henry V .009 (518000) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @02:09PM (#23293220) Journal
      We support 3 Macs out of 200 computers in our labs. We used to have a lab full of them, but nobody ever used it.

      Apple's warranty service is execrable. We had one machine sit there broken waiting on a new motherboard for 6 months.

      The replacement motherboard gave out last month (the extended warranty expired last year), and we had to take it down to the Apple store, because we can't just buy a replacement part like we could for a PC.

      Macs are just fine for personal use, but Windows is far better in a lab environment. It's easier to administrate, reasonably easy to keep secure, and very easy to buy hardware and software for.
      • Re:Repairing em' (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Hungus (585181) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @03:43PM (#23293928) Journal

        Macs are just fine for personal use, but Windows is far better in a lab environment. It's easier to administrate, reasonably easy to keep secure, and very easy to buy hardware and software for.
        I never found it difficult to set up a single image and have the 35 macs in our lab all netboot off of it. Need to upgrade software? Change the disk image, need to return a mac to its base install , reboot it, not a lot of administration required. The Macs are more secure than Windows either out of the box or properly secured. HArdware nd softwre? The only issue i ever had was gps software for personal use and i just went with an opensource solution. Your response simply shows that you have not been trained to administer a lab.
  • by TheVoice900 (467327) <kamil&kamilkisiel,net> on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:22PM (#23292292) Homepage
    Now if only Apple would get their shit together when it comes to their server products. Anyone who has had to administer OS X 10.5 Leopard Server knows that the entire release was a complete gong show. From crashing AFP and directory services, to a half-implemented calendaring solution, a laughably broken server administration GUI (I mean, who would want to mark reverse zones as transferable _anyway_), and countless other problems... Microsoft , Red Hat, SuSE and Ubuntu are just walking all over them when it comes to the server offering.

    Sure the Apple stuff is integrated and works for the basic case. However, if you try to move past what is written in the sparse user manual, you not only lose support for your basic "AppleCare" but also have to spend time figuring out how Apple has mangled the pieces of the open source offerings that hold their stuff together.

    That all being said, I think with some work and polish the server side of things could really become a viable solution. It's just not quite there yet. This is coming from someone who administers these things for a living...
    • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:26PM (#23292326)
      OS X is a desktop OS, that's why it comes with all the (unnecessary) eye candy.

      If you need a server OS, you don't need eye candy on it. OS X is built on a BSD core, therefore just use BSD for your server.

      • by caseih (160668) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:27PM (#23292862)
        Sounds like someone who's a) never used OS X server and b) never had to wrangle OpenLDAP, Kerberos, Samba, and SASL on a regular Linux server.

        It's fine to say, stick with BSD or Linux, but they only ship with pieces of the puzzle, not integrated at all. This is especially apparent in the Directory Services area. Sad to say but nothing except Apple's offering comes close to competing with ActiveDirectory. OpenLDAP itself is great (and we use it to serve up information on thousands of users), but it's just one piece. Then you have Kerberos, Samba (with its own password schemes), SASL Authd, Radius, etc. With BSD and OpenLDAP, Kerberos, and Samba, you can get it working pretty well but you still have to deal with changing passwords in two or more places, different password expiry schemes that all have to be kludged together sometimes with spit and baling wire.

        Apple's solution, on paper, is more ideal. Directory Services exports both an authentication layer and an authorization layer, welded together in a common API and common admining tools. Change the user's password and the password server, which integrates SASL, Kerberos, NTPassword, and LMPassword hashes, everything, no matter what protocol, keeps everything in sync. There are no passwords stored in LDAP at all, which is as it should be. Samba, PAM, SASL clients, etc, all talk to the password server. Contrast this with most LDAP installations on nix. There's a userPassword field, which can have any number of hash types in it. Then there's the shadowAccount attributes for password expiry. Then there's sambaNtPassword, and SambaLMPassword fields with their own hashes. Then there's Kerberos off to the side, never really integrated (except for certain kinds of SASL binds). It's honestly a mess. I hope that in the future, other products like Fedora Directory will take care of many of these problems. Samba 4 certainly will be a huge leap forward. One which I hope (with it's integrated LDAP system) will finally compete with ActiveDirectory.

        In short, what Apple has done with OS X Server is a tantalizing idea of what we could do in the *nix server space if we put our minds to it. Sadly Apple's solution is lacking in many areas including just being half-baked and their enterprise support is non-existent. They have also never published their APIs to develop pam-DirectoryService and nss-DirectoryService for conventional Unix OS's, either, which is very short-sighted. So Apple's solution has promise, but tends to fall down outside of the base cases. But the standard alternatives are also very bad.
        • by XorNand (517466) *

          SASL Authd, Radius, etc. With BSD and OpenLDAP, Kerberos, and Samba, you can get it working pretty well but you still have to deal with changing passwords in two or more places, different password expiry schemes that all have to be kludged together sometimes with spit and baling wire...

          I'm doubting that you have Kerberos properly implemented if you're having problems unifying authentication since that's the whole point of Kerberos. OpenLDAP for directory services and Kerberos for authentication works j

      • by nguy (1207026) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @02:45PM (#23293514)
        If you need a server OS, you don't need eye candy on it. OS X is built on a BSD core, therefore just use BSD for your server.

        Please don't keep repeating that myth. OS X is built on a Mach core, with some bits and pieces of BSD hacked into it. And OS X has serious incompatibilities to BSD. If you're trying to use a BSD server with OS X clients, you have your work cut out for you.
      • by Almahtar (991773) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @05:34PM (#23294662) Journal

        the (unnecessary) eye candy.
        I agree BSD is great for servers, but I want to tackle this little comment on the side.

        While eye candy is not necessary, I suppose, that doesn't mean it doesn't serve a productive purpose. For hardcore multitaskers, expose is a must - in a second you can pick the window you want out of the 20 that you have open.

        But the thing that most often gets ignored in geek circles is the bling factor. We can't mathematically quantify any use for it, so we assume its useless and frown upon the simpleminded advocates of eye candy. Truth is, we're humans. We have an artistic side, and when our desktop interface is beautiful to use we're happier when we use it. I get more done when I'm in a good mood, and I'm in a better mood when my interface is entertaining and beautiful.

        Necessary? No, but it enhances productivity. So it's only necessary if you want optimal productivity. :-)

        Not surprising that the computers most artists and musicians use sort of pioneered this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grommit (97148)
      Have you seen their XServe? horrible. The first iteration didn't have any hardware RAID available. If you wanted fault tolerant hard drives, you had to do it in software.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheVoice900 (467327)
        The newer XServe hardware is thankfully much better, although I'm still pissed that Apple only supports FC SANs for XSan.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lord Aurora (969557)
      With their history of indifference to the corporate market, do you think that Apple is going to spend the necessary resources to make their server offerings any more palatable? TFA notes the trouble MS is having with companies switching to Vista from XP...it looks like this could be the foothold Apple needs to launch some newer and more powerful products for the corporate user base. Of course, many of the Vista-vs-XP complaints are echoes of the XP-vs-2000 complaints we heard when XP first came out, so Appl
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arminw (717974)
        ....Apple needs to launch some newer and more powerful products for the corporate user base...

        A smaller brother, both in size and power, to the MacPro, priced between the lowest and highest price iMac would probably be a very popular item they should add to their list. It could have one expansion slot and let the customer use their old PC keyboards and monitors. This would save money and help the environment with less electronic garbage to dispose of.
        Apple could sell a sexy monitor, keyboard and mouse as an
      • by Nullav (1053766)

        Of course, many of the Vista-vs-XP complaints are echoes of the XP-vs-2000 complaints we heard when XP first came out, so Apple is going to have to act quickly before MS does to Vista what it did to XP and the opportunity is lost.
        You mean Vista was rushed to market less than two years after XP was released because of the mountain of legitimate complaints?
        No matter how big the planet is, there's still fat people. This extends to operating systems as well.
    • by Original Replica (908688) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:56PM (#23292600) Journal
      Now if only Apple would get their shit together when it comes to their server products.

      Or conversely they could get out of the server market entirely. They do the consumer electronics thing very very well. They should continue to focus and improve on that, let some other company do the server thing well. Trying to be "all things computer" is a mistake. Apple has done well by ignoring the corporate world, and they should continue to do so. If they happen to have some proprietary architecture that would be a wonderful blessing to the server market, they can always lease the rights to Cisco.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Firehed (942385)
        Perhaps. I think that if anything, they'd try to rework their server software so it'll be more useful in the educational sector. I've called Apple about business inquiries and they are apparently able to arrange a 5% discount, if your business rep ever calls you back (which obviously didn't happen in my case). However, you can get a larger discount when dealing with their education side, often on more products - hell, they knock 50% off the cost of Leopard Server if you get it as a BTO option on a Mac Pr
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        If they happen to have some proprietary architecture that would be a wonderful blessing to the server market, they can always lease the rights to Cisco.

        The reason to support servers is because of client/server compatibility. If a business/lab wants to have a bunch of servers and clients, likely they will want one vendor for both. Giving up on the server market means giving up on that chunk of the corporate/lab market. And since there is also a standardization among various departments...

    • I really see no reason to use any commercial Unix variant on servers given the maturity of Linux and BSD in that space. As another poster said, maybe they should get OUT of the server buisness altogether.
      • Believe me, if it was possible to do managed OS X clients with a Linux server, I'd be there in a snap. And as another poster mentioned, you'd be hard pressed to find a complete directory service implementation (LDAP, Kerberos, etc) that matches what Open Directory gives you.
  • by MyDixieWrecked (548719) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:28PM (#23292348) Homepage Journal
    So having this gap in the market for corporate mac support really opens up the possibilities for businesses to spring up and take advantage of these needs. Apple authorizes repair shops so they can repair systems under applecare... one problem is that a lot of things aren't supported under applecare and applecare is only valid for 3 years after the purchase date.

    All it would take is a shop to stock up on parts, offer extended care, data recovery and on-site services. In Manhattan there are a couple of shops that offer some of this, but they are mostly targetting users who don't want to ship their machine to apple or need a quick answer for unsupported systems (TekServe and others), but I don't feel that they are taking advantage of the corporate market.

    I, being one of two apple users in my department, have realized that although apple has added the capability to join a windows domain, the SSO support is lacking and there are a couple of shortcomings in their implementation. Running a mac in a windows environment isn't quite as seemless in some critical places (SSO, as I said, but also browsing the network, connecting to sharepoint and if the network is flakey or goes down, logging back into the machine can take a long time if the machine has trouble communicating with the directory server). OSX also offers no default lock-screen option like windows does... Although you can have it "show login window" from the fast users witching menu, activating that with the keyboard requires 3rd party add-ons. I use Quicksilver's FastLogout option.
    • by v1 (525388) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:37PM (#23292422) Homepage Journal
      OSX also offers no default lock-screen option like windows does

      Open Applications/Utilities/Keychain Access. Select Preferences, Show Status in Menu Bar.
      Now anytime you want to lock the screen, just click on the padlock up by the clock and select Lock Screen.
      This will require a password to exit the screen saver, even if you have your screen saver not set to require password.

      I use Quicksilver's FastLogout option

      FYI, fast user logout sans QuickSilver is Shift-Opt-Cmd-Q. (you have to hold the keys about 1/3 second)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mikael_j (106439)

        You can also go to System Preferences, Accounts and turn on fast user switching.

        /Mikael

      • FYI, fast user logout sans QuickSilver is Shift-Opt-Cmd-Q. (you have to hold the keys about 1/3 second)

        I'm not in front of my mac at the moment, but I'm pretty sure that that keyboard shortcut logs you out-out... like... quits all applications, etc. no? Or, actually... maybe that keyboard shortcut is cmd-shift-q. I really need to look into that, because it would be very exciting if you're right.

        if it just brings up the login screen, that would be awesome.

        And, regarding the keychain-screensaver option, I'll
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:45PM (#23292496) Homepage
      It's not just for the hardware though. One of the bigger problems pointed out in TFA is that his Jobness just won't tell anyone where Apple is going. No roadmap (other than the cheesy map for the iPhone on the current Apple homepage). No ability to plan years ahead. Just do what Steve says.

      Of course, it's not like Microsoft sticks to their roadmaps. But having a plan is comforting to Enterprise-types.

      And yeah, they need to improve an OS X client to hook into a AD network. That should be relatively easy (even Microsoft did it).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by peragrin (659227)
        What is better?having a road map and fail to be able to drive on the road 2 years after it is supposed to be due? or not having a roadmap but having good solid roads to drive on?
        other than Intel I have yet to see a reliable software roadmap. Half the shit they just make up as they go, and drop it when it isn't possible.

        Besides software roadmaps aren't meant to plan your business around. if that was the case more people would be upgrading to Vista. They are only for slowing down your competitors.
      • No roadmap.

        Yeah, another great point.

        I know when apple first switched to intel, everyone was happy to finally have an approximation as to what kinds of processors they'll see in the future since intel publishes their roadmaps and projections. Before, you had no idea what kind of chips they had in their labs (although, there were rumored 1ghz G3s before the G4 came out and 2ghz G4s before the G5 came out), and just because there were rumors, it didn't mean that those chips would ever see the light of day in
      • It's not just for the hardware though. One of the bigger problems pointed out in TFA is that his Jobness just won't tell anyone where Apple is going.

        For business USER (not server) use, what more do you need to know than what you can plan for already:

        1) You know the web browser is roughly CSS compliant and will continue to be so.
        2) You know how to integrate the existing OS X security infrastructure into your own to manage authenticatication and authorization
        3) You know how to update groups of OS X systems.
        4
    • Unfortunately (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:58PM (#23292636)
      The "all it would take" bit is huge. Slashdotters frequently have no idea just how big some of the things that they regard as trivial in fact turn out to be. A corporate basically wants to see long term stability from its outsourced support, along with years of experience and huge economies of scale. So you build that and wait three years for the corporate replacement cycle to click in - but when it does, you have been bankrupt for nearly 3 years. It is simply not possible to scale such a business because it is very expensive per seat to provide high quality support in niche markets.

      My consultancy is currently working with several support companies who are starting to change their offered product mix. You would simply not believe how slow it is as the culture has to change, the training has to take place, the systems have to evolve. In my view, Apple is right to stay out. Eventually the wheel will turn and the fashion will revert to in house support. Then they will be in with a chance.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NMerriam (15122)

      OSX also offers no default lock-screen option like windows does...


      Hrm?

      Preferences > Security > "Require Password to Wake this computer from sleep or screen saver"

      You can change the keyboard shortcut for sleeping the screen to Windows-L if it makes you feel better. I find setting a hot corner to be faster.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:29PM (#23292356)
    And a lot of corporate users are on mid towers they also like to reuse displays from older systems and like to swap out hard disks / not have to send them off to have them replaced.
    The imac / mini are not that easy to be opened up and you can void the warranty by doing so. They also don't have send off a hard disk with data on it. HP and others let's you keep the bad hard disk and get a new one.

    also the mini is not a good buy next to other systems at the same price and the mac pro is over kill for most users. AIO do not fit in to corporate use of systems and other AIO out there make it a lot easier to swap out HDD's as well.

    A good $700-$2100 mid tower will be a nice fit in a corporate setting.

    There laptops can use some work as well like an 15" screen at $1200-$1900 not $2000 and up.
    • by eltonito (910528) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @03:10PM (#23293702)

      I've been at a handful of Fortune 500 companies and my experience is exactly the opposite of yours. The desktop computer is dead, replaced by laptops which have lower TCO's and offer a better ROI. Apple would be wasting their time to build a mid-tower for this market as this market is small and getting much smaller.

      What Apple really needs to compete in the corporate laptop market is a laptop dock. Most laptop users are sporting external monitors, mice, scanners, external storage and keyboards these days. Not having an easy way to hook and unhook all of that stuff twice a day is a deal killer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kjella (173770)
        I think this is a big one, I didn't know that they don't have docks. For me as a consultant I'm running around with just my laptop, but I see very many use docks. If you're using a small laptop with an external screen, keyboard and mouse then you're getting the best of both worlds. You don't have the cramped interface of the laptop, you have a desktop that undocks to be an ultra-portlable for meetings and courses and working on the go. You can go to the other extreme since you have the desktop covered alrea
  • Send in the clones (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034)

    It's time for one of the major desktop manufacturers to cut a deal with Apple to make Mac desktop machines. It's time for Apple to exit desktops anyway; laptops are taking over in the personal market. But in business, where there are desks, desktops will be around for years to come. Since they're just x86 machines, there's no technical obstacle.

    Psystar may be on to something.

    • by v1 (525388)
      Right now the sales are about 2:1 in favor of laptops. I don't think dropping a third of your market in the name of consolidation is a good idea? Not yet anyway. Maybe give it 3-5 more years and it may be worth it.

    • ...when clone manufacturers, despite paying huge royalty payments to Apple for the OS, nearly drove it out of business.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_clone#Official_Macintosh_clone_program [wikipedia.org]
    • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:29PM (#23292868) Journal
      From The Desk Of Steve Jobs, Apple Inc

      Dear Slashdot Member 122034 ("Animats"),

      It has been brought to my attention that you understand my business better than I do.

      As you know, Slashdot is full of people who have far more opinions than money and far more enthusiasm for offering their opinions than for doing any real work.

      Of course, I have no reason to believe that you are one of these foolish, idle creatures that can be seen pontificating on Web sites every minute of every day while able-minded people are accomplishing things.

      Congratulations on having brilliant, instantaneous insights into my own affairs that I can only begin to understand after spending more than half my life in the computer industry and running one of the most successful electronics companies in the world.

      I've instructed my assistants to alert me to any future guidance that you have time to offer.

      Sincerely,

      Steve Jobs

  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:36PM (#23292412) Homepage
    License the rights to someone who cares. I'm sure Lenovo would love to market a range of "ThinkMac" laptops to business users.
  • Adminware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joutsa (267330) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:49PM (#23292540) Homepage
    The problem with Windows at my workplace is that it comes pre-crippled with Tivoli Endpoint, mandatory anti-virus and various other pieces of adminware. If even some of these were not available for Mac, that would be a good reason to switch. Of course, that would also prevent the change, but one can always dream...
  • I honestly believe that it's only a matter of time until Apple decides to try their hand at the SMB market once again. To some extent they've simply come in the back door in terms of popularizing certain aspects of their product line to the point that it's ubiquitous with computing in general (iPod). While having a iPod/iPhone doesn't translate directly to buying their schtuff for the front/back-office, it does have an affect on general acceptance. If Jobs puts his mind to it, he can improve XServe and
    • Small Business != Enterprise.

      OS X (with the possible exception of Leopard Server (see above)) is perfectly fine for a small business. It works well with Windows (other than some flakiness with Active Directory which IT assures me that They Are Working On). They're great client machines assuming you aren't locked into some Windows only critical business software.

      What Apple is ignoring is Big Business. Fortune xxx. Companies with Billions and Billions of dollars to spend on IT. Sure, lots of folks are

  • by goaliemn (19761) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @12:54PM (#23292582) Homepage
    as touched on in the article, Apple is overly secretive on new upcoming things. This is not what companies want. I work in an IT department and I've seen what both IBM and sun have coming in the next few years. Its called a non-disclosure. This helps my bosses shape future purchasing requirements, because they know whats coming ahead of time, versus a big flashy presentation at a conference and it being available in afew days.

    Apple has to realize if they want to compete, they need to open up a bit to their larger buyers. Yes, the consumer market is great, but now that users are becoming apple savvy, you want them to have the opportunity to bring it to their workplace. Its a similar thing happening with Linux. My bosses were very anti Linux, but the latest batch of graduates have so much experience with it, its being rolled into our environment. You get people using it at home/school and they will want it at work.
    • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:24PM (#23292840) Homepage Journal
      I think you missed reading the summary of the story as well as perhaps taking a glance at the story itself. Apple is not trying to compete in the corporate market.

      You don't generate consumer buzz by talking about the things you're going to be releasing in, oh, five years or so. People forget about it and by the time it comes out it's already old news. Apple is much better off doing what they do now and letting the pressure of their consumer user base continue to help them in the work place.

      Apple is growing. A few years ago the place where I work started offering Mac desktops and laptops for people who wanted those instead of a Dell. Judging from the amount of people I see walking into meetings with Macs I'd say that Apple has at least a 25% share at our business.
      • by CSMatt (1175471)
        How many of these people are running Windows on these Macs during their business activities, as opposed to using Mac OS X for everything?
        • For business activities it's mostly OS X for everything. I mean really, why bother if all you're going to do is run Bootcamp or Parallels? I have Parallels installed and I use it once every couple of months.
    • by CSMatt (1175471)

      You get people using it at home/school and they will want it at work.
      It's a double-edged sword. Companies will use the OS that their workers are most familiar with, but schools/homes will teach/use the OS that is most likely to be used in the workplace. This is one of the reasons why Windows has been so sucessful in keeping their market share.
  • by moore.dustin (942289) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:04PM (#23292692) Homepage
    If Apple becomes a significant player in the corporate market, it will almost certainly destroy the image the company currently has among its customers. To think that as Apple products creep into the business world more they would not be the new target for hackers/malware is silly. There is a point where Apple's success will make it attractive enough to write exploits for. Say what you want about the current state of affairs, but you are ignorant if you think that OS X isn't as vulnerable as XP or Vista.

    Once they reach the point where they have the focus of new malware they will almost immediately begin to lose their image as the secure system. A venture into the corporate world could invite attacks on their machines which would hurt their consumer offerings. If they were to lose their image as the easy AND safe machine it would completely change Apple marketing(which is very important to the company) and thus lose their fanatical base over a year or two.
    • by CSMatt (1175471)
      Firefox has gained considerable market share, as well as the attention of malware authors, and hasn't lost its fanatical base yet.
  • by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:10PM (#23292730) Homepage
    What is the real requirement that would make you pick Macs over Linux or Windows?

    Excluding creative firms, most companies have a really short list of genuine requirements. Track a few gigabytes worth of numbers (total, across the company), deal with e-mail, exchange a few documents. You don't exactly need expose to do an accounts receivable reconciliation or fill out a goods received note yet _these are the things that most computer users do in most companies_.

    Once you take user preference out of the equation what genuine benefits does Apple really offer? Linux offers commodity hardware sourcing plus no software overhead. Windows offers the same hardware advantage and conformity with the rest of the market. After you amortize setting up a standard, well locked down image over 10k+ users are the costs of that really different enough to be significant?

    What companies should be doing is deploying Macs where they could really have some benefit. I'm sure that there are some people who need access to things like FCP at work are suffering an old Windows XP box with inadequate tools. But for every 1 of those people there are 20,000 people who right now are tapping out yet another form debt collection letter and could do it just as easily from a $200 box running Linux.
    • by david.emery (127135) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @03:47PM (#23293940)

      What is the real requirement that would make you pick Macs over Linux or Windows?
      1. Ease of use.

      2. Reliability, both HW and SW. (See my earlier posting on HW experiences.)

      3. NO fscking viruses, spyware, etc to worry about. (When there's a real threat -and- a counter shown to be -safe and effective-, I'll buy it. Until then, no point screwing up the machine with anti-virus software that doesn't protect against any serious threats...)

      4. Expertise on the platform. I can use Windows, but I'm much better on the Mac for GUI-like things, and when I need to, there's always the Terminal for all the Unix commands I know. (And Aquamacs is my preferred text editor, a great Mac port of Emacs...)

      5. Ease of customization. This is related to ease of use, but is worthy of a comment itself. I can set things up the way I want to, in part because of the Mac's support for doing so, and in part because the corporate IT Nazis don't understand them well enough to prevent me... Don't get me started on Corporate IT departments, whose primary goal it seems to be to make everyone else's jobs harder to make their jobs easier; the opposite of 'service'...

      6. Software/Hardware investment. I have -a lot- of stuff for the Mac, both commercial and shareware. Duplicating that in Windows would cost more than the computer itself.

      When I changed jobs, I told my new boss that I did not want to use Windows. He responded, "Look, you get what makes -you productive-. You're the one making money for the company, not corporate IT."

      All this dates to before the Intel Mac and the rise of virtualization. I have -one- customer application that I'm required to run on Windows. I also have occasional problems opening supposedly compatible Microsoft documents created on Windows Office on the Mac (but NewOffice usually opens them when Mac Office crashes... Go figure!)

      I still don't understand why IT departments pay $$$$ for Exchange Server when the Open Source/Open Standards alternatives are
          (a) A LOT cheaper
          (b) A LOT more reliable

      dave
  • Macs are here. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrianRagle (1016523) <bragleNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:19PM (#23292806) Homepage
    I work at a MAJOR cable television network, based in Atlanta, with branch offices all over the country and about to be global. Our in-house Mac inventory has only been steadily increasing over the last few years and is expected to go even higher in the next budget. Whole departments are switching to MacBook Pros, en masse, and not just the "creatives". Even the engineering department is switching over to Mac, as most of their applications have OS X versions or they BootCamp/VMWare Windows if need be. Even Blackberries are being supplanted by iPhones, since the recent patch allowing Exchange integration and the next version of the device being fully Exchange compatible (according to our Apple vendor).

    From a support standpoint, the transition is a little rougher, as others here have noted, but the company is paying to have their support staff become Apple certified techs (myself included) in order to do the work in-house and keep our warranties intact.

    The server side is also increasing, for the specific purpose of running the data ingest software used to manage clips for our HD transition.

    Some of us have even messed around with the hacked OS X kernals floating around and I can report that it runs BEAUTIFULLY on a Dell GX520. If companies like Psystar are indeed a harbinger of things to come, I see Apple's market share in the corporate environment only continuing to rise.

    • Re:Macs are here. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:51PM (#23293058) Homepage Journal
      " If companies like Psystar are indeed a harbinger of things to come, I see Apple's market share in the corporate environment only continuing to rise."

      As I see it, Apple will die a quick death if companies like Psystar are a harbinger. Apple creates great software at cheap prices in order to sell hardware. In my mind that's a good business model because it's easier to control copying and theft of hardware than it is of software. Plus it allows OS X to be easy and user friendly to install, without a crippling and restrictive licensing/software key scheme.

      And before some bozo says that means that Apple hardware is inferior I will point out that I have a house full of Macs that are several years old and still running great. The problem for me is that Apple hardware lasts too long. I want to get something new before the old one is actually worn out.
      • by MsGeek (162936) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @02:50PM (#23293556) Homepage Journal
        ...finally someone gets it. Yeah, there have been disasters like the ATI GPU in iBook G3 debacle, and the explodey battery debacle, but Dell has hardware disasters too and so does everyone else. Macs usually are built with the best parts that Apple can get their hands on. Everyone else cheaps out and you are left with leaky capacitors after a couple of years use or other crap like that. The only other company who has been really good on quality parts was IBM when they still designed and made ThinkPads and enterprise desktops. (not Aptiva or the i-series ThinkPads, you can blame Acer for that) Lenovo has taken the brand and dragged it down to the same crappy level as everyone else (Used a Lenovo ThinkPad lately? PU!) but mas o menos Apple has kept the brand up. I've had a very happy MacBook since 2006...finest computer I've ever owned.
  • MR DREARY BOSS IN A SUIT, SHIRT AND PLASTIC-COATED FEDORA: I don't know... XYZ Corp. has such a dreary image. I am certain it is affecting sales. Jenkins, what do you suggest?

    MR LONG-SUFFERING, YOUNG, ENERGETIC JUNIOR: I know. You need to modernise. I suggest that after work today, you go to Dixons and buy an iPod.
    MR DREARY: What's an iPod?
    MR JUNIOR: It's like a gramophone that you can carry around with you. You can put Wagner and opera on it.
    MR DREARY: OK, I'll try that. If it doesn't work, you're fi

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:27PM (#23292858)
    If Mac, or Linux, is to succeed in the SMB market, an alternative to Intuit is needed.

    Somewhat surprisingly, Intuit is very hostile to anything non-microsoft. The Mac version of quickbooks does not work very well. The online version of QB was specifically designed to not work with Linux. The enterprise version of QB is certified to run on certain linux distros, but that starts at $3000 USD, whereas the standard version of QB is $130 USD.

    I am aware of the f/oss accounting apps, like gnucash, or ledgersmb, but none of those are adaquate for most SMBs. I think a viable alternative to QB would need a good sized company behind it.
  • Dear Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by J05H (5625) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:28PM (#23292866) Homepage
    My company bought a white Macbook for me about 6 weeks ago, it arrived with broken internal speakers. The nice kids at the Mac store ordered the parts and said to bring the machine in for a quick fix. Being all cool and slack, the Apple store does not take appointments, so I brought the machine in last nite to see if they could fix it. The nice technician told me it would take 1-2 days and there was nothing to speed the process. This Macbook is my work machine, it's not for school or personal use - it's part of a (small, agile) global enterprise that runs 24/7 and I can't be without it for that long. HP and Dell send technicians onsite to service problems like this, no questions asked. It's like pulling teeth to get repairs out of your people. Until you figure out how to fit into business customer's needs, you will self-limit your reach.

    Of the 4 new Macs I've worked on in the past year, 1 Macbook, 3 silver towers, 3 of the machines had hardware problems out of the box or within 1 week of unpacking. Specifically the broken speakers and dead Firewire ports. FIX YOUR QA PROBLEMS, CUPERTINO.

    In the meantime I will be recommending HP, Lenovo or other for laptops and desktops.

    Sincerely,
    A Burned Customer.

    PS - why is it called the "Genius Bar" if they are such idiots about these things?
    • by CSMatt (1175471)

      PS - why is it called the "Genius Bar" if they are such idiots about these things?
      The same reason Bust Buy calls its tech assistance "Geek Squad," even though it seems that most of them are completely inept at computers once you get past what the marketing department taught them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Entropy2016 (751922)

      Being all cool and slack, the Apple store does not take appointments
      Try going to here: http://www.apple.com/retail/geniusbar/ [apple.com]
      Under "Genius Bar Reservations", select from the popup-button a state & store.
    • Re:Dear Apple (Score:5, Informative)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @07:41PM (#23295490)

      HP and Dell send technicians onsite to service problems like this, no questions asked. It's like pulling teeth to get repairs out of your people. Until you figure out how to fit into business customer's needs, you will self-limit your reach.

      I've worked at several companies that use Dell, HP, and Apple machines. We don't get any onsite service from any of them. When a machine breaks, we give the user a spare and ship the broken one back to the company. If the machine is functional enough, we migrated the data and config to the spare (where practical). I'm sure for big iron, this is different, but not for end user systems.

      Of the 4 new Macs I've worked on in the past year, 1 Macbook, 3 silver towers, 3 of the machines had hardware problems out of the box or within 1 week of unpacking. Specifically the broken speakers and dead Firewire ports. FIX YOUR QA PROBLEMS, CUPERTINO.

      Your anecdotes are great and all, but according to objective, independent testing Apple hardware has lower failure rates for both laptops and desktops than, well any other major OEM. The only one close is Sony. We all have hardware problems occasionally, but I'm going to have to go with an objective, formal study from Consumer Reports and backed up by several other companies, when deciding which vendor has a QA problem.

      In the meantime I will be recommending HP, Lenovo or other for laptops and desktops.

      Congrats on recommending hardware with lower reliability based upon your lack of research. P.S. Strangely Dell laptops are actually near the top of the heap for reliability, a big change from about a year ago. Hopefully anyone really making purchasing decisions for a living will actually do their homework.

  • by v(*_*)vvvv (233078) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:44PM (#23292984)
    about how wonderful their macbook/ipon/iphone is. Apple's really got a lot of people by the balls. It's too bad that Macs are more expensive and less productive in an office environment than PCs, and these advocates don't know what's best for them.

    That is why I cringe at Macs in schools because they aren't business computers and the cost of education is high enough without Apple making a buck. Again, these schools don't know what's best for them.

    I'd say Linux is perfect for schools. It's free, it's a gateway to everything free, and it'll teach students how to work with computers better than any Mac or Windows will. The hardware can also be kept cheap.
  • by iabervon (1971) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @01:50PM (#23293042) Homepage Journal
    Apple cares more about high margins than market share in computers. There's no way that corporate purchasing is going to be sold on high-margin items by a vendor, because the things a vendor can offer aren't going to be sufficiently compelling in a marketing blurb to overcome the fact that the price is out of line. On the other hand, Apple can sell well to individuals based on getting people to like products that aren't available from other companies regardless of price. And individual employees at companies influence how the company spends its per-employee overhead (does the company buy nicer chairs? new cubicles? better snacks? macs?). This means that Apple is in a position where companies will be looking for the most cost-effective way for them to acquire Macs. Apple could put together a whole corporate program and send an account rep to companies that are considering buying from Apple, but all that would do is give the company somebody to negotiate a better deal with. Apple actually does better to ignore the company and leave it no choice but to go to the Apple Store and buy from people or computers that don't negotiate but just charge what the price tag says.

    I think the only thing that Apple would want to change is that corporate IT is afraid of getting support and repair calls they don't know how to handle. To a certain extent, this isn't a problem so long as employees only get Macs if they ask for them, because Apple puts a lot of effort into motivated individual users being able to take care of their Macs without a help desk. But they'll probably want to streamline the process of selling out-of-warranty repairs in large numbers for the same owner. And they may want to work on getting corporate IT workers to buy Macs as their home computers.
  • If employees can successfully persuade employers to let them use Macs for productivity, does this mean that it has become easier to do the same for GNU+Linux as well? After all, a distro can easily be installed on the original hardware. No need to go out and buy a new machine. Users can also dual-boot if they still need Windows around for that occasional Windows-only task.
  • That hasn't stopped the executives where I work from buying up macbook airs and iphones seconds after they come out.
  • by TXISDude (1171607) * on Sunday May 04, 2008 @02:33PM (#23293414)
    Quote: "He believes it's difficult for any company, including his, to be effective at satisfying both corporate buyers and consumers." from the article/posting. Maybe this explains why they don't even try to do either . . . just go down the list of failures,

    Apple vs. Java http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/05/03/1929212 [slashdot.org]
    Apple Safari not ready for primetime (no anti-phishing) http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/03/2049205 [slashdot.org]
    iphone SDK http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/16/1435254 [slashdot.org] and http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/08/1932232 [slashdot.org]
    their treatment of Adobe (loss of Photoshop CS4 64bit) http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/04/1247246 [slashdot.org]

    need I go on? And I only went back a month!

    True Apple believers will stick their heads in the sand and ignore this long running trend of contempt for customers, but enterprises do notice, and remember bad behaviors from their suppliers. Until the corporate culture changes (and evidently this belief comes from the top) Apple does not belong in the enterprise.
    • Apple vs Adobe is kind of like the Battle of Koom Valley. Whether Apple ambushed Adobe or Adobe ambushed Apple it's been going on and on all the way back to 1997 at least.

      Anti-phishing? Give me a break. Apple's managed to only take three point something years to turn off the default "allow browser to do stupid things if it asks first" flag. Which sounds pretty bad, and I've been ragging on them about it since 2004, but I've been waiting for Microsoft to do something about the "allow browser to do REALLY stu
    • It's amazing how ignorant Apple haters are:

      Apple vs. Java

      Apple has always lagged a little behind Java. Clue for you: Companies lag even FURTHER behind. A lot of companies I know are not yet off Java 4!!

      Apple Safari not ready for primetime (no anti-phishing)

      If you really "read back" as you said, you'd have seen PayPal had no intention of banning Safari. It's not like anti-phishing stuff works all that well anyway or companies have a huge demand for it.

      iphone SDK

      Oh yeah, like lack of compatibility with OS
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @02:41PM (#23293484)
    Mac OS X is a usable Unix with integrated hardware. And *cheap* integrated unix & hardware. Of course it's gaining critical mass. Mac OS X is stepping in where Linux somehow couldn't reach within the last few years. I have yet to find anything remotely resembling the Mac Mini in bang for bug, handling, usability and stable MS-independant desktop applicability.

    Which actually suprises me since Laptops are falling below the 500 Euro line regularly now. I wonder why nearly nobody hasn't built a cheap mac mini equivalent for the linux market yet.

    That, however, could change quickly once prices drop below other barriers (Asus EEE anyone?). Once that happens, even Apple will have a tough time justifying a hermetic system, no matter how sleek it is.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nostriluu (138310)

      I wonder why nearly nobody hasn't built a cheap mac mini equivalent for the linux market yet.


      http://us.shuttle.com/KPC/ [shuttle.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sessamoid (165542)

        I wonder why nearly nobody hasn't built a cheap mac mini equivalent for the linux market yet.
        http://us.shuttle.com/KPC/ [shuttle.com]
        That shuttle is about 550 cu. in. The Mac mini is 84 cu. in. I hardly think a box 6.5 times larger than the Mac mini could be considered comparable.
  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday May 04, 2008 @02:44PM (#23293502) Homepage Journal
    Now here's a story we've heard a few dozen times before: More workers are asking for Macs in the workplace. But the answer is always the same: "The CFO said "too expensive"."

    So unless you're an executive vice-president or higher, or you're one of the rare people in "Creative" that has any pull at all with the boardroom, you're gonna be looking at Windows for a long time to come.

    This is unfortunate, of course, but it's the Way Things Are. Especially in an economic downturn. Hell, you're lucky to have a job, so you might want to think twice before making a fuss about wanting a nice new Mac.
  • Totally A (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theolein (316044) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @08:11PM (#23295740) Journal
    What Sony needs to do to get a piece of this action is release the PS3 with a builtin Linux distro (not a kit like it is now), with Open Office, Evolution and Firefox, like Ubuntu.

    Then I can frag during coffee breaks.
  • by BiOFH (267622) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:26AM (#23300358)
    I love the smell of frightened MCSEs in the morning!
    Or do we simply call it fear of 'something I know nothing about'?
    "Mac bad! Beat on Mac! Me no like, want smash! Get away! Make scared! No understand!"

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