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Why Apple Doesn't Market Squarely To Businesses 510

Posted by timothy
from the zen-guerillas dept.
snydeq writes "Despite feature enhancements that suggest otherwise, Apple remains lukewarm to any Mac and iPhone success in business environments. 'Apple has intentionally created a glass ceiling it has no intention of shattering. My conversations with Apple employees over the past decade have always been off the record when it comes to the topic of Macs in the enterprise. The company has had no intention of signaling any active plans to serve the enterprise,' InfoWorld's Galen Gruman writes. 'In a sense, Apple views enterprise sales as "collateral success" — a nice-to-have byproduct of its real focus: individuals, developers, and very small businesses ... likely because to do otherwise would greatly increase the complexity Apple would have to deal with.'"
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Why Apple Doesn't Market Squarely To Businesses

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  • by donstenk (74880) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:13PM (#31104972)

    Seriously, if you have a couple of people in an office and no full time admin Macs save you a small fortune.

    So, fit for business? Yes.

    Ready for the enterprise?

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac. c o m> on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:14PM (#31105000) Journal

    Apple's not very big on jumping into crowded markets. I'd love to see them take a good shot at unseating Windows in the server business, but they look at how much it would cost to try to push their way in, versus what they can make if they put the same resources into something like the iPad. So far, Apple's growing like crazy without doing much about the business market.

    -jcr

  • by Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:23PM (#31105144)

    If you ignore the products that they market to businesses, then it probably does look like they don't market to businesses.

  • Re:Of course not (Score:4, Informative)

    by Architect_sasyr (938685) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:31PM (#31105268)
    Actually the only thing I see is people complaining that "They're not in business so why should we have them". I can cite multi-floor buildings stuffed with lawyers that run exclusively on os x systems. The same for 5,000+ strong schools. The remote management tools (ARD, DeployStudio, SSH) are more than powerful enough for what the staff want and need and can be used to lock down a machine if necessary. Policy dictates that the whole "your machine must be locked down tighter than a cows arse at fly time" is no longer necessary, so it isn't put in like that - even in the law firms.

    There are some things that are not enterprise ready - I would like to see a more robust printing system and their group policy replacement (Managed Preferences) could be fleshed out a bit more - but the idea that the tools are very limited is indicative of either a lack of training, or the Apple Tech you have needs to be re-trained severely.
  • by orient (535927) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:33PM (#31105296)
    AFAIK, Microsoft makes the bulk of its money by selling to the big corporations. By entering the enterprise market, Apple would attack Microsoft biggest and safest money source. If they do that, Microsoft will stop selling MSOffice for Mac and will prevent Macs from interacting with the AD. This way, Apple will lose more trying to enter the enterprise market than ignoring it altogether.
  • on managagement apps (Score:2, Informative)

    by mehemiah (971799) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:40PM (#31105442) Homepage Journal
    I work in the ITS of my university and whenever the faculty and staff using macs consider or even hear about management apps like puppit or how if they have a PC they MUST install (novell) zen they cringe. They HATE the idea of the IT department invading their computer because their PC(Linux, Mac or Windows ) still feels personal. Even the sub-departments of our IT infrastructure HATE it when our the central sysadmins push updates to computers without telling the departmental support teams.
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac. c o m> on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:44PM (#31105490) Journal

    Not really. The Xserve is great for Apple shops that need servers, but they've put very little effort into convincing anyone to switch to it. They even left the storage business, despite the great success of the XServe RAID.

    -jcr

  • canards (Score:2, Informative)

    by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:51PM (#31105618) Homepage Journal
    Always with the docking stations crap. When are you people going to learn to use that new fangled Google thing to find your bloody docking stations [bookendzdocks.com]. Must I always do it for you?
  • It tried in the '80s (Score:5, Informative)

    by ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:54PM (#31105678)

    Those with unusually long memories will remember that, in the '80s, the Macintosh (and while it lasted, the Lisa) were Apple's Serious Business Computers. The Apple II was the home/education line.

    The Mac had networking built-in from the beginning. (Not very useful for home users, essential for offices.) It had a black-and-white screen. (Not very useful for games or creative work.) Advertising almost exclusively focused on how a Mac could make businesses more efficient by reducing training and support costs. Watch:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MaDXt30xSo [youtube.com]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dqLT0UBPx0 [youtube.com]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwcuSOfjR6w [youtube.com]

    Print ads, too:
    http://www.macmothership.com/gallery/newads10/Macad1.jpg [macmothership.com] and http://www.macmothership.com/gallery/newads10/Macad2.jpg [macmothership.com]

    For about fifteen years, Apple desperately wanted to be taken seriously by business users, who dismissed Macs as incompatible and expensive (with good reason.) Apple lost loads of money during this period. Meanwhile, Apple's sales were coming entirely from home users, artists, and education sales.

    One of the first things Steve Jobs did when he returned was shit-can that approach and release the cute, cuddly, home-student oriented iMac. And whaddya know, the company suddenly started making money.

  • by v1 (525388) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:00PM (#31105772) Homepage Journal

    and Apple uses open directory instead, which is a much more open system. But it too can become something of a tangle. But having worked with both, Apple's use of OD is a good deal more sane than Windows AD.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:03PM (#31105848)

    Because their service level agreements are just not good enough.

    I standard "business" laptop from Dell comes with next business day on-site service, wherever you are in the world (well, within reason.)

    i don't care how attractive Apple's laptops are, unless they can give me that sort of coverage for USD$1500, I'm not interested. I continually hear horror stories from my friends with Apple laptops about what they need to go through for it to get fixed.

    When you travel, and travel a lot, you discover that stuff does have a finite lifetime - especially hard drives. There's only so many bumps from being wheeled around or bouncing through air pockets that they will take.

  • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:11PM (#31105958) Homepage

    $33/seat is not an unreasonable price for system management. If you've spent enough to have 500 Macs, $16K for system-wide admin is peanuts. If your company is in dire enough straits that they can't afford that, you might want to start looking for a more stable outfit to work for.

  • by EXrider (756168) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:25PM (#31106136)

    I wonder if Apple would be able to (or has already) delivered an imaging solution so you can roll out a few workstations that start out both identical and functional.

    Yes, they have a services hosted on Mac OS X Server called NetBoot, NetInstall and NetRestore that do system imaging functions. You can read some marketing speak about it here [apple.com] and here [apple.com]. I've been using it since OS 10.4, it's easy to set up and works pretty well.

  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:43PM (#31106402)

    Apple Remote Desktop (http://www.apple.com/remotedesktop/) is $499 for unlimited clients.
    But if your company doesn't have $500, you can use any VNC client, as the macs support it natively (In the sharing settings is where you set up VNC access).

  • by westlake (615356) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:58PM (#31106606)

    Case in point, Microsoft started losing its juice when it got serious about enterprise

    Microsoft has always been serious about the enterprise market.

    In July of 76 Microsoft was selling its microcomputer BASIC to corporate clients like General Electric.

    In April of 79: Microsoft 8080 BASIC was the first microprocessor product to win the ICP Million Dollar Award, "traditionally dominated by software for mainframe computers."

    The single most important decision Microsoft ever made was to negotiate a non-exclusive license for MS-DOS. That would permanently alter the landscape. Apple is the lone survivor of the era when hardware and software was tightly bundled.

    In 1983 Microsoft Multiplan spreadsheet the company's first application product, was ported across many platforms. "While Lotus 1-2-3 surpassed Multiplan in domestic markets, Multiplan was the winner in almost every other country in which it appeared."

    In September of 83 Microsoft introduced Word for MS-DOs 1.0. Microsoft Timeline [thocp.net]

  • by rocket97 (565016) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:13PM (#31106822)
    If things are as bad as you say they are in the windows environment, I think it is time for you to find a new IT staff.
  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:13PM (#31106826)

    Screen sharing is also included so you don't even need a third party VNC client.

  • by icegreentea (974342) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:20PM (#31106932)
    Uh. Safari 1.0 was released in June 2003. Firefox 1.0 was released in November 2004. I think it's safe to say that Safari was released before Firefox was mature.
  • Re:Of course not (Score:5, Informative)

    by Xtravar (725372) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:36PM (#31107170) Homepage Journal

    The enterprise license is what an organization would buy to deploy an application to their workers.

    We sell to organizations - not our workers. The enterprise license doesn't let you do that.

    What we *wanted* to do was give our customer organizations our source code so that *they* could use the enterprise license and so that we could avoid the App Store.

    Our lawyers, and Apple's lawyers, had agreed on this model, as well as various people at Apple. Then, someone high-up at Apple came down and said that route wasn't possible anymore and against their terms. Because their terms are so damn broad, we didn't have any recourse and certainly didn't want to get into a spat with Apple.

    But thanks for your suggestion!!! I hope you feel smug now for calling us cheap, asshole.

  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:19PM (#31107712)

    Just out of curiosity... what's your take on Xserve with Mac OS X Server?

    An uninspiring low-end dual-socket server with a big pricetag.

  • by Eil (82413) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:37PM (#31107910) Homepage Journal

    They have a few products for small businesses, and mostly web-centric ones at that. TFA was about the enterprise market, competing with Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:55PM (#31108078)

    The PPC laptop I bought in 1992 crashed several times a day - I went back to Windows 98 for its stability!

    The impossibility of this timeline invalidates your entire post.

  • by QRDeNameland (873957) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:58PM (#31108104)

    So that's about $1270 difference..... let's say $1000 to keep the math easy. Times 30 office workers (small office) yields $30,000 more money spent on the Macs.

    And if the Apples can indeed save you having to employ a $50,000 per year full-time admin, how would that *not* result in significant savings?

    That said, I've rarely ever even touch a Mac, and have no idea whether or not what the GP claims is true. But I have enough IT experience to know that if you only look at sticker prices and don't consider implementation costs for your business systems, whether hardware or software, you can be in for a world of unexpected hurt.

    And just as an aside, I just had my first appointment with a new doctor today, and was surprised to see all their desktops were Macs. I'd never seen that in a healthcare provider's office before, so maybe Apple is gaining some ground there.

  • by Danathar (267989) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:59PM (#31108112) Journal

    Because it ONLY supports certain versions of exchange and if you are not running the EXACT versions that Apple tells you are compatible you are pretty much screwed.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @09:10PM (#31108210)

    Seriously, if you have a couple of people in an office and no full time admin Macs save you a small fortune.

    You'd also sink your business.

    Contrary to popular opinion Mac's suffer problems. I've had to support Mac's in mixed enviroments and I spent more time per machine just getting things to work on a Mac. The whole "just works" fallacy only works when you dont do anything with it. /. really needs to get over the myth that you could have a Mac and not need to support it, it's the same as any other machine.

    Further more, 99% of business software runs on Windows, I may not like it but I have to deal with it.

    Finally, Mac's do not perform well in any Domain, I've tried Windows AD and Linux domains and Mac's seem to reject the whole idea of centralised services.

    Mac's are not ready for business, they are not designed to work in business. Given the fact that if I buy 10 of anything from Dell, Lenovo et al. I instantly get 10% off the top and Apple does not do volume deals you have to be certifiably mad to buy Apple.

  • by Weezul (52464) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @09:24PM (#31108344)

    What? Apple's monitors are identical to everyone else's, afaik. I know the displays themselves are all produce by the same people, Apple's just uses nicer glass and cabling. Also, Apple's multi-touch mouse does not well fit the human hand, just like all their previous mice.

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @09:51PM (#31108542) Homepage Journal

    Pardon the uninitiated, but with 10.6 supporting Exchange Mail and Calendar with setup time of about 2 seconds (to enter your email and password), why does one need Outlook?

    The incredible thing is that is true. I brought my Mac to work, then specified my company e-mail address and password and it simply asked me to specify my account name, since this was not the same as my e-mail address prefix. In doing so it discovered the mail server (internal and external), the calendar server and the contact directory. With this configuration in place I can even read my work e-mail from home, which is something I can't fathom how to do with the Outlook 2007. BTW for anyone with an iPhone or iPod Touch, this approach works there too.

  • Re:canards (Score:3, Informative)

    by dcam (615646) <[moc.tpecnocrebu] [ta] [divad]> on Friday February 12, 2010 @01:35AM (#31109830) Homepage

    They aren't docking stations. Those are awkward things that require you to line up ports on two sides and try not to break something. A docking station is something you can just snap your laptop into and out of in one action.

  • by macs4all (973270) on Friday February 12, 2010 @05:35AM (#31110814)
    But the Apple /// didn't fail because of operating system nor application software. It failed because of HARDWARE instability. The Apple /// was technically too advanced for the PC board fabrication techniques (they had to find a PCB fab that would even attempt to do THREE traces BETWEEN IC PINS. Unheard of at the time). As a result, the Apple /// was very crash-happy, and by the time it was discontinued (AFTER the introduction of the Mac, actually), it didn't matter that all the hardware problems had been worked out...

    By the way, AppleSOS was VERY sophisticated for its time (1980), and AppleWorks integrated office software was pretty cool as well...

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