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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 Knara (9377) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:16PM (#31105034)

    Totally. If you have only a couple folks and want something that is easily usable and interoperable, OS X is great.

    Get beyond that, though, and it's not that you *can't* do it, but Apple isn't particularly interested in addressing the need with a wide array of enterprise solutions.

    Which is fine, OS X integrates fairly well into an Active Directory setup with a little tinkering. It'll be a lot nicer again once Microsoft re-releases Outlook for OS X in the next version of Office.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:16PM (#31105036)

    Apple wants to lock down your software and hardware every which way.

    Businesses can't operate in such an environment.

    Hell, the only major software released for OS X has either been (poorly) written by Apple, or has been writen by a company that Apple bought specifically so they wouldn't be able to release a Windows version of the software.

    Apple is for people who don't mind having a turtle-neck ghestapo control their computer. Businesses need hardware and software that gets stuff don.

  • by UndyingShadow (867720) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:19PM (#31105080)
    Businesses demand a lot of esoteric features and are concerned with getting the cheapest hardware possible. They have no desire or tolerance for "cool" Completely not the market Apple is going for.
  • Different markets (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dave562 (969951) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:20PM (#31105092) Journal

    Apple has traditionally had two target markets. Those markets are education and "creative professionals". Creative professionals aren't going to turn out enterprise applications, but they can sure come up with some spiffy product literature. The education culture is focused on learning, not application development. In the past decade Apple has expanded their focus to include the consumer market.

    Apple is so far behind the curve in the business market that they'd run themselves out of money trying to play catchup. They can't compete in the desktop space. I've heard that their X-Serve boxes are nice, but even in the SMB market they'd get clobbered by HP and Dell. They don't have anything close to what IBM and Oracle/Sun are putting out for enterprise customers. Beyond that, there aren't enough developers targeting the platform to develop the accounting packages, ERP systems, groupware servers, etc. that businesses run on.

  • by CSHARP123 (904951) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:20PM (#31105094)
    What does it offer that any other *nix would not? GUI (On server side it do not make that much sense). Linux license cost is free and there are lots of resources (people mainly) are available and the same cannot be said Apple OS.
    Quite a lot of laptops are making inroads into the business environment which used to be just Windows Shop. But if you still see, they are runnig Windows OS on it for majority of the cases. I think Apple would face the same compitition like MS from Linux and other Open source OS.
  • by rsborg (111459) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:22PM (#31105134) Homepage
    Their market is consumers / end-users (ie, B2C).

    Doing B2B sales is completely different (longer attention spans, bigger deals, but much more demand for customization/configuration).

    Needless to say, Apple's image and culture is focused completely away from B2B type sales. Furthermore, they are focusing on what they're successful at. I wish other companies would take Apple's lead, and do something *really* well and only venture into other markets when they have aligned their brand with that market audience.

  • KNow your strength (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:23PM (#31105152)

    Apple sells fashionable gadgets and a small number of Unix based computer systems. Entering the "enterprise" market would increase the quantity and variety of software and hardware they would have to support. Add in a dozen server form factor systems that have to cater to a wide variety of potential business needs and say goodbye to your reputation of being a company that sells products that "just work". That reputation is only just barely deserved as it is, and they only sell a handful of unique products.

  • by religious freak (1005821) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:24PM (#31105176)
    The truth is, Apple is a marketing based company even more than Microsoft is. That's not an insult at all (I happen to think marketing and sales are as important as the tech itself). Yes, apple has geeks working in company, but would it have enough geeks to put every knob and button on their applications to make them enterprise-ready? I would say no.

    Again, it's not a bad thing, it's just not their focus. Apple doesn't want knobs and buttons, they want an intuitive UI and consumer friendly products. It's very difficult to marry that with the robustness required for enterprise software.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:26PM (#31105188)

    John, are you seriously saying that the personal music player market wasn't already a crowded market when Apple released the iPod?

    Are you seriously saying that the cell phone market wasn't already a crowded market when Apple released the iPhone?

    Are you seriously saying that the web browser market wasn't already a crowded market when Apple released Safari?

    Or are we only considering the "hipster-targeting" markets, which Apple basically created?

  • Support (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0racle (667029) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:26PM (#31105200)
    They would have to provide and support their products longer then a consumer product cycle. Things like releasing a $3000 workstation then 3 years later releasing an OS update that doesn't support it don't fly well in enterprise environments.
  • by Anonymusing (1450747) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:26PM (#31105202)

    Hell, the only major software released for OS X has either been (poorly) written by Apple, or has been writen by a company that Apple bought specifically so they wouldn't be able to release a Windows version of the software.

    Huh??? What are you talking about?!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:26PM (#31105206)

    Which is fine, OS X integrates fairly well into an Active Directory setup with a little tinkering.

    As somebody who has to try and get OS X working in our already existing AD environment... I think you're using definitions for "little" and "fairly well" which I'm not familiar with...

  • by Knara (9377) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:31PM (#31105274)

    Which is fine, OS X integrates fairly well into an Active Directory setup with a little tinkering.

    As somebody who has to try and get OS X working in our already existing AD environment... I think you're using definitions for "little" and "fairly well" which I'm not familiar with...

    The first time is the hardest :)

  • by jcr (53032) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:35PM (#31105334) Journal

    John, are you seriously saying that the personal music player market wasn't already a crowded market when Apple released the iPod?

    I wouldn't describe it as crowded, since it was so small. Look at the level of sales before and after the iPod came out.

    As for the phones, I'd say that they went for badly-served segment of the market. Smart phones before the iPhone sucked, big time. The introduction of the iPhone has driven a great expansion of the smart phone market.

    Safari they did because they had to. IE on the Mac was crap, and MS had no reason to care.

    -jcr

  • by mileshigh (963980) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:35PM (#31105346)
    To properly cater and market to faceless corporations, you have to become one. There are no shortcuts, it takes a machine to relate to a machine. Case in point, Microsoft started losing its juice when it got serious about enterprise. Those MS guys used to laugh at the "old" IBM; they howled derisively when the IBMers tried to become cooler by switching from blue suits to sport jackets. Now Microsoft have become them and the enterprise customers love 'em -- they're on the same wavelength. They made lots of money but lost their soul.
  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:36PM (#31105364)

    Just off the top of my head:

    1) Price.
    2) Legacy (OS/applications).

    The first one is pretty obvious.

    The second, I need to define better. Apple generally limits new hardware to the version of the OS that was in production when the machine was built. So I can't work out all of the kinks in 10.4.11 relevant to my environment and load up all new systems with an image of that same OS. The most recent PowerMacs I've bought won't run 10.4. I had 10.4 locked tight and all of our software runs great on it. 10.5 gives me font cache problems similar to the ones I'd already ironed out of our 10.4 systems long ago. To me, that's not an upgrade. I don't want bleeding-edge in production. I want stable and reliable.

    OTOH, every PC I've bought since Vista came out has been able to run XP just fine. In fact, I just got some new systems last week pre-loaded with XP. (Win7 license with XP downgrade.) This means the environment my company's been grooming and tweaking for years can be applied to brand new installations and I don't have to deal with, "I've never seen THAT before."

    And getting back to the cost, I can get a decent C2D windows machine with 4 gigs and a 20" flat panel, keyboard, and mouse for about $500. A mini with 4 gigs, no monitor, and no mouse starts at $700. Apple wants another $50 each for a mouse and keyboard. Each. Don't even ask what they want for monitors.

    Those are the two main reasons Apple won't be making it beyond the Creative departments in my company. And I'm actually a bit annoyed that we're still purchasing Macs for those departments since they're running Adobe suites that are available on the PC. If one of my hats wasn't "the only mac tech in the company", I'd consider making strong arguments against the continued waste of money. :)

  • by Kyle (4392) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:37PM (#31105392)

    Apple builds OSs that largely get out of your way so you can get work done.

    Enterprises like OSs that can be locked down until you can't get any work done.

    Polar opposites in agendas really.

  • Re:XServe? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:39PM (#31105424) Homepage

    The Xserve? This is like the netbook equivalent of Enterprise computing.

  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:49PM (#31105594)

    It was 4:20 on the coast when he posted that.
    What about the stuff about hardware open-ness? Seriously 90% of the hardware problems are because the supplier used 3-rd rate components, or shipped with faulty drivers. Granted, yes there are instances when you need a special card to drive a device, but when was a last time a legion of bankers or bean counters demanded some crazy hardware? Yes, clearly it's a great investment into my business.

    Software open-ness? Certainly, that's why you can, you know, grab a copy of XCode for free and start developing for OS X. But that's just too much work, when you're doped up on info world and other pundits, it's much easier to whine.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:58PM (#31105738) Journal

    >>>no full time admin - Macs save you a small fortune.

    Well let's see. I just bought an AMD X2 IBM PC-compatible for $300 plus 6% tax == 318. Out of curiosity I compared the equivalent Mac (3000 megahertz, 3 gig of RAM) to see what it would have cost - about $1500 plus 6% tax == 1590.

    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.

    Remind me again how Macs will save a fortune, because I'm not seeing it???

    Oh and I don't buy the argument that Mac are less crashprone. That was true back in the days of Windows 3/95/98/DOS kludge, but since XP (NT 5.1) has become the standard, the PC-compatibles are as stable as any Mac. My NT-PC typically stays on 2-3 months before it crashes. That's as good as my OS X Mac.

  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:59PM (#31105756)

    You make a good point on the cheapest hardware possible. I haven't been in the windows world for a while, so what is the expected price and rotation in years on a machine. Back when I did virus cleaning for 50% of my "admin" time, we'd spend $1100 - $1500 on a machine and rotate every 3-4 years.
    Are businesses now buying the $600 specials from Walmart? Or are they still spending over $1000?
    $1199 will buy you a 21" iMac, C2D 3.06GHz and 4 GB of RAM, which should easily last you 3-4 years. Comes with Exchange mail and clients out of the box, that even a clueless user can set up on their own. (Provided they know their email and password, which I admit can be a tall order.)(Of course adding the 3 year applecare does add to the total.)

    As far as being cool, I think that's just a byproduct of design. Take the iMac for example, yes it does look cool, but its all in one design makes it a breeze to set up/replace. You can carry two at the same time, plug in ethernet, power, keyboard and it's good to go. You don't need to manage 2 boxes and interconnects between them. Magic mouse is spendy, but it has no moving parts, no balls to gum up with hand lotion and should last a long long while.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:04PM (#31105858) Journal

    I don't think the business market is as important as it used to be. Computers have become like appliances, which people use for their entertainment, and Apple's goal should be to put one Mac into the hands of every person. If they do that, they will sell FAR more units (~110 million homes times 2 adult per home) than what business would buy.

    That's what made the Commodore=64 the world's number one selling computer. It flopped in the business world, but it still managed to sell 30 million units by focusing on providing entertainment for the home user. Apple is wise to keep its focus on that home market.

  • by Third Position (1725934) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:07PM (#31105906)

    I'm sure Apple could do a wonderful job of building enterprise servers, if they wanted to do it.

    But that's the rub - why would they want to? Most companies that have specialized in proprietary servers have ended up being bought out by either IBM or HP. Well, then there's Oracle...

    But the point is, it's a brutal market that's already well served. Much as I'd love to see Apple in the enterprise, there's nothing in it from Apple's perspective, so I'm gonna bet that It Just Ain't Gonna Happen.

  • by ZosX (517789) <zosxavius@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:21PM (#31106082) Homepage

    I totally agree. Is windows really that bad to admin anymore? I mean when you get a good clean working install just make an image of it or something. Preferably with all your must have programs installed already. I mean is this so complicated? Save user data somewhere away from the machine and reimage when everything fux0rs up. See, the way I look at it, apple is charging $1000 over cost for the OS and the design aesthetic. I used to love the beauty of mac OS as a paradigm. Anymore it feels over 15 years old. The core has been greatly improved, but on the surface, it still feels very much like OS 7.5 in the end. To me windows is immediately so much more flexible, and don't give me that "you can pull up a terminal on it and run unix commands" bullshit. Its 2010. The whole original design of MacOS was the antithesis of the command prompt. (I must admit OS X is somewhat sexy and does quite a few things totally right.......)

    They used to have really great hardware that was almost worth the huge prices they arrogantly charged for it (and some really crap hardware as well). I was pretty sad when they switched off the PowerPC. I always was a pretty big PPC fan. Who knows what would have happened if they had stayed their original course, but if you ask me the portability of darwin seemed to clearly point the way towards a break from ibm. intel cpus are certainly much, much cheaper.......

  • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:32PM (#31106244)

    Apple builds OSs that largely get out of your way so you can get work done.

    Enterprises like OSs that can be locked down until you can't get any work done.

    Ahhh, that explains the popularity of the iPhone with businesses.

  • X Serve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:35PM (#31106296)

    If the X Serve isn't aimed at Enterprise users, I don't know what is. I use both X Serves and Dell Linux servers, and rate them about equal overall.

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:43PM (#31106386)

    they like to make you pay over a $1000 more for a desktop pc then one you can get with the same cpu power + X2 ram and better video card and the imacs are not a good fit as Businesses like to reuse the displays.

    Also the hard to get to HDD's in the Imacs and some what with the mini are a trun off for data security. You do not want to ship out a system with data on it for warranty work. Also the build in web cam is a BIG no for some Business in the imac as well.

    The mini will be a good system if they dropped the price to $500 with a good sized HDD and 2-4gb of ram as make easier to open.

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:05PM (#31106704) Homepage Journal
    Any intelligent Microsoft designer can make things bigger and more complex...
    It takes a touch of Apple genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
  • by Lodragandraoidh (639696) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:13PM (#31107640) Journal

    mano.m - you're using a very wide brush there.

    I happen to have been a unix administrator, developer, and most recently an architect. I've used just about every type of computer system you can imagine from the 1970s to the present. I've assembled the parts and built and upgraded many machines over the years.

    Today, I reserve Linux for my servers - and prefer OSX (and looking forward to the iPad) for my personal laptop and related personal devices are concerned (I see the iPad as an extension of my Macbook Pro....it doesn't need to duplicate the functionality because I don't need to lug (yet another) fully functional laptop around for my personal stuff (I carry 2 laptops back and forth for my job now as it is) - I just want access to some key information, email, web, and other stuff that I am interested in (ebooks) and sync that with my laptop at home. From that perspective, the iPad is not sub-functional to me.

    I would say that all the netbooks and laptops that I've lugged around over the years are over-functional for what I really want for my personal stuff at work, on a business trip or on the bus. I want something as small as a legal pad that I can tote around to meetings or whip out while traveling and entertain myself with, or find information I need. For me, the netbook/laptop is too much for that simple task (and not really portable for all that).

    So - before making such broad assumptions, a person should preface them with "as for myself..." or "I believe..." etc. Readers will appreciate your deeper understanding of reality - instead of an overly simplified binary interpretation of the universe, which implies an overly simple mind.

  • by Knara (9377) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:18PM (#31107698)
    Marketing/ads/creative are departments that link quickly into revenue generation. As such, they typically get whatever they want. It's up to the systems side to figure out how to make it work.
  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:23PM (#31107750)

    How about "Windows PC"? The primary difference is the OS, correct? You have Windows PCs, Apple PCs, and Linux PCs. Each and every one of them is a personal computer. You can also have Windows servers, Apple servers, Linux servers, BSD servers, et al. The hardware is all compatible (generally speaking), the primary difference is the software.

    What exactly does it mean to be "IBM PC compatible"? Does that mean you have a computer that is compatible with every personal computer produced by IBM? Does that mean you have a personal computer which is compatible with all other personal computers, and which is also manufactured by IBM? What does it even mean to be "compatible" with a personal computer?

    This term had a meaning when your choices were things like IBM, Commodore, Tandy, etc, which were not compatible with each other, but the term is pretty meaningless today.

  • by countach (534280) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:12PM (#31108228)

    You got that sweet deal because MS dropped the ball on delivering Windows Vista on time. Don't expect to get that free ride again.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:14PM (#31108254)

    Businesses demand a lot of esoteric features

    What? Look at the enterprise-marketed laptop lines for a great example of what corporations want. They're not "esoteric" by any stretch.

    Way to prove you don't work in IT, much less corporate level. We care about things like price, TCO, parts availability, interchangeability of accessories (within reason), and management.

    Meanwhile, consumers want just about everything under the sun.

    and are concerned with getting the cheapest hardware possible.

    Purchase price is not the ultimate concern, no- ballpark is important, yes. Again, way to prove you don't work in IT. I've never had a boss that said "well, this $3000 server is $300 cheaper than the other one, so we're going to get that, even though it doesn't have IPMI and we have no in-house experience with this brand, and their support contract is 8hr, not 4hr."

    They have no desire or tolerance for "cool" Completely not the market Apple is going for.

    It's not a matter of "cool". It's a matter that Apple likes consumers because they're easily pushed around and they CONSUME. And if you think companies don't want "Cool", you haven't seen a CEO of a million dollar company get handed his new Blackberry (hell hath no fury if it works more poorly than the old one, however.)

    Corporations say, "Hey. Why did you just change the display port AGAIN? Now half of our 2000 member sales force have a different display port from the other half." Or, "why are all of our iMacs developing vertical lines? Our CEO's secretary has gone through two machines in a month and he's raising hell because they can't work. Don't you people have any quality control? Send us some goddamn WORKING computers or we buy Dell from now on. That's straight from the CEO's mouth."

    Corporations have legal departments, so that when machines die, lawyers say "give us our money back or we seek damages." Consumers just bitch and moan on online forums- and purchase decisions are more rational in corporations (heh, I can't believe I just said that, but I mean they're not *emotional*.)

    Corporations say "Oh, Macbook Pros are $2k? Well, we're buying 100 of them this month, and we've given you $500k in business this quarter. So, how about $1700?". Consumers just hand over their CC.

    Corporations say, "If a laptop breaks, we want someone to come in and fix it. And if you won't, we want to be able to train our own IT staff in how to fix them and be able to order parts." Apple a)won't let you order parts unless you're a reseller, b)won't do on-site service of anything except Mac Pros and Xserves. Ever spent your day standing in line at the Genius Bar with a laptop belonging to a CEO of a $50M company because that was the best support option, and then arguing with some pimply-faced "Genius" who is used to talking to grandmas about why their gumdrop iMac is dead?

    In big Apple-using companies I've worked at, we kept every single machine that died and cannibalized them for parts for the other ones, because we couldn't get the goddamn parts from Apple, couldn't get service manuals, couldn't train CSRs.

    Meanwhile, HP, Dell, IBM, Sun will all happily take our precious dollars and promise that if anything breaks in my shiny server or desktop, I'll have a replacement part sitting on my desk in FOUR HOURS. They'll let almost anyone order parts, and happily train people in how to repair their products. And if a laptop breaks, they'll come out and service it on the spot if you bought that support plan, so our CEO doesn't have to be without his laptop while it gets shipped to fucking TEXAS, the only place you can get a Macbook Pro repaired if it's anything remotely complicated (the Apple Store can do drive replacements, that's about it.)

    I had to replace two failed drives on an HP server once (one system drive, one data array drive.) I said "I have red lights, they were kicked out of the array by the controller." We had a 4 hour support contr

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12, 2010 @04:37AM (#31110824)

    And to this $1199 iMac won't be repairable by your local IT department, Apple offers no on-site repairs, and you'd need to wait for 3-30 days for the repaired machine to get back on your workplace...

    Also who on earth would want even more closed computers systems than PCs?

  • by AntiDragon (930097) on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:48AM (#31111712)

    For the sake of fairness...

    Well, all Macs have remote ssh support so if you were so inclined, you could spend 3 minutes wrting a shell script to restart a service or rename 500 macs. Out of the box (assuming you configured each appropriately when setting them up on your LAN, as you would have to do with Windows as well).

    If you're working at that level, there's not a lot of difference between platforms to be honest. If you're referring to GUI level tools and utilities though then yes, OS X is lacking in that regard compared to Windows (OTB).

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