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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 jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> 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 religious freak (1005821) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:24PM (#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 samkass (174571) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:36PM (#31105372) Homepage Journal

        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?

        This statement is interesting because it gets to the crux of the matter in terms of design philosophy. Microsoft designers probably get paid a lot of money to add the right knobs and buttons. Apple designers probably get paid a lot of money to remove the right knobs and buttons. It's like the old quote, "I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make
        it shorter." (Blaise Pascal, Provincial Letters XVI). Apple invests a lot of time and money in removing control elements to what an individual needs to make the device a fluid part of their lifestyle. That's not necessarily what most business needs, having to contend with all sorts of contractual, systemic, and other specifics that require tweaks not deemed essential by the Apple designer.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Eil (82413)

          The design mentality of Apple (well, Steve Jobs at any rate) seems to be that of "lets figure out how to build this interface as simple as possible while retaining the bare minimum functionality. It's not about removing "knobs and buttons," as they were never there to begin with.

          The reason Apple won't deliberately get into business or government technology is simply because they aren't equipped for it. 99% of their marketing experience is geared towards direct-to-consumer sales. They don't even want to deal

      • 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).

        The truth is, that's what steve jobs said when he, woz, and the other guy founded apple.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:26PM (#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?

      • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:35PM (#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

    • Is the Xserve [apple.com] their attempt?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jcr (53032)

        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

    • Yeah, I think a big part of it has to be that they still don't want to get into a direct fight with Microsoft. In some ways, it's probably smart for them to keep to specific (sometimes niche) markets and nibble around the edges, building up their strength. By introducing products like iWork and the iPhone and slowly improving their server offerings, they can slowly erode Microsoft's markets over years while improving their technology. iTunes alone did Microsoft a lot of damage without declaring open war.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      I'd love to see them take a good shot at unseating Windows in the server business

      Then what was the Xserve & OS X Server?
      Do you not recall their extensive ad-campaign?

      Apple is still trying to increase their marketshare, this time by using Quad-Core Xeons to provide the performance their offerings should have had all along.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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.

  • Gotta have a stomach to run such an outfit.
  • Businesses certainly run Macs but they really don't have any great centralized administration tools. Apple Remote Desktop and Open Directory aren't nearly as powerful out of the box as Active Directory and its accompanying tools. There's nothing comparable to Exchange server that I know of. MacOS is to business desktop computing in much the same way linux is...you can use it, but you need to develop the tools for administering it (or use some open source tools, etc).

    • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:26PM (#31105196)

      Businesses certainly run Macs but they really don't have any great centralized administration tools. Apple Remote Desktop and Open Directory aren't nearly as powerful out of the box as Active Directory and its accompanying tools. There's nothing comparable to Exchange server that I know of. MacOS is to business desktop computing in much the same way linux is...you can use it, but you need to develop the tools for administering it (or use some open source tools, etc).

      Problem: Adminstrating a lot of macs.

      Solution: Products like Deep Freeze.

      http://www.faronics.com/html/DFMac.asp [faronics.com]

      Combine that with restricting macs to network logins with home directories stored on the server and you have one central point for configuration management and backup of user data.

      Oh, wait. You wanted "enterprise" solutions that require your constant attention so you can justify your existence. Sorry about that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

      There's nothing comparable to Exchange server that I know of.

      Well Apple does have mail, calendaring, and address books built into their server software. It's comparable to Exchange but not as well fleshed out. They don't have as great control of delegation, for example, no ActiveSync support, and frankly the webmail isn't too hot (it's just Squirrel Mail).

      The webmail thing is pretty frustrating to my mind. MobileMe has decent web applications for mail, calendaring, and address books, and meanwhile the included webmail in their server software stinks.

  • Of course not (Score:3, Interesting)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:18PM (#31105060)
    Of course not, that would mean they would have to be more active about following industry standards like PXE boot and remote management. The enterprise tools that are available for apple are very limited compared to what they can do with Windows (Altiris etc). If apple wants to get into the enterprise market and out of their present niches they need to start working with enterprise management companies on enterprise management.
    • 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.
      • Re:Of course not (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Xtravar (725372) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:32PM (#31106250) Homepage Journal

        There are some things that are not enterprise ready

        Let me tell you right now: the iPhone/iPod Touch platform is one of those things not enterprise ready. This seems as good of a post to rant off of as any.

        I work at a company that wants to sell iPhone software to enterprise customers. We've talked to Apple a hundred times and they reneged on every single one of their promises to help so far. They have no interest in the enterprise or enterprise applications.

        Hello, App Store.

        Now, our competitors can see our (awesome) product and we have weirdos downloading it who can't use it. Not to mention, we can't put out quick fixes (which is kind of important for my business) because of the Apple Gatekeepers.

        Oh yeah, and we can only have one client version and must retain server compatibility (and/or customer-specific lock-out logic) for older clients.

  • by UndyingShadow (867720) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:19PM (#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.
    • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:59PM (#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 SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @09:14PM (#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

  • Different markets (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dave562 (969951)

    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

  • by CSHARP123 (904951) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:20PM (#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 Knara (9377)

      What does it offer that any other *nix would not?

      Runs Adobe Creative Suite native, for the most part. Doesn't sound like much, but it's enough.

      • Hopefully the apple/adobe battle going on will push them to release for linux
        • by Knara (9377)

          Don't think it'd really pull a lot of folks from OS X, to be honest.

          Besides, Apple and Adobe will sort it out once they can figure out what will make the most money for each of them, at the expense of their customers :D

  • by rsborg (111459) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:22PM (#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.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:23PM (#31105136)

    I don't mean downsize in the sense of "fire".

    What I mean is, that right now if you want to do enterprise iPhone development, you have to have an employee base of 500 people. Seems fair enough at first...

    But the trouble is, although you can have a normal developer account and distribute applications via AdHoc to your employees - where the limit is 100 separate devices.

    Now you probably are not going to need one device per employee. You can kind of work around that with multiple accounts, but that's a pain - it would thus be way better if they made the step clear, by supporting 500 devices on any developer account OR dropping down Enterprise requirements to 100 employees.

    To me what separates "small business" from Enterprise is a clear delineation of worlds... a small business does not mind having data exist all over the place, whereas an "Enterprise" studiously guards data and wants to keep as much of it in-hous as possible (and then send it all to India as an afterthought).

    That's why the enterprise iPhone program is useful, because it keeps your business apps off the store. Basically anything Apple can do to support self-isolation helps the enterprise, and they've actually been much better about this in recent years (along with adopting ActiveSync all over and adding in good VPN support, which again goes back to that "separate world" thing).

  • 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.

    • by Knara (9377)
      Those products do exist, but they're really not Apple's focus, and are a very small amount of their total revenue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eil (82413)

      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 onionman (975962)

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

      I'm a university professor and a heavy Mac user. I like having my unix tools together with the sexy interface. (Having wifi working without having to hunt for driver patches and recompile a kernel is nice, too.)

      Last year, I bought an XServe so that I could manage a bunch of iMacs in labs. But, to make everything really work right, I needed the OpenDirectory on the XServer to handle some user information but forward password authentication to the University's existing ActiveDirectory setup. I don't have

  • If Apple marketed to corporate america, they'd have to make docking stations... not the crappy third party ones that by pulling a handle, they plug in all your cables.

  • Support (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0racle (667029) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:26PM (#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.
  • Apple does have at least some enterprise business, or they wouldn't bother continuing to sell and support products like the XServe [apple.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah (1196)

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

  • Doesn't market squarely to business, then why the hell do they sell Xserves with dual quad core xeons, 24GB ram, 3TB w/on board RAID, FC cards, XSAN (!) software, even reselling Promise vTrak raid storage, and Tandberg 80-tape storage libraries on the Apple store website. A SAN deployment among XServes and Mac Pros is not exactly a 'very small business' kind of situation. They took some big steps but it feels like Apple is dropping the ball on the business side beyond individual sales.

    I went from the Wind

    • canards (Score:2, Informative)

      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?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dcam (615646)

        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 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.
  • 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
    • To properly cater and market to faceless corporations, you have to become one.

      And Apple are NOT a 'faceless corporation'!!!

      Apple have a face and it is the face of GOD!!!

      Yeah, right.

    • 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 jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:36PM (#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 @05:37PM (#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.

  • Here's the dirty little secret we all know:

    Schools (and easy piracy) train people to use Windows and Windows-based software. If you're at home, who cares if you have to spend a few hours to learn the OS, or a new email system, or a paint program.

    Go into a business office, and an employee costs $100/hr or more to train. With, say, 12 desktop apps the typical employee might use - half of which have no direct port - and maybe a dozen hours to get "fully productive" on the custom apps, you've got a $7000 price

  • on managagement apps (Score:2, Informative)

    by mehemiah (971799)
    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 caseih (160668) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:47PM (#31105554)

    I maintained an OS X Server box for 4 years. Very nice hardware, but the OS had a lot of issues (10.3 and 10.4) and support from Apple was non-existent. We struggled with a race condition in Apple's directory services architecture (the glue between the system and LDAP) for years. Apple really wouldn't do anything about it until some guy on a forum managed to come up with step-by-step instructions on how to trigger the condition. finally Apple acknowledged the problem and, to my amazement, said, "we've fixed it in our new OS, please upgrade." We're talking a full OS upgrade from 10.3 to 10.4. I tried to explain to them that OS's are upgraded in an enterprise normally with the hardware cycle and that we cannot take a production server down for a full system upgrade. Even MS understands that.

    Additionally, the lifespan of Apple's server OS was tied exactly to their consumer OS. So instead of 5-6 years that we expect from RH and MS, apple supports their server OSs for about 2 years only. Even within major versions, updating was a real pain. Each and every OS update required a reboot. It was just silly. Of course the bug brought our system down every month or so, so I guess that worked out.

    Another time a disk died in our XServe RAID. So we called to get a warranty replacement. The guy on the phone said, "are you sure it has died? Put it back in the array and see what happens." Dumbfounded, I told him this was a production array with mission-critical data on it and that I simply could not trust any disk that had been kicked out of the RAID. The risk was too great for data loss. Had to go through a local rep to lean on apple to just replace the disk.

    After I finally figured out how to make my OpenLDAP server on Linux look and act like Apple's OpenDirectory (making Mac client access seamless with no custom ldap mappings required), I ditched the OS X server and will never go back.

  • by aussersterne (212916) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:48PM (#31105558) Homepage

    The bulk of enterprise space wants cheap whitebox farms of GateDellPaq machines interchangeable and uninspiring of possessiveness enough that the IT guy can drop by your desk and switch out your box four times a year and you won't care.

    Apple, meanwhile, has a farm full of insanely loyal customers willing to pay premium prices to avoid precisely the GateDellPaq style of non-shiny nuts-and-boltism.

    To get the part of enterprise space that they can't get with their current business offerings, they'd have to do things that would alienate a tremendously loyal, premium-paying customer base. And for what, exactly? To enter the tremendously crowded, cutthroat space of GateDellPaq where everyone competes on price and has to ensure compatibility with a massive ecosystem of devices and ISVs?

    Why exactly would they do this?

    Why does every other Slashdot poster seem to imagine that the goal of Linux, or Apple, or OLPC, must be to dominate the world and arrive in every home and business everywhere with all competition eliminated? I suspect many businesses would be more than happy to be in Apple's shoes right now, and I also suspect that their investors aren't too upset with them for not going out there trying to get every MBA farm on the block buying an Apple line of cheap-and-dirty-ware.

  • 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.

  • X Serve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:35PM (#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.

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