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IW: "No Macs" in Enterprise no Longer Defensible

IW: "No Macs" in Enterprise no Longer Defensible

by , 3:35 PM EDT, April 21st, 2008

The legacy mantra of many IT managers of "no Macs" in their organization is no longer a defensible IT strategy, according to Galen Gruman, executive Editor of InfoWorld on Monday.

The change is happening for many reasons, in addition to the fact that employees are demanding them. Primarily, the confluence of some important computing trends is changing the landscape.

Recent reports have shown that Mac market share is steadily rising and Apple's products are having more influence. That increase in market share is proving attractive to developers who ignored the Mac in earlier times.

In addition, several other market and technology trends have come together to make a strong case for Macs in the enterprise:

1. Macs costs less to support because they are easier to support.

2. When the Mac had a small market share, developers focused on SaaS with ActiveX. In recent years, however, Firefox has broken IE's stranglehold on the PC browser market while also supporting Java-based SaaS. The popularity of the Mac, Microsoft's decision not to support Internet Explorer on Mac OS X, and the strength of Java on Mac have all has contributed to the re-emphasis on Web SaaS technologies that use Java with SaaS. WebEx is an example of a product that has added Java in addition to the ActiveX support resulting in a fully Mac compatible version.

3. Virtualization has allowed Mac users to run Windows application when necessary on a single platform.

4. Apple's enterprise support products like Mac OS X Server and Apple Remote Desktop have made it easy to manage large installations of Macs, remotely and with automation. The integration of Macs with Active Directory has been in place for some time now.

Mr. Gruman pointed out that the Mac is not yet an equal player. Differences between the versions of MS Office on PCs and the Mac can cause some managers problems. For example, Mac Office 2008 lacks support for Microsoft's VBscript -- something that would have taken Microsoft a long time to implement, according to Amanda Lefebvre, senior marketing manager of the MacBU.

Even so, the trend towards cloud computing and the easier management of Macs is reducing the differences on the client platform side, Mr. Gruman concluded.

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