Windows/Enterprise Columnist Builds Marvelous Apple Straw Man

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This just in: "Early Release Won't Help Apples Snow Leopard Win Corporate Converts." In other news, "Chevy Volt's High Mileage Won't Help GM Land DoD Jet Fighter Contract."

The first title was provided by Mr. Don Reisinger, and was surprisingly published by eWeek, a magazine I normally respect. The second title, of course, comes from the part of my imagination dedicated to making mock of others. It being an otherwise slow Friday when it comes to news, I figured it was time I let that part of my brain get some exercise.

So, let's get to mocking!

You see, Mr. Reisinger was busy building a man made of straw, and couldn't be bothered with things such as facts. The central premise of his column is that Snow Leopard can't touch the magic that is Windows 7, and his principal tools for selling that premise are innuendo, assertion of opinion as fact, misdirection, and, most importantly, a flawed foundation to that premise to begin with.

Let's start with the flawed foundation: Apple doesn't expect to sell Snow Leopard to Enterprise, and the Enterprise market doesn't have a damned thing to do with its release date. Steve Jobs doesn't care about Enterprise and Apple is ideally unsuited to cater to the needs of that market.

Apple's Enterprise strategy for must of the last ten years has been to make it play well enough on a Windows network to allow Macs to sneak into companies in ones and twos, not take over whole corporate networks.

If that happens -- and there have been some corporate success stories for Apple -- that's fine, but Apple is not going to bend over backwards for this market (at least not for the Mac), as lucrative as it is for Microsoft, Dell, HP, IBM, and the other PC companies that have made such vast fortunes in that market.

Even the inclusion of Microsoft Exchange support out of the box in Snow Leopard is a continuation of this policy, not a wholesale effort to take over IT.

That didn't stop Mr. Reisinger from building his straw man's entire upper torso from this argument, however:

For the enterprise, Exchange support is a must-have. Some companies that were looking to switch to Mac OS X after trying desperately to get out from under Windows Vista were unable to do so without Exchange support. Now that Mac OS X will have it, the switch to Apple's operating system won't be as bad -- or so Apple claims.

The reality is, even with Snow Leopard's improved features and the possibility of a two-month head start, it won't match Windows 7 in the enterprise.

A very uncareful reading of that passage might allow the unwary to think he has a point. What he's really doing, however, is stating an opinion that Enterprise needs Exchange, saying that Apple claims Exchange support is good, which should help the company in Enterprise, and then dismissing that with completely unsupported innuendo. He follows up that ballsy performance by refuting the whole thing with an unsubstantiated, yet completely unrelated opinion.

Ballsy, I tell you, and a good argument that you should have to have a license to take artistic license...oh, whatever, it's just terrible writing. For that matter, it's idiotic reasoning.

And then there's this little tidbit:

One of the biggest problems facing Mac OS X is compatibility. With Snow Leopard, Apple didn't make any effort to open its platform to third-party developers that want to bring their corporate software to the OS. That follows a long line of Apple products that have also neglected third-party software.

What the hell is that? Opening up Mac OS X to third party developers? Perhaps he's confusing Mac OS X on a Mac with iPhone OS on an iPhone?

Knock knock, Mr. Reisinger? Anybody home? Apple controls iPhone app development -- largely because it can, don't get me wrong -- but Mac OS X is as open to third party software development as Windows, Linux, or any other form of Unix.

And what "long line of Apple products that have also neglected third party software" is he talking about? Apple TV maybe? The Knowledge Navigator?

Balderdash!

The reality is that while it took years for the company to figure out, Apple has learned that it's a terrible player in the Enterprise market. It's too secretive, refuses to give road maps that are very important to IT department, it doesn't want to support its OSes for long enough periods of time, and it doesn't like catering to IT executives who have been taught by legions of Windows, Linux, and Unix sales execs that they are special people who deserve special treatment.

So yes, an early release of Snow Leopard won't help Apple beat Windows 7 in Enterprise, but then again, that was never the point of Snow Leopard, or Leopard, and it's not likely to be the focus of any version of Mac OS X as long as Steve Jobs is at the helm.

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12 Comments Leave Your Own

Tiger

Bryan,

Thanks for calling him out on his fallacy fantasy. Apple practically gives away its developers kit, so his premise that it’s closed is just a bold-faced lie.

Which in turn, ruins his credibility for the rest of the article. Not that I’d have believed much of it anyway. I’ve used Macs for 25 years. He knows not what he speaks.

UpQuark

You are right on the money here.  I don’t understand the argument against Apple in the Enterprise.  They have never mentioned a push to gain ground in Enterprise.  There was an effort to do so in the late ‘90s, but due to the ‘special treatment’ syndrome you mentioned, it fizzed.

Having had a good salary as an IT consultant, I used to laugh at C-level idiocy with regards to IT policy and implementation.  My job was to ‘fix’ their email infrastructure.. wow..  Thinks like, “What do you mean I cannot support 5000 people on a P3?”  Just boggles.

Anyway, good article and good opinion piece smile

rjackb

Well written article. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the bizarre sentence: “[Snow Leopard] doesn’t have the features, nor the support, nor the appeal that Windows does.”. I don’t know much about Apple’s software support but Microsoft’s support costs an-arm-and-a-leg and I think a lot of people would disagree about features and appeal.

Intruder

Wow, that discussion sounds familiar!  wink

davebarnes

“was surprisingly published by eWeek, a magazine I normally respect”

Why?

Every ONLINE site is trolling for views.
Have you seen the crap being put up at ZDnet?

Next week. Steve Jobs is not a paedophile. But, only in the UK.

The following week. Steve Jobs does not beat his wife.

Bryan Chaffin

Wow, that discussion sounds familiar!?

Yeah, as well it should. smile

Intruder is the one that showed me Mr. Reisinger’s piece, and much of what I wrote stemmed from our conversation about it.

Thanks, Intruder!

kimhill

Reisinger is a link whore par excellence. ‘Nuff said.

Neil Anderson

Thanks for burning that straw man.

jbruni

Hi Bryan,

I would like to challenge one assertion you make. That is, “[Apple] refuses to give road maps that are very important to IT department[s]”.

Road maps are not that important to IT departments. IT department managers THINK road maps are important because big name companies like HP and Microsoft give them “road maps.” It’s circular reasoning. Remember the so called “Itanium” transition? Never happened. Remember .NET? No one knew what it was despite the weekly, ever-changing road maps from Redmond. Now, we know, years later, that’s it’s been reduced to a software development framework like MFC before it. How about Hailstorm?

Were there any road maps that predicted Oracle’s acquisition of Sun?

Most IT departments don’t really do any long term planning like they pretend they do; they simply buy in quantity and roll along with what the big names tell them.

However, Apple could do a better job of preserving the longevity of various products and product lines (e.g. Xserve RAID). For long-service systems like Xserves, it would be nice to be able to replace a failed component without having to buy another unit. (We have Xserve G4’s still in operation—good luck trying to locate any replacement parts.)

But other than that, I’m not seeing much difference between Apple’s frequent updates to their hardware and Dell’s. (Buying a Dell is like a bowl of chocolates: You really never know what you’re going to get.)

Bryan Chaffin

Heya jbruni,

You’re point is an excellent one, but I think in this case the perceived need makes it a real need. However it happened, IT dudes want it, and Apple doesn’t want to give it. I think the onus lies with the seller to meet the needs of its customer.

But then, Apple isn’t really trying for this market, so it all comes back full circle. smile

Thanks for the post and the added color on this issue!

JulesLt

The hilarious thing is that roadmaps are at all important to IT departments, seeing as given a new release of something major (Windows, Solaris, IE, Oracle, etc) most IT departments will take 2-4 years AFTER the release to upgrade, if at all.

So quite why they like to have a roadmap of changes ahead of them happening, I’m not really sure (unless it’s actually saying it takes them 4-8 years to plan a version migration).

DanielDecker

Apple’s road map:
Fall new iPods/consumer level Macs
Winter New Pros
Spring New Laptops and iPhone OS roadmap event
Summer New iPhones and WWDC

Also note that throughout the year, Intel will make faster processors, Apple will use them, and Macs will get faster.

Every 18 - 24 Mos Apple will develop a new version of OS X and it will be more awesome than the version it replaces.

Every fiscal quarter, Apple will announce earnings results for the previous quarter. These results will show significant profit and growth from the year-ago quarter.

Just look this list over EVERY YEAR, IT, and there is your frakkin’ road map!

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