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?
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.