State of the Mac: Back in Business?

  • Posted: 17 March 2002 12:16 PM

    I’ve started this thread to provide a place for readers to share information or post comments on the reemergence of Macs in the enterprise market. The new iMac is not only a compelling workday tool for teachers, designers and content creators, but also for businessmen and women seeking an attractive productivity solution.

    The more recent builds of Mac OS X (IMHO) successfully combine the power of UNIX with the Macs legendary ease-of-use. Add to the mix the power of the G4 technology, the new iMac provides a powerful and elegant experience for any PC user. I’m not the only one who thinks this way. In a column available on Fortune.com, Stewart Alsop argues that the new iMac will be finding its way into corporate offices as well as homes and design studios. In many ways I believe the latest Mac version of Microsoft Office (Office for X) is better than its Windows counterpart.

      Apple: The Comeback Kid?

    There are a couple of issues Apple needs to confront. The first issue is the shortage of new iMacs in the channel. Apple is addressing that matter as quickly as possible. The other issue is some minor compatibility concerns. But this is a far cry from just a few years when business that supported both Macs and Windows were forced to set-up two separate networks: One network for Mac users in the design or content creation areas of an office and a Windows network for employees who handled day-to-day business operations.

    I don’t expect IT departments to suddenly start replacing all their Windows boxes with Macs, but the UNIX pedigree of Mac OS X and the power of the G4 make it more difficult for IT execs to refuse an executive’s request for a Mac.

    What are your views? Are you seeing new Macs arrive in your office? Please sound off in this thread.

    Robert

         
  • Posted: 07 March 2002 01:00 AM #1

    I don’t see Apple making huge gains in the business market. It may be possible for them to get a bigger chunk of the small-to-medium company market, but I consider “big business” to be off-limits to them.

    First of all, many of these big companies have customized database and CRM systems. None of the big names (SAP, Oracle, Siebel) are available for the Mac.  Consequently, I don’t think that these companies see switching to the Mac as a viable alternative. Furthermore, these companies already made huge investments in Wintel hardware and software, all of which would be essentially useless when switching to a Macintosh-based environment.  If MS ever gets too aggressive with its licensing polices, they can switch to Linux and keep their hardware.  Mac ease of use is of minor importance here, since we all agree that Windows has become pretty user-friendly for daily use by now. 
    For this reason, I don’t think that many big companies consider switching to the Mac.

    On the server side, there are several issues holding back Apple. First of all, Apple has no real servers.  Unless Apple produces an honest-to-goodness server that’s rack-mountable, has a load of PCI slots and supports RAID out of the box, they’re at a disadvantage to the competition.  Second, Linux presents some very stiff (and CHEAP) competition in this area. MacOS X’s ease of use is of minor importance in this area. Stability and performance are.
    In short, the server market is a no-go.

    Small and medium-sized companies have less specific needs. Most of the programs they use (office software, databases, invoicing) can either be found in a Mac version or has a Mac alternative.  This is also a market in which the Mac’s ease of use and lower TCO DOES count.  IF Apple wants to make a push for the corporate market, they’d be better of concentrating on small and medium-sized companies.


    _________________
    ———————————————————-
    Eindvijand
    Last of the famous Interactive Cowboys

    Proud owner of an Evil iPod™.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Eindvijand on 2002-03-07 05:02 ]</font>

    Signature

    Eindvijand

    Resident “Crazy Belgian of TMO”™

    “It takes twenty years or more of peace to make a man; it only takes twenty seconds of war to destroy him.”
    – King Baudouin I of Belgium

         
  • Posted: 07 March 2002 10:57 AM #2

    a lot of the spread of macs into business will be dependent on the i.t. managers, and their knowledge and willingness to have an open platform.  but some will also depend on upper level management.

    the state government department i work at used to allow lotus 1-2-3, fox-pro, and corel wordperfect as part of the regular software choice, which most people tended to use if given a choice.  then we got a new exec director that wanted an all microsoft platform, and to phase out the other software.  most people lost access to wordperfect, etc, except those few of us who managed to make a case for absolutely having to have it because of “outside customers” - non-departmental people that we constantly share documents with.  this conversion/switch caused a LOT of headaches both for the people whose files were mostly non-ms, and for the i.t. dept who was responsible for helping everyone convert their many, many, many files into a different format.

    maybe we will eventually be able to “open up” our software choices when we get a new executive director, maybe not.  but right now, the e.d, and the head of our i.t. dept are very pro-ms, and the i.t. director refuses to even think of a dual support platform.

    if she did, i know a lot of people in my little corner of the building that would switch in a heartbeat.

    Signature

    Mac OSX. I’ve upped my standards. Up yours.

    “Sort of? Sort of the end of the world? You mean we won’t be certain? We’ll look around and say ‘Pardon me, did you hear something?’?”

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 07 March 2002 04:04 PM #3

    Unless something has changed in the last few months, Oracle actually does support Mac OS X on the client side.  I believe it is 9i, but don’t quote me on that.

    I think that Apple does indeed have a chance in the Enterprise market due to the *nix strengths of OS X.

    Signature

    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 07 March 2002 04:04 PM #4

    Unless something has changed in the last few months, Oracle actually does support Mac OS X on the client side.  I believe it is 9i, but don’t quote me on that.

    I think that Apple does indeed have a chance in the Enterprise market due to the *nix strengths of OS X.

    Signature

    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
  • Posted: 08 March 2002 09:01 AM #5

    On 2002-03-07 20:04, Bryan wrote:

    I think that Apple does indeed have a chance in the Enterprise market due to the *nix strengths of OS X.

    Particularly as Linux (and other Unici) gains strength (or rather market share) on the server side.

     

     

    Signature

    Work is the curse of the drinking classes.
    - Oscar Wilde

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 09 March 2002 05:57 AM #6

    Apple has done a great deal to make the Macintosh more attractive to business. Unfortuately, the lack of third party applications for accounting, business productivity, and enterprise servers is still missing. Unfortunately, outside of creating or funding the production of business applications, there really isn’t uch more Apple can do to improve thier standing in Enterprise environments.

    Perhaps the only thing i can think of that Apple has yet to do is to create low-profile rack-mounted servers. Now that Apple is strongly courting the scientific community with the power of the G4, a rack-mounted server would have a specific market to appeal to already, as would a low-cost, high performance media streaming solution for content providers (Even if that market has been soft wit the Dot Bomb era) . It would also imrove Apple’s viability in enterprise or internet provider markets, where they can more easily integrate APple servers into existing storage shelves. I would like to say these would also help Apple sell their computers to power Render farms for 3d productions, but unfortunately, the G4 dosen’t have the power to compete with current SGI, AMD or Intel offerings in that field.

    I think ultimately, the ability for Apple to get into the business/enterprise markets is out of their hands. Until we see more third party software options for business, Apple will probably remain restricted to the SOHO markets.

    Signature

    -Jon Roth

    Instant Philosopher; Just add hot topic and stir.

         
  • Posted: 17 March 2002 12:16 PM #7

    On 2002-03-09 09:57, KitsuneStudios wrote:


    Perhaps the only thing i can think of that Apple has yet to do is to create low-profile rack-mounted servers. Now that Apple is strongly courting the scientific community with the power of the G4, a rack-mounted server would have a specific market to appeal to already, as would a low-cost, high performance media streaming solution for content providers (Even if that market has been soft wit the Dot Bomb era) . It would also imrove Apple’s viability in enterprise or internet provider markets, where they can more easily integrate APple servers into existing storage shelves. I would like to say these would also help Apple sell their computers to power Render farms for 3d productions, but unfortunately, the G4 dosen’t have the power to compete with current SGI, AMD or Intel offerings in that field.

    I think ultimately, the ability for Apple to get into the business/enterprise markets is out of their hands. Until we see more third party software options for business, Apple will probably remain restricted to the SOHO markets.

    Jon:

    Good points! I have a feeling an Apple rackmount server is only months away. I know you posted a comment on Apple Remote Desktop in the GMT forum, but in the context of gaining ground in the enterprise market, do you see the product as a big step forward or an incremental step that will be hardly noticed by IT managers and administrators?

    I know the product will be a big hit in schools.

    Robert