Apple Manager, Exec Discuss Xserve, More

In two recent interviews that echo each other, Doug Brooks, Apple product manager for server hardware, talks to Server Pipeline about the Xserve G5 and Xserve RAID, while Jon Rubinstein, Apple senior vice president, tackles both topics and more while speaking with E-Commerce News.

In both revamping the company and designing new products like the iPod And Xserve, Mr. Rubinstein, who joined Apple along with CEO Steve Jobs after Apple acquired NeXT in 1997, explains that those projects and came to light as Apple saw the opportunity for them, and were not part of a preconceived vision. From the interview:

The first objective [when we joined Apple] was to fix the company. We cancelled a lot of stuff and a lot of businesses. We focused on making great Macs. That was our initial focus. One of the first things we realized was, iGee, we donit have a consumer product anymore.i Thatis how the iMac came around.


It wasnit like the long-term business plan [was], iGee, weire going to do an iPod because we want to be in the consumer space now.i It was really: Fix the company, get down to what our basic strategy is. And the strategy is around the Mac being the digital hub. Thatis the key. Thatis how products like GarageBand, iPhoto, iTunes, even the Pro products [came to be].

The Xserve came to light after Apple had heard from customers for years that they wanted a rack-mount server. While Apple was humble with the Xserve when it first entered the rack-mount market, Mssrs. Brooks and Rubinstein both tout the new capabilities of the revamped Xserve G5 and the impressive value that the Xserve RAID brings to the table, especially with its newfound certification across Windows, Linux, and Solaris platforms.

Weire starting to get pull from a variety of places because, in the storage world, as long as youire compatible [and] have the appropriate certifications, people ... just care about how much it is per megabyte. We are seeing a lot of data centers saying, iWow. Traditionally, we donit use Macs, but we have some Macs and know about them, and here is a really interesting offer from Apple where we get much more cost-effective storage.i

On the same matter, Mr. Brooks noted in his interview with ServerPipeline:

Whatis been real impressive is the response weive gotten outside the traditional Apple market, as in larger businesses and enterprises, typical IT shops, teleco and ISP environments. Weive even gotten some customers in areas youid never think of Apple in, like financial services, because of the price performance value and the capabilities we deliver.

Mr. Brooks also tackles how Linux factors into Appleis strategy or, more specifically, how it doesnit. Apple is positioning Mac OS X, which shares much of the same functionality with Linux, as "open-source for the non-technical person," although Mr. Brooks is quick to add that "even the technical people who have the capabilities to deal with a Linux platform really respond to what we deliver, because it lets them focus on the value add that they can bring and not the latest kernel patch this week."

Of course, discussions on Appleis hardware and cross platform capabilities wouldnit be complete without the perennial question of porting Mac OS X to Intel hardware. On the subject, Mr. Rubinstein mimics the responses of other Apple executives who have publicly dismissed such notions: Apple is a hardware company at its core, and what gives it an advantage over competitors is that it controls development from top to bottom, something that no one in the PC world is capable of reproducing.

We recommend both articles as a good read.