Editorial - Mitigating Vista Risk With Macs

After Apple announced its migration to Intel, it didnit take long for Apple enthusiasts familiar with dual booting and virtualization to realize that a company could save money by buying Macs instead of PCs. This idea was extended in a Computerworld article published on Thursday. The author suggested that companies unsure about the Vista migration would do well to buy Macs, install WINE, or use Parallels and run Vista as a guest OS.

There are all kinds of reasons why this isnit going to happen. Iill cite just a few.

1. WINE is very limited. IT Managers typically want the ability to support their needs as necessary. If a Windows application isnit supported under WINE, theyire stonewalled.

2. Parallels Desktop, terrific as it is, still has some limitations. As soon as these limitations are made known to most IT managers, theyill nix a hybrid system.

3. No IT Manager wants to take the time to understand how the Vista system is going to interoperate with the host OS. There are new security issues that theyire unfamiliar with and donit want to deal with. Real security will mean understanding Mac OS X, and most PC-centric IT managers donit want to learn a UNIX OS.

4. User problems will crop up. Users will take the MacBook home, mess around with iMovie, create a new user account, get into some kind of trouble, and come back to work asking for help. The IT dept doesnit want that kind of hassle.

5. A site license for Mac OS X is a good deal. The cost is well below retail for a single copy. And yet it is a new element of cost and training that annoys IT departments. The same goes for the Parallels software.

6. Finally, IT departments donit want to be hassled by users who keep asking, "Why do I have to do it your way? Mac OS X makes it so much simpler!"

The real story here, the one that the author of the Computerworld story didnit address, is how to create a detailed cost, risk, benefit, security, and user and support training scenario that IT managers will be forced to accept by the CFO. If you can do that, youill have your MacBook Pro.