Macs in the enterprise, or maybe not.

(ACCURACY ALERT: No quotes from John Dvorak or Rob Enderle were used in the making of this post.)

There’s an article in PC World about corporations slowly considering Macs.

The article starts pretty typically, outlining the new iMac configurations and mentioning how they’re price competitive with PCs. Then we get this quote from IDC’s Richard Shim:

“”Apple isn’t necessarily selling on just hardware either,” Shim said. “They’re innovating on the experience that the customer has, and a lot of other vendors are disadvantaged because they haven’t done that.””

Any Apple supporter would agree with the above statement. The reason I point it out is that it’s a bit unusual for this type of article, because normally the customer experience is not used or even considered by corporate IT. If anything, a pleasant user experience has been used as proof by IT that the Mac is a “toy,” and not a “serious business machine.”

Of course we know the real reason many IT folks don’t like Macs: They don’t want to learn anything new that doesn’t come out of Redmond, WA, and they take issue with any technology you can use without their help.

Shim then discusses that Apple may not be all that interested in the enterprise market:

“”It’s not something Apple has said it is pursuing,” Shim said. “Large enterprises are different beasts because you are looking at server farms and more of a controlled and centralized computing environment. I don’t see Apple wanting to go there, and I don’t see large enterprises willing to adopt it to the degree that they have with Windows systems.””

Where are all the usual analyst quotes that Apple must court the enterprise because it’s exactly what Microsoft does? It’s nice to see an analyst who tries to, you know, analyze a little bit. Those who watch Apple and try to understand their pursuits have been saying for years that they’re not courting the enterprise. It’s not that Apple won’t take enterprise money, it’s just that they haven’t setup a sales and marketing machine dedicating to humping IT management’s leg. Still, that last remark about not wanting to adopt the Mac like “Windows systems” was a bit confusing to me.

The article then quotes other individuals about Macs sneaking in through the back doors of corporations and running Windows via virtualization. And that such virtualization, and Boot Camp, removes the argument of requiring Windows from IT’s anti-Mac repertoire.

All in all the article is looking good, but then they go back to Shim for a concluding quote about IT managers having the last word:

“”I just don’t see IT managers deciding to buy a whole fleet of them upfront for all their clients,” Shim said. “It just doesn’t make sense, because you have a bunch of infrastructure and a lot of investment already in a Windows platform. Despite the fact that a Mac can run Windows, it’s not a full Windows system, and I’m sure a lot of Mac fans would passionately agree with that.””

OK, now you lost me (though it explains the earlier comment about “Windows systems”). If Windows is running on a Mac via Parallels, I could perhaps understand thinking it’s maybe not a “full” Windows system. But when an Intel-architecture Mac uses Boot Camp to load Windows directly, how is it not a ” full Windows system?” I agree it’s not a PC, since it can also run Mac OS X, but when the hardware boots directly into Windows it is most certainly a Windows system. Was Shim conjecturing a new IT manager argument against the Mac (since the old ones have faded), or supplying one himself? Aside from semantic hardware discussions I’m not sure in what way an Intel Mac booting Windows is not a full Windows system.

This smells like FUD to me. First, the Mac wasn’t enough; it was a toy. Now, maybe it’s too much? Will the Mac be argued against because its hardware can do more than a PC? It runs Mac OS X and Windows, runs more applications, is cost-effective, lasts longer, and is actually liked by users. Maybe IT is afraid of the flexibility and future-proofing such a machine will provide. Won’t somebody think of the IT children?!

Personally, I think the biggest waste of a Mac would be to run Windows on it, whether via virtualization or direct boot. But this native ability cannot be denied, and opened a door that was closed by IT over 20 years ago. Unfortunately, instead of welcoming the new visitor, IT might be frantically setting about building a new door.

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16 thoughts on “Macs in the enterprise, or maybe not.

  1. “Most companies DO NOT NEED it – there is no need to run OS X only apps. It’s more expensive than a comparable PC. Looks don’t matter in a purchasing decision.”

    Are you insane?

    As a WINDOWS machine, most companies DO need it, as I’m sure we both know.

    So don’t run Mac OS X apps. What part of running Windows natively aren’t you getting?

    It’s not more expensive than a comparable PC, as PC world (and any research) points out.

    So your bonuses are tied to keeping the users’ desktops cluttered and ugly? Gotcha.

    I’m the one looking at this issue critically, including the fact that Macs have changed dramatically over the years. I also factor in the user, which must be killing you.

    You, on the other hand, are the one judging the Mac by one you probably “played with” at a CompUSA back in ’97. You’re a dinosaur spewing the same crap about Macs used for the last 20 years, when it no longer applies.

    All I asked was how a Mac running Windows natively was not a Windows system. Your knee-jerk “answers” fall short.

  2. It’s just a white (or black) box. Most companies DO NOT NEED it – there is no need to run OS X only apps. It’s more expensive than a comparable PC. Looks don’t matter in a purchasing decision.
    Is that clear enough? You state you’re an ‘operations’ guy. Is that fancy speak for pie in the sky mgrs who can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk?

  3. “Unlike most of the posters here, I have nothing for or against the Mac.”

    Great, then maybe you’ll stop posting drivel and answer the question: How is a Mac running Windows natively not a full Windows system?

    And what’s all this crap about the server space? Who said anything about the server space? Is that what you felt my article (or the PC world article) was about? Did you even READ either article?

  4. Well, Mr. Anonymous, you say, ” because I can get a much better spec PC cheaper, and most of my apps don’t run on OS X.”

    Well, that is very interesting. Most of your apps don’t run on OS X; but how many great OS X only apps run on your PC? Hmmm…. I thought so… NONE!

    I can run all of my OS X apps, all of the Linux apps and every single one of your PC apps!

    Without apps a computer is pretty useless; the more apps your computer can run the better. Since my Macs can run more apps then yours, therefore, my Mac is better than your PC! Prettier to boot too!

    Sie klingen ziemlich zu dumm mein freund, nicht wahr!

  5. Well Mr. anonoymous, you are leaving out some very important issues. Have you set up a PC before? Talk about cable nightmares! Then look at the iMac. No cables, except for a power and ethernet cable. And what expense to run Windows on a Mac? Just install the copy of Windows on your Mac that was on the PC. And Windows on a Mac is a perfect way to TRANSITION to Mac OS X until the apps are converted to run on it. There are advantages to having Macs, and they don’t just lie in the “it’s a tool” excuse. Better hardware, less cables (easier set-up), ability to run multiple OSes, greater security, Java coompliant, and the list goes on. I have worked in both environments, and I can tell you unless you have seen Macs play very well in the enterprise, you are just making assumptions that are not based on facts.

  6. AWC 🙂 I googled it to see if I’d ever heard of it before.
    That’s got to have MSFT shaking in their boots!
    Unlike most of the posters here, I have nothing for or against the Mac. For me PCs are utility items. I have never considered a Mac because I can get a much better spec PC cheaper, and most of my apps don’t run on OS X.
    My earlier post tried to point out why OS X will have a hard time in the server space.
    It seems most of the posters here don’t seem to get this; their naivety is amusing. It only serves to perpetuate the feeling that most Mac users buy it because – ‘Ooh, it looks so cute!’.
    On the desktop side – if you’re running BootCamp, it’s just a fancy box. There is no reason for an enterprise to pay extra to run Windows on a nice white box. They don’t give a damn about how it looks.

  7. “I cannot EVER see a CIO agreeing to buy Macs then using something like BootCamp to run Windows.”

    Well, you’d be wrong then, because that’s just what AWC are doing.

    AWC are switching to Macs, but using Windows on them (courtesy of Parallels) during the switchover period:

    “While IT staffers at AWC are rewriting the company’s main VIPS application in Java, Parallels Desktop will enable the company to boot Apple’s OS X operating system on Intel Macs and run Windows XP as the guest.”

    While you’re at Computerworld, also check out this article, where two university IT departments speak of using Bootcamp.

    You don’t have to like or use the Mac, but what you’ve claimed is factually incorrect.

  8. Discrimination, be it directed towards religion, race, sex, or what have you, usually has less to do with logic and more to do with ignorance and fear.

    Obviously, IT folks are not immune to discrimination and it is this discrimination towards Macs that is the real and main reason IT and CIO’s types won’t acknowledge any of the advantages of the Mac in business.

    Discrimination is unreasonable and trying to reason with an unreasonable person is a totall waste of time. You can shove a Mac in front of their eyes, but if they refuse to open them then it is a failed cause. I am not wasting any more of my time trying to reason with unreasonable bigots.

    As long as CIO’s and IT types practise their Mac discrimination and refuse to open their eyes, they will suffer the abuses that Windows brings to their business’s.

    I have opened my eyes, I have seen the light of the Mac advantages, and to this day, am reaping the benefits of a system, though not perfect, is a joy and pleasure to use, one that puts Windows to shame.

  9. “Java and .Net are the two programming frameworks of choice today.”

    Java may still be big on the server, but its use on the client is diminishing rapidly. Most people could have it turned off in their browser and not know the difference.

    Interesting that IT keeps trying to pick technologies that they can use as excuses to eliminate the Mac. But what part of the Mac running Windows natively aren’t you getting?

    Seriously, why are you avoiding the whole point of my article? The Mac CAN run Windows. Natively. That bullet is out of the IT gun. Let it go.

    So, in an attempt to still argue against Macs, a new “argument” is perhaps being brewed that Macs are not “full Windows systems,” whatever the heck that is supposed to mean.

  10. These posters can’t seem to understand that Macs can run Windows just like any other PC.

    Which I think is the same hurdle for IT, as Apple doesn’t market or sell Macs with Windows in mind, so when someone says Mac, they only think Mac OS X. And also, Boot Camp is still beta, and Apple support for Windows issues is an unknown.

    Beyond that, it’s just FUD as you say.

  11. “Java and .Net are the two programming frameworks of choice today. BEA WegLogic, one of the two biggest Java programming suites (the other vendor being IBM) does not support OS X. …..MS SQL Server, the 2nd biggest database platform (after Oracle) is not supported on OS X either.”

    This is pathetic– it’s always “something”. First off, Java CAN be authored on the Mac. Secondly “.net” and MS-SQL are proprietary and shouldn’t be used. MySQL is FREE and open; and there are lots of non-“.net” environments non-dinosaurs might be inclined to use.

  12. I don’t think you posters quite understand enterprise software requirements. It’s not just client side office apps like a word processor, spreadsheet etc.
    Java and .Net are the two programming frameworks of choice today. BEA WegLogic, one of the two biggest Java programming suites (the other vendor being IBM) does not support OS X. Needless to say, there is no official support for .Net on OS X.
    MS SQL Server, the 2nd biggest database platform (after Oracle) is not supported on OS X either.
    It’s hurdles like these that prevent OS X from making inroads in to the enterprise.
    OS X fans should also look to Linux for parallels on why it (Linux) is not blowing away Windows in the enterprise space despite the advantage on licensing costs.
    What happens in the future I cannot say; I don’t have a crystal ball. But this is a far larger challenge than getting college kids to switch over to a Mac laptop.

  13. “I cannot EVER see a CIO agreeing to buy Macs then using something like BootCamp to run Windows.”

    And yet you don’t say why. In fact, you don’t even try to answer my question about how a Mac running Windows natively is not a Windows system. It’s this kind of unsupported implication that makes it FUD.

    I have an operations background an am far from naive about IT. If your shop believes there are no Mac substitutes for certain Windows applications, so what? My whole article is about the Mac being a windows system.

    Oh, but wait, you called it “pretty.” Ah yes, your bias is showing.

    You are absolutely right that running Windows on a MAc makes it just as susceptible to attack as any other Windows box. But the point is it would be in the shorter-term, and provide a clear direction on where to go next. This is the added flexibility and future-proofing I spoke of.

    It’s amazing that a machine that can be just as much a Windows system as Dell or HP, and so much more, is STILL poo-poohed by IT.

  14. “I cannot EVER see a CIO agreeing to buy Macs then using something like BootCamp to run Windows. What’s the point? Just having pretty machines on everyone’s desk?”

    The point is, it is usually one or two tiresome in-house applications that keeps people from upgrading from Windows to Mac. Boot Camp is a transitional product, to help people migrate. BTW: SQL is available on the Mac.

    The blog author is dead on; It people see Windows as job security, because it has so many quirks and maintenance requirements. Apple has tried marketing to these Luddites before; it’s like trying to sell campaign finance reform to politicians.

    I believe Apple WILL address this market, in their own time, in their own way. Jobs knows more about marketing than I do, and he realizes Enterprise is a big market.Remember 5 years ago– everybody was complaining that Apple didn’t advertise on TV enough? Or that CompUSA didn’t know how to present Macs in their stores? Apple solved these issues and knows what the current problems are– and have a long term plan to fix them.

  15. “I cannot EVER see a CIO agreeing to buy Macs then using something like BootCamp to run Windows. What’s the point? Just having pretty machines on everyone’s desk?”

    The point is, it is usually one or two tiresome in-house applications that keeps people from upgrading from Windows to Mac. Boot Camp is a transitional product, to help people migrate. BTW: SQL is available on the Mac.

    The blog author is dead on; It people see Windows as job security, because it has so many quirks and maintenance requirements. Apple has tried marketing to these Luddites before; it’s like trying to sell campaign finance reform to politicians.

    I believe Apple WILL address this market, in their own time, in their own way. Jobs knows more about marketing than I do, and he realizes Enterprise is a big market.Remember 5 years ago– everybody was complaining that Apple didn’t advertise on TV enough? Or that CompUSA didn’t know how to present Macs in their stores? Apple solved these issues and knows what the current problems are– and have a long term plan to fix them.

  16. I cannot EVER see a CIO agreeing to buy Macs then using something like BootCamp to run Windows. What’s the point? Just having pretty machines on everyone’s desk?
    The advantage that Apple fans tout is the virus-free environment of OS X. Runing Windows, you’d negate that.

    Also, your argument that IT folks are just anti-Mac is rather naive. Our shop, for example, needs portal software, SQL Server, and some other software to connect our users. These softwares cannot be installed on OS X.
    Application support, or rather the lack of it, is the core reason why a CIO will not even consider Macs today.

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