updated 06:05 pm EDT, Thu May 31, 2007
Apple ignoring enterprise?
Although Apple is famous for its media players and desktop systems, it has still largely ignored the enterprise realm according to some involved with the industry. "I definitely say Apple's enterprise support is lacking compared to someone like Sun, which is very good," says LiveWorld's operations director, Andrew Oliver. The company uses 120 Xserve systems, but Oliver notes that Apple's support is "too weak and is frustrating. Once we upgraded to their enterprise support program, that improved, but anytime you want to step out of the box, they almost want to wash their hands of you."
Analyst Rob Enderle of The Enderle Group points out that at best, Apple has just a one-percent penetration of the enterprise market. The long dominance of the "Wintel" platform is cited as one reason, but Apple is also accused of having no proven roadmap, and simply not caring enough; 56 percent of its revenue comes from desktop systems, and though it attempted a serious push a decade ago, it left clients stranded when the effort was deemed unprofitable.
"It typically takes a good chunk of a decade to become a viable vendor," says Enderle, observing that "enterprise tends to be a relatively low-margin business, where companies tend to buy in the mid- or bottom line of product offerings. Success in the enterprise is a pain in the butt, with long sales cycles, and long product cycles."
Interest in Apple enterprise technology is growing, but the October release of Mac OS Server 10.5 is not expected to help greatly. Leopard is believed to primarily target small businesses and workgroups, with enterprise benefits including automatic file and printer sharing as well as with an open-source calendar and better Mac-Windows interoperability.