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Macs are "close, not equal," but work well in IT

updated 12:05 am EDT, Tue April 22, 2008

Macs work well in IT

Apple's growing marketshare among end-users is helping push the Mac's acceptance in corporate America. InfoWorld notes the Macs are spilling out of its traditional areas of marketing departments and media companies and into wider array of business environments, thanks to, what it calls, "the confluence of a number of computing trends, not the least among them a rising tide of end-user affinity for the Apple experience." The trends, the column says, are "making it easier for tech departments to say yes to the Mac by facilitating IT's ability to provide enterprise-grade Mac management and support." In particular, the article cites growing browser competition, a move toward universal Web-based computing, virtualization, more standard connectivity, advanced enterprise management software, and more, but concludes that Macs are "close, not equal."

As part of the reason why 'no Macs' mentality is no longer a defensible IT strategy, the columnist notes resurgence of Firefox as a compelling alternative browser to Microsoft Internet Explorer and web-based, browser-agnostic services such as SaaS, which offer a diverse array of applications -- from sales-force automation through supply-chain coordination.

The article also notes that increased compatibility -- both physical and virtual -- have helped bring the Mac to the enterprise. In particular, more industry standard connectors (USB, WiFi, etc.) have allowed enterprises to more easily integrate Macs into existing environments, while more industry-standard parts such as Intel processors have facilitated the development of VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop to allow Macs to run non-Mac OS operating systems, including Windows and Linux.

Both management software and growing support for Mac among backup, connectivity, and other enterprise software, have also helped prevent the Mac from becoming a second-class citizen in enterprise computing environments. While Mac management tools are less expensive, the article does note that there is a cost of support two different operating systems.

However, critical for compatibility and for cross-platform workflows, Mac Office is not quite the God-send that many expect with product lifecycle issues that leave Mac users years behind and display incompatibilities -- due to differing graphics engines-- lack of Microsoft's VBscript and somewhat controversial Entourage email client, continue to haunt the the Mac OS platform.

The columnist, however, concludes that "it would be na´ve to take in the Mac under the illusion of it being an equal player.... But the Mac fits much better than it ever has, and the trend toward cloud computing is reducing the importance of the client platform to access both internal and external resources. Mac manageability is on par with Windows standards. So you can let your users choose the equipment they prefer, without undue worry."

by MacNN Staff



  1. ClevelandAdv

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Should read

    Better, not equal. Give me an all Mac shop any day and I will show you lower overall IT costs.

  1. Simon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They got it backwards

    I especially liked this sentence

    The article also notes that increased compatibility -- both physical and virtual -- have helped bring the Mac to the enterprise. In particular, more industry standard connectors (USB, WiFi, etc.) have allowed enterprises to more easily integrate Macs into existing environments...

    IIRC it was Apple that basically got USB going on the desktop by more or less forcing early iMac owners to use it (no serial, ADB, or SCSI connectors).

    Also, IIRC it was Apple that was the first company to include 802.11b wireless as standard on its consumer notebooks.

    To now say that adding these standards on Macs made it easier to include Macs in mixed networks is the reverse of what actually happened. Apple saw early on what the potential of these technologies would be and pushed them like only they can (control over hardware and software). Now that these technologies have become common in the PC world the PC-loving IT departments are surprised that Macs use "the same thing" and actually "work". Well yeah, duh. LOL. :D

  1. Beechlady

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Obviously written by a...

    bunch of former PC fanboys. Happy conversion, lads.

  1. typesetterX

    Joined: Dec 1969


    more compatible

    You published an interesting article a couple years ago written by an IT manager at some big company. I recall he wrote that Macintosh was actually more compatible with his Windows network servers than Windows computers. The article went on to list the limitations and frustrations he experiences with both Macs and Windows (XP) clients. It would be relevant to hear from IT managers today regarding their experience with Macs vs. Windows on Windows-based servers.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Lol- try again

    "Mac manageability is on par with Windows standards."

    Try, "Mac manageability is far above windows standards, and has deigned to jump through some hoops to play nice with their proprietary methods in a standards world."

    Pc fanboys they are... were...

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    browser competition

    In particular, the article cites growing browser competition,

    Isn't it actually the growing trend of following 'standards', not actual competition, which helps push this?

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    some Apple First

    SOME Apple First (even for those things that Apple didn't invent, Apple

    brought the technology to the masses by showing people cool, practical

    use of the technology)

    - GUI

    - Mouse

    - PDA

    - USB

    - CD DVD Burner

    - Ability to save multiple network profiles and easily change between


    - Desktop case (PowerMac) that is easy to open (2001)

    - Wifi

    - Integrated Wifi

    - Laptops with 4+ hour battery that is affordable, around 2001 or '02

    (yes I can get almost 5 hours surfing on one of the iBOoks).

    - iPod

    - Online Music Store that is easy to use

    - Widgets (2005), which MS, a company known for poorly made knockoffs

    call it gadgets

    - Basic Multitouch on PowerBook since 2005 (multi finger scroll, etc.)

    - A phone that doesn't need a manual or hours to get it to sync

    - SSD drive (do you know about SSD before the MacBook Air?)

    - Multitouch on mass shipping laptop

    I am sure there are instances where some other technology are not Apple

    first, but none of those has the cool factor under the Apple halo.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    few more

    Additional Apple First

    - Audio line-level in (microphone included in Macintosh in 1980s)

    - Computer that can speak to you (since original Macintosh, 1979)

    - Easy multi-boot, no need to go into bios and change everytime you want to change to a different drive or partition. (On Apple, for 10+ years, hold option key while boot to see a graphical list of available boot drives)

    - Easy OS Clone / transfer

    - Easy User Account transfer to a new Mac (OS X can transfer your OS settings, documents, Applications, email AND your email settings, unlike XP)

    - Gigabit Ethernet

    - Optical Out, Optical In

    - Firewire

    - Widescreen

    - And many more.

  1. robttwo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    IT jackasses

    An experiment: Set up a network environment with 500 Macs. Set up a network environment with 100 PCs.

    Which one do you think will require more IT care, maintenance, and upkeep? We all know the answer, and so does every IT person. s**** 'em - just like they've been s******* end users with their arrogance, elitism, and techie mumbo-jumbo for years.


  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Software ok, not policy

    Macs have all the tools required by any IT shop that does not insist on proprietary MS-based workflows.

    It's the policies that are the problem. Large corporations need more technology roadmaps and backward hardware compatibility (i.e. will Apple support Tiger on new Macs?). Apple's success is partly based on secrecy which does not mesh well in the Enterprise market.

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