updated 06:15 pm EST, Tue January 18, 2011
Responded to customer query on server's future
Yesterday, rumors began floating around the Mac community, initially published by HardMac, that Apple was in the process of deciding whether to phase out all of its "enterprise" offerings, eliminating the XSan and Final Cut Server products as it had done the XServe hardware (which will be discontinued as of this month). The report went on to speculate that OS X Server itself may be cut. By coincidence, a customer had asked Jobs in an e-mail in December if OS X Server was on the chopping block, and received a single-word answer: "No."
MacRumors was notified about the e-mail, which one of their readers sent Jobs in reaction to the initial news of the XServe's discontinuation. "If you are abandoning enterprise solutions by eliminating the Xserve, does that mean OS X Server is not far behind? It seems that way. I would hate to see that because I like the product," said the e-mail to which Jobs replied in the negative.
Jobs' terse answer could be seen as a definitive if simple denial, but as the site points out it could also be interpreted that OS X Server will be cut eventually, but not in the short term (presumably with at least one more version -- accompanying the release of 10.7 "Lion" this summer -- coming out before any cancellation plans were announced).
The notion that OS X server or other enterprise software is due to be cut has generally been seen as a remote possibility, given both Apple's efforts to promote the enterprise sector in recent years as well as the relative low cost of developing server-level software products. The recent moves by Apple to offer versions of both the Mac Pro and Mac mini in server configuration would also point to the idea that the server version of OS X is alive and well, and video professionals in various forums have weighed in to discount the idea of any change in status to Final Cut Server -- Jobs himself in a different e-mail promised a "great new update" to the Final Cut product line early this year, now widely believed to be coming out around the time of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in early April.
Tension between the enterprise market and Apple has always been a difficult barrier for Apple to overcome, since the company prefers to be extremely secretive about its long-range plans and upcoming products, while IT professionals prefer to plan years in advance to anticipate demand or future issues and address them proactively. It may well remain until the Worldwide Developer's Conference in June for the company to lay out their roadmap for enterprise beyond this year. [via MacRumors]