E-Commerce Times Talkback
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Recently, Apple announced a new advertising strategy to lure consumers away from Windows.
But the company is taking a more low-key approach to targeting corporate users, hoping
that its Xserve technology speaks for itself. "We think we're going to have the best
system ... but we want to make sure we position this correctly," Alex Grossman, Apple's
director of server and storage hardware, told the E-Commerce Times. Indeed, the problem
is one of perception rather than technology. To sell the latter, Apple will have to
change the former.
I dunno if Apple's new OS is ready for prime-time networked server use yet.
(Now I'll be the first to admit my experience with OS X is very limited.) If you look at the system admin documentation, one of the basic assumptions is that the system admin folks have access to the graphics head of the server. Modifications to the baseline system configuration are thru the spiffy, easy-to-use admin tools. Every vendor does this but Apple took it one step further. In a couple of config control files I needed to tweak, there were warnings not to modify the contents by hand edits. Maybe these were only there to ward off the ham-handed folks and I guess maybe I was spooked because I was a OS X newbie. (I'm not totally clueless about what's involved with the task. I started doing system admin on a rack-mounted Sun-2 and have worked on unix workstations and servers from the major vendors since 1985...) I'm also leery of running the X-windows on networked servers because of security issues. My preference is to admin systems from a secure shell or an off-net console connection so I've come to expect server documentation to reflect my bias.
Just my $00.0000002 worth...
The laws in the US recently changed. The US military are now making commercial companies pass some very stringent security tests in order to sell their products to them. Microsoft's integration of IE into the OS has made it pretty much impossible for their OEMs to pass these tests. As a result, they are moving to Linux. The 4 top PC server manufacturers, IBM, HP, Compaq and Dell, are all going with Linux to meet the needs of the US government. So as I see it, the markets outside the US are going to be very important to Microsoft Sales.
You may find this of interest:
If you look at the actual document from the U.S. Department of Commerce, it will really start on page 13.
The new military security spec goes into effect on July 1.
This is the specification the OEMs can't get a grip on.
Microsoft's OEMs have been screaming at them to make a modular version of Windows so they can meet these specs, but Microsoft has dug in their heels and won't budge. I guess this is what you call management by attorneys. :-) Right now the total integration of IE and multimedia elements into Windows has made the process of OEMs' integration with it a draining job. By the time they get halfway through, there is already new hardware technology out and they are falling more and more behind.
The number one thing everyone neglects in comparing the Mac OS X and PC is I/O. It's kind of like driving a car on the highway. It's not the size or horsepower of the engine that counts, but how fast you can cut those corners when driving down the road. Xserver has better throughput, less security problems and isn't on a patch maintainance path. If I were Microsoft, I would really be considering porting all their applications to every conceivable OS out there. Like Bill Gates said, he asked everyone in the company and there isn't any way to undo the way IE is integrated into the OS, and that makes it very unsuited for servers.
I keep on thinking of Jimmy Allchin's Baine Vines. It reminds me of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. That is what happened at Microsoft. While Bill was working away tring to spin straw into gold, he got overworked and fell into a very deep sleep. Now the whole company has been taken over... :-) Now the only thing that can save them is the KISS of true love. :-)
KISS means Keep it simple stupid! It's a joke.
Oh well.... :-)
Love to all the Children
Apple is one of the few if not the ONLY major company that makes BOTH hard & software. This allows peripherals, utilities, software & drivers to be more INTUITIVE than on the Wintel platform.
Now with OS X's Unix core (via open-source Darwin), Apples can co-exist much more smoothly with their Unix brothers; and hence co-exist in an Oracle Enterprise Environment.
The fact that Oracle's CEO is a member of Apple's staff is another case in point. Here we have a distinct opportunity to welcome Apple into the enterprise world with its distinct advantages (design & function).
The proverbial ball is in IT's court. Are they truly myopic? Or will they eventually become objective and consider the potential?
All is needed is a 'seed' planted.
...and I'm waiting.
(Professional Oracle Developer & Mac user)
The author of this article seems to call into question the legitimacy of Apple's claim of using real converts to Macs in their ads by putting quotes around the words, "real people". Well, the first thing that came to mind when watching these excellent ads is, "Boy, the doubters will tear this stuff apart!" So, I did a little research (like maybe some journalists should do). Folks, these are not actors. If you go to the link below, you can "meet them in real life". Look for the post titled, "Are these guys for real?!"
IT workers are not myopic; they're self-preservationist. Think about it: your job relies on how badly your troubleshooting and maintenance skills are needed. Are you going to recommend purchasing a machine that requires less maintenance, less troubleshooting, and less of your time? Or would you rather purchase a machine that (1) everyone is familiar with and (2) keeps you busy and employed? It's the catch-22 that Apple is in. On one hand, they have heeded the cries of all those users who want a robust Mac server; on the other hand, a robust Mac server is exactly what most IT managers DON'T want.
Professionals who rely on their Mac to get their job done often find, as I do, that they are much more efficient on a Mac -- the HCI of the operating system is far superior to Windows; the standardization of the the way the OS and other software works makes for short learning times; the tight integration of hardware and software make machines easier to set-up and troubleshoot; and, most importantly, the higher quality of both the hardware and OS mean a significant decrease in downtime for Macs over PCs.
I used PCs for years and switched my department Macs over the last 6 months because our PCs were constantly failing, taking away days of productivity at a time. So far we haven't had a single lost hour with the new Macs, and everyone's morale and productivity is up.
It's ridiculous for Elizabeth to say that Apple users choose design over function in their computers. Just because something looks good does not mean its function can't be even more impressive. Elizabeth's claim is like saying that a beautiful woman can't be intelligent. She can be both.
I agree, but it is important to remember that ALL GOOD design is about FUNCTION. That is one of the basic idioms of product design. This is why Elizabeth's comments (and most people that say Design over Function) simply don't understand product design. Coming in the reverse direction to that, at least Apple applies this as well as making something people enjoy using or simply look at.
So you COULD say that Apple is ALL ABOUT DESIGN ;-)
I agree that Mac is much more than design, but I don't think that's what Elizabeth was saying. She wrote that other people (who have called Mac names) would say that. I think she kind of implied they were wrong to say that.
Ms. Millard's comment about Apple users choosing design over function was not a statement of fact. She was stating that this is how most IT managers perceive Apple, Macs, and their users. Which IS a fact. Your refutation of this supposed disparity is exactly why she made the statement in the first place -- to illustrate one of the biggest obstacles in the way of Apple's enterprise strategy.