E-Commerce Times Talkback
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Apple has made it a priority to lure small businesses to the Mac OS platform, reasoning that they will be willing to abandon Windows in favor of a network that is easier to maintain without tremendous IT resources. Brian Croll, Apple's senior director of software for worldwide product marketing, told the E-Commerce Times that the company is
confident it can score in this arena. Although adopting an Apple solution is more costly initially, higher up-front costs may be offset by lower network maintenance costs.
I dunno if this article is on track. My own experience with OS X suggests the opposite conclusion. I was hired by a small outfit to setup some e-commerce software on a system located 500 miles from my location. I found that all the system admin and configuration procedures assumed you were running with a local system with an X-windows interface. The alternative was to go edit the configuration files that Apple had tweaked so much so that it was kinda scary. Most small businesses owners need to focus on their business and don't wanna mess with "geeky stuff" at all. So they hire people with specific "domain expertice" to do the needed tasks. My initial impression is that Apple may not understand how small businesses actually operate. Do they expect that folks like lawyers and accountants are gonna spend their most critical resource, their own time, on learning how to administer the hardware and the network themselves? What's wrong with this picture? I just dunno. Although we don't wanna rule out brain damage on my part, I'm not exactly a rookie at this sort of thing. I've been a unix system admin since the Sun-2 and have worked with every flavor of unix from all the major vendors and most of the off-the-wall ones since 1985. Now maybe I'm way off base and my own vested interests blind me to Apple's brilliant strategy that allows all small business folks to become their own unix system admins...
I think it would be stupid for small business not to had apple.
"Yankee Group's Laura Didio, who recently told the E-Commerce Times that the company achieved true innovation with its Jaguar operating system."
My last comments never got posted so I will try to be kinder. Why does Laura Didio, a stalwart champion of the obvious, get quoted so often? Her qualifications are "12 years covering the networking industry as a reporter in the high-tech trade press," where apparently, she failed to learn anything except unctuous self promotion. I suppose, if she had covered F1 racing for 12 years, she would be qualified to help Michael Schumacher select his next racing car.
Apple has a long way to go before it can be a business leader, and their professed "humble" attitude towards the enterprise is very deserved. That being said, there are some narrow, non-traditional areas where Apple is actually the price leader as well as having good technology.
For new companies setting up for the first time or new offices opening up for established, the lack of Client Access Licenses means you can get by with less money than a Windows solution would charge and without the burden of the tech support salary that's necessary if you choose Linux. Score one for Apple.
Another good selling point for Apple is their commitment to interoperability. Their fileserver solution happily works with Windows, Unix, or traditional Apple networks without any add-ons. Their directory server interoperates with Active Directory, NDS, NIS+, and works through industry standard LDAPv3 which means that if Apple ever goes down the path to irrelevance, users won't be stranded but will easily transit to a different vendor.
Mac OS X has really cut the heart out of Microsoft's anti-Unix push, both on purchase cost and on ease of administration arguments. As more and more Unix shops take an honest look at their alternatives, Apple's likely to have a surge in new areas they've never been before.
Here's hoping they don't blow it.