Macs are slowly losing their image as the machines of “a cult-like community who appreciate design over function and an eye-candy interface over simpler, more humble graphics” now that Apple is going after its “toughest audience yet,” IT managers, according to an E-Commerce Times article.
Apple’s weapons in its efforts to gain a foothold in the enterprise market and increase its overall market share is the new Xserve rackmount server and a new advertising campaign designed to lure consumers away from Windows. However, the company’s approach to corporate users is a bit more low-key than the “real people” campaign overall.
“We want to be humble going in,” said Alex Grossman, Apple’s director of server and storage hardware. “We think we’re going to have the best system going, but we want to make sure we position this correctly.”
The Xserve’s price tag could be a big draw for IT departments, the article notes. At US$2,999, the server is competitively priced, and it comes with a cost-savings “kicker” in the form of an unlimited client license. Other servers charge per user, which means companies often end up paying more for licensing than for hardware, the article notes.
Tom Goguen, Apple’s director of server software, said that such an arrangement could make a big difference in IT managers’ minds. Also, he said, managers might be swayed simply by being around Macs in the enterprise.
“In reality, Apple already has a presence in larger corporations, mostly in creative departments,” he said. “The thing is that most larger companies use Unix, and Mac fits right into that environment, so it should be getting attention in other departments as well.”
Despite all this, Apple has its work cut out for it in making headway in the market.
“Enterprise customers are accustomed to buying servers from places like HP and Dell. Apple is not even on their radar,” Michael Gartenberg, research director at Jupiter Media Metrix, told the E-Commerce Times. However, the problem is with perception rather than technology. “The truth is that enterprises could easily adopt Apple if they want.”
He added that “Mac users used to view computing as a religion, not a business plan. As a result, many IT managers still think of Apple in that way, and “in a very tough economic situation like we’re in, you’re not going to see them taking a risk to adopt a technology they still look at with disdain,” Gartenberg said. Despite all this, Apple does have a fighting chance, he feels.
“The way they’re going about this makes sense,” said Gartenberg. “They’re dipping their toe in the water this time, taking it slowly. It’s going to be a very tough battle, but there’s no doubt that the enterprise is where the big money is, so it’s logical that they’re headed in that direction.”