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Apple: Forget "cool"--think servers

A reader writes that where Apple should be targeting corporate America is in the server space.


    Apple: Forget "cool"--think servers

    In response to the Feb. 15 Perspectives column by Charles Cooper, "Apple: Don't flub it again":

    I wholeheartedly agree with your view of Apple. I have been using Macintoshes since the original Mac back in 1984, but I am also a user of just about every other technology as senior consultant for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Where Apple should be targeting corporate America is in the server space. If you can get your technology in as the foundation of an organization, then you stand a far better chance of eventually replacing corporate America's PCs.

    The problem I suspect is that servers just aren't cool. I am sure Apple could build a rack-mounted unit with some neon trappings and anodized Titanium shells, but who is going to see them in corporate America when they are located in some data center? The company needs to forget about cool for a bit on the hardware side and focus on building basic servers that run its world-class operating system.

    Unix is still the predominant OS that supports large-scale corporations. But as we all know, it is a difficult OS to use and understand and has been left to techies. Now, with OS X, a high-schooler with a decent computer science class can manage a powerful Unix-class machine, and yet the techies can still access the command line and feel right at home.

    Conversion of apps from one flavor of Unix to the another is not nearly as difficult as conversion from one OS to another. As such, if Apple wishes to make inroads into corporate America, it needs to enter through the back door, if you will. Begin delivering server-class machines with Unix-based software. As soon as you have a foothold, you can begin to show the benefits of moving from a PC to a Mac now that you have a Mac server running your department. Things such as "netbooting" and centralized control of machines--plus, the many other wonderful advantages of the Mac OS and machines.

    I agree that 4 percent is a small market share, but let's really make sure we are comparing apples to apples (no pun intended). First, remove corporate America from the equation, since it has tons of machines and not all of them are actually being used. If you look at the home market and break it down by vendor and not operating system, I am sure the market share argument becomes less of an issue.

    Philip Ethan Grossman



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