iMacs in the enterprise

PC World published a piece by Rafael Ruffolo on corporations considering iMacs.  Here are some quotes:

According to Q2 results from IDC, in the overall U.S. computer market, which includes desktops and notebooks, Apple is now tied for third with competitor Gateway at 5.6 per cent of the total market share.

Tim Bajarin, president at Creative Strategies, said that while Apple lacks the enterprise sales force, servicing capabilities and the expressed interest in the enterprise sector, he does admit that this could change in the future.

My opinion is this:  Yes, this could change in the future, but not in the foreseeable future.   The reasoning is pretty simple.  First of all, Apple is not serious about competing for the enterprise.  Jobs is good at building machines that tug at the heart strings, but he is also VERY good at building devices that tug (pretty hard) at consumers’ purse strings.  Enterprise IT is about providing a pre-determined service level with a controlled budget.  For large enterprises with pre-existing investment in the MS architecture, migrating to the iMac does not make sense financially.

Neither does it make sense architecturally.  Apple currently lacks the will, or a way in providing a robust roadmap in providing a solution that can rival MS’s management features.  This alone would create havoc in a well-managed enterprise environment. Are you aware of any SMS or Forefront equivalent in Apple’s arsenal?

Lastly, such a move does not make sense in a resource management perspective.  Not only will you have to replace a whole slew of machines, you will also need investment in training your legions of support staff.  Sure, there will be some who are already well versed in OSX, but this is by no means the norm.

What I think the article is trying to convey is that the trend of Apple devices sneaking into the enterprise may increase– but that is easy to see.  All personal tech items will eventually sneak into the enterprise– this by no means will only apply to apple products though.  Personal blackberries/smartphones/PDAs will soon creep into the managed environment.  Sure, iPhone and iPods are popular, but their place within the workplace is currently dubious at best.

As the article said, virtualization may be the joker in this whole deck of cards.  Yes, the technology will enable iMacs to act like a PC, but at that stage, what’s the advantage of choosing the iMac + virtualization solution?  So users can also run OSX and Apple software?  Circular reasoning alert– OSX currently needs a separate management strategy to thrive in the enterprise.  Unless an enterprise has a financially justifiable reason to choose Apple (design, art, etc), I would be absolutely stunned to see any kind of inroad being made by Apple through such grassroot approaches.

Great sensational journalism though, PCWorld.  I thoroughly enjoyed the read.  This may just be the fuel that this small fire needs to create a more competitive enterprise IT marketscape.

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