Macs in the Enterprise

What Snow Leopard Means for Macs in the Enterprise

- 2008.06.25 - Tip Jar

Whenever Macs are discussed in comparison to Windows PCs, the conversation inevitably ventures into the "business" argument - Macs are not used in great numbers in business, and the larger the enterprise, the less likely they are to be the mainstream computer of choice.

Apple has been content with this for some time. They know on which side their bread is buttered and have focused on other areas, including general OS stability and a suite of tools for the home user that makes their digital life that much easier to live in iLife. Sure, Apple's market penetration is still barely double digits, but that's okay - the people who use Macs love them with a love that knows no bounds.

That said, in recent days we've been hearing some interesting rumbles out of Cupertino. First, with the formal announcement of the inevitable second generation (or 3G) iPhone, there will finally be support for push email via Exchange, Microsoft's ubiquitous messaging server.

Later, quieter press releases indicated that the upcoming "Snow Leopard" (Mac OS X 10.6) will also provide native support for Exchange within the Mail and iCal applications. Native support will do a great deal to boost adoption, as prior to this one had to invest in Microsoft Office and the Entourage product, to access Exchange in a very ad hoc manner - essentially providing a native interface for Exchange's Web Access protocols.

Between the built-in integration with Microsoft's Active Directory - allowing for a single sign-on for business users to have access to their Microsoft related network resources - and this addition, Apple has, in just a few months, broken down two of the most important barriers to adoption of Macs in the enterprise.

Offices that look at the facts and the financial bottom line will be quick to make the transition. Given total cost of ownership and the powerful application choices available to them for relatively low cost, Macs make more sense than Windows.

Long gone are the days of Macs being relegated to a tiny corner of the office network, never fully integrated and never allowed to shine. With a tiny bit of setup work, Mac users will be able to join their Windows network as full partners, easily sharing file servers, print servers, and, soon, communication tools without causing major disruptions in the IT department.

Add Snow Leopard to your list of must-have tools for Macs in the business world. Just as soon as it comes out, things are going to start changing in a big way in terms of adoption of Macs in the enterprise. LEM

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