The Switch to Intel Servers An Intel-based Xserve could also help Apples bottom line. There is always the danger that, with Intel inside of Xserve, Apples server will be seen as just another machine. However, Deal thinks that Xserve has more going for it than not, even with the new Intel hardware.Theres also the fact that Xserve is likely to be the only server to offer Mac OS X. As with its desktop machines, Apple is unlikely to license its operating system to run on non-Apple servers. Instead of putting up barriers, "I believe that the integration of Intel processors into Apples server line will help to remove some objections IT managers may have in purchasing server products from Apple," Deal said. "I think it will contribute to the Xserves value proposition." John C. Dvorak claims Apple needs to make OS X open-source. Click here to read why. Apples transition to Intel has been successful, to date. Apple shipped the Intel-powered iMac and the MacBook Pro during the quarter ending April 1. This turned out to be Apples second best quarter, with over 1 million Macs sold, a 4 percent gain over the first quarter of 2005. Whatever Apple is or isnt planning, its airtight grip on security has so far prevented anything from leaking out. Apple watchers expect that the company will make any announcements about its server products at the WWDC, and not before. The lack of a long road map might be one reason Apple hasnt captured a major chunk of the server market. Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM make up more than 60 percent of the market, researchers say, leaving Apple to fight it out with others for the remainder. But Deal doesnt believe Apple is just aiming at market share. He says that Apple is in the server business to make sure its vertical-market customers have everything they need. "I have often speculated that Apple would ditch the Xserve line," said Deal. "There is much debate as to whether Apple ever needed a line of servers. However, customers within specific vertical markets such as media and design, science and research, and education have demonstrated some interest in Apples server line and will likely continue to beyond the Intel switch." But dont wait for the server line to garner the same oohs and aahs as Apples iPods and MacBook Pro notebooks. "Having a server line allows Apple to meet additional customer needs. However, I would not say that it is a significant part of Apples product road map moving forward," Deal said. Apple declined to comment on this story. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.
"Apples Xserve is not differentiated solely because of its processors," Deal said. "Its design, management applications and cost of ownership provide differentiation from competitor offerings that transcend the type of processor."