Apple Cool to Software Developers

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-06-19 Print this article Print

Apple has a proven track record of making it too difficult for developers to get their software on the platform. For that reason, most business applications were designed specifically for Windows. In the meantime, more developers have come to the realization that Windows is simply the "business" platform and have largely ignored Mac OS X. It makes sense. 

Developing software can be expensive. And unless a company knows that a platform supports the number of customers it needs to justify investing in the new application, it doesn't make sense to build it for that platform. So far, Apple's policies and inconsequential market share make it difficult for developers to invest in the operating system.

Apple knows that and yet it's still snubbing the enterprise by maintaining an operating system that has, so far, been a locked-down bastion of Apple goodness. And what purpose does that serve? Sure, it might make it more secure. And it might make it easier for Apple to manage its operating system. But to the business world-a sector that relies on the openness of architecture-that's simply unacceptable.

Why is Apple snubbing the enterprise? Undoubtedly some will say that the iPhone is making inroads in the enterprise and I heartily agree. But in order for the iPhone to have the kind of appeal Apple wants, its desktop software should follow suit. So far, it hasn't.

Perhaps Apple's decision to ignore the enterprise is largely due to its realization that attracting it is far too costly. Or maybe Apple is content to be the company that appeals to the consumer. In either case, its motives are clear-provide some enterprise features to make some take the bait, but maintain a consumer-friendly operating system so it doesn't ostracize its core customers.

It's a tough balance. Apple undoubtedly wants to find its way into the lucrative enterprise space, but doing so could force it to develop multiple SKUs of its OS-a ploy Microsoft uses and Apple has criticized. Or worse, Apple might be required to add features that would make the operating system more bloated and thus, more Windows-like-another possibility Steve Jobs and Company can't fathom.

And so, as Snow Leopard prepares for its debut in September, the enterprise is left wondering why it can't enjoy Macs. Sure, it's more enterprise-friendly than previous generations, but Mac OS X just isn't where it needs to be to make significant inroads into the market. And until Apple finally decides it wants to target the enterprise by improving its software and repairing relations with developers, the result is clear: Windows will continue to reign supreme in the business world.


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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