Early Release Won't Help Apple's Snow Leopard Win Corporate Converts

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-08-13 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Apple might be planning to release Snow Leopard sooner than it originally planned. But it won't help Snow Leopard compete with Microsoft in the enterprise. This release of Mac OS X is aimed at improving performance of the operating system. So while Snow Leopard may please the Mac user community, winning market share from Microsoft Windows is way down on Apple's priority list.

Reports are swirling, claiming Snow Leopard, Apple's follow-up to its current operating system, Leopard, will be hitting store shelves much sooner than originally expected. In fact, the rumors suggest that it will actually be made available Aug. 28. It's an ambitious goal. But if it is true, it still won't help Apple's chances in the enterprise. The reality is, no matter how much lead time Snow Leopard has, it can't match Windows 7.

Snow Leopard promises to be an iterative update. It won't be earth-shattering. It won't feature upgrades that will revolutionize the market. It won't even boast a new, unique design. This time around, Snow Leopard is designed to be faster and slightly more robust.

When Apple first announced Snow Leopard, the company spent considerable time talking about the software's use of 64-bit architecture. According to Apple, Snow Leopard's native apps, including Finder, will run much faster than they currently do on Leopard. Apple also updated Expose and Stacks to make them more useful for those that are trying to negotiate multiple windows at the same time. But perhaps one of the most important updates made to Snow Leopard is Microsoft Exchange support. Exchange will now work with Address Book, iCal and Mail.

For the enterprise, Exchange support is a must-have. Some companies that were looking to switch to Mac OS X after trying desperately to get out from under Windows Vista were unable to do so without Exchange support. Now that Mac OS X will have it, the switch to Apple's operating system won't be as bad-or so Apple claims.

The reality is, even with Snow Leopard's improved features and the possibility of a two-month head start, it won't match Windows 7 in the enterprise. It doesn't have the features, nor the support, nor the appeal that Windows does. Admittedly, Windows Vista was a mistake that Microsoft needs to make up for. But it wasn't such a huge mistake that it would make too many companies switch to a Mac. Whether Apple likes it or not, the enterprise is still suspect of Mac OS X.

Compatibility, anyone?

One of the biggest problems facing Mac OS X is compatibility. With Snow Leopard, Apple didn't make any effort to open its platform to third-party developers that want to bring their corporate software to the OS. That follows a long line of Apple products that have also neglected third-party software. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, 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 http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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