Mac Enterprise Computing: The Return of the King
Aside from the inevitable replays of Apples award-winning television ads and perhaps an historical recreation of the Macs first public demonstration (where CEO Steve Jobs persuaded the classic 128K Mac to speak), this expected return to the roots of the Mac may be played out in another way: with the return of the Mac as an enterprise computing platform.
At its release, the 128K Mac was famously touted as the computing device "for the rest of us": It was aimed at anyone who wanted a graphical desktop and wasnt ready to pony up the $12,000 for the Lisa, Apples remarkable workstation aimed at enterprise computing. Most other contemporary computingbusiness or otherwisebent to the will of the command-line interface. That forbidding standard served a variety of personal computers as well as so-called minicomputers and mainframe terminals.
Despite a premium price and some technological limitations, the Mac caught on with a wide range of users, including businesses and even large enterprises. This history may be difficult to swallow for a generation weaned on Microsoft Windows and the realities of Apples current market share.
Click here to read about enterprise offerings at Macworld Expo, including MacIT conference sessions, Oracle Database 10g platform for the "Panther" 10.3 version of Mac OS X.
As someone who still remembers the Macs salad days, I was heartened to hear about an expansion of the MacIT conference at Macworld Expo and about announcements of support for OS X 10.3 (a k a "Panther") from a number of enterprise-level database companies, including Oracle Corp. and Sybase Inc.
And I was, of course, buoyed by the positive reception afforded Apples 64-bit Power Macintosh G5 machines and the Panther OS.
But when I review most of the recent hubbub surrounding Steve Jobs annual keynote address to the Macworld Expo San Francisco crowd, I cant help but notice that the enterprise theme has been drowned out by recent speculation about a low-cost, entry-level iPod music player.
Click here to read more about analyst and vendor conjectures about what a low-cost iPod would mean to Apple and the companys place in the MP3 player market.
What with Apples success in the player market and its strides in the retail space to make the Macintosh a "digital hub" that connects an assortment of consumer digital peripherals, its understandably difficult to discern the enterprise strategy.
But for the moment, lets forget iPods and all the consumer-market distraction. Heres a brief list of some of the announcements, Id like to hear from Apple officials at this weeks Expo:
Apples admirable efforts in the consumer market have set off an echo effect among the tech-conscious. Maybe this week, Apple will look beyond this consumer beachhead to reclaim its historical territory among CIOs.
eWEEK.com West Coast Editor David Morgenstern is a longtime reporter of the Mac market and storage industry as well as a veteran of the dotcom boom in the storage-rich fields of professional content creation and digital video.