Apple Succeeds Without Really Trying
Despite his enthusiasm for the Macintosh platform, O'Donnell, like many enterprise Macintosh customers, is frustrated by Apple's treatment of its corporate clients. He notes that Al Shipp, Apple's senior vice president for enterprise sales, retired from the company in November 2008 and was not replaced by Apple. "That shows Apple doesn't really care about the enterprise," said O'Donnell.
And while expressing a desire to gain corporate accounts, Apple does not accommodate the expressed wishes of enterprise customers by providing a road map of future product directions, he noted. O'Donnell is also disappointed that Apple has decided to pull out of the popular Macworld show and believes the move may backfire by undermining the Macintosh's growth in popularity.
In addition, O'Donnell cites a security deficiency in Mac OS X 10.5 that he has been asking Apple to fix for more than a year, to no avail. The software subsystem in 10.5 that does auditing does not work properly, he claims, and Apple won't tell him if it will be fixed in Version 10.6. He said this feature is very important for users in the payment card industry or for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. "I have complained, but I get no response," said O'Donnell.
Even so, there are some signs that O'Donnell finds encouraging. The Enterprise Desktop Alliance was formed in June 2008 by Mac ecosystem vendors including Centrify and Parallels, with the purpose of fostering easy interoperability and support for cross-platform desktop environments. "I think I will benefit from it, and they will benefit from joining forces," he said.
One EDA member, GroupLogic, makes middleware that integrates Macs with Microsoft Windows Server. O'Donnell is looking forward to the time when that integration is leveraged with Centrify's directory service. "Tying them together makes it better for users, administrators and security guys," he said.
Despite Apple's ambiguous attitude, O'Donnell plans a "steady as she goes" strategy that will continue to give end users a choice over the systems they use in a mixed environment. In response to user interest, he is testing application interoperability between the Macintosh and the iPhone. If customers continue to choose the Mac in ever-growing numbers, so be it. For RAND, it's a better way-and a tradition.
Stan Gibson, a frequent eWEEK contributor, is a freelance writer based in Framingham, Mass.