Will Tiger Problems Hurt Apple?

"Apple is much more of a high-wire act than Microsoft, so any falling off is more dramatic," one analyst says.

Since Apple Computer loosed Tiger, more formally known as Mac OS X 10.4, the operating system has had numerous reports of problems, mainly with networking bugs.

As more individuals and companies install Tiger and tinker with its features, will more issues put some rot in Apples reputation in the marketplace? Will enterprises that seemed Mac-bound suddenly put a halt to those plans?

Hogwash, say some analysts.

"Anytime you have a major revision in an operating system, youll have issues, especially with networking," said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg.

Because the Mac OS is used more widely in the consumer space than in the enterprise space, it is likely that Tigers networking troubles wont even be a concern for many users, he added.

"SMBs and enterprises will have to focus on how it affects them, but theyre used to qualifying releases within their environments."

If Apple does suffer a bit of cloud cover in its currently sunny era, it will primarily be because of the way it does releases, said Roger Kay, an analyst at IDC.

"Apple has a Big Bang, surprise way of launching its products," he said. "Because of that, people expect them to be perfect, and that gives Apple an aura of invincibility."

Microsoft, by comparison, leans toward inviting partners to play around with its technology, and releases several beta versions before launching. This tends to show a systems or products warts before its official launch, and leads users to expect minor deficiencies even after release.

"Apple is much more of a high-wire act than Microsoft, so any falling off is more dramatic," Kay said. "But that still doesnt tarnish the companys reputation overall."

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about Active Directory and SMB problems facing Tiger.

Although analysts are confident that the minor glitches being felt by adopters will stay minor, there is always the potential that Apple could be hurt by problems that have not yet been reported. But Gartenberg said he thinks it would take major issues for that to happen.

"If something about Tiger wiped out a users hard drive, then OK, that would make Apple look bad," he said. "But I think that most users understand that a huge change in an operating system comes with small glitches that have to be fixed. Thats just par for the course."

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