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Unleashing Tiger on the Enterprise

By Jay Lyman MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
May 5, 2004 8:35 AM PT

Apple increasingly is looking to take its Mac OS X operating system, server and storage offerings -- and recent development success in and around its products -- to enterprise computing, with its upcoming Mac OS X "Tiger" aimed at business more than ever.

Unleashing Tiger on the Enterprise

The Cupertino, California-based company announced that CEO Steve Jobs will preview Tiger next month at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), while also hinting at plans to extend its Xserve G5 and Xserve RAID enterprise hardware plays with the new OS. In keeping with these plans, the conference will expand its enterprise IT track designed to help enterprise developers, system administrators and IT managers learn to leverage Tiger technologies in their environments.

Yankee Group senior analyst Laura DiDio told MacNewsWorld that developers -- including those in the Java, Unix and other communities -- have had a great deal of impact on the different versions of Mac OS X, now in its fifth iteration.

"Apple is a company that really listens to its constituency, except on pricing," DiDio said. "It is that iterative give and take as a source of information -- when the developers say tweak this or fix that, they do it. They have a very active development community."

Development Life or Death

DiDio -- who predicted that embedded security, remote access and management and automation would be some of Tiger's biggest features -- said Apple and the developers working around its products have both benefited from the company's strategy of fostering projects.

"We've seen with any operating system vendor or major application vendor like Apple or Microsoft or Novell -- you live and die by your development community," DiDio said. "If you make money for these guys, they'll make money for you."

DiDio conceded that those developing for the Mac platform are limited by Apple's small market share and that Mac fans would like to see more done faster. At the same time, she also reiterated strong Apple loyalty on the part of both users and developers.

Small Market, Big Marketing

With Apple previewing other developer conference attractions such as enhanced QuickTime and digital media development, code porting and testing, and a technology roadmap, DiDio said it is hard not to root for the company's users, which are "always a real creative group."

DiDio, who said it was interesting to watch Apple "reinvent themselves with iTunes," also credited Apple with effective marketing that, although not supporting the growth of market share, is sustaining Apple's religious following.

"For the amount of market share they have, they do a tremendous amount of marketing," DiDio said. "They always seem to hit it on the head."

Surprise in the Enterprise

In discussing Apple's announcement at the National Association of Broadcasters last month that it would release Xsan in the fall, Apple director of server software Tom Goguen called the new storage area network (SAN) solution the company's fifth product line aimed at the enterprise market.

Goguen -- who stressed Panther Server's unlimited client licenses -- said Apple products were turning up in places far beyond the company's traditional niches in media, graphics and publishing.

"With price-performance, we've seen a lot of interest in our products coming from places we never dreamed we'd seen an Apple logo," Goguen told MacNewsWorld. "I believe we'll have lots of opportunities -- we'll hit video hard and we'll succeed -- but over the long term, we'll be even more successful outside the video market."

Gartner research vice president Martin Reynolds told MacNewsWorld enterprises are drawn to Mac OS X mainly because of its robustness, which is achieved through the operating system's architecture running on top of Unix.

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