Apple Goes on the Offensive?

by Dustin Puryear

Not exactly “new” news but there is a reasonable article by Gary Morgenthaler at Business Week about Apple and Microsoft. Definitely well worth the read. Gary discusses how Apple is developing a multi-pronged strategy to battle Microsoft. In all honesty, the strategy has very clear for a while:

1. Use bottom-up marketing by targeting consumers to increase mind- and market-share.
2. Focus on ease-of-use, which has always been a foundation for Apple.
3. Keep their presence known in the enterprise, but don’t focus on it.
4. Be the cool company.

I think we can all agree the strategy is working. Apple is becoming a bigger player every day, and *gasp* they do seem to be slowly making some headway in the enterprise, albeit extremely slowly (at least in my experience).

There’s a question that comes out of this success however: How does this impact the open platforms like Linux and FreeBSD? Well, a lot actually. Linux maintains a strong but shared leadership position in the data center, but has yet to have even moderate success on the desktop. Certainly you can find stories of large Linux desktop roll-outs here and there, but when viewed in light of the total desktops in use and those being deployed now or even in the future, the number is almost dismissively small.

Just as importantly, if you ask your average consumer or enterprise desktop user about Linux they will either have no idea what you are talking about or ask you why they would put the mail server on their desk.

That’s not the case with Apple. Everyone knows Apple. And most people have a very positive impression of Apple computers, although Apple is often avoided due to cost and compatibility (whether that remains a valid reason or not). But Apple on the enterprise desktop? That’s another ballgame altogether. The “cost” side of the equation goes away for the user and the compatibility issue is slowly fading with virtualization, published applications and terminal services, and web-based access. So what DOES happen if you put an Apple on someone’s desk? They’ll probably play with the computer for hours and tell their friends how snazzy it looks. And then they’ll start working.

Microsoft does indeed have a very serious problem here.

3 Comments

Harald Hoyer
2008-04-16 01:08:06
Apple does not beat M$ in terms of cost. Linux does.
Daeng Bo
2008-04-16 03:34:51
The new, budding UMPC market is a Linux playground. There are several new players in that arena: Linpus, eeeXubuntu, and Pupeee in addition to the eeePC's Xandros.


Apple isn't competing in that market (unless you count something like the iPhone), and MS is late to market with a cut-down version of an OS that's almost EOLed.


Check out the new version of Ubuntu coming out in 8 days!
Ubuntu 8.04LTS video: http://www.ibeentoubuntu.com/2008/04/overview-of-ubuntu-804-lts.html

Croombe FP
2008-04-16 08:19:34
A kick in the seat for M$ is LONG OVERDUE and my hat off to Apple to take up the challenge. How on earth M$ have managed to hoodwink people into thinking that their software is the ne plus ultra of applications I simply don't know. Try persuading people to switch to OS software : it's like pulling teeth without anesthesia.
The impact on Linux will, I am sure, be very positive as, basically, Apple's OSX is Linux. I have known people switch to Apple from a Windoze environment because of their bad experience with M$. My psychiatrist is one : but she can afford the switch! However, she has told me that she can now rely on the fact that every time she turns and uses her Apple IT WORKS. It doesn't give her blue screens, doesn't crash, and is, basically, RELIABLE and she has not once had to call in someone to fix her system since she changed over.
Likewise, I switched to Linux four years ago (or more) and have never had impromptu crashes : crashes that I have caused, yes, but never a stop due to faulty software. Also I've never been hacked or broken into (which is more than I can say for several friends who insist on sticking with M$). I now have my wife and eldest daughter converted and am working on youngest daughter and husband but they are difficult to convince even though they like my system when they use it here in my home!
Go for it Apple Corp. but PLEASE don't have the arrogance to become a second M$ with all the woes which that would bring. Also, it might pay Apple to look at opening up their architecture as did IBM so many years ago which itself resulted in the phenomenon of computers in every home at a reasonable cost. I can now get a new extremely powerful "clone" (to use an old term) for around $300.00 which is more than can be said for Apple.