Will Apple enter the enterprise? My chat with Jason Calacanis.

 

Jason Calacanis & Shawn Anderson - Twist #55A couple of weeks ago I took
part in a global chat hosted by Jason Calacanis on his This Week in Startups weekly podcast.

Here is a snippet of our discussion, which starts around minute 55:00. 

Jason: In the enterprise are people moving away from Windows, are Apple and Macs starting to get some foothold or is that something that MacHeads like to think?

Shawn: Not in the Enterprise. To us the entperprise is thousands of computers. In the small-to-medium (SMB) business… well not even there. In some of the niche markets like art studios you’ll see a lot of Macs. [I then proudly display my MacBook Pro to the camera]. I use a Mac for personal but I make money on Windows [because] that’s just what companies are using. You’ve heard of a big Linux swelling but you don’t really see it in the marketplace. So we definitely focus on Windows.

Jason: So what do you think in the next five, ten years, do you think you’ll see Apple starting to take market share in the enterprise, do you think you’ll see Linux taking marketshare in the enterprise?

Shawn: Linux has already started to slow down, I think you’ll still see them make a good solid hold on servers, but they’ve already lost on the desktop applications. As far as Mac, yeah, I think if you can integrate them [with Windows environments] a little better – the move to Intel was a step in the right direction, but as far as five to ten years I think you’ll see more Software as a Service (SaaS) and I think you’ll see a lot more virtualization. 


I’ve reflected on my answer to Jason and I want to expand somewhat. Apple makes computers that consumers want. They like Apple products because they look so good, are easy to use, and in general do a great job of getting out the way of you and your apps. 

But these benefits come with a jump in cost. This jump, as well as the cost of managing Windows & Mac’s simultaneously, are no doubt what the CTO and CFO’s of corporate America take into consideration. When it’s time to puchase 300 new laptops, CFO’s aren’t overheard saying “I’m looking for an easy to use computer that is a beautiful as the Grand Canyon.” More likely they’re simply saying “get me the cheapest thing that our users already know how to use.” 

This introduces a dichotomy. – Apple makes billions skating to where the puck will be, yet virtualization is a tiny blip on their radar (Parallels and Fusion). Yet all the experts say that Cloud computing and virutalization are the wave of the future. So who’s right? 

Both parties. As much advancement as the future will bring, computing will still very much be broken down into consumer and business. 

Apple will likely remain a predominiately consumer electronics outfit. Dell and HP will no doubt continue on the slow course of evolution with business computing, churning out powerful desktops and laptops and trying to get a toehold on the personal and mobile computing market.  They will probably not make a huge dent on the latter, but will likely rule the roost on the former. 

The interesting (authoritative) statistic that I want to see is the number of PC users at work who make the switch to Apple or other leading mobile computing devices for personal use. 

Count me in that stat. I used Apple through the early 90’s but switched when Windows 95 was released. I gladly jumped back into the Mac camp when they released their first Intel MacBook Pro line. Right now I’m happy camper.

As far as mobile computing goes; I like my iPad but it’s more of an ultimate bathroom reader and killer movie player for long plane rides.  

Three words: Google Apps Integration. 

Follow me on Twitter @ShawnAnderson

Follow Jason Calacanis on Twitter @Jason