Future Apple strategy

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Silas1066, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Silas1066 macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2009
    I have some concerns about the direction Apple is going with its products and services.

    While the ipad and macs are making inroads to corporate networks, and the iPhone continues to shine, Apple seems to be doing the following:

    1. Abandoning the enterprise: Apple discontinued the Xserve, scaled down its OSX Server product in Lion, and has discontinued other enterprise offerings.

    2. Apple obviously feels the could is the future: in an effort to go to where the puck will be, Apple is going all-out on the cloud. The idea is that hardware, corporate networks, etc. will be replaced by smart devices and software as a service.

    3. Abandoning the education market

    There are a number of problems with this. Microsoft and IBM will respond by making their infrastructures more proprietary and less Apple friendly. Apple can't be naive enough to think that the big enterprise players are going to sit back and let Apple intrude on their space.

    I manage a large, nationwide network, and many of our applications simply don't run on OSX: many Cisco offerings, such as the IPCC supervisor software, or the SAP apps we use, are Windows only. Microsoft is pushing SharePoint hard, and trying to unseat any software firm that wants to implement web-based, platform independent solutions.

    Where are Apple's back-end solutions? As a company, it cannot become consumer-only, as its offerings will go from being tools to toys. Do we really want Apple to start looking like Research in Motion (RIM) -a parasite on Microsoft's back end that is now struggling to stay alive?

    Now is the time for Apple to hit the enterprise: build out a full-scale OSX Server solution and allow for virtualization. Further develop remote access and custom solutions for the iPhone and iPad.

    They could even go out and purchase Novell! Take the NDS and port it over to OSX, create the most powerful directory architecture in the world.

    With tens of billions in the bank, and growing profits, Apple shouldn't be looking to become a cellular phone company. It needs to offer end-to-end solutions for both consumers and corporations.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Since the iMac, Apple's enterprise offerings have been lackluster in the first place. Nothing new here.

    Apple and every other major technology company.

    Lackluster to begin with. See: enterprise.

    What infrastructure? Microsoft, IBM, and Apple don't really compete. All of their cash cows (iPhone = Apple, Enterprise Windows = Microsoft, Servers/big data = IBM) are in more or less completely different markets.

    You and every other major company.

    Nonexistent. Those they did produce couldn't compete in price for comparable performance to much more established competitors.

    Wrong. 10 years ago was the time for Apple to hit the enterprise. Even then it probably would have failed.
  3. Silas1066 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2009
    I don't think Apple should be limited to the consumer market.

    Their failure to deeply penetrate the enterprise is due to the fact that they haven't made an honest effort at it since the 1990s. What was the purpose of developing OSX Server, XServes, Open Directory, and XSan, if there was no intention to get into the enterprise?

    The answer to this is political: while Apple had, and still has, the tools to hit the business side hard, Jobs and others felt that the company should be limited to the consumer.

    Microsoft is a company in decline. Is Apple going to let them catch their breath?


    1. Microsoft failed in the convergence battle: voice, video, and data. Apple, Google, and Cisco are killing them in all these areas. MS doesn't have a viable tablet, its phone offerings are a failure, it has no "Apple TV", and its music player (Zune) was dead on arrival. MS makes unimaginative, circa 1990s, big black boxes.

    2. Microsoft has been unable to really compete in the enterprise database market: Oracle and IBM still dominate this market, and MS can only grab parts of the small to medium-sized business market.

    3. Microsoft Windows 7 is still based on outdated technology, reliant on a registry, loads of 32 bit code, outdated DLLs and drivers, and all the stability issues this comes with. It is lipstick on a pig.

    4. Microsoft tried to get into the search market: that was a fiasco, as it can only pull customers from Yahoo--MS hasn't even made a dent in Google.

    5. MS front-end software suffers from feature-creep and is unnecessarily complex. Since Office 2007, the product has become more difficult to use and integrate into corporate networks.

    6. PCs are going away: there is a reason why HP just dumped its entire division, and IBM got out a long time ago.

    If Apple can't get into the business world to a considerable degree, a desperate Microsoft is going to shut them out of it completely.
  4. *LTD* macrumors G4


    Feb 5, 2009
    So what?
  5. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    It seems that IT managers often specify non-Apple solutions while employees beg to use their iPhones and iPads. I agree that Apple doesn't seem to be making a good pitch to business decision-makers.

    I volunteer for a public school so I've worked with Apple Education many times. Apple Education still packages solutions for schools, but they always seem to be a bit behind the times and, even worse, behind the scenes. There's very little advertising to the education market.

    With education I think Apple is merely following the money, which is not flooding into educational purchases. With business their strategy has always been mysterious to me.

    Now I'll go back to gulping my espresso and pretending I understand anything about marketing strategies.
  6. Silas1066 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2009
    well if I want to play video games I will go get a X-Box

    I am a Mac power-user, who spends a lot of time using the more advanced and technical functions of the OS.

    A 100% consumer-focused Apple could easily turn into a company that puts out a iOS for every platform that does not allow terminal access, is locked down by DRM and other functions, and is basically a fancy toy.

    I love Apple and don't want to see them wreck their product line through a lack of vision.
  7. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    You're joking right?
  8. Silas1066 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2009
    not at all.

    IBM just surpassed Microsoft in value (market capitalization): the first time since 1996

    Apple overtook Microsoft before that.

    Investors are calling for the CEO of MS Steve Ballmer to step down


    as the article above points out: "An investor who put $100,000 into Microsoft stock 10 years ago would now have about $69,000 worth."

    Compare that to Apple and tell me Microsoft is not in decline.
  9. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    City of Angels
    Apple TV is not a big deal yet so Microsoft is not missing out much by not putting out a competing product. Zunes and what's become of Windows Mobile, I agree with, they're all indicative of Microsoft's missteps.

    Apple's front-end software offerings are pretty miniscule to begin with. Software-wise, Apple doesn't really do much development beyond the OS. And I'd take a feature creep MS Word 2011 over that ugly thing called Pages any day.

    With the poor leadership Microsoft currently has, I doubt they can shut anyone out. They're just in the game so long as their software and tools remain industry standard.

    And part of Apple's success is knowing what markets to penetrate. I'd like to think when they bowed out of enterprise, they did so because they determined they couldn't make a significant impact. If Apple ever starts entering markets without a plan to dominate, I'd be worried because that would indicate their leadership's values have changed.
  10. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    Remember that all development of iOS software occurs on Macs. If anything, development for iOS is becoming more tied to Macs, not less.

    Or are you expecting Apple to move Xcode and all its other development tools to something other than Mac OS X?

    And the last time I looked at Mac sales figures, they were still increasing, despite lackluster economic conditions.

    This paints Microsoft as both a bunch of bumblers and an effective competitor with a brilliant strategy. I honestly don't see how they could be both things at once. Or perhaps I haven't understood your point here.

    Many enterprises are looking to a future IT strategy that embraces consumerization. In fact, this Ars Technica article has the following sub-headings:
    • Embrace consumerization
    • Train users, give them the tools to control their own destiny
    • Virtualize
    • Stay out of the way
    • Get the basics right
    Apple succeeds when it looks forward, not backward. "Skate where the puck's going, not where it's been."

    Another Ars Technica article (precursor to above):

    Apple being adopted in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) enterprises:

    Apple's B2B app store:

    A concrete example of enterprise "big IT" done on Amazon's EC2 cloud service:
  11. KingCrimson macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2011
    Guess what - the MSFT board just gave Ballmer a 2% raise and the Nov. 15th meeting to reaffirm him as CEO is now a formality.
  12. Silas1066 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2009
    Cloud computing sounds great on paper

    In reality, it means turning over the keys to your data to a 3rd party. Once enough people do this, it becomes a trap. You are forced to buy into (at great cost), closed, proprietary systems.



    Now what Apple should be giving us are tools and software with which to create private clouds. Those clouds are then available to any iOS device, OSX, whatever has a browser, etc.

    Does anyone really think it is a good move for Apple to become a "front end" for Microsoft's Azure systems? When MS gets tired of the upstart, it will lock Apple out and it will be game over for Apple in the business world.
  13. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    1. Microsoft is a corporation, just like Apple; they're in it for money, and so long as Apple has cash, there's no worry.

    More importantly, Microsoft thinks just like you do. In fact, their next server release (Server 2012, to coincide with Win 8) supports private clouds, so that businesses can retain ownership over their own data.
  14. KingCrimson macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2011
    Apple is only testing their datacenters with Amazon Web Services & Microsoft Azure. Once the testing is done, Apple will probably move over to IBM/Oracle/Linux solution.

    Anyways Apple is not a serious player at all in enterprise, they've basically ceded the space completely.
  15. *LTD* macrumors G4


    Feb 5, 2009
    He needs a pink slip (and a cold shower), not a raise.

    Same old MS. Delusional, but this time they're determined to stay that way.
  16. KingCrimson macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2011
    Anyways the grapevine has it that Ballmer is leaving after Windows 8 goes RTM anyways. So you won't have to put up with monkey boy for much longer.
  17. ZipZapRap macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    Here I was thinking that Microsoft is a SOFTWARE company that occasionally dabbles in hardware..

    The only black box I know of that they make, is the Xbox, which, you know, just became the fastest selling consumer device in history thanks to Kinect.
  18. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Like it or not they are limited to the consumer market. Their forays into enterprise have been abject failures, due in no small part to their egotistical mindset when it comes to "knowing" their customers' needs.

    This just shows how out of touch you are with reality.

    Microsoft is not a database company. Duh.

    Yet it is the best-selling operating system in history. Hmmm.

    Nobody has been able to make a dent in Google's search market share. At the least, Microsoft Bing is to Google as Apple's Ping was to Facebook.
    Actually it's gotten easier. I wouldn't expect you to know that, since it doesn't seem like you would know anything about enterprise integration.

    Because they aren't profitable for them? The PC isn't going away in certain markets any time soon.

    They're already shut out. Wake up.
  19. KingCrimson macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2011
    These are the only boxes MSFT makes:

  20. kevinfulton.ca macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2011
    What would make anybody think they were ever truly interested in enterprise computing? From, almost, day one their mission was to bring easy computing to everybody (meaning consumers). Their goal has always been to simplify the experience and it just so happened that a lot of that user experience, along with some cool apps, appealed to creative professionals. Even Final Cut wasn't wasn't originally intended for big studios. It was for the indy film maker or "prosumer" crowd and snowballed into something bigger. Probably the biggest reason they're not heavy into enterprise (that I can see) is profit margins. I've done business to business sales and margins get slashed to ludicrous levels to win bids. I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for Apple to get into enterprise. It would make more sense to build on what they do best, high quality, easy to use computers with lots of profit built in. :D
  21. KingCrimson macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2011
    While it's true that margins in enterprise are low for small businesses, but MSFT/IBM/Oracle/SAP make HUGE margins. In fact because of those margins, MSFT overall profit margin is larger then Apple's.
  22. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    Only if you single-source your provider, and only if that provider uses closed or proprietary protocols.

    Use an agnostic service and you're no more trapped than having your data trapped on your hard disk because it fails or becomes intermittent. Single-sourced data is always vulnerable. Even if it's on Richard Stallman's personal cloud.

    As an example, Amazon's S3 service uses standard HTTP and HTTPS protocols. The authentication is completely documented, and uses standard cryptographic hashes. There are any number of free implementations, written in multiple different computer languages. Some of them are even free in Stallman's sense, i.e. licensed under the GPL or LGPL. Others are even public domain.

    If you wanted to, you could write your own server software (or just a servlet) to implement the authentication. After that, it's standard HTTP methods: GET, PUT, DELETE, etc., which are easily covered by Apache or any other decent web server. All adhering to IETF RFCs.

    The uploaded data is only as visible to S3 as you care to make it. You can use any encryption you want, applied before uploading anything. You can use no encryption, if that's what you want. You can mirror your data to any other service, if that's what you want.

    None of this is new. It's been around for a few years, and is completely documented on the AWS developer website (google it).

    One thing new: Amazon Web Services obtains FISMA Moderate Accreditation:

    Apple's MobileMe service uses/used standard WebDAV protocols for its iDisk service. Again, completely documented, adhering to standard RFCs. Also not new.

    I don't know what Microsoft uses for its Azure or Sky Drive protocols, so I can't speak directly to those. I don't know what Apple's iCloud protocols are, either. Perhaps someone else can provide details.

    If you insist on using services like GMail that mine your data for their own corporate ends, then that's your own fault. There are alternatives, and I expect the number of options to increase over time, not decrease. You're only as trapped as you let yourself become.
  23. kevinfulton.ca macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2011
    Fair enough, but MSFT is strictly a software company in the enterprise field. The fact that Apple is selling hardware and turning their current profit is crazy to many people in the consumer electronics industry. Plus, everybody here knows that if they decide to get into it they'll want to offer a complete solution (hardware and software) which pits them against those other well established companies. That means that they would have to spend millions (maybe even billions) to develop a product that they would consider better then the alternatives and even then they would still need to convince an industry that's ALL about the bottom line to spend A LOT of money to switch. They would be forced to undercut in order to gain market share and that just doesn't make business sense. Ive seen it happen and fail many times. It just wouldn't make business sense.
  24. Silas1066 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2009
    Unlike you, I actually work in the IT industry.

    "Microsoft is not a database company"? Really? OK, I guess that huge MS SQL Server array that runs our SAP system must be made by someone else.

    The only reason Windows 7 has the sales it does, is because no company wanted to purchase Vista, which was a disaster.

    The PC will stick around for a while, but the writing is on the wall.

    Back in the 1970s, IBM was king, and no one back then though there was even a market for a non-IBM computer people could use at home. But a couple guys tinkering around in their garage thought otherwise.

    I don't buy into this "Microsoft will be king forever" nonsense. I will give them 10 years before their market share is down 50%, more than 60% of their software products are gone, and the company has laid off over half its employees.


    All of this is true, but it is also true that if you forget to pay your bill, they lock you out of your data.

    Don't want to pay the new rate of 150% above the old? OK, good luck getting at your content!

    control means owning the equipment and having root access.

    Anything else is delusional.
  25. *LTD* macrumors G4


    Feb 5, 2009
    Do they?

    In the case of MobileMe, you also have your data stared locally.

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