As I mentioned in my previous post regarding the iPhone, the level of general buzz surrounding Apple really seems to be at an all-time high. At the same time, Microsoft seems to be hitting all-time lows with the news stories we’re currently seeing about Vista and Windows 7. As a result, I think we’re going to see some significant inroads by Apple into mainstream IT over the next couple of years, and their market share is going to continue to increase until something changes. I’m just not sure that I see anything significant changing in the near term, so it’s going to be interesting seeing just how large that market share will become.
I think the biggest issue facing Apple is going to be how they handle this growth and whatever inroads they do make into corporate IT. A good example of what I’m talking about is a tool such as Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. This is comprehensive tool for the deployment, management, and updating of systems across our network. It’s a great tool. Other than some 3rd party tools, Apple has no equivalent product, but these are the types of tools we need in a corporate IT infrastructure. I realize that 3rd party tools can fill this void, but the problem with them is that they can breakdown when the systems they support are upgraded. I’ve seen this happen over and over again in both the Microsoft and Apple worlds. It makes sense to me to use Microsoft support tools to support Microsoft OS’s, and it would make just as much sense to use Apple tools to support Apple OS’s.
I suppose we can go with 3rd party tools in the interim, but I think this is an area which Apple needs to address. If they don’t they’re simply going to reach a point where they’re not going to gain significant ground into corporate IT. Adding Activesync to the iPhone is certainly a step in the right direction in terms of providing this type of support. It will be interesting to see what, if any, tools might begin to appear for desktop and server support.