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Opinion: A glance back at Apple in '06, a look ahead to '07

By Yuval Kossovsky
December 20, 2006 12:00 PM ET

OK, that's fine, you might be thinking. But how does this help manage the risk of Windows, other than removing it completely from the equation? The kicker in this comes from the Intel platform on which Apple hardware is now based and the use of virtualization solutions such as Parallels or a WINE environment such as Crossover, and even dual booting the Mac using BootCamp. You can install XP in a "guest OS," manage it using SMS and any other Windows tools and -- if you really need Vista -- you can do the same thing with it -- running both with virtualization under Mac OS X. In other words, you buy one computer from Apple and have the option of running two, three or even more operating systems.

From what I've seen of the latest versions of Parallels, it will have the option to launch guest OS apps without having the user visually invoke the rest of the operating system GUI, while Crossover only invokes the necessary windows components using WINE. So, you could run Vista apps, XP apps and Mac OS X apps without a user ever knowing that they're working in three different operating systems. In moving to Mac OS X, an IT department has to train the end user in the use of only one GUI interface -- Apple's -- and can still run three or more operating systems as needed to support the applications they need to deploy. All of the operating systems can be managed using standard management tools. And having to back out of an upgrade to Windows won't force a company to grind to a halt during the process.

To sum up my thoughts about Apple in '07, now that it's using standard Intel hardware procurement costs are essentially the same -- and deployment and management costs are the same or lower than with comparable Windows-based systems. In migrating to Mac OS X and Apple hardware, a company can save on training costs and mitigate the risks involved in moving to Vista by eliminating the necessity of an all-or-nothing migration. An option like that should give any CIO, CTO, CFO or CEO something to seriously consider.

And that's how I see 2007 shaping up for Apple's place in the enterprise.

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