Don't Hold Your Breath for Macs in Business

With the release of OS X Leopard, the best has gotten even better and you’d think that enterprises that remain distinctly cool to Windows Vista might want to give Mac a second look. Forget about it.

The fact is, Apple doesn’t really want corporate business, and based on its recent earnings reports, doesn’t need it. Apple is very, very happy being the BMW of computer companies, and serving the enterprise market forces you to be Chevrolet or, at best, Toyota.

Furthermore, going after corporate business would force Apple to do at lot of things it doesn't want to do. Some are relatively minor, like improving the manageability of its computers. Some are bigger, like adding mid-range desktops with separate displays; corporations hate all-in-ones because monitors last longer than CPUs, the Power Mac is too expensive, and the mini too underpowered.

But the ultimate deal-breaker is that enterprises will not accept single-source hardware. In reality, they may buy all their hardware from a single source, such as Dell, but they want the assurance of knowing that a second source is available. The first thing Steve Jobs did when he returned to Apple a decade ago was to kill off hardware licensing and it will never happen again as long as he is running the company.

That means that Macs will continue to be tolerated in the corporate ghettos of research and creative shops, but they won't go mainstream. Small and medium business, though, could and should be a different story. Especially for companies without IT departments, the simplicity and reliability of Macs ought to be mighty attractive, especially now that the availability of Parallels and VMware Fusion means they can have their Mac and run Windows too.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.