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Will there ever be a corporate Apple?


By Scott Bradner


As regular readers know I'm a fan of Apple computers and use them at home, on the road and at work.  As anyone in the corporate world knows, I'm, at best, one of those exceptions that prove the rule that Microsoft owns the corporate desktop.  Since Apple's announcement that it was adopting Intel processors there has been a growing buzz among some pundits that Apple might be on the cusp of a major increase in its penetration of the corporate world, this buzz increased dramatically in volume with Apple's announcement of a supported way to boot Microsoft Windows on Apple Intel-based computers.  But does this buzz make any sense?


I've been using Apple Macintosh computers since about 3 months before they were announced in the famous 1984 Superbowl commercial ( (which has been credited with making the Superbowl show something that non football fans want to watch).  I got an early machine because I was one of the Harvard representatives to the Apple University Consortium.  For most of the next decade Apple had a significant presence in the corporate world but, due to many significant missteps by Apple coupled with almost perfect execution by Microsoft (until the courts got in the way) that presence has shrunk to almost nothing.


Although I've been seeing a lot more Apple laptops on airplanes and at meetings (they are easy to spot with their luminous Apple logo) the percentages are still small.  I expect to see a lot more glowing Apples (assuming the London court does not tell Apple Computer that their monochromatic apple with a bite out of its logo is too similar to the Apple Corps green and whole logo and forces a change) But now I will not be able to tell if the user is running an Apple operating system or Windows.


Apple's "Boot Camp" ( allows an Apple Intel-based computer to run Windows natively and just as fast as a machine designed with just Windows in mind.  I think this is a good move by Apple but not the best move it could have made.  Boot Camp means that a corporate user could buy the Apple hardware that many people consider some of the best in the industry yet run the corporate standard Windows environment.  But the Apple OSX environment will always be just a reboot away and thus easy to try out.


I'd rather virtualize than reboot. I've been using Virtual PC ( when I need to run a program that only works on Windows.  It creates a window in which Windows runs and files can be copied back and forth.  Virtual PC is quite slow because it emulates the x86 processor, the same function on an Apple Intel-based computer should run at full speed.  A number of other companies have announced virtualization software for the Apple machines including Parallels ( and EMC's VMware (


The ideal solution, but not easy, is to work like Apple Classic does - let individual applications run transparently in a local Windows environment if there is no Mac version with OSX starting up a virtual Windows environment when the user clicks on the application.


With this support of the corporate Windows standard corporations could let users choose Macs but do not hold your breath - far too many corporate IT groups are focused on doing their job efficiently not making things good for their users.  Thus I'm resigned to seeing Apple as an also-ran in the corporate world.


disclaimer:  Harvard is one of those corporations where Apples are run by exception rather than rule but the above prediction was not checked with the Harvard IT folks so is mine alone.