CIOs hit the snooze button on Snow Leopard

CIOs hit the snooze button on Snow Leopard

Summary: With Exchange support, Snow Leopard was supposed to attract more business users to Mac. A new survey from TechRepublic's CIO Jury dashes that theory.

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TOPICS: CXO, Apple, Hardware
105

The most talked about new feature in Mac OS X Snow Leopard, which debuted on August 28, is its native integration with Microsoft Exchange. The assumption was that this one feature could have the same kind of impact in opening the Mac market to corporate users as Exchange integration had on bringing the iPhone to business professionals. A new survey of TechRepublic's CIO Jury completely debunks that assumption.

On September 1, TechRepublic polled its 90-member panel of U.S. IT executives and asked, "Does the release of Snow Leopard make your IT department more likely to adopt more Mac OS X machines?" The jury, made up of the first 12 respondents, unanimously voted "no" in a 12-0 decision.

TechRepublic’s CIO Jury is based on the original CIO Jury concept developed by Silicon.com, where you can find lively opinions from IT leaders based in the UK.

The CIO Jury for this verdict was:

  1. Laurie Dale, Director of IT for Ability Beyond Disabilty
  2. Randy Backus, Director of IT for Wallingford Public Schools
  3. Michael Woodford, Executive Director of IT for USANA Health Sciences
  4. Chuck Codling, Director of Infrastructure for Rocky Brands
  5. Michael Hanken, VP of IT for Multiquip
  6. Bob Hickcox, Director of IT for Girl Scouts of MN and WI
  7. Chuck Elliott, Director of IT for Emory University School of Medicine
  8. Lisa Moorehead, Director of IT for MA Dept of Public Utilities
  9. Chris Brown, VP of Technology for Big Splash Web Design
  10. Kevin Leypoldt, IS Director for Structural Integrity Associates
  11. Brian Stanek, VP of IT for NAMICO
  12. Jerry Justice, IT Director for SS&G Financial Services

Beyond just the 12 jury members, TechRepublic got votes and comments from over 50% of the 90-member jury pool and the overwhelming response was that Snow Leopard would have no impact on their IT infrastructure. Nearly every respondent wrote that Macs simply don't make sense in their corporate network. A few of the IT chiefs even responded that they personally admire and respect Mac OS X (some even use it at home), but that there were too many obstacles to using it at work.

For example, Lisa Moorehead, Director of IT for the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, responded, "I work in government. We've invested heavily in PCs and we don't do a lot with graphic design nor are we an educational institution. Because of that, supporting Macs for us is more of a hassle. However, personally, I love my Mac and am very excited about this new release."

David Van Geest, Director of IT for The Orsini Group, said, "While I have always liked the Mac OS, the expense and the necessity to run Windows-based software precludes it from consideration."

Let's take a look at some more of the reasons that IT executives reported for why they do not plan to adopt more Macs.

Why IT leaders still reject Macs

  • "Being a multi-discipline engineering firm, we have many applications that are Windows specific, therefore we are a Windows shop. While we do have a few Macs, adopting more Macs would require virtualization software to run Windows (i.e. Parallels) or a dual boot configuration. Introducing and supporting a second OS on every computer is not something we are looking to take on." (Kevin Leypoldt, IS Director for Structural Integrity Associates)
  • "The Macintosh operating system is not yet a good fit for environments where compliance with federal regulations such as HIPAA and FERPA are important." (Chuck Elliott, Director of IT for Emory University School of Medicine)
  • "Exchange support in Snow Leopard will not make it more likely we will adopt more Mac computers. Costs for Macs are still significantly higher and majority of our users and applications still require Windows." (Donna Trivison, Director of IT for Ursuline College)
  • "We will not be considering deploying Macs. As with many of the questions I've fielded, it's a matter of our key software vendors not supporting anything other than Windows for our core applications." (John Gracyalny, Director of IT for SafeAmerica Credit Union)
  • "A lot of the applications we use here at DEKA for engineering are not supported by Mac. At this time there is no business advantage to introduce Mac's into our environment." (Chris Zalegowski, Director of IT for DEKA Research & Development)
  • "We're very much a Microsoft-oriented shop. Microsoft makes pricing very, very attractive for higher education." (Scott Lowe, CIO of Westminster College)
  • "As as general rule, 'no,' due to the nature of how we run applications and their dependency on ActiveX control and the Internet Explorer experience." (Delano Gordon, CIO of Roofing Supply Group)
  • "Snow Leopard supporting Exchange integration is fine but I don't think it's worth introducing a new platform into the mix. Apple supporting Exchange is like Microsoft supporting Open Source. Both were late doing it and are only doing it because they cannot compete otherwise." (Matthew Metcalfe, Director of IS for Northwest Exterminating)
  • "No, our main application does not run in Mac OS." (Brent Nair, CIO of Wunderlich Securities)
  • "There are still overall cost and support challenges that would prevent us from adopting Macs in a big way." (Rick Treese, CTO of TheMarkets.com)
  • "It would still take too much time and investment to retrain users and support staff." (Chris Brown, VP of Technology for Big Splash Web Design)

A few leave the door open

  • "Snow Leopard in itself is not a driving factor, however, we are taking a more accepting approach to Macs in general. As new and younger personnel enter our organization, and as an increasing number of applications are running in the browser, the OS is is becoming less relevant. Thus, we are being more open to the requests of our user community as long as there are no significant barriers and/or potential degradations to our overall infrastructure in doing so." (Tom Galbraith, Director of IT for US District Court So District of IL)
  • "From an IT perspective it makes little difference for us. Unless you're a technology department that supports an advertising agency, graphics house, or anything heavy into creative media, I would think that Snow Leopard means little more than a curiosity. The ability to allow for Intel-based Macs, a few years back, provided more interesting food for thought than this latest release of OS X. For mainstream business and manufacturing I doubt that it would do much. However, I am open to interesting solutions." (Martin Szalay, Director of IT for FWE)

Would you like to be part of TechRepublic’s CIO Jury and have your say in the hottest issues for IT departments? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of TechRepublic’s CIO Jury pool, drop us a line at ciojury@techrepublic.com.

Topics: CXO, Apple, Hardware

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105 comments
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  • Wow, how wrong can you be?

    Quote from the first paragraph of the article...

    [i]The [b]assumption[/b] was that this one feature could have the same kind of impact in opening the Mac market to corporate users as Exchange integration had on bringing the iPhone to business professionals.[/i]

    Seems that TechRepublic is way out of touch with Corporate views on Macs... but then we already knew this from previous posts from Mr Hiner.
    iTeaBoy
    • That was the assumption in the market and the tech industry

      That was definitely NOT the assumption in corporate IT. That's the point of the article.
      jasonhiner
      • That's my point

        Given that there was a resounding response of 'No', which part of the 'market' assumed it would make a difference?

        And who in the 'tech industry' thought it would?

        The article reads like TechRepublic assumed that it would make a difference.

        I'm tired of reading articles about surveys that never should have been conducted.

        It's all just marketing hype and hoopla.

        Next thing JDoG will pick up your article and write another article re a meaningless article about a pointless survey... please stop the noise!
        iTeaBoy
        • someone is seeming defensive.

          Its just a poll of corporate IT directors about a simple question that I am sure Apple is very much interested in. You may not and hate the poll, but in the end it is what it is, no more no less. I'm sure that you would probably like the poll if it came out in your favor of what your mind thinks is right.
          OhTheHumanity
          • Very wrong

            I agree with the jury's verdict 100% - it just all seems a bit pointless to me.

            The suspicious side of me just thinks these 'surveys' and subsequent tech articles are attempts to get the name of a product out there a bit more.
            iTeaBoy
          • Apple is simply too successful these days

            and people are buying their gadgets like crazy.
            Snow Leopard offers very few new features, but the refinements
            under the hood are impressive! Now lightning fast thanks to heavy
            optimizations, OpenCL, lots of code shaved away, etc.

            It's like getting a new computer for $29. It's an OS that I think will
            tempt a lot of people once they've realized this.

            Windows is at best a kludge compared to this why it's no surprise
            that tirades like this article is published at sites like this one.

            :-)
            Mikael_z
          • Apple is just a real loser company, same as its users

            The real issue is not really exchange or not. the issue is much simpler. Apple users do not demand anything from apple or from developers. As long as it is "friendly" and "cute" and "creative" they don't demand anything, and don't accept anything. the only excepton os Adobe Products (Photoshop et al.) that gives the Mac Os a reason to exist. without Adobe products Mac OS would have gone the way of the Atari and Commodore. Face it, Mac OS is the same Atari & Commodore OS type with some added polish. when Apple users get serious and demand enterprise applications from Apple and its developers then OSX stand a chance. when you can't get any enginnering appications, acounting applications, security applications and so many others, how do you expect to prevail in the business world..

            and oh, BTW, if you do all this and still sell a 17" laptop for $3,000 minimum good luck my friend. prices are nowhere competitive to PC. the ratio is 3 to 1.

            So its not impossible, but the solution is for the apple users to stop kissing Apple ass for every smll improvement and start demanding and complaining and then maybe OSX will have a chance in enterprise.
            WinMacLinux
          • Haha. Let`s wake you up to reality , shall we :

            http://marketshare.hitslink.com/os-market-share.aspx?qprid=9

            Apple has been struggling between 4.60 and 4.90 for the last YEAR. Yup, more and more Apple fanboys buy more overpriced junk from them, while the rest of the world doesn`t care.

            Even Macworld magazine gave Windows 7 a good mark. LOL, a macintosh oriented magazine gives a good review to 7 :
            http://www.macworld.com/article/142458/2009/08/windows7_snowleopard_compare.html

            In the meantime, 7 gets to 1.23 marketshare. 1.23 for a OS that oficially, doesn`t exist (you can`t buy it in a shop/online) until 22 Oc.
            NeoGeneration
          • You're joking, right?

            You can't be serious. You make it sound like all Windows users have never seen a Mac.

            Many have, and just aren't impressed.

            We like the iPod, we really do, but its just an MP3 player, not a computer.
            John Zern
          • not enough

            to make a conclusion.

            12 random IT directors does not make a statistical poll. Although Apple is fairly rare in IT.
            someitguy79
          • I agree.

            This whole pick 12 out of 90 to make a conclusion? talk about skewing a story to make it say what you want it to say. what about the other 78 respondents?

            Tabloid reporter, this guy is.
            Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
          • Read the article....

            and you would have seen....

            'Beyond just the 12 jury members, TechRepublic got votes and comments from over 50% of the 90-member jury pool and the overwhelming response was that Snow Leopard would have no impact on their IT infrastructure'

            I wish that the author could have elaborated on this and let us know what the actual number of 'NO' votes were returned instead of simply saying 'overwhelming response' which could mean anything.
            sean_hando@...
          • I did read it..

            Again 90? So what. I don't forsee Apple taking over business anytime soon. I would be willing to bet there is more OS X in business than most IT would admit.

            You yourself said the reporter ignored the other 78 responses in the story.
            someitguy79
      • small businesses will try SL... or just skip to Google

        ...but in small business IT, snow leopard will steal Exchange users from
        windows. we're an IT support service provider for SMEs in London UK
        and have seen a small shift to macs this year - despite warning clients
        off it due to the Exchange support sucking (almost all SMEs use
        Exchange)

        SL removes this problem. Exchange in SL is now good, even great -
        tbc... i'm tracking the SL-Exchange issues here
        http://effortlesscomputing.co.uk/2009/09/01/exchange-and-snow-
        leopard/

        so we're expecting a faster flow to macs in SMEs now... but... it may be
        too late for snow leopard to steal many users. in the last few months
        we've also started seeing new customers arriving with google mail &
        apps. use those and the OS is much less important...

        -ben
        bglad
    • wrong for a different reason

      Currently CIOs are migrating to Linux or are evaluating Linux.
      OSX has to wait in line untilll the Linux evaluation or migration is complete.
      Linux Geek
  • RE: CIOs hit the snooze button on Snow Leopard

    Oh he's right - the iPhone has had minimal impact as a corporate platform too.

    And by 'minimal' I'm not including the privately owned iPhones that people begged their IT departments to set up, m'kay?
    Sleeper Service
  • RE: CIOs hit the snooze button on Snow Leopard

    After removing all the hype around Snow Leopard,
    it just a major sub-upgrade of Leopard. There's
    nothing compelling about it. Things may run better with Snow Leopard, but most things run just fine with Leopard. WIth tight IT budgets,
    why would anyone want to buy more MACs just because of Snow Leopard. Yes, I have the upgrade sitting next to my MAC. But I'm going to wait until there's more information about it's quality before I install it. As for what others are saying, I too just made another PC purchase because that was what I needed to buy to meet my needs. A MAC wouldn't have worked for this application.

    Dave
    dmilne@...
    • Tight IT budgets is right.

      Next poll: Are all you IT directors going to run out and upgrade to Win 7 immediately after its release.
      HollywoodDog
      • Nope...

        ...but 40% are going to within a year which is an awesome induction rate.
        Sleeper Service
        • Are?

          I'll believe it when I see it. Knowing that several large (FTSE 100)
          multinationals have only just completed upgrading to XP, having started
          the roll out within the last 24 months - I doubt that the really big boys
          will be so quick. That's not to say that Windows 7 won't be a success,
          just that these poll's are generally rubbish and history suggests that
          initial corporate uptake will be slow, not to mention the recession.
          UsernameRequired