CIO Jury: Will Snow Leopard boost Macs for business?

Apple may be reinvigorated with CEO Steve Jobs back at the helm and a new OS just out of the gates, but it looks like the business world is still closed to the Mac maker.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor
Apple may be reinvigorated with CEO Steve Jobs back at the helm and a new OS just out of the gates, but it looks like the business world is still closed to the Mac maker.

According to silicon.com's CIO Jury, the release late last month of Apple's latest OS, Snow Leopard, won't signal the company's entry into the business market.

Also read: Special Report: Snow Leopard

Just one of the 12-strong jury said the launch of Snow Leopard will make their IT department more likely to adopt Mac OS X machines.

For Matthew Oakeley, CIO of law firm Schroders, a new OS isn't a sufficient spur to consider Macs.

"The OS itself isn't enough - the impact on the whole desktop and Wintel architecture have to be considered," he said.

Andrew Wayland, CIO of recruiter Michael Page, agreed, saying operating system upgrades don't always deliver significant boosts in performance on their predecessors.

"I don't view 'operating systems' as the enablers of business now that they perhaps once were with say Windows 3.1 and the first Macs.

"The benefits are often marginal upgrades upon previous products, even though they may be spun out as more. In many cases they can actually be of no demonstrable benefit and a real source of pain, for example Vista. For some companies there is a possible alternative to Microsoft where perhaps there was not one available before, but time will tell if that is the case."

While there may be no pressing reason to shift away from Microsoft products for many CIOs, Apple products continue to make their way into the business, according to Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO Northern Europe of food and facilities management company Sodexo.

"Although Apple products are undoubtedly very good (and very appealing) they are only used in niche areas (design). There are no substantial benefits in moving away from Window-based environment for personal productivity. This doesn't stop the daily requests to support corporate email on individual's iPhones though!"

The corporate world's lack of interest in deploying Macs appears to have increased little over the years - a CIO Jury from 2005 found just one tech chief claiming Apple machines are an issue for corporate IT departments.

And a poll of US tech chiefs also found a lack of interest in moving to Macs on the back of Snow Leopard's launch. A CIO Jury conducted by TechRepublic found not one of the 12 heads of IT saying Snow Leopard would push them to consider Mac OS X.

However, some industries are exploring their OS options.

Mike Roberts, IT director of The London Clinic, said: "Macs are becoming more popular in the medical community. The primary issue for us is always security and after that the need for applications to work reliably on the Mac OS. So I'm off to the Apple store for a new MacBook Air!"

Is the CIO Jury right? Read an exclusive article, in response to the CIO Jury findings, from Michael Silver, research VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner who argues that just because CIOs aren't buying Macs, that doesn't mean they won't appear on corporate networks.

This CIO Jury was:

* Alan Bawden, IT & operations director, The JM Group
* Peter Birley, director of IT and business operations, Browne Jacobson
* Chris Ford, IT director, Nottingham City Council
* Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO Northern Europe, Sodexo
* Madhushan Gokool, IT manager, Storm Model Management
* John Keeling, CIO, John Lewis
* Matthew Oakeley, CIO , Schroders
* Mike Roberts, IT director, The London Clinic
* Mark Saysell, technology director, Creo Retail Marketing
* Spencer Steel, IT manager, Informatiq Consulting
* Andrew Wayland, CIO, Michael Page
* Derrick Wood, CIO, Wood Group Production Facilities This article was originally posted on silicon.com.

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