Microsoft to Mac enterprise bloggers: How much to sell out Apple?

Vista is much better than Mac OS X, right? For the enterprise. And how much will it take to get you to write up that thesis? It's the world of "corporate custom content."
Written by David Morgenstern, Contributor

Vista is much better than Mac OS X, right? For the enterprise. And how much will it take to get you to write up that thesis?

Such was the pitch that arrived in my inbox today from marketing company Studio B., a Great Neck, N.Y., marketing company associated with Microsoft and the Microsoft Press. The firm wondered if I'd like to write some "corporate custom content" for a client.

According to the Studio B. site, the company "supported" the Microsoft Commerce Server 2007 rollout with marketing sales and marketing tools as well as providing trainers for early adopters.

Here is the text of the letter:

One of our customers has asked us write up a technical marketing case for Windows Vista over Mac OSX in the enterprise. I'm contacting you to see if you know anyone who would be interested and capable of writing this based on background materials we have.

The candidate should have a good understanding of client systems in the enterprise and the technologies behind issues that are important in the enterprise (deployment, manageability, work group and policy management, security, suitability of developer platforms for line of business applications, tech support, licensing, TCO).

We have some background materials that include a 75 page technical document called "Apple in the Enterprise" and other summaries of technical points, but it all needs to be put together to make the case.

It's not too hard to figure out who the customer is here. The price to sell out the Mac in the enterprise is $15,000. But my guess is that this fee may be negotiable upwards depending on the brand of the author in question.

Can it be that the Mac and the iPhone are gaining enough traction in the enterprise to start ringing alarm bells in Redmond? It appears so.

Certainly, the Windows consumer group was working overtime on the night before Apple released its notebooks refresh. Microsoft's marketing team pounded the Windows press with the message of an "Apple tax." Mary Jo Foley's column in All About Microsoft makes interesting reading.

However, on the enterprise front, we may be seeing the result of increasing demand by Mac switchers in the executive ranks, who have been hounding IT departments for support. These switchers have been helped by the continuing progress with Windows virtualization for the Mac as well as increasing support by enterprise software vendors for native Mac versions (an important story at the upcoming Macworld Expo in January).

At the same time, this letter reminded me of an unusual happening from earlier in the year. It was the hint of a whisper campaign against Apple in the enterprise.

This was where a friend of mine -- an executive at a technology company who had never owned a Mac and whose company doesn’t support Apple hardware and never will -- asked me about something he had heard about Apple: that while Apple products had great design, they were of poor quality.

Of course, this claim is nonsense. But suspicious nonsense. Marketing kinda nonsense.

So, where did this notion of Apple’s lack of quality come from? My buddy said he “heard” from someone. He didn’t make it up.

Being so false, it has the ring of a rumor campaign to me. The best candidate to receive the rumor would be someone who hasn’t used a Mac client machine. I can see how it may spread in in enterprise IT departments or within companies receiving pitches for technology adoptions where switchers are starting to be seen.

It appears that rumors couldn't stop the switcher tide. Now, they are looking for corporate custom content from trusted sources. Believe me, that won't work either.

Check out these related stories: Has Microsoft lost its way on desktop computing? http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=1486

Macworld Expo conference videos posted online http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=1310

Looking back: The PC assault on Apple’s pro markets http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=1148

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