"When you strike at a king, you must kill him," said the great Transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Apple, in toying with but not killing Microsoft in enterprise computing, has unwittingly granted its rival a new lease on life with Windows 7.
At least, that's the position Likewise CEO Barry Crist is taking in a recent blog post. In some ways, Crist depends upon neither Apple nor Microsoft killing off the other, as his company makes audit and authentication solutions that span different operating systems: Mac OS X, Windows, Unix, and Linux.
The company also makes awesome T-shirts, as shown at right. The T-shirts highlight the importance of technology that enables heterogeneous operating system environments. Homogeneity is boring and, frankly, impractical. That's where Likewise comes in.
It's also where Apple failed in missing, intentionally or not, the Microsoft jugular, and in giving Microsoft a good model from which to copy a modern operating system, as Crist explains:
Apple significantly helped Microsoft "get it right" with Windows 7. Our technical team has looked at the Windows 7 beta. This is a team that doesn't throw out idle praise and certainly doesn't pull any punches when reviewing Microsoft technology. To say that the early returns from our team on Windows 7 are positive would be an understatement. Microsoft appears to have delivered. And the timing for Microsoft could not be better.
I doubt Apple has much appetite for the enterprise. Not yet, anyway. It's still too much of a boutique brand, albeit one that I love and which is catching the interest of an increasing array of enterprises. Yes, Microsoft has its issues, including a new federal CIO that has a penchant for Macs and Google, but Apple may have missed its chance to mortally wound it. Update 4:10 p.m. PST: Whoops! I meant to say above that I doubt Apple (not Microsoft) has much appetite for the enterprise.
But that's just fine for Crist. His business depends upon multiple-choice exams, not essay-based exams that plumb the depths of why Windows is the only good answer to every question. So long as enterprises want to run more than Windows, Crist's Likewise will sell a lot of software.
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