In the late 1990s, Burlington Coat Factory became famous in IT circles for being the beacon of commercial Linux volume deployments – the early adopter that became the case study for other businesses tempted by open source software but afraid of being the first to openly commit. It’s tempting to imagine that German newspaper giant Axel Springer group could do something similar for Apple.
Of course, the latter is a large, mature business that has been reinvented in a remarkable way since prodigal son Steve Jobs returned and the Apple that lost was found again. But the news that the publisher of Bild and other big-selling journals will move most of its estate to Mac – about 12,000 seats -- suggests that Apple could rise again as a core component of enterprise infrastructure.
IT buyers are curiously sheep-like, given the technology industry’s boasts about bleeding edge, real-time, event-driven means of operating. They want to see the pioneer go first and only if he returns sans arrows in head will they follow – and even then only sometimes.
For Apple to be taken seriously as a PC alternative would take a further sea change involving a massive restructuring of channels to market and training programme for admins, helpdesk staff and others.
It would also help if Apple hada more attractive price list but the Axel Springer move suggests that some companies see the attraction in what is arguably a more secure, attractive desktop environment.