journal: mac

This is why Macs aren’t right for business? You gotta be kidding me.

One thing I hate is when people criticize for criticism’s sake. OK, we all do it—I do it from time to time—I won’t deny that. But if you need to do it, at least make it look like you tried to come up with some meaningful criticism. A couple days ago, Fortune Small Business posted an article entitled Why Macs still aren’t right for most businesses (via Gruber). Some of the points raised are perfectly valid, like some incompatibilities with VPN clients, but many are, well, downright absurd. Let’s dive in.

The article starts off well enough. Author Jonathan Blum discusses a small business that successfully switched to Macs, then states the following:

“My verdict? Though Apple computers can produce excellent results for small business, expect issues: Macs remain a niche product. Your transition from Windows will not be without bumps.”

OK, so far it’s not too far off point. Macs are a niche product in terms of their small overall share and the fact that Apple basically focuses on three markets: home, creative, and education--though that doesn’t make them unsuitable for business. And with any transition, there are going to be bums bumps1 in the road.

But then the wheels fall off:

“No matter what you do with a Mac, you have to face Apple’s peculiar vision of all things computerish. First off, the packaging is seriously overdone: The slogan “Designed by Apple in California” posivitively shouts at you from the box. Like I care.”

Seriously? You’re criticizing this? Somehow Apple’s packaging makes the Mac less suitable for business use?

Like most business users will care what the box says.

“Once out of the box, the iMac is lovely; the keyboard in particular is my hands-down favorite. And the screen is an excellent value - although hardly the absolute best on the market, as Apple makes it out to be. But why should locating the “on” switch be such a struggle? Just stick the thing where I, and my employees, can find it: right up front.”

Again, this is your criticism? The location of the power switch?

“But - as ever, with Apple boxes - there were not enough USB ports. I was forced to dump my USB hard drive in favor of an Ethernet enablement unit.”

I can understand needing more USB ports, but that’s where USB hubs come in. You can buy one at any electronics store, and they’re really quite affordable. And since what counts as “enough” USB ports is totally subjective, this hardly counts as a reason to not consider a Mac for business. Again, convince me that the Mac might not be right for my small business. You’re 0-for-3 so far.

And what on Earth is an “Ethernet enablement unit”?

“Then came the software issues. We found that Citrix’s (CTXS) GoToMyPC, my shop’s VPN (virtual private network) tool, was unstable on our iMac. Our Web-based backup service, Mozy, did not support Mac solutions when I started testing, but has since released an upgrade.”

Finally, something relevant!

But then…

“Offsetting all this speed are some curious features clearly not aimed at the average small business. The desktop is divided into quadrants that extend beyond the screen’s edge. Only with some complex keyboard commands can I slide from one to another.”

Uhm, Spaces is a power-user tool. Oh, and it’s off by default for this very reason. In other words, most users likely will never ever see it. This is hardly a reason to criticize Mac OS X. How does Spaces make the Mac less capable for business?

“All the goofy Apple-centric commands leave PC-trained users constantly fighting to parse out what the control, option and command keys do.”

It’s no different than a Mac user trying to learn Windows shortcuts. And Mac OS X’s keyboard shortcuts are no more goofy than Windows’ keyboard shortcuts.

Again—do I need to repeat it?

“Apple devotees swear by the touch-sensitive shell of the ‘Mighty Mouse,’ but its top left- and right-click buttons still look an awful lot like just one.”

Judging by the mediocre-at -best reviews from users on Apple’s own online store, I don’t think “swear by” is the right choice of words to describe the prevailing attitude toward the Mighty Mouse. Jonathan, buddy, just because Mac users love the Mac doesn’t mean they love everything about it. And feel free to replace it with the USB mouse of your choosing.

And again, I should think twice about the Mac because of the mouse it comes with that can be easily replaced? Seriously, a little critical thinking goes a long way.

“The real eye-rolling winner is Time Machine, quite possibly the silliest operating system extension in history. Must I really sit through a full round of special effects - the desktop slides away to reveal some mysterious star in full supernova disappearing into infinity behind my various backups - just to find a what I said to a client in a lost e-mail? Honestly.”

Silly as it may be, remember what the core audience for Time Machine is: average users who have never touched backup software before, and probably never would if not for Time Machine. If that’s the goal, Apple better make something as unglamorous as backup interesting to average users.

It’s not that I entirely blame the writer; after all, it can be difficult to come up with something when you’re on deadline and need to come up with 500 words by 5 PM. As a freelance writer and editor, I know the feeling. But at the same time, criticizing the packaging, the number of USB ports, the power button’s location, etc..., in an article explaining why the Mac isn’t ready for most businesses is a bit of a reach. There’s an article to be had here. This sure as hell isn’t it.



1There may be a few bums too. wink


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thinkback

1.

Thank you for responding to this dopey, utterly pedestrian “review” of the Mac for small business.
But sadly, it is indicative of the average spud’s mind-set out there.
Oy Vay, what a dope!

PS- That’s BUMPS in the road, though I’ve seen plenty of Bums in the road on I-20… grin

2.

If you’re looking for a bunch of lame excuses to refuse to support Macs, look no further.

What kind of preparation and planning did he do before switching his business to Macs? Due diligence, anyone? How does his obvious lack of preparation qualify him to write about the experience, especially for a supposedly serious publication?

Given that my colleagues and I support about 300 Macs (we have a few PCs kicking around too and a bunch of Microsoftian servers) in a large business, I feel qualified to say the this guy is a nit-wit.

I guess if he’s too dumb and ignorant to buy a $10 USB hub and keep his external USB drive, it’s no surprise that he’s too dumb to replace it with a fast firewire drive instead of a slow network drive.

Bozo. Bozo. Bozo!

3.

I am the CFO of a multi-million dollar Ad firm based in Indiana. We have 72 iMacs and 14 Mac Pro’s on our premises, all running perfectly fine. Our IT Department absolutely loves them for their ease of use and configuration. When I hire new employees I am amazed at the responses I get when I tell them they need to learn Mac to work here. In almost every case they tell me they have been dying to try it and look forward to the experience. They are quite enthusiastic to get away from Windows.

If I based my purchasing decisions on where the on/off switch is, keyboard short cuts and USB availability I don’t think I would be buying “anything” and we would all be running “the pencil OS”.

This is the silliest argument for making business purchases I have ever heard. I would love to know the company he works for so I can short their stock.

4.

Good to hear that I wasn’t the only one left wondering after reading that “review"…

My first thought was that he chose an iMac for business… Come on!  Like you’re going to buy a Dell XPS One or 210 for a business setting…

The “not enough USB ports” issue got me too.  I’ve had to put USB cards into PCs as well as Apples.  But it is also back to that form factor thing - you’d have to add a USB hub to a Dell One or any laptop as well.

And at least the keyboard shortcuts are fairly standard on the Mac - Apple actually has that as part of the developer’s information.  Whereas PC shortcuts vary from program to program.

And as you say, as a Mac user I don’t have a “Mighty Mouse” because it just doesn’t work for me…

5.

I read part of that article and simply couldn’t finish reading it - it was so ridiculous. Thanks for writing a good rebuttal.

6.

Ethernet enablement unit

I think what he’s referring to is usually for the MacBook Air:

Apple USB Ethernet Adapter
Easily connect your MacBook Air computer to an Ethernet network with the Apple USB Ethernet Adapter. Small and light, it connects to the USB 2.0 port of your MacBook Air and provides an RJ-45 connector that supports 10/100BASE-T performance.  $29 at the Apple store.

7.

A few of the comments are rather laughable, Why they would be bothered but the ‘Designed by Apple in California’ is a mystery to me, they would they prefer ‘Designed by Acer in China’? Or for that matter the keyboard shortcuts, you can’t use an Apple like a Windows machine any more than you can use a hammer like a screwdriver. They may be used to drive fasteners but they can’t be effectively used in the same way. Besides this what exactly is SO MUCH different, it’s rather perplexing. Its like they were trying as hard as possible to find something to complain about.

8.

I’m surprised that a magazine like Fortune would publish such drivel.

9.

I was also puzzled by “ethernet enablement unit”. If you google these exact words (in quotes) the only hits are the original article and comments on it. The Mac already has ethernet so I assume this is some USB to ethernet adapter for an external USB device for which he ran out of ports (like a typical business user, who has at least 3 USB devices in addition to mouse and keyboard, each needing a powered port? ... never mind). But it you are doing that, why not just get a USB hub?

Or maybe he meant an ethernet enabled unit, still more expensive than simply buying a USB hub.

10.

I was about to write that “journalist” myself, but I figure your article more than took care of showing him how many of us feel. He seems like a disgruntled teenager, firmly rooted in the “I like PC - NO, I like Mac” war. Childish and stupid and extremely surprising that an editor would let that piece through?

11.

As a long-time Mac power user, I’ve come to expect moronic articles such as the one in Fortune. Aside from points made previously, why is compatibility with Windows, or creating familiarity with Windows, essential to business implementations? So many people have gotten used to Windows-centric quirks that they have difficulty getting back to simplicity in design and use? FWIW, my company has moved entirely to the Mac OS X platform, both servers and clients.

12.

PS- That’s BUMPS in the road, though I’ve seen plenty of Bums in the road on I-20… :D

Oops! Fixed. That one qualifies as one of the more amusing typos I’ve made. raspberry

Thanks for catching that!

Ethernet enablement unit

I think what he’s referring to is usually for the MacBook Air:

Maybe, although he was discussing the iMac in the article. But considering the general suckiness of the article, he could have been mistaken and meant MacBook Air. wtf

13.

I think the author of that article speaks for a lot of people in that Macs are not considered the first option for most businesses for several good reasons, only I think he hasn’t elaborated the point enough :

1. Price.  Macs are still too expensive, both notebooks and desktops, and in everything from parts to hardware/software support.  Look in libraries, schools and offices and note how most businesses invest in equipments based on price.  The fact that PCs do the same thing at cheaper operating costs makes them an obvious choice for businesses who don’t care how they get things don’t as long as the result is the same.  And they don’t care about the boxes the computers came in either.

2. Apple’s lack of the usuals (usb ports, card readers) drives a lot of businesses up the wall.  Why do we have to pay a premium for something that doesn’t even facilitate basic needs?  Think about it.  If I get a Macbook as a replacement for my notebook I would also need a couple of externals to ensure that I have everything working the same way as before.  Now all that stuff is going to be hanging off the back of the computer which (if anyone hasn’t yet tried) is incredibly messy. 

3. Keyboard shortcuts?  Are we still living in the 80s?

4. Does the stupid mouse come standard on every Mac desktop?  Because I feel sorry for users who had to invest in a mac only to have to replace the mouse with normal usable ones.  Again, think of what most businesses would have to do if they really did buy Macs as replacements.  It would be pretty expensive just to get things right.

Macs has always been a target for businesses dealing with high end graphics and multimedia stuff (ie. companies that spend millions to make millions), but not for the majority of businesses who don’t need to spend the excess to do the same thing and probably even less. 

You see, smart companies don’t have to spend millions to make billions.

14.

Well, as I said, there is an article to be had here (that is, an article on why the Mac may not be for all businesses). The writer just picked some sucky points. I mean, I don’t think a company is going to lose sleep over the mouse (though I’ll admit the mouse blows and Apple needs to rectify it), for example, or where the power button is, or about Spaces, etc.... I think CIOs are more concerned over integration issues and so forth. While the Mac does a very good job integrating into a Windows world, all things considered, I think it’s safe to say that there are still areas where integration could be an issue. These are the types of issues the writer should have focused on, not on the idiotic fluff such as packaging, the power button’s location, and so forth.

15.

Tracked: website design shanghai

Deep Thought: This is why Macs arent right for business? You gotta be kidding me.

Tracked on: website design shanghai at 01-Feb-13 03:32 AM

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