Apple computers in a Small Business Environment
I have seen this conversational piece pop up on a variety of technical forums through the last few months, and as usual we have two camps all fighting each other on what is the best system etc, an argument that will never go away with these people, so it’s a waste of time even bothering to have any rational discussion with them. But, it has to be said that in my various visits to a variety of clients recently, there have been many questions coming up about the Apple iPhone and the iMac, and how it would be nice to see them getting used in the office they work in. While this all sounds like a great idea,it does show how little they really do know about IT in general and about Apple products as well.
Most of the servers that I am involved in maintaining have Small Business Server 2003 or 2008 installed on them, and a few firms have a simple peer-to-peer setup as it does everything that they need. All of the systems have a variety of Windows based PC’s attached to them, all running WIndows XP Professional, some with Vista Business and some WIth Windows 7. All of this works, and it has came in a price that is seen as affordable, well to most clients anyway.
SUPPLY & INSTALLATION
This next section may appear to be a rant, and honestly it’s not, but you need to understand the mentality of some business users out there, and what the real-world is all about.
I am more than happy to supply a computer to a client and install it onto their network, taking any data from an old system and getting it across to the new system or even waiting for the client to buy their own computer system and I install it for them as well. Why would a client want to buy their own system you may ask? They perceive that the price given to them is expensive, and they can buy one cheaper, without understanding that my time has a value associated to it and that the price I give then includes installation!
If I tell you that I had a client who bought in a system from another supplier, they attempted to install the system onto a domain, but had no idea it was a domain and attempted to set the system up with pop3 accounts and an Administrator account… I then get a telephone call, asking that “I CALL” the guy who was trying to install it onto their network, and guide him through the installation…
So, they do not give me the business (I have no problem with that in any way) but they then expect me to use my telephone to run up a bill talking someone through installing their equipment onto a network that I maintain? Needless to say that when I spoke to the person concerned he realised that he was way out of his depth and just wanted out, but did say that he had offered to do it as a courtesy…. but once he understood that this was not a 5 minute install, and there would be custom software to be installed etc, he had no other option but to go back to the client and tell them I would have to do the installation.
So, what the heck has any of this got to do with Apple having computers in the small business environment? Well, what is the high price some clients would freak out at?
£550 – £650 is around the average that people seem to faint at… and some people seriously think that they could have the likes of an entry level iMac coming into their office? Do these people know that the current entry level iMac comes in at £1,138.00, that’s right, read that again… go on… read it again!
So somehow, the people who freak out at a Windows based PC system around £550 – £650 will now just rush out and buy a system at double the price, and this is just the computer itself! This does not include installation and configuration, not the associated office applications that will be needed for the Mac! So please, in all seriousness, can someone point me in the right direction to “Planet Reality Check”?
NEGATIVITY? ONLY A BIT!
After reading the stuff above, you might be thinking that I am a PC user who hates the Mac and will just be writing anything that makes Apple products appear negative.
Sorry to disappoint any fanboy reading this, but I have a 24″ iMac here now being used more in my day to day general duties and online activities than the PC does, I buy all the Apple (affordable) gadgets that appeal to me or have a use for in my day to day business, and I love the whole Mac experience. The problem I have as a business owner is simple. I make no money from Apple products, Microsoft and third party hardware allows me to make money, Apple want to have it all to themselves, and their aloofness and high prices are they major stumbling block to them making and serious inroads to the small business sector. To do this, they need people like me, to actively sell their products for them, but unfortunately they do not want to pay me in any way for doing so… does this sound like a familiar story you have just read above?
For the home user who has around £1500.00 to spend, and wants to have a computer “experience” but is not really wanting to do much Business related work, then I would tell them to jump right in and buy themselves an iMac. One of the main reasons for the likes of me advising them to buy one for the home is that I know I will not get some stupid phone call telling me that their computer is running slow, has pop ups and that they done nothing to cause the problem! The Mac makes an IT person such as myself happier as we know that once the user is up and running they really cannot do much to muck things up! Something that (to me) is actually worth the price you have to pay.
People in a Small Business Environment do not want to spend £1,138.00 (inclusive of vat) on a single computer system for their staff. That’s the bottom line here to put a stop to any conversation about the Apple Mac hardware making inroads into business, it just is not going to happen. The BOSS might want an iMac for home, the BOSS might want a whole series of Apple products for themselves, but there is absolutely no way they will spend that sort of money on their staff.