I played games like "The Oregon Trail" and "Fish Tales" during my first encounter with computers in elementary school. It was an Apple IIe and although it wasn't able to cure my Oregon Trail family from Dysentery or Small Pox, it was able to catch my imagination more then anything I had ever seen before. Little did I know that I would build a career and eventually a thriving business from it. The Apple IIe computer was a very common machine, especially in the education environment. Whether it was due to price, marketing, technical performance, or some corrupt politician with Apple stock, just about every Generation X offspring had some kind of Apple experience in elementary school. About a year later, my Father brought home an IBM Compatible with one of those green screens and the true floppy disk drives. The only program it had on it was an address book application that I wish I knew the name of today. It didn't do anything else and, being the 10 year old that I was, I had no need for an address book. I was so interested in it that I input all the contacts from my Dad's "Roll-a-Dex" into that computer. After I spent 40+ hours doing it, the screen went out and I never got to see my green digital contacts again. Finally, in middle school, I ran into my first Microsoft Windows computer and with that computer I built the most epic Sim City 2000 city in all of the 7th grade. I was hooked.
Microsoft Windows dominated the Operating System (OS) world with Windows 95 and everyone all but forgot about the Apple counterpart. This went on for over a decade until what I think severely hurt Microsoft, the Windows Vista OS. Nothing worked on Windows Vista and the OS simply devoured hardware resources on the host hardware. At the same time, Apple made a giant leap forward with their OSX OS. They released this OS on simple machines like the iMac that appealed to younger generation students that were already used to the OSX OS from their High Schools. I believe that was when the Apple craze began. The iMac's opened up the iEverything. iPod, iBook laptops, iPhone, and of course the iPad. The OSX OS was also released on the very popular Macbook and Macbook Pro laptops. Not only were the products well designed and built, they also performed extremely well due to the lack of malicious software written to target the OSX OS. Apple was now everywhere from the tabloids and movies sets to the Executives Briefcases and corporate server closets. Steve Jobs turned the Apple brand from a small technology company into a part of modern day pop culture.
The Apple brand became the Mercedes Benz of technology and everyone was buying them. For most businesses, productivity, efficiency, and operating costs are more important then status. At least for successful businesses it is. I can still go to the Apple store and those kids can sell their products to the regular small business owner like they have a monopoly on the system. It blows my mind. Why do seemingly smart businessmen fall for this simple marketing. If you look at any large enterprise company, they all run on Microsoft or Linux OS's. "Well Frank, why do you think my Macbook is not as productive or efficient as your PC Laptop?" I thought you would never ask! Lets go over the points that Apple doesn't include in their Genius Bar brochures.
Unlike Apple, Microsoft built their products around the bigger picture rather then the individual. A Macbook Pro is great for a single man web development company or the lone wolf graphic artist but if you ask that Apple user to save his drawings or files to the network share, it will take him or her at least 4 times as long to get to, and open that network location. When I explain that to clients, I call it the "Connect on Demand" from Apple. On a properly setup PC network, you, and your colleagues, are all connected from the second you log in. Sharing is a matter of a single double click and a drag and drop. Even if you run an OSX Server, the Apple clients on the network still "Connect on Demand." It's highly counter productive and inefficient compared to the PC method. This fact, in my professional opinion, is the biggest blow to Apples configuration.
Microsoft's Active Directory, Group Policy, and Network Monitoring services are far and above anything Apple has released for business class network thus far. Microsoft's Group Policy tool alone is the single most powerful network resource ever produced. From one fairly simple management console, you can control everything and anything you want from what kind of files users are able to open to what keys on the keyboard are not allowed to be pressed. Try writing a script for that on OSX Server. Oh wait, OSX Server doesn't even have a scripting plugin. Come to think of it, the only domain management functions available on OSX Server are only there because they are built into the Linux kernel that Apple built its product on.
If you are reading this and you are saying to yourself, "This guys is just another PC lover, Apple hater that doesn't understand the Apple simplicity." I get it, I really do. As a matter of fact, I'm writing this article on a Macbook Pro that is far and above better then any PC laptop I have ever owned or used for that matter. However, if I was to use this to run my business, I have to be honest, my business would be bankrupt. So for all you Apple lovers that sit at home, browse the internet, download whatever you want, make cool graphics, and check your email, keep your Macbook because it's perfect for you. For those of you out there that are looking for a more complex piece of machinery that has no limitations, more software applications then the app store will ever dream of having, and who build businesses based on the old school standards of productivity, efficiency, and most importantly bottom line, bring your butt back to the PC, call me for a business consultation, and watch your business boom.
Senior Network Engineer
G&G Network Design and Cabling, LLC