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WWDC: Apple Moves on the Enterprise (Updated)

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on June 8, 2009

Apple made news on on lots of fronts at its Worldwide Developers’ Conference Monday, with the new iPhone 3GS, a $100 iPhone 3G, and major notebook announcements. Almost lost in the iPhone and Mac Book announcements were several moves that add up to an assault on the enterprise, long Apple’s weakest market.

The most intriguing announcement, partly because it was completely unexpected, is that Snow Leopard, the next version of the OS X operating system for Macs, will include built in support for Exchange, Microsoft’s enterprise mail and collaboration system. Snow Leopard is scheduled to ship in September and will cost $29 for a single copy or $49 for a family pack for up to five machines. And new iPhone features seem to take aim at both Microsoft and Research In Motion, maker of the enterprise-oriented BlackBerry.

If the Exchange support works as promised, it will be a very big deal. The difficulty of using Exchange, which is the dominant mail system in corporations and many other large organizations, has been a serious barrier to the adoption of Macs. You can use either the built-in OS X Mail program or Entourage, the mail component of Microsoft’s Office suite for Macs, to handle Exchange mail, but neither does it very well. The best solution has been to run a Windows virtual machine on your Mac, using Parallels or VMware software, and then use Microsoft Outlook. It works fine, but it’s a bit of a pain.

By building support for the Exchange infrastructure directly into the operating system, Apple has done something that Microsoft itself has never attempted. Apple says that in addition to reading mail, Mac users will see Exchange contacts in the Mac Address Book and Exchange calendar items in iCal. Integration extends to the ability to create meeting invitations simply by dragging contacts into an iCal appointment. You sure can't do that in Outlook.

The big question, of course, is how well this will really work. Exchange and it's Mail Application Program Interface a notoriously complicated beast and developers have long complained that MAPI's technical documentation is incomplete. Even developers within Microsoft grumble about the difficulty of working with it. So I'm going to reserve judgment until I actually see it working and learn what limitations it might have but make no mistake about it, Exchange support can be a game changer.

UPDATE: Apple Senior Vice-President Phil Schiller confirms that the Exchange integration in Snow Leopard will only work with the latest Exchange software, Exchange 2007.

Apple has also beefed up the security features of the iPhone, another big deal for the enterprise. One of the things that has long made BlackBerrys appealing to corporations has been the encryption on the device and the ability of managers to remotely and nearly instantly wipe the data off a lost or stolen device. Remote wipe has been possible on iPhones, but only through the use of an Exchange server. The new iPhone will offer full encryption and the ability to wipe a phone to factory condition through Apple's MobileMe service. If you have encrypted your iPhone, data backed up to the MobileMe service will also be encrypted, which will make the use of this third-party service more acceptable to corporations.

Apple still has a long ways to go in the Windows-dominated enterpise. But it took some giant steps toward closing the gap on June 8.

Reader Comments


June 10, 2009 12:45 AM

Just after the Palm Pre announcement philanthropic donation to Afghanistan with promise for software as iPhone, the MobileMe is great plus the price $99 gives millions outside the US a breather for a switchover. The developers conference will have fair share for developing/emerging markets for piece of the pie in the development of Apple. Developing countries should have a very clear policy from Apple for iPhone which are dumped of used locked SIM phones from US thru various grey channel. As there is no subsidy model in the developing countries, and it's always unlocked SIM's. Will you consider special pricing and information exchange with the developing countries regulators for the development of Apple software.


June 10, 2009 2:07 AM

I completely agree that Apple is long overdue on setting up their enterprise presence within the Microsoft workplace. We can hopefully see more and more Mac's being sold to companies that will not need to buy not only the computer and the OS, they will not have to purchase another suite for office productivity.

Way to go Apple, I hope your solution works as advertised.

Your article is quite interesting, however, your misquoting of the prices need to be adjusted. The $29 and $49 price is for existing 10.5 users. The price for 10.4 users is $169 for single users and $229 for the family pack (granted the packages include Snow Leopard, iWork '09, and iLife '09).

You might want to address that fact as it is misleading.

Oh, and please use spell checking; you have the word "which" misspelled in the last paragraph, last sentence.

Lee Hericks

June 10, 2009 3:48 AM

Let's not forget that Snow Leopard server (included on new server purchases starting September or bought separately for $499) will have significant speed increases, is easy to use and has mail server software, user directory server software and a lot more AND has no Client-Access licenses needed. That's right, why doesn't the enterprise see this? They keep Microcrap alive with all their CAL purchases. Fully UNIX compliant and reliable...time to switch.

MS Word

June 10, 2009 5:45 AM

"If you have encrypted your iPhone, data backed up to the MobileMe service will also being(?) encrypted, whoich(?) will make the use of this third-party service more acceptable to corporations."



June 10, 2009 6:53 AM

I have owned several Macs over the years and they all ended up in with my sister and her two boys. They love them and I was planning on treating myself to a new one. I am having second thoughts now, I run Ubuntu on a cheap Acer, works great. A non removable battery in a laptop sours my appitite. There has been a time I had to pull the battery to shut down the unit from a hard lock up. It is rare but it happened.
That is good of Apple to give cheap upgrades for people running Leopard (10.5) that I thought was bloated anyway. If I was still running Tiger (10.4) I would not want to upgrade, Tiger was solid and did it's job.


June 10, 2009 7:35 AM

Too right on the CALs. In fact it makes sense to run OSX as the main file, print & UNIX apps server with Exchange on a VM. We can even cut out many MS-Office licences with quicklook!


June 10, 2009 9:10 AM

"The most intriguing announcement, partly because it was *completely* unexpected, is that Snow Leopard...will include built in support for Exchange".

Completely unexpected except for the fact that Steve Jobs announced Exchange support in Snow Leopard at WWDC 2008 - exactly one year ago! Ah, so great to finally see the media lemmings all flocking to bad they know little of what they speak.

Steve Wildstrom

June 10, 2009 9:21 AM

@BMags73--Your information about upgrade pricing is incorrect. Snow Leopard (not counting X Server) comes in only one version, priced at $29/49. Theoretically it is intended for upgrade from Leopard (10.5) but that is not a technical requirement; unlike a windows upgrade edition, this can be used for a clean install. The $169/229 price applies only to the Snow Leopard/iWork 09/iLife 09 bundle.

As a practical matter, I doubt there are very many machines capable of running Snow Leopard, which is for Intel Macs only, that are still running Tiger (OS X 10.4) today.


June 10, 2009 9:38 AM

The direct exchange support is very welcome, but the assertion that for email Mail or Entourage do not work very well currently is false. I have been using Apple Mail, Entourage, and Mozilla Thunderbird on Exchange servers for at least 8 years and they work very well. Usually the only impediment to mail clients other than Outlook is Exchange administrators that do not know how to set up Exchange properly for clients other than Outlook.


June 10, 2009 9:44 AM

Too bad the iPhone encryption is user driven and not something enterprise can enforce with Exchange ActiveSync policy .. Opps encryption only works for 3GS so I guess all those other iPhones will not be able to connect or upgraded.

Nice try though.

What enterprise is looking to use MobileMe? Apple needs desperately a BES type solution - even better just work with RIM and they would get all the business they can handle.

At least some good products are starting to come out with iPhone support(Good, Trust Digital). Unfortunately most just wrap a GUI around the ActiveSync policies and Apple prevents any real management on the iPhone. What is you didn't want AppStore usage or to lock down some functionality?

Steve Wildstrom

June 10, 2009 10:34 AM

@Mike--The level of Exchange support that Jobs hinted at a year ago sounded far more limited than what Apple announced this week. Basically, he was talking about support for ActiveSync. The Exchange support in Snow Leopard though is going to be much deeper than that.

Webster Phreaky

June 10, 2009 11:40 AM

AAPL 138.63 -4.09 -2.87% !!!! (and MS is UP!)

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha, the MARKET is not swallowing the crApple Hype on the "new" iPhoon, lower prices and new Macs (all of which the sales have been SAGGING for 9 months now!)

Just like Stevie Gods, crApple is TOAST.

Stuart Maddison

June 10, 2009 7:40 PM

@ Webster Phreaky

Apple's Mac sales may have dipped 3% earlier in the year briefly, compared to the double digit decline for the rest of the computer industry, but have bounced back into growth since.

So that says Apple is still booming, whilst the rest of the industry - particularly the former poster child Dell - languishes.

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha!


June 14, 2009 5:50 AM

@ Steve Wildstrom

You interpreted my posting wrongly. I never stated the technical hardware requirements nor did I misquote the pricing.

They are indeed the same operating system, but with two licensing agreements; one is a single user license and the other is for up to 5 Mac's within the family household. I did not state that in my posting, but, I thought you might have looked into it for the betterment of your article.

I do see that you changed the pricing as I suggested. Thank you.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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