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Apple, VMware Work To Make iWorks Work in View?

This is not a joke: A CRN report claims that Apple and VMware are working together on delivering the iWorks suite of productivity tools using VMware View. While it could be good news for VMware View and VMware in general, as they can ride the rails of the Apple crazy train, if this rumor is ever confirmed, it couldd be catastrophic for Apple. Brian Madden blogs about it with a bunch of bullet points, all of which I agree with. Still, I can't resist the urge to offer you my thoughts.

First thought is, why do you need VMware View? If you are trying to deliver iWorks to Windows devices (I assume that's the plan; otherwise, what's the point?), then why do you need View? Just for the broker piece? For Horizon? For the client side? Apple could throw a group of developers dedicated to this and it bring up and running in no time. Heck, build Horizon-type functionality into your App Store. ThinApp is of no use to you, Profile Manager does not apply -- so, what do you need View for? If anything Apple should be working with Teradici to OEM PCoIP if they deem that as the remote protocol of choice. Build that into your MAC OS X infrastructure and you can deliver a remote user experience.

The other concern is that Apple has built its reputation on providing users with the best user experience, on a sexier, flashier, trendier product that you want to carry. Those Apple devices are a fashion statement. Is Apple convinced that using a remote protocol to deliver iWorks into the enterprise is the right way of combat Microsoft in the enterprise?

Apple may own the consumer market (for now), but let there be no doubt: Microsoft owns the enterprise. Let's compare the strategies. Microsoft is building an Office version for iOS to improve the user experience natively on the most popular consumer devices in the world. In essence, Microsoft is taking a page out of the Apple book. So, why is Apple trying to combat Microsoft in the enterprise by not building native version of its products to run on Windows?

Now, lets' assume the future is SaaS and mobile applications. Even then, why is Apple not building iWorks as a SaaS offering or a mobile application suite for Windows? Apple, if you do build it as a SaaS offering, please try and make it better than the Google, offering which hasn't really even moved the needle when it comes to enterprise productivity. Sure, Google had some successes with educational institutions, non-profits and some SMBs, but overall, how much did it carve out of Microsoft's enterprise marketshare?

And one other thing: Why is Apple building iWorks on a platform that essentially exists for legacy applications/legacy IT? If we are assuming the world is moving towards mobile apps and SaaS, then VDI is a technology for managing legacy desktops and applications and delivering them more effectively. I can define it differently by saying VDI is a bridge between what we need today and what we will be using tomorrow. And at some point in time, the need for VDI will seize -- albeit, not any time soon -- but it will, so why is Apple building a new enterprise suite for a new platform and delivering it using the wrong mechanism?

If Apple thinks that people have been "wowed" by seeing a Windows desktop on an iPad and it is concluding that if it delivers a Mac OS X desktop to a Windows device that it will "wow" users just as much, Apple is being shortsighted. The Windows desktop on an iPad is cool for a few minutes, but that's it. Besides, given how ugly PCs are, seeing a Windows desktop on a gorgeous form factor offers lots of wow, so I just want my PC to look cool. I like Windows, but Apple computers look awesome. If Apple thinks that this could be a way for them to deliver its software to an open x86 platform without needing to change anything, then that is also a bad strategy with a bad user experience.

I have long maintained that Apple makes innovative and sexy fashion statement products. I own practically all of them: my laptop, phone, MP3 player, Apple TV... you name it, I've got it. But when I want to do real work and not showing off the product, I jump into the Office Suite. So, if Apple wants to win me over in the enterprise space, give me an office alternative that is easier to use, that is not so bulky with features, that is format-compatible and fun to use and I will consider it as long as the user experience is better.

If Apple is serious about getting into the enterprise, it needs to come up with a better strategy. My recommendation to Apple for now is to stick with the consumer. I do wonder how you will continue to maintain your stock price without constantly innovating at the hardware level and, frankly, after viewing this week's keynote introducing the iPad Mini, all I have to say is that creating different sizes of the same product is not innovation. Also, the new iMac impressive from a technology perspective, but it looks like a giant iPad (it's still impressive that it packs all these components into that form factor).

So, my million dollar question: What are you going to do with iMac in three years? You can't go any thinner, so unless you are working on a holographic computer, making the display bigger won't cut it.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 10/24/2012 at 12:49 PM


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