OS X Mountain Lion: Could It Mean Business?

By | Jul 26, 2012

Apple is not a name we associate with enterprise computing. And over the years, Apple has been very happy to keep it that way. Nor does offering OS X Mountain Lion for $19.99 at the Apple App Store seem to change this notion.

But Apple has been making inroads into business IT on the mobile side, where the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement is arguably largely about the iPhone and iPad. After many years as a niche brand, Apple has emerged as a leading industry powerhouse. Could it be stalking IT departments at midsize firms?

Let It Roar

Amid all the buzz regarding the (presumably) forthcoming iPhone 5, Apple also made some news on the desktop front. As Don Reisinger reports at CNET, the Mac OS X Mountain Lion operating system is now officially available from the Apple App Store, with a $19.99 price tag.

In a campanion piece, CNET also awarded a very positive rating of four out of five stars to the latest version of Mountain Lion (10.8). The review compared it favorably to Windows 8, and certainly the price is competitive. Except, of course, for the little hitch that you can only run OS X if you have a Mac. Few of which are to be found in the IT departments of midsize firms.

Once and Future King?

All of that said, the world is changing, and in a variety of ways. The mobility era and BYOD mean that Apple devices are proliferating in the business world. And the cloud means that neither operating systems nor backward compatibility matter as much as they once did.

After all, Google Apps doesn't care whether you access its productivity suite via a Windows machine today or a Mac tomorrow. Nor do most other cloud services. All they see is your browser, and they expect to work with all major browsers.

Just to be clear, there has been no hint from Apple that it is even thinking about enterprise computing. But then again, Apple rarely talks about what it is thinking. And, going back to its legendary 1984 hammer-throw TV ad (implicitly aimed at IBM), Apple has often gone out of its way to avoid associations with business, meaning work.

None of which has kept the iPhone and iPad from being main drivers of the BYOD movement.

IT managers at midsize firms will probably not be placing immediate orders for OS X, let alone Macs to run it on. But in a rapidly evolving tech environment, Mountain Lion may well be lurking in their future.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.