“Jason Castan, principal of Emperor’s Mind, a systems integrator working in corporate and specialist graphics markets in Melbourne and Sydney, says [Apple’s] switch [from PowerPC to Intel processors in Macs] means short-term pain for long-term gain that may not be seen for six months to a year, when software companies such as Adobe are expected to produce Intel-compliant software for the Mac,” Garry Barker reports for The Sydney Morning Herald. “The pain for corporate and big graphics companies and advertising creative staff is in the performance drop from the new computers having to run current Adobe, Microsoft and other software under Rosetta, translation software Apple has written to bridge the gap between the new platform and when applications will be ready to run natively on the Intel chips, Mr Castan says.”

“For Mac vendors there is short-term pain because companies that depend on Office and Adobe’s Creative Suite will delay replacing their G5 Macs until Intel Mac-native versions of these critical applications appear. But, says Mr Castan, ‘there is a speed benefit to come and a we’re-on-the-same-side-of-the-fence benefit in terms of the processor, and a megahertz benefit in that Apple can have any top-of-the line Intel thing there is,'” Barker reports. “From the Motorola 68x family of processors, superseded in 1991, to the PowerPC originally developed by a consortium of engineers from Motorola, IBM and Apple, Apple had always appeared to lag in speed behind Windows machines with chips from Intel and AMD. Clock speed is not the sole arbiter of PC performance but Intel’s bigger numbers looked impressive and probably had an effect on sales, although other aspects of the Windows scene such as Outlook and Exchange were more important to enterprise buyers.”

“Apple’s Mac OS X, based on Unix and now widely regarded as the best operating system on the market, is derived from NeXT, a system developed in the late 1980s and early ’90s by a company that Mr Jobs set up when he was in exile from Apple. He returned to Apple in 1996, when then chief executive Gil Amelio bought NeXT to get its operating system. NeXT ran on Intel. In back rooms at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, California, and in geek-joints all over the world, MacOS X has been running on Intel machines for about five years; since the beginning,” Barker reports. “‘The whole megahertz thing has gone away,’ says Mr Castan. ‘It has vanished. All of a sudden, your MacBook Pro Duos notebook is running as fast as or faster than the Toshiba or HP equivalents.’ Remaining are operating system issues, he says, such as can a Mac be run in an Exchange environment… for corporate IT chiefs the big issue is Outlook, Mr Castan says. ‘That is the big hurdle. The issue at the moment is not the processor but how can they integrate the Mac into Active Directory, how are they going to get Exchange – all those sort of questions.’ Apple also has a usability advantage. Compared with Mac OS X, Windows is difficult, awkward and often opaque. Changing to Intel has removed a lot of myths about the Mac – that they’re slower, more expensive. Those issues have been pushed aside.”

“Microsoft has a stranglehold on the corporate market, not because Windows is a superior operating system, which by long-standing consensus it is not, but because important applications such as, and in particular, Outlook and Exchange, offer functionality that have not been matched in the Apple environment,” Barker writes. “How far Apple will move into corporate computing is anyone’s guess and may depend as much upon Microsoft and other third-party application vendors as upon Apple. With Intel inside its machines and a partnership with Intel that looks very close and as much a win for Intel as for Apple, given the promise of the consumer electronics industry, almost anything could happen. Big corporations take a long time to change course. But business patterns are changing very quickly. Mobility is now the mantra for many. The internet is all-powerful and will become more so. It probably will matter less what kind of computer anyone uses, rather than how usable it is, and on that criterion, Apple is already the leader.”

Full article with much, much more here.

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