AT&T Corp. evaluating Apple’s Mac OS X, Linux in face of Windows’ insecurity

“AT&T Corp. is evaluating its operating system options. More choice in desktop operating systems, where Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has enjoyed near ubiquity, combined with a surge in malicious programs that attack Microsoft products, has pushed the telecommunications giant to study how Microsoft Windows stacks up against the competition, AT&T spokesman Michael Dickman said,” Dow Jones reports.

“AT&T has no current intent to replace Windows, which now operates 70,000 employee personal computers, he said… We are evaluating multiple desktop platforms, as any company should be doing,” Dickman said. ‘It’s just part of doing business.’ AT&T is putting three desktop operating systems through its paces: Microsoft Windows, the open-source Linux operating system and Apple Computer Inc.’s system… Although viruses have targeted both Linux and Apple software, they are fairly rare occurrences, largely because their small marketshares make them unattractive targets, experts have said,” Dow Jones reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Just imagine of AT&T started replacing their Windows desktops with Macs running Mac OS X. Just imagine. And “Security through obscurity” again? That’s a myth. As The New York Times has explained:

– “Windows comes with five of its ports open; Mac OS X comes with all of them shut and locked… These ports are precisely what permitted viruses like Blaster to infiltrate millions of PC


  1. While it would be great if they switched to OSX that does not seem realistic. They’d also have to replace their entire IT department! (well, they’d only need half as many in the new IT dept).

    Still, a huge defection to Linux sends the same message – bye bye Windows.

  2. Any major company that thinks objectively about replacing Windows with another OS is enough to cause Microsoft to squirm.

    “OS X”, “Unix”, “Linux” strike fear in the hearts of Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, et al and for good reason.

    People are demanding more than repeated rumors, unkept promises, continuous delays, rampant and unrepaired insecurites, years of vaporware, and lack of innovation.

  3. While a switch from Windows to Linux would not be ideal from Apple’s standpoint, Linux is certainly a big step closer to MacOS X. Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is your friend, at least temporarily.

  4. Ballmer: “Hey, security is not just our fault. It’s hackers and crackers; and those damn users, too. As long as users don’t surf the web, share files, or exchange e-mails Windows is absolutely secure � isolation, get it? Ha, ha, ha. Whew, that�s funny!�

    cnet: “I fail to see humor in this. When will Longhorn be released?”

    Ballmer: “We expect the first beta version by December 31, 2005 or 2006, certainly no later than 2008, if all goes well, according to plan. We are totally committed to Longhorn�s commercial release.”

    cnet: “Isn’t that a too little, too late? I mean, it has been 10 years already.”

    Ballmer: “You have my word that we will continue to delay shipment until Longhorn is good and ready.”

    cnet: �What new features will Longhorn have?�

    Ballmer: �Yes, Longhorn will have new features not seen today. In fact, it will have features that haven�t yet been conceived. Longhorn is so far advanced that we can�t even imagine what it will finally be. This is really exciting.�

    cnet: �You haven�t answered the question.�

    Ballmer: �Cows say, moo. Did you know that?�

  5. [Although viruses have targeted both Linux and Apple software, they are fairly rare occurrences, largely because their small marketshares make them unattractive targets, experts have said,” Dow Jones reports.]

    Could he name even one of the ‘rare’ viruses on MacOSX?

  6. “Could he name even one of the ‘rare’ viruses on MacOSX?”


    This statement by the writer was particularly infuriating to me because it does nothing more than point out that the writer was too lazy to do the research in order to verify the claims of the “experts.” Also, the purported experts should have been named, so that readers could weigh their credibility.

    Even if AT & T doesn’t replace their PC’s with Macs or Linux boxes (this is only an evaluation exercise after all, and there are many other factors to consider besides security), this is still a major boost for OS X, as well as the start of a potentially nightmarish period for Microsoft. The fact that one of the largest companies on the planet, one with such a rich part in the history of technology, would even consider OS X as a credible alternative to Windows, suggests to me that Apple is gaining notice where it matters most to their bottom line. Even corporations, to most of whom Macs are anathema, are beginning to look at Apple seriously. The good news is spreading, even if it’s just by baby steps for now.

    Tonight I’m going to dream that Steve Jobs has offered AT & T a steep volume discount on several boxcar loads of iMac G5’s. I’m sure Bill Gates will have the same dream, but for him it will be a nightmare.

  7. Actually, Veridian, the evaluation is considering more than security:

    From the article: “The evaluation team […] is testing for performance, security, reliability and total cost of ownership”

    I hope they make the results–and their methodology–public. I’ve seen studies that show Macs competitive in performance and better in security, reliability, and TCO.

    Of course, being a pessimist, I’m sure that they’ll factor in rewriting any custom applications they might have for Linux and/or Mac OS X and show that Windows is the least expensive. But as Veridian said, it’s a nice dream…

  8. Windows days are numbered!

    I work for a global oil company and we are testing apple xserves and Macs as a desktop alternative from windows.

    There was a report ordered by our CEO and the results were shocking! We found that with all the problems with windows our company is losing around $10 million dollars a month due to windows insecurites and employee downtime – even with advanced firewalls etc!

    Our IT dept doubles it’s staff every year just to stand still against the permanent onslaught of windows virus’s.

    Globally we employ 68,000 people and 60,000 of these have either a desktop or laptop.

    Give it 3 years max and we will be using Macs.

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