‘Tech guru’ spreads the FUD about Macs in business

Jonathan Blum, “tech guru” for Fortune Small Business, asks “Is it time to consider moving your small business to Macs?”

Blum writes, “First, you should know that I’m no Apple fanatic. I’ve used the gear steadily since the Reagan era; the early Apple II and the computer-as-Cuisinart lookalike that was the original Mac were both college tools of mine. But overall, I have found Apples, as lovely as they are for certain applications, just not worth the hassle for most small businesses.”

MacDailyNews Take: Typical ham-handed set-up that attempts to establish impartiality: I’m no Apple fanatic, but I’ve used their products for a long time, so, even though no iMac model ever made even remotely resembles a Cusinart, get ready to believe the mountain of bullshit I’m about to shovel.

Blum continues, “Still, even I have to admit that the latest Apple line of desktops and laptop computers is flashing some serious small-business form. Apple computers now run on the same basic electronics guts – Intel chips and the like – as any PC using the Microsoft operating systems. Peripheral support for Apple is strong: Every gadget vendor wants a piece of that sexy iPhone/iPod pie.”

MacDailyNews Take: Shouldn’t a real “tech guru” implicitly understand “Apple computers” are referred to as “Macs?” We ask, not only because Blum does it repeatedly and awkwardly throughout his piece, but also because the last “Apple computer” rolled off the assembly line in December 1992. Now, can someone please explain how a printer or scanner or whatever peripheral maker is getting “a piece of that sexy iPhone/iPod pie” by writing Mac drivers?

Blum continues, “Many smart shops I chat with are dumping their Windows machines for Macs. Take Jaffe Associates, a Washington, D.C., marketing and business-strategy consultancy. This 25-person firm recently unplugged its traditional Windows server architecture to install a similar system from none other than Apple. The company considered upgrading its aging Windows XP terminal server but endured Microsoft sticker shock when it calculated the cost of deploying collaborative software: Chief Operating Officer Shani Magosky got a quote for $100,000. Then she priced Apple technology for same functionality and found she could build a similar system for about half the price… To see if Steve Jobs’ brainchild really does have game for the average small business, I ordered up an iMac several months ago and installed it in my little digital world. “

MacDailyNews Take: So, instead of stopping with a nice example of how a smart person dumps Windows for Macs and saves a lot of money, Blum proceeds to conduct his own experiment to see just how much meaningless nonsense a cretin can generate for Fortune Small Business.

Blum continues, “My verdict? Though Apple computers can produce excellent results for small business, expect issues: Macs remain a niche product. No matter what you do with a Mac, you have to deal Apple’s peculiar vision of all things computerish. First off, the packaging is seriously overdone: ‘Designed by Apple in California’ is prominent on the box. Like I care.”

MacDailyNews Take: Well, there you have it. Because Macs come in award-winning packaging that prominently displays the words, “Designed by Apple in California,” small business should expect “issues.”

Blum continues, “Why should locating the ‘on’ switch be such struggle? Just stick the thing where I, and my employees, can find it: right up front.”

MacDailyNews Take: We hereby apologize; we had no idea Fortune Small Business was employing the mentally-challenged as a tech writer. Jonny is obviously “special.”

Jonny continues, “As promised, setup was a two-click, plug-and-play affair: Plunk the iMac on the desk, plug it in and turn it on. Setting up peripherals and Web access was also dead easy. But – as ever, with Apple boxes – there were not enough USB ports. A USB hard drive had to be dumped in favor of Ethernet enablement unit.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Ethernet enablement unit?” Jonny, all iMacs come with built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet via RJ-45 connectors. There’s no need for an “Ethernet enablement unit,” Mr. “Tech Guru.” Match the ends of the wires with the holes on the iMac, Jonny. Spend a bit more time with your Sesame Street shape cube before setting up your next computer, okay?

Jonny continues, “No question, running native 64-bit Apple code on the Mac is blazing… But again, there are issues: Offsetting all this speed are some curious features clearly not aimed at the average small business. The desktop is divided into quadrants that exist beyond the screen’s edge. Only with some complex keyboard commands can I slide from one to another. All the goofy Apple-centric commands leave users trained on PCs constantly fighting to parse out what the control, option and command keys do. And there is the very odd mouse. Apple devotees swear by the touch-sensitive shell of the ‘Mighty Mouse,’ but its top left- and right-click buttons still look an awful lot like just one.”

MacDailyNews Take: Jonny, the ability to conceptualize virtual screens and mouse buttons requires an IQ above 70.

Jonny continues, “The real eye-rolling winner is Time Machine, quite possibly the silliest operating system extension in history. Must I really sit through a full round of special effects – the desktop slides away to reveal some mysterious star in full supernova disappearing into infinity behind my various back ups – just to find a what I said to a client in a lost e-mail? Honestly.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, by all means, replace an intuitive visual representation with a typically opaque Microsoft dialog box festooned with badly-labeled tabs that offers only text descriptions and buttons. That’ll help you more quickly find your files. Most people would appreciate things being thought out to such a degree and made simpler (and – gasp! – more fun) for them. Not Jonny the “tech guru.”

Jonny continues, “On balance, is there money to be made with Apples? Depends… But other than raw speed, I had a very difficult time measuring any quantifiable improvement over the PC for average business chores – that kind that ultimately affect your bottom line.”

MacDailyNews Take: How quickly poor Jonny forgets his own perfectly measurable and quantifiable example of Jaffe Associates’ Chief Operating Officer Shani Magosky and how “she priced Apple technology for same functionality and found she could build a similar system for about half the price.”

Jonny continues, “Yes, Apples can be easier to use, but with some things, like as syncing your Apple to not-Apple portable devices such as BlackBerrys and smartphones, expect real trouble. I and my assistants had terrible problems getting all of our company programs to work properly.”

MacDailyNews Take: Color us wholly unsurprised that poor Jonny and his attendants had terrible problems syncing their ancient and outclassed mobile devices. Jonny seems to know that Macs can also slum it with Windows, so why doesn’t they just fire up that ancient and outclassed OS to sync their ancient and outclassed devices until they can afford iPhones?

Jonny continues, “Yes, more businesses can now go to Macs – I would say they now make sense for maybe 20 companies out of 100, up from just 5 a few years back. But for the rest of us – particularly those that need basic computing and basic features – Apple is still more expensive and simply not worth the integration headaches for the average small shop.”

Full article, Think Before You Click™, here.

MacDailyNews Take: How fitting that Jonny ends his FUDfest with a random concoction of nonsense numbers and then caps it off with an outright contradiction of the very real-world example he cites, Jaffe Associates, which shaved half of their costs by dumping Windows for Mac.

In all seriousness, the fear is palpable. Expect the volume and vehemence (along with the ridiculousness) of the FUD to increase as Apple Macintosh continues to take share from Windows PCs.

[Thanks to virtually every MacDailyNews Reader on the planet for the heads up.]


  1. Umm, most iMac’s come with three USB 2.0 ports on the back. So if he ran out of USB ports (which forced him to dump his hard drive), then he should have gotten a small USB 2.0 hub. Like almost everyone with a personal computer.

  2. WTF is an “Ethernet enablement unit”? This so-called “guru” completely lost credibility when he said he had to add a USB Ethernet dongle instead of using the iMac’s built-in hardware. How clueless do you have to be to not know that the RJ-45 socket on every Mac is for Ethernet (with the exception of the Air)? How embarrassing. I can’t imagine a tech writer for Fortune Small Business is so appallingly ignorant. And yet, there he is.

  3. Our distribution business in Ottawa works with two non Mac consultants who work from their houses in Peterborough ON. We got 24″ iMacs to enable collaborative computing using iChatAV, which makes it easy to work on a common document…versus communicating by e-mail. Soon after getting the iMacs the consultants got Time Capsules…they now work very differently from their PC days, and even use iWork and don’t have Office anymore. Businesses that function with OS X are simply more productive and innovative. End of story.

  4. You didn’t hear that Microsoft redefined “guru”. Yeah, there was an international standard/consensus on its meaning, but they decided to embrace and extend it.
    The new definition of “guru” is “moron”.

  5. I think ‘guru’ is the appropriate term. A guru is a spiritual leader. Everything this guys says is based on faith & mysticism.

    However as a member of the Catholic League of Blackberries I have no choice but to excommunicate him on charges of heresy.

  6. It’s amazing anyone this stupid can remain employed as a writer.

    It’s an issue that Macs are designed in California? What would Blum have us do? We should all start using PCs designed in China? Even Lenovo does their design here in the States.

    Why does he have it in for Spaces? Although I rarely use it, I do have it enabled and have never been bothered by it.

    Finally, what correlation is there between the experience of a single user who’s obviously unwilling or unable to grasp anything new and the experience of a company with 25 users, some fairly heavy server needs, and $50K savings in hand? Even if they spend the $50K on retraining or other transition issues, they’ll come out ahead in the long run due to reduced support costs.

    I agree with MDN’s take. The fear is palpable. Someone should investigate to see if this guy is another paid shill.

  7. I agree with the MDN takes. This article is a piece of FUD that reflects poorly on the credibility of this “tech guru”. But while he’s 99% wrong (can’t find the “on” switch – geez!), I think Apple could do something about better access to the USB ports. My 24″ iMac’s appearance is dented somewhat by a short USB extension cord lying on the desk where I can install my frequently-used pen drive more easily. Could something in keeping with the design be installed on the foot? Just a thought.

  8. If you go to Mr. Blum’s own Web site, and then click on the “About” button, you’ll find that Mr. Blum and his attendants (we assume that means his cats) are totally for hire…

    “For a small fee, we can quickly customize or localize blumsday.com blog items for your audience. See example.

    For a little more money, we can produce an original story on a topic that originated on blumsday. See example.

    For just a little more, we can report and write an original story or produce audio and video reports on any technology-related topic. See example.”


    So, Mr. Ballmer, how much did you pay for this hit piece?

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