Apple Online Store“Eighteen months ago, Serena Software Inc. began exploring the feasibility of supporting Apple MacBooks as an option for its users, most of whom are developers. It was interested in lowering its support costs and increasing satisfaction among employees who used Macs at home, including the CEO,” Mary Brandel reports for Computerworld.

“Today, half of Serena’s workers opt for MacBooks over Lenovo laptop PCs when they’re hired or due for a hardware refresh, bringing the number of Apple users to about 100 out of 800 globally, according to Ron Brister, senior manager of worldwide IT operations at the Redwood City, Calif.-based maker of application development tools. Users like having a choice, and the number of support calls has declined,” Brandel reports.

MacDailyNews Note: This note is for Mary and Ron specifically: If you think you see Uncle Fester pulling up in black and white Geek Squad VW bug, you are not hallucinating and it’s no joke. Run!

Brandel continues, “‘Gone are the days when IT dictates how people get their jobs done,’ says Brister. There have been no problems when it comes to interoperability with Serena’s Windows-based data center. And thanks to a discount from Apple Inc., the MacBooks cost roughly the same as Lenovo ThinkPad T61 machines, according to Brister… And the company’s iPhone now offers business-friendly features such as increased security, e-mail synchronization with Microsoft Exchange and a software developer’s kit. On top of that, Apple’s Intel hardware can now use virtualization software from VMware Inc. and Parallels Inc. to run Windows on the Mac.”

“Michael Gartenberg [JupiterReserach analyst], acknowledges that Apple hasn’t made a major push into the enterprise, but he thinks it’s in the cards. He points to the next major OS X release, currently called Snow Leopard, which promises integration with Microsoft Exchange. ‘It’s just a series of slow steps that allow Apple to become a credible player in the market,’ he says. ‘As we move into 2009 and 2010, we’ll see a strong, concerted effort to go after this market in a big way,'” Brandel reports.

“With the MacBook, Brister sees lower failure rates and gets fewer support calls. Most users are now running applications directly on Mac OS rather than using VMware’s Fusion virtual machine software to run Windows on their Macs, or they’re using cloud-based software such as Google Docs,” Brandel reports. “Fusion users tell Brister that applications run better in an image on the Mac than they do on Lenovo hardware. And costs are competitive, he says.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Slowly, inexorably, the pressure builds until… Boom!