To help satisfy enterprises' needs to minimize the "touch" time on handling a broken computer, Apple could have set up a premium support offering in which IT could overnight damaged Macs to a repair depot, as all the major PC makers offer. But it has not -- and neither has it helped a third party take on that role in its stead.
And to address the reality of remote management and the need for auditable installation logs, Apple could have created the mechanism for the iPhone to be updated over the air and to report its current status. That would let third parties like Good and Sybase integrate the iPhone fully into their management software, even if Apple decided not to create a server version of its iPhone Configuration Utility (the most straightforward option for customers, as RIM found when it created BES).
These are just a few examples of what Apple has not done, despite years of requests from its customers. As I noted earlier, Apple officials say privately that they're not interested in investing in the enterprise market, likely because such a move would greatly increase the complexity Apple would have to deal with. Plus, Apple crashed and burned in the 1990s when it last tried to enter the enterprise market, and since Steve Jobs returned in 1997 to help Apple, he has firmly steered Apple to the high-end consumer and individual professional markets. And has kept it there.
Apple is nothing if not determined and intentional. Not investing in the enterprise capabilities in the Mac and iPhone, nor investing in the ecosystem to support them, has to be intentional. Apple is clearly engaging small businesses with Snow Leopard and iPhone. Any large company is welcome to adopt Apple's technology, but that's just an extra cherry on top for Apple -- not its goal.
You can use Macs in the enterprise -- but it's up to you to make it work.
This article, "Why Apple won't let the Mac and iPhone succeed in business," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest development on Macintosh, iPhone, and Apple at InfoWorld.com.
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