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Richard Plant

Richard is Computerworld’s Junior Content Manager and occasional reporter and blogger, responsible for making sure the site is full of the latest and greatest technology news from around the world. Richard joined Computerworld from the world of PR, which he likes to think of as like leaving the Empire to join the Rebel Alliance.

His Computerworld UK blog is Windows Watch

Apple abandons Xserve, leaves corporate customers hanging

How about a nice Mac Mini?

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So, it seems that Apple has decided that it no longer needs even the semblance of a business server offering, as it has discontinued the Xserve as of January next year.

The company says that it will continue to honour all warranty and support commitments that currently exist, but the news is sure to send a shiver through any IT shops who bought into Macs in a big way (for whatever reason).

Apple’s answer to the problem is to point customers interested in servers at two ‘new’ offerings: either a Mac Pro or Mac Mini running Snow Leopard Server. While this might fly for home solutions, neither is a serious option for businesses (they’re not rackable for a start).

If we can draw any conclusions from this somewhat abrupt announcement, it’s that Apple just doesn’t care about the enterprise market. And why should they? With the iPhone, iPad and iTunes churning out enormous heaps of cash to keep the investors happy, Jobs and co have all the reason in the world to concentrate on consumption and leave work computing out in the cold.

Apple Xserve

The only problem with this approach is that it depends on being the pinnacle of style and desirability, for the rest of time. While Apple designers have been skilled enough so far to keep ahead of the curve, and innovated in markets before anyone else, how long can they really expect to play king of the hill?

Eventually (and the question is when, not if), a young upstart will come to market with a new gizmo that knocks the iPhone off the pedestal and consigns it to the rubbish bin of history. And what loyalty do consumers owe to one technology supplier?

At a time when competitors like Google are snapping at their heels, can Apple really afford to casually dismiss a whole swathe of potential buyers?

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