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Alliance Formed To Promote Macs On Corporate Networks

Parallels and others will publish best practices for OS X and Windows interoperability, addressing issues such as integrating Macs with Microsoft's Active Directory.

Five software companies on Monday launched an alliance to promote the use of Apple Macs in corporate environments managed with Microsoft Windows.

Members of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance include Atempo, Centrify, Group Logic, LANrev, and Parallels. The companies provide technology that focuses on interoperability between Mac OS X and Windows, and partner in integrating their products to provide broader offerings.

The alliance's work will initially focus on education to fix the misperception that Macs are difficult to use in Windows environments, Peter Frankl, founder and chief operating officer of LANrev, said. The alliance has launched a Web site to help in the education effort and hopes to sponsor seminars on the topic in the future.

In addition, the group plans to publish best practices for OS X and Windows interoperability, addressing issues such as integrating Macs with Microsoft's Active Directory, patch management and backup in a mixed environment and security. "There's an information vacuum that we want to fill," T. Reid Lewis, president of Group Logic, told InformationWeek.

In launching the alliance, the companies are hoping to take advantage of the growing number of users of Mac desktops and notebooks. Users of the latter in particular are increasingly putting pressure on employers to allow the use of Macs on corporate networks. While the trend is new, Mac use among company employees is growing. "It certainly hasn't reached critical mass, but it is creeping into the enterprise," Frankl said of the Mac. Indeed, Google lets its employees choose the computer they want to use, whether it’s a Mac or a Linux or Windows machine. IBM is experimenting with the use of Macs.

In the first quarter of the year, Apple's growth rate in terms of Mac shipments outpaced that of the other top five PC makers in the United States. Apple shipments soared by 32.5% to 1 million units, compared with the 762,000 Macs shipped in the same quarter a year ago, Gartner said. Apple ended the quarter with a 6.6% market share that placed it No. 4 among the top vendors in the United States.

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