It's fair to say that the Apple fan boys were out in force for this one. A flurry of announcements from their favourite companies and they won't have been disappointed

Much of the non-technical press attention has been focused on the new version of Air, you know that netbook that Steve Jobs was quoted as saying that Apple had little interest in building such products and analysts have recognised that Apple has wanted no part of it.

.But the most interesting news is going to centre on the new version of Mac OS X, not so much the operating system itself but the way that the Apple apps store will be integrated into it. This a truly revolutionary move, lined up to change the way for software delivery for ever.

I'm on the lookout for stories that impinge on the enterprise so I would have filed this as interesting but looked for something else. But a report out this week suggests that the Mac is beginning to make its presence felt in work environments too. If it does make its presence felt within organisations, then there's going to be a change in thinking.

There's plenty of debate around the implications of cloud computing and the the provision of software as a service and this changes the game. We're all very used to simply calling up an app when we want one - my phone, like thousands of other people is stuffed with them. Now that we do this for our smartphones, it makes sense to do it for our computers at home. If we do it there, does it make sense to do it at work? This very question was posed by Salesforce's Marc Benioff in a paper earlier this year. "Why," asked Benioff," isn't all enterprise software like Amazon.com". If the predictions about the Mac's role in the enterprise come true, then perhaps it could be.

>Just last week, I was writing about IDC's predictions for SaaS delivery. IDC was pointing out the future was rosy for independent software vendors (ISVs) as they had a closeness to their customers that many of the major vendors didn't have. That's not going to be the case with Apple: if you're a software developer, the only people you'll have to please are the ones at Apple. There'll be no direct contact with the customer base - Apple will be taking and fulfilling orders and - most importantly for customer feedback - dealing with installation problems.

And, of course, there will be the issue that has faced developers for the apps store with the iPhone - that of Apple having a say over everything, which not only means stamping out on non-family content but prohibiting well-respected media outlets like Der Spiegel having a platform. It shouldn't matter with enterprise software but without that direct contact with the users, how do you know that you're developing what people want?

As Steve Jobs was at pains to point out, the Apple apps store is just one form of software distribution, it won't be absolutely essential and there'll be alternatives. True, but it's the most interesting one. The Apple apps store is for the consumer market - for now, but just how long will it be before enterprises see this as an attractive option?


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