Auto Warehousing Co. drops Windows PCs for Apple Macs

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By: switchtoamac at: 12:08 PM on July 18, 2007 | Comments (0)
Dale Frantz, CIO of Auto Warehousing Co. (AWC) has made a strategic IT decision for the company - switch to Macs.  Computer World published an article/interview on July 16, 2007 and it was followed up by the Wall Street Journal on July 18.

AWC is the largest full-service automobile processing firm in North America, with operations in the U.S. and Canada.  The decision was made following a four month in-house test with Parallels running on Mac desktops.  The test also included integrating their current implementation with Apple servers.  Macs will be the computers of choice for key business operatons.

Quotes from the Computer World article
"Over the next 60 days, AWC will begin systematically pulling the plug on all Windows-based PCs in its cavernous auto processing shop and power up Macs to execute virtually all of its revenue-generating operations.  The move comes on the heels of a quiet wholesale replacement of Windows-based servers for data storage and Web operations, which are now running on Apple Inc.’s Xserve RAID machines."

"Instead, AWC’s new strategic enterprise technology plan is the direct result of proof-of-concept testing that indicates that the company can cut costs, increase system reliability and security, and provide expanded IT support services by porting a major portion of its IT infrastructure to Apple. Extricating itself from its exclusive dependence on Microsoft is simply the cherry on top."

"For Apple, which declined to comment for this story, the move represents a feather in its enterprise computing cap. It also gives the vendor a toe in the door of the Microsoft-heavy automotive industry. AWC is the largest full-service auto processing company in North America, with 23 sites across the U.S. and Canada."

"But function by function, AWC will rewrite all VIPS client software in Java 6.0 or higher so it can run at the front end on Apple Macs. VIPS currently runs client software on Windows XP, which AWC will not upgrade to the newer Vista operating system."

"But it will take 12 to 18 months to rewrite the VIPS client software to run on Macintosh machines, and Frantz doesn’t want to delay the cost savings and efficiency enhancements tied to the migration to Apple hardware. So in the interim, AWC will continue to run VIPS on Windows using software from Renton, Wash.-based Parallels Inc. that lets Macs run Windows applications in a virtual environment."

"Windows on my Mac runs faster than any PC I’ve ever seen. It’s blazingly fast. One of the main things that stunned me is just how well the Mac hardware runs Windows.”

"This is more of a strategic choice for the future. If we look toward a return on investment to Windows Vista, there is no direct return other than we continue business the way we always have. By investing in the Apple platform, we pick up additional functionality that we don’t have today."

Quote from the Wall Street Journal article
"Frantz is moving to Macs in part because he doesn’t think that upgrading to Vista, the latest version of Windows, is a sound investment. (Frantz also had a bad experience with Microsoft, which you can read about in this sidebar.) According to the article, proof-of-concept tests showed that the company could “cut costs, increase system reliability and security” by moving to Macs. The story quotes AWC information-technology workers who give anecdotal evidence that the Macs are faster and more secure. It doesn’t explain how moving to the Macs will help the company cut costs"

Overall, these are highly recommended articles and I urge anyone who's considering the switch to take the time to read them.  The articles can be read in full at Computer World and WSJ Online respectively.

Switch To A Mac Commentary
This is a move in the right direction and I am glad to see an enterprise go against the grain to embrace Macs.  On numerous occasions I have stated my view that Apple will begin to see a growth in the enterprise. 

In a March 2006 article I put forth views that enterprises would begin to consider the value proposition offered by Macs.  I also stated that the Apple enterprise footprint will gain traction once enterprise software vendors begin to port their software to Mac OS X.  A few quotes from that article:

"I would also expect businesses and enterprises to give Macs additional consideration as a future hardware purchase."

"my belief is that over the next few years consumers and businesses will purchase an increasing number of Macs.  This will give Apple a larger user base and increased market share.  This in turn will be a trend that software manufactures will fail to notice.  I would expect to see increasing numbers of Enterprise software vendors offering OS X versions of their software.  This in turn will slowly wean people off of the Windows platform"

"Historically, Macs have had a difficult time penetrating the enterprise market but the switch to Intel processors will open the door to greater acceptance of Macs/OS X in the enterprise."

The story about Auto Warehousing Co. making the switch is just the beginning of the enterprise shift.  The Apple / Mac / Mac OS X powered enterprise is beginning to take shape.

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