Macworld Expo Shows Mac World Still Doesn't "Get" Business World - InformationWeek

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1/8/2009
05:44 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
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Macworld Expo Shows Mac World Still Doesn't "Get" Business World

Spend a little time at Macworld Expo and you might think all computers are good for is music and pictures. If Apple, and the Mac community, want to be taken seriously by business owners, they might want to pay a little more attention.

Spend a little time at Macworld Expo and you might think all computers are good for is music and pictures. If Apple, and the Mac community, want to be taken seriously by business owners, they might want to pay a little more attention.Sure, there was the announcement of upgrades to iWork. Much appreciated guys. But once you got past the giant iWork sign on the show floor...

MacWorld-iWork

...there wasn't all that much business stuff to see.

Perhaps that's why a Birds of a Feather meeting for small businesses I attended was populated by only about a dozen people. And most of them were Web developers or programmers -- mostly complaining about a lack of business applications.

Don't get me wrong. I love the Mac, and I love music and video and pictures. But I also know that if Macs want to continue their recent growth in market share, they've got to have a robust selection of business applications.

To be fair, I did come across a couple of promising business apps for small and midsize companies. Michael Bayer, who moderated the Birds of a Feather meeting, mentioned HansaWorld, a business management suite recently arrived in the U.S. from the UK.

And I had a nice chat with Dale Jensen, founder and CEO of North Dakota-based Ntractive, which has recently launched Elements SBM, which it calls the premiere Mac CRM Solution for SME (Small-to-Medium Enterprise). According to Jensen, Ntractive developed Elements as hybrid Web/Mac product to better control functionality and look and feel. "What it looks like and how it works are as important as what it does," Jensen told me. That said, Nteractive is already working on a Windows version of the product.

Other business products on the show floor included MoneyWorks accounting software from New Zealand's Cognito Software, TrueShip's ReadyShipper shipping software, the upcoming LightSpeed 3 retail software suite from Xsilva, MarketCircle's Daylite Touch iPhone enhancement to its Daylite3 personal productivity suite (the company also sells Billings 3 for professionals who need to bill and invoice their time).

For project management, there was ProjectWizards' Merlin and Project X, which bills itself as project management for the rest of us. MYOB was promoting its QuickBooks competitor AccountEdge as well as its Checkout 2.0 point of sale system. And of course Microsoft was showing Office:mac 2008. Finally, there was GarageSale, a Mac-based eBay client.

Heck, at least American Express seemed to think this was a business crowd. It had a booth for its American Express Open small business outfit.

There might have been a few more, but it was easy to get lost in the sea of iPhone covers and earbud personalizers. Let's hope next year's Apple-free Macworld shows more progress in the business direction, and maybe even a dedicated business section to recognize that computers are about more than multimedia.

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