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  • Jobs: Poor Sales Killed Xserve


    Steve Jobs allegedly offered an explanation why the Xserve was discontinued: lack of demand. The French site MacGeneration claims that they have an email from Jobs saying that "hardly anyone was buying" the rackmountable server, which hadn't received a hardware update since the middle of last year and is hasn't featured with the rest of the Mac lineup on the Apple website in months. January 31st will be the end of the line for the Xserve, though Apple will continue to provide warranty service and customer service.

    Apple is pushing potential Xserve customers to a new server configuration of the Mac Pro. Beginning at $2,999 - the same as the XServe - the base model has a 2.8 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon W3530 processor and 8GB of RAM, and is expandable to dual 2.93 gigahertz six-core Xeon 5670 "Westmere" processors and 32GB of memory. The Xserve only had the older "Nehalem"-class processors and three drive bays versus the four on the Mac Pro. However, the Xserve fit in industry-standard four-post racks and cabinets, which the Mac Pro does not. Though you can buy aftermarket brackets to rack-mount the Pro, it takes up seven times the rack space and still does not support "lights-out" management for when the server is switched off or otherwise unusable, nor other enterprise features like true redundant power supplies, SAS drives or externally accessible hard drives.

    The email from a French system administrator begged Jobs to consider spinning off a separate company to keep making the Xserve, or provide a separate license for Mac OS X so that it could be run in virtualized environments like VMWare or Microsoft's Hyper-V on standard server hardware. Jobs had no response to these suggestions. His explanation that declining sales led Apple to discontinue the Xserve does not answer the question why the product had not received a hardware refresh since April 2009, or why it was taken months ago off the Mac product line on the website and moved to a smaller "Servers" link off to the side.

    Source: MacRumors
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Jobs: Poor Sales Killed Xserve started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. Rob2G's Avatar
      Rob2G -
      Steve, Steve, Steve. Thats only half the story, Poor sales as a result of over pricing killed the xserve. Apple needs to use this as an example and lower the consumer price of Macs down at least 15%.
    1. mvhurlburt's Avatar
      mvhurlburt -
      That really sucks for education users... Also with recent adoption and potential future adoption of iDevices in enterprise it would have been wise of apple to further integrate mass iDevice management with it's server products and then used that as a platform in which to market the xServe to enterprise. Though if Apple seriously wants to make a presence in enterprise the best move would be to license OS X Server on the most popular hardware, that is already deployed in enterprise, from vendors such as IBM, HP and *cough cough* Dell. While having the benefit of the hardware already deployed and the software licensable on future harware as well would give apple a much better shot at wide spread enterprise adoption than they ever had with the xServe. While the xServe is a great, well built piece of hardware it is expensive. By relicensing OS X server admins would be able to save money by repurposing existing equipment. I really hope to see this happen as OS X Server is a great platform and it would suck if there were no longer any all Mac networks! Just my 2 cents...
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      I'd love for Apple to work with VMware and see Mac OS X & OS X Server running on ESX
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      Apple will probably start offering server services of some kind, so they stopped supporting these so people will upgrade.

      I don't trust anything Jobs says anymore. Not after he got up in front of the world and lied about the iPod Touch having the same Retina Display as the iPhone 4, and how he conveniently forgot to mention how much RAM it has.

      It's shady tactics like that that make me always question Apple's motives.
    1. boxxa's Avatar
      boxxa -
      Most people buying server hardware are knowledgeable in the specs and know you can get the same server much cheaper without the Apple logo on it =)
    1. JedixJarf's Avatar
      JedixJarf -
      Schools will probably stop adopting apples open directory now, no ones going to fill their rack with a 10U Mac pro with no redundant hardware.
    1. dhamien's Avatar
      dhamien -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jahooba View Post
      I don't trust anything Jobs says anymore. Not after he got up in front of the world and lied about the iPod Touch having the same Retina Display as the iPhone 4
      What do you mean? It has the same resolution as the i4.
    1. boxxa's Avatar
      boxxa -
      Quote Originally Posted by dhamien View Post
      What do you mean? It has the same resolution as the i4.

      On paper its the same with the pixels per inch, resolution, etc. but there are a lot of tests that show problems with it compared to the iPhone4. Seems like they may have gotten a different hardware vendor for the ipod touch screens or something because we did the same test with my friends and its def not the same quality.

      iPod touch 4 Boasts Inferior Retina Display, Tests Show - Softpedia
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by boxxa View Post
      On paper its the same with the pixels per inch, resolution, etc. but there are a lot of tests that show problems with it compared to the iPhone4. Seems like they may have gotten a different hardware vendor for the ipod touch screens or something because we did the same test with my friends and its def not the same quality.

      iPod touch 4 Boasts Inferior Retina Display, Tests Show - Softpedia
      I'm sorry, but why do you care? I don't see much need for IPS. I love my iPt4's display.
    1. dhamien's Avatar
      dhamien -
      Quote Originally Posted by boxxa View Post
      On paper its the same with the pixels per inch, resolution, etc. but there are a lot of tests that show problems with it compared to the iPhone4. Seems like they may have gotten a different hardware vendor for the ipod touch screens or something because we did the same test with my friends and its def not the same quality.

      iPod touch 4 Boasts Inferior Retina Display, Tests Show - Softpedia
      I see. Didn't know that. Although it seems the display itself is fine it's just different when viewing it at an angle. I don't think that's a problem, but I do find it a bit odd that Apple would state that the ipt4g got the same display as the i4 when it's only a half truth.
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by dhamien View Post
      I see. Didn't know that. Although it seems the display itself is fine it's just different when viewing it at an angle. I don't think that's a problem, but I do find it a bit odd that Apple would state that the ipt4g got the same display as the i4 when it's only a half truth.
      Yeah, that's true. They also said nothing about the Nano's losses.
    1. raduga's Avatar
      raduga -
      Quote Originally Posted by mvhurlburt View Post
      That really sucks for education users... Also with recent adoption and potential future adoption of iDevices in enterprise it would have been wise of apple to further integrate mass iDevice management with it's server products and then used that as a platform in which to market the xServe to enterprise.
      Though if Apple seriously wants to make a presence in enterprise the best move would be to license OS X Server on the most popular hardware, that is already deployed in enterprise, from vendors such as IBM, HP and *cough cough* Dell.
      Not gonna happen.
      Unbundling hardware from the software would mean the end of Apple as we know it.

      Apple had a shot at the "big market" in Enterprise when they took the leap of faith into Darwin.
      Its not lack of sales that killed their chances; in the end they came up against a wall. The target keeps shifting, and to retool to provide the hardware / software / support that Enterprise demands today and in the forseeable future, would require an infrastructure investment that Steve (aka Apple) wasn't willing to risk. It WOULD be a risk, with no guarantee of success, as they'd be stepping up competition with established players who make mincemeat of eachother, let alone the "new guy".

      So they cut their losses. Short-term, bad business. Mid-term, bad business. Long-term, they may have cut a baby albatross from around their neck. It'll come back to bite them, obviously. Circling the wagons isn't a sign of health and strength, but they're also showing an unwillingness to sacrifice their core base (consumers) to fuel expansion into new markets.
      I'm not sure what that means.

      While having the benefit of the hardware already deployed and the software licensable on future harware as well would give apple a much better shot at wide spread enterprise adoption than they ever had with the xServe. While the xServe is a great, well built piece of hardware it is expensive. By relicensing OS X server admins would be able to save money by repurposing existing equipment. I really hope to see this happen as OS X Server is a great platform and it would suck if there were no longer any all Mac networks! Just my 2 cents...
      The Mac ecosystem runs from metal to silicon. If you throw a Dell in there, it stops being a Mac ecosystem, and becomes a mixed network. Apple's business model relies on that ecosystem, (or it did, until the iDevice showed up) metal to silicon. What makes sense to you (and me) would break the chain of how Apple operates and how they make money.
      Finis. До свидания.
    1. athleticswimmer's Avatar
      athleticswimmer -
      what a tragic day at the apple headquarters, lets take a moment for our sad lost....MOMENT OVER!!!! suck it apple
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      I had completely forgot about XServe, since you never hear about it.
      p.s. Nice new avatar Paul, it's really sad he died so young
    1. g5cs3mak's Avatar
      g5cs3mak -
      mmm hope some day i will see xserver blades running vmware esx ...
    1. mvhurlburt's Avatar
      mvhurlburt -
      Quote Originally Posted by raduga View Post
      Not gonna happen.
      Unbundling hardware from the software would mean the end of Apple as we know it.

      Apple had a shot at the "big market" in Enterprise when they took the leap of faith into Darwin.
      Its not lack of sales that killed their chances; in the end they came up against a wall. The target keeps shifting, and to retool to provide the hardware / software / support that Enterprise demands today and in the forseeable future, would require an infrastructure investment that Steve (aka Apple) wasn't willing to risk. It WOULD be a risk, with no guarantee of success, as they'd be stepping up competition with established players who make mincemeat of eachother, let alone the "new guy".

      So they cut their losses. Short-term, bad business. Mid-term, bad business. Long-term, they may have cut a baby albatross from around their neck. It'll come back to bite them, obviously. Circling the wagons isn't a sign of health and strength, but they're also showing an unwillingness to sacrifice their core base (consumers) to fuel expansion into new markets.
      I'm not sure what that means.



      The Mac ecosystem runs from metal to silicon. If you throw a Dell in there, it stops being a Mac ecosystem, and becomes a mixed network. Apple's business model relies on that ecosystem, (or it did, until the iDevice showed up) metal to silicon. What makes sense to you (and me) would break the chain of how Apple operates and how they make money.
      Finis. До свидания.
      While I do agree that traditionally this has been the mode of operation in Cupertino. While it important to note NeXT traveled this road, well sort off, and had it not been for the Apple acquisition they likely would have gone the way of the xServe. If we can all remember apple also jumped into the clone market in the 90's and almost self destructed as a result of the clones being so much cheaper, however this is a bit different for a number of reasons. First this really is a low risk situation as the software already exists. Secondly unlike the clones of the 90's Apple will not be competing with these other OEMs. We must also consider that when NeXT ditched it's business model to become a software only company steve was literally betting the company. This is different as Apple already has a thriving consumer electronics business that has and will continue to be extremely successful, this would simply be a side endeavor and knowing Apple I'm sure they would limit the licensing to machines with very specific specs to ensure quality. Think AppStore-like oversight. Again I agree this has been apple's model historically and it has worked for the most part and hurt apple when they have strayed from it, but as I mentioned before this is an entirely different situation. More of a side project rather than Apple's future. My point is that with the inroads that iDevices are making into enterprise they are presented with a great opportunity. By implementing services akin to RIM's BB server tightly integrated into OS X server all while improving usability in mixed environments and maintaining the extremely easy to use yet powerful configuration tools they could have a good thing going. Look at it this way, at the very least companies that have deployed iDevices will buy the server software to more tightly integrate those iDevices with their infrastructure while making mass deployment and device management much easier. Best case is the above happens, admins find the included configuration tools easy to use and powerful and decide to deploy OS X server to handle other tasks like directory services, database services, file servers, etc. That could all lead to the trickle down effect of Macs being adopted for uses other than creative departments. It's just a thought, but would pose minimal financial risk as the development costs would be fairly low. Additionally if it fails no big deal but at least they've pursued the opportunity while keeping their current customers happy(ie - education, movie studios, etc.) As I mentioned before straying from the traditional model has not always gone so well for apple it has worked, I mean hell they sell more iDevices than macs and I'm sure no one ever saw that happening. That was a result of the model evolving to meet needs, it is true that they have maintained a closed ecosystem there too but it fits the needs of most consumers and it has worked for them. The point is that it's not a totally crazy idea and let's face Apple never really had a chance in enterprise with Darwin. Who knows what will happen though, just seems to me that this could be a great opportunity for Apple and could result in an enterprise version of the iHalo effect...
    1. ishamiyal's Avatar
      ishamiyal -
      I am an IT professional that owns an X-Serve at the house along with several Mac Pros. In my opinion, HERE is what killed the X-Serve:

      1. No good virtualization support and no bare-metal install support from anyone. Folks this was it in a nutshell. EVERYTHING is going VM to save money on space, hardware, downtime, backups, roll-outs, power, cooling, etc. VMWare doesn't have a server product to run on the X-Serve and Parallels Server, in my opinion was/is a joke. The price is high for dodgy software, and Apple's refusal to allow virtualization of Mac OS X (not server) and the inability of VMWare to support OS X virtualized is KILLING Apple in the server world.

      2. Overpriced HD modules and insufficient drive bay capacity, couple with no availability of 1st party drive array's. I shouldn't have to go buy fibre-channel cards and a 15K dollar Promise storage array to run RAID 10/50. Apple's RAID setup capability with the internal drive bays sucks.

      3. Lack of any real alternative to enterprise grade groupware products like Exchange and no availability of a cost effective backup solution with regard to hardware or software. Zimbra doesn't compete with Exchange in my opinion, and again, since there is virtually no server VM platform for Mac OS X Server, you can't even virtualize it. Backup to disk is the only real viable option for X-Serve backup and again you are talking a lot of money for an enterprise grade solution that eliminates a large portion of the customer base right off the bat. I shouldn't have to use a Windows box running Backup Exec or ArcServ in a predominantly Mac environment. Even if I agreed with that, now I have to be Windows server admin to be a good Apple server admin- WTF?

      4. The Mac Pro is much better suited to be a server in a small to mid size office. It allows more room for expansion cards and has that critical 4th drive. Granted, it doesn't have Lights-Out and it doesn't have redundant power, but do most small to mid size offices need that for the price? An by the time you get to a 10K dollar box, how many enterprises are going to have IT people stupid enough to drop coin on something that is basically going to be a file server in a predominantly Windows environment? Why not just buy another Windows or Linux box for that much?

      Steve is full of it. There is more to maintaining a server platform
      than creating a box with some drives and then blaming the public for not adopting it. I'm beginning to think it's time for him to retire.