Apple chief says Apple Business Essentials doesn't compete with Jamf

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in General Discussion
In a detailed new interview, Apple's Jeremy Butcher discusses how Apple Business Essentials will work -- and how it will fit in with existing device management services.

Apple's Jeremy Butcher speaking at a Jamf conference in 2019
Apple's Jeremy Butcher speaking at a Jamf conference in 2019


Now in beta, and launching officially in 2022, Apple Business Essentials is a service for small business. It allows for management of hundreds of devices, including Macs, iPhones and iPads.

Jeremy Butcher, from Apple's Enterprise and Education Product Marketing department, has told Relay.FM's "Mac Power Users" podcast that "the small business part is key."

"There's a lot of folks that are doing this that are very focused on large enterprise," said Butcher. "Part of the reason that we saw the opportunity that we did is that we think for small business there, there are folks that aren't quite yet having their needs met."

This is a service that combines device management, storage and support into a single subscription," he continued, "with the goal of helping small businesses tackle all the different things that come up throughout the use of Apple devices in their organisation."

Butcher says that Apple thinks that "up to 500 employees is a good fit for the types of features" in Apple Business Essentials.

"But really, there's no low end minimum," he said. "If you are a very small organisation, we feel like we've built a really easy to use product that can help you with these things as well."

According to Butcher, Apple Business Essentials follows on from "a lot of those features that we've been building for a while now," but it's also "absolutely the biggest step that we've made."

"At the end of the day though, if somebody is using a, you know, a Mosyle or a Jamf Now, or any kind of solution, and they're happy with it, we're thrilled," said Butcher. "And so this is not about going after, you know, this market in a way that's trying to be competitive, but it really is something where we just see such a big opportunity and a lot of folks that need a little bit more help."

"If you're happy, we're happy," he continued. "That's kind of the luxury that we have as the as the [provider of the] whole package... the hardware or the software and the services."

Butcher has been involved in device management issues at Apple for some years. In 2019, he spoke at the annual Jamf Nation User Conference about the company's commitment to education and enterprise customers.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    I don't buy it.  They cannot roll out an entire enterprise solution year 1.  Therefore they're dipping their toe into the MDM market with small business first.  That's my sense of this.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,858member
    It has to be pointed out that the bulk of MDM code including enrolment is Apple’s. 3rd parties provide the (critical) UIs but this isn’t a complete Sherlock. 

    I never got why Apple didn’t just release an iCloud version of macOS Server so businesses could self-manage. It’ll be interesting to see how far they’ve taken this away from the Novell Netware design paradigm. Either way it should be better than Office365 which requires either PowerShell knowledge or vendor engagement - it isn’t a small business solution.
    mattinoz
  • Reply 3 of 7
    mcdave said:
    It has to be pointed out that the bulk of MDM code including enrolment is Apple’s. 3rd parties provide the (critical) UIs but this isn’t a complete Sherlock. 

    I never got why Apple didn’t just release an iCloud version of macOS Server so businesses could self-manage. It’ll be interesting to see how far they’ve taken this away from the Novell Netware design paradigm. Either way it should be better than Office365 which requires either PowerShell knowledge or vendor engagement - it isn’t a small business solution.
    Likely because the Profile Manager in Apple Server leaves a LOT to be desired.  There are a few basic things I does well, but even Apple has said on multiple occasions it basically is a proof of concept product...

    That's not to say Apple couldn't or shouldn't do this, and likely do it very well.  But let's not make Profile Manager the bar, let's set it a bit higher than that.
    byronl
  • Reply 4 of 7
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,858member
    tomahawk said:
    mcdave said:
    It has to be pointed out that the bulk of MDM code including enrolment is Apple’s. 3rd parties provide the (critical) UIs but this isn’t a complete Sherlock. 

    I never got why Apple didn’t just release an iCloud version of macOS Server so businesses could self-manage. It’ll be interesting to see how far they’ve taken this away from the Novell Netware design paradigm. Either way it should be better than Office365 which requires either PowerShell knowledge or vendor engagement - it isn’t a small business solution.
    Likely because the Profile Manager in Apple Server leaves a LOT to be desired.  There are a few basic things I does well, but even Apple has said on multiple occasions it basically is a proof of concept product...

    That's not to say Apple couldn't or shouldn't do this, and likely do it very well.  But let's not make Profile Manager the bar, let's set it a bit higher than that.
    I’m not saying they should totally re-create Server as the world has changed but a self-managed IT platform is sorely missing from the market. If Business Essentials delivers on its promises, combined with M1 Macs it could be a real game-changer for small (<500 user) businesses.

    byronl
  • Reply 5 of 7
    Apple themselves are still Jamf customers. Eventually, I can see them trying to move into Jamf's space, but Apple's own design has made that hard to do. Sure the MDM framework is written by Apple, but so much is provided by 3rd party MDMs (UI, cloud services, support). Apple can absolutely move into that space, but as someone who manages MDM for Apple devices for a living, I wouldn't give them a glance. Not because they won't do it will (they absolutely will). Not because they won't provide the cloud services (they will). Not because they don't have the ability to support the product (they do). They could beat Mosyle's pricing (cheapest full feature MDM on the market) and I still wouldn't give it a thought. The issue is that moving between MDM platforms is basically impossible. It's hard enough to move devices between Apple Business Manager instances (think mergers/acquisitions). When I was managing 500 devices I would have bolted if I had to change MDMs. Now that I'm managing thousands, it's just not going to happen. Apple knows this. They're targeting the small businesses that don't have anything at all. They're offering something as powerful as Jamf Pro that is supposed to be easier to manage than Jamf now.
    bala1234mcdavebyronl
  • Reply 6 of 7
    Apple themselves are still Jamf customers. Eventually, I can see them trying to move into Jamf's space, but Apple's own design has made that hard to do. Sure the MDM framework is written by Apple, but so much is provided by 3rd party MDMs (UI, cloud services, support). Apple can absolutely move into that space, but as someone who manages MDM for Apple devices for a living, I wouldn't give them a glance. Not because they won't do it will (they absolutely will). Not because they won't provide the cloud services (they will). Not because they don't have the ability to support the product (they do). They could beat Mosyle's pricing (cheapest full feature MDM on the market) and I still wouldn't give it a thought. The issue is that moving between MDM platforms is basically impossible. It's hard enough to move devices between Apple Business Manager instances (think mergers/acquisitions). When I was managing 500 devices I would have bolted if I had to change MDMs. Now that I'm managing thousands, it's just not going to happen. Apple knows this. They're targeting the small businesses that don't have anything at all. They're offering something as powerful as Jamf Pro that is supposed to be easier to manage than Jamf now.
    Your argument sounds reasonable at first glance and is reasonable given the present state of MDM Mac management.  However, Apple controls the OS and the MDM protocol.  If they want to make it possible to easily migrate MDM servers in a future version of macOS because it would be profitable for them then they could modify macOS and the protocol to make it easier to migrate.  It didn't get hard to migrate Macs between Jamf servers until MDM.  
    byronl
  • Reply 7 of 7
    I'll give you that they could do this, but this kind of change could also affect the security of MDM. It is highly unlikely to happen (though it would make my job infinitely easier if they did make this happen).
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