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Tuesday, December 07, 2010, 06:10 am PT (09:10 am ET)

Enterprise buyers frustrated by Apple axing Xserve, but sticking with Mac

More than a month after Apple announced it would discontinue its Xserve rackmounted servers, the company's decision continues to irk enterprise customers, though most said they will stick with the Mac.

On Tuesday, CNNMoney.com profiled the reactions of Xserve customers, which the publication referred to as "a mix of confusion and frustration." Those who spoke out on the subject suggested that Apple is out of touch with its enterprise customers, who need stability in their products.

"With consumers, when they don't hear anything and then all the sudden — ta da! — they get a new iPhone, that's great," said John Welch, IT director at the Zimmerman Agency. "For us IT guys, that's a nightmare. We hate that."

Apple announced in early November that it will discontinue the Xserve after Jan. 31, 2011. It has suggested that customers switch to either a Mac Pro with Snow Leopard Server, or the Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server.

Xserve purchases made through Jan. 31, 2011, including the 160GB, 1TB and 2TB models, will be backed by Apple's full one-year warranty. But Apple has also noted that the 12-core mac Pro with Snow Leopard Server meets or exceeds the performance of the baseline Xserve hardware.

An e-mail allegedly sent by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said that "hardly anyone" was buying the Xserve. And researchers at IDC said that Apple's share of the total server market is less than 4 percent.

Despite enterprise customers' frustration over the cancelation of the Xserve, most said they will keep to the Mac platform for both desktops and servers. CNNMoney.com noted that in a survey of 1,200 Xserve customers, 70 percent said the cancelation of the Xserve will not change their preference toward Apple computers.

"Even when they're frustrated, Apple's enterprise clients still trust the company enough to keep relying on it," author David Goldman wrote. "Apple may always be a niche player in the business market, but it's got an advantage rivals like Microsoft and HP can only dream about: In the eyes of many customers, Apple can do no wrong — even when it does something wrong."

For more, see AppleInsider's three-page postmortem on the Xserve: Why Apple axed Xserve, and how it can reenter the server market.