Dell takeover fuels Mac panic

When Dell announced a buyout of systems management appliance company KACE last week there was one big question customers wanted to ask — did that mean support for Macs and Linux was about to get dumped from its products?

A large part of KACE’s business has been Windows-focused especially with many companies seeking to migrate directly from Windows XP to Windows 7 KACE marketing vice president Wynn White told APC. However even smaller organisations (KACE’s main target) typically have to deploy and manage multiple OSes White noted and support for Max and Linux platforms has been a major selling point for the company since it begin selling its appliances in 2005.

As such last week’s surprise news that Dell was acquiring KACE for an undisclosed sum quickly got the phones ringing at the company’s Mountain View headquarters. “Since we announced the acquisition on Thursday a bunch of our customers have been calling in and saying ‘Look I’m really concerned that I’ve got a lot of Macs and Dell are not going to care about that'” White said. While Dell offers Linux options on several server models and a handful of laptops its business PC and server marketing has been dominated by Windows.

Despite that perception nothing will change White stressed. “It couldn’t be more untrue. One of the reasons why Dell acquired us is because we have support for both Mac and Linux and we intend to enhance it going forth” he said. The last major update to the KBOX software used on its appliances incorporated support for both Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

KACE boasts around 1400 active customers and is currently expanding its Australian presence to spearhead a push into the Asia-Pacific. It’s also about to move into new offices in Mountain View having finalised a long-planned move just prior to the Dell buyout. At least that neighbourhood has given it practice in big-company politics: a large chunk of the local real estate is owned by Google.