"From the point that Apple decided to focus on cloud services and build giant datacenters, Xserve, and realistically, OS X Server, was dead for all but the most rabid fan. If you can’t point to your own gigantic server infrastructure and point out why your enterprise hardware and software is the best, how would you ever expect to sell it to your customers?"
Take a look at this image of Steve Jobs standing in front of a picture of his new server room (thanks to engadget.com) and you’ll see that there isn’t an Xserve, or any derivative hardware, anywhere in sight. In fact, the room appears to have rack after rack of HP Proliant DL 380 G7 servers. And I’m pretty sure that they aren’t even running OS X Server (which Apple has never used in any of their datacenters as the primary OS).
Say what you will about Microsoft, but they have always run their datacenters on their own software and products. When they have used third-party software they were honest about it, as well as their efforts to replace any third-party product they found necessary with their own software. In the vernacular, they “ate their own dog food.” And this was one thing that Apple was never, ever going to do in the datacenter.
Buyers of enterprise technology have been dealing with the smoke and mirrors of the enterprise equipment sales process for almost 50 years. They know that regardless of how pretty the magician’s assistant is, their jobs are on the line for their purchase decisions. A vendor that can’t even commit to their own product isn’t going to get much sympathy from these guys.