Apple and Gateway bolster server support

Apple Computer and Gateway have altered parts of their server support programmes in order to better compete against Dell Computer...

Apple Computer and Gateway have altered parts of their server support programmes in order to better compete against Dell Computer and Sun Microsystems.

Apple has launched a new software subscription service for its Mac OS X Server operating system while Gateway has extended the length of time a customer has to return a server.

Apple's new Mac OS X Server subscription service gives users three years of software support, which includes multiple OS upgrades, for the same price that Apple currently charges for a single OS upgrade. Users can pay $999 (£1,559) for the service for an unlimited number of clients or $499 (£779) for a 10-client licence, Brian Croll, senior director of software product marketing at Apple, said.

A single upgrade for Mac OS X Server is currently priced at $999 for unlimited clients. The OS is designed to run on Apple's Xserve rack mount server.

"If you think you will do one upgrade over the next three years, then this deal makes a lot of sense," Croll said. "This gives customers one budget item for the next three years."

Croll said the deal could be attractive to Microsoft customers who may be confused by its Software Assurance licensing program introduced earlier this year.

Gateway, meanwhile, has started what it calls the industry's first 90 day money-back server guarantee. Under the new offering, Gateway will allow customers to return servers for a full refund after 90 days of working with the system. This extends previous 30 day trial periods.

The arrangement includes free on-site maintenance from a Gateway network engineer for 30 days after installation. In addition, users will receive technical support over the phone for 90 days.

Both Apple and Gateway are relatively small players in the server market. Apple's Xserve, which went on sale in May, has attracted attention from users familiar with the Unix and Linux operating systems. Gateway sells a variety of Intel-based servers in both tower and rack configurations.

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