Apple continues in its long-term plan to attract users from the enterprise networking market, according to the company's senior consulting engineer Tom Weyer.

Weyer, described as "one of Apple's top resources in the enterprise-gear arena", spoke with Network Magazine. He confirmed that Apple does not expect its offering to the market – Xserve, Xserve RAID, Mac OS X (Panther) Server – to bear immediate fruit.

"This community is a very, very conservative one. It takes them time to move because they are cautious, and that makes sense – they have a lot at risk. What they do is hard to do, and it's hard to do right – and there's a huge downside to getting it wrong."

Weyer also confirms that Apple has in-house groups focused on explaining its solutions to professionals in the enterprise market – and stressed that the company's attempts to woo this market are gettting results: "I think we've seen a lot of good press about the announcements."

The company continues to press home the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) advantages of its products – a message touched on by Apple senior IT director Dean Rally at Macworld Expo San Francisco last week: "One of the big advantages of using so many Macs is that you don't have to spend as much on security – there are no major viruses that affect Mac OS X."

One existing Apple in the enterprise customer, Jon Moog at RiskWise LLC, which runs credit checks for large financial institutions has said: ""Dollar for dollar, the systems are cheaper than Windows machines".

Weyer observes: "People are looking for compelling value in not so much the cost of the product, but in what it costs to deploy it." He explains that enterprise users assess both the product's price and its running costs, or they are making a mistake. "I think that's one of the places where we're getting more attention", he said.

Techworld last week published a positive report on using Mac OS X as part of a server infrastructure in corporate organizations. "Mac OS X is a serious corporate operating system," it said.