According to Apple senior vice president Jon Rubinstein the Xserve is becoming increasingly popular in the storage world because: "As long as you're compatible and have the appropriate certifications, people only care about how much it is per megabyte."

Speaking to E-Commerce Times Rubinstein said that Apple developed the Xserve and Xserve RAID following feedback from the Worldwide Developers Conference.

According to Rubinstein, Apple's goal with the Xserve is to bond "high performance and high capability with the Mac look and feel, both in industrial and mechanical design, for tremendous accessibility and easy serviceability."

And, because the environments where people use Apple's servers and RAIDs don't have a full-time system admin, Apple has added a UI "with the same kind of feel as iTunes or iPhoto" and "system admin to make it so that you can administer a server and RAID just like using GarageBand."

Rubinstein also admits that Apple also put effort into getting the Xserve RAID certified with Windows, Linux and Solaris following requests from larger corporations who asked Apple to certify that Xserve would work with a Windows box.

And according to Rubinstein, Apple is seeing a lot of interest thanks to the certifications, and the competitive pricing: "We are seeing a lot of data centers saying, 'Wow. Traditionally, we don't use Macs, but we have some Macs and know about them, and here is a really interesting offer from Apple where we get much more cost-effective storage'."

As for differentiating itself in the server marketplace, "The Xserve G5 is really a new class of server," according to Rubenstein.

'No business plan'

As with the Xserve, Rubenstein admits that the company didn't have a business plan back in 1997 leading them to develop the iPod and iLife products down the line.

He told E-Commerce times: "We didn't start with a business plan. It wasn't like the long-term business plan was, "Gee, we're going to do an iPod because we want to be in the consumer space now." It was really: Fix the company, get down to what our basic strategy is. And the strategy is around the Mac being the digital hub. That's the key."

According to Rubenstein: "We see ourselves as being the technology and innovation leaders of the industry, and it's natural that people are going to copy us. We just don't like straight rip-offs."

He goes on to say that there are some things Apple can protect from imitation, some things Apple can't, and some things Apple wants to be copied such as the AirPort Base Station.

"When we came out with AirPort, we wanted the world to take it. We invested a tremendous amount of money, resources, et cetera into making it a reality and into marketing it to get people to see what was possible. We were thrilled when the rest of the world jumped on the bandwagon," said Rubenstein.