Mea Culpa! This one got by me last week when Apple announced a slew of new product upgrades (not to mention that South of Market cool and just downright precious button-less mouse).

Thanks to my faithful blog reader, Matt P., for the heads up about the new and improved Mac Mini Server offerings and raising the question whether this is better bang for the buck than Windows for a small business.


Here's what Apple has done to make the Mac Mini a more attractive server (at the $999 price):

- They are throwing in the OSX Snow Leopard Server at no extra charge, which would otherwise cost you $499 off the shelf.

- Did I mention Snow Leopard includes unlimited clients. With a Windows server package, it's priced in increments. 10 client access licenses cost about $1200; 25 cost $3999.

- At $999, it also includes two 500GB hard drives.

- The Mac Mini is about two inches high and six and a half inches wide. What would you do with all that extra rack space?

- The Mac Mini uses less power than the typical PC server. Think about the savings on your electric bill!

Keep in mind:

- Windows Small Business Server edition is limited to 75 users. If your business needs more than that, you'll have to bump up to the Enterprise version. 100 users would cost around $20,000 just to give you some perspective

- You can't put more than one Windows Small Business server on the same network You HAVE to upgrade to the far more expensive full enterprise version if you need to scale up from there.

- You CAN string together as many Mac Mini Servers as you want on the same network.

- The Mac Mini Server is poised to get a boost from the iPhone. Business types are flocking to the iPhone. The Mac Mini Server throws in collaboration tools like Wikis to work seamlessly with the iPhone. More importantly, it offers security features for users tapping into their company e-mail,etc from their iPhone.

Like I said; hmmm...