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Apple has made strong surges in the personal computer space in the last decade, but the company has shown little direct interest in one large market where Windows still has a stronghold: the enterprise.

Instead, Apple leaves the space open to third-party developers and service providers for companies that express interest in placing Macs in their large installations.

The largest business application for Mac OS X, Microsoft’s upcoming Office 2008, has been delayed twice but is currently scheduled for release in January 2008. This update will offer new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage. Entourage will feature Exchange server integration, the lack of which was a longtime bar to Macs in enterprise situations in all but the Home and Student editions.

Smaller developers are moving more quickly, though. Not only have higher Mac computer sales spurred an interest, but so have strong sales of Apple’s iPhone.

Parliant, for example, has updated its PhoneValet and PhoneHerald applications. PhoneValet 5.3.1 is a multiline virtual call center that runs on Mac OS X and retails at $169.95 per line, according to the company. Features include an automated attendant, unlimited voice mail call tree, call blocking, recording, logging and screening, automated dialing, and an interactive voice response, as well as compatibility with Mac OS X 10.5.

In contrast, PhoneHerald offers automated dialing and message delivery for small companies that want to produce auto-dial surveys and other services. Version 1.1.7 also supports Mac OS X 10.5 and costs $499.95 for the first line and $399.95 for each line thereafter.

The Philadelphia-based company Training Camp, meanwhile, will offer a three-day Apple Certified Help Desk Specialist course. This follows similar programs that produce certified Microsoft software technicians.

Reflecting the growing interest in Apple hardware and software, the program is designed to help “individuals looking to expand their careers in the Apple space,” said Training Camp CEO Chris Porter.

In addition, search engine company Exalead has optimized a version of its search Web page for use on the iPhone.