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MacOS X on PC (theory)


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#1
x64guru

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Hi All --

This is my first post here. I found this site/forum somewhat by accident. I was looking for the latest scoop on MacOS X -> to x86/x64. I started poking around the forums, and I just couldn't resist posting. :censored2:

Well, I haven't heard this idea mentioned anywhere, so I'm curious as to what you think of my theory as to why Steve Jobs (Apple) hasn't released OS X to the PC market.

My theory is very simple: Bill Gates.

Suppose for just a minute, that when BillG rescued Apple (invested into - I think that was 1995?) -- that BillG and Steve Jobs made a little pact. It goes like this... Bill said to Steve: Hey, the times have changed. We don't need to be enemies. We'll help you make Apple strong again.

Arguably this worked -- MS bought into Apple. MS ported Office, IE and other applications. Apple stayed on its side of the fence and developed Mac OS X, IPod, Powerbook, etc. Consumers argued which is better (and this only lined the pockets of Apple and MS with more ca$h.)

Perhaps an agreement was reached on who could tread in the others territory..?

Now, I don't know Steve Jobs, but I would have to just have to believe that he would *love* to sell OS X to the x86 (PC) market -- *IF* he could. Why not? You can reach millions of users (some who like Windows and those that don't) -- and sell them your applications. (I know this will piss people off) -- but lets face it -- the hardware has been virtually the same at times. Yes, one side gets faster or slower than the other -- but inevitably, they catch up. Those of us who understand the internals of both Mac and Windows -- understand that you can't really compare them. Both have Pros and Cons.

The only catch is what does Bill Gates think about this idea now. Well, I'm sure he wouldn't like it -- at least not right away. He's not concerned about the server market (MS and Linux lead here) -- but in the consumer market, it would be another thorn to compete with MS. In the end, I think BillG would get thru this just fine. Yes, MS would probably lose some profits here -- however, this would just revitalize both companies to get better. The OSes would *have* to get better.

Another ideal sideffect of this release, is what happens to the future hardware. I think we would see the hardware companies actually squirm here. They would have no choice but to "optimize" computing architectures. Standards would also be more likely -- since either OS would likely take advantage of the same core components.

Jumping into the future, I also predict that if Apple could release OS X to the marketplace, it would actually *increase* profits for MS and Apple.

Anyway, this is just my personal theory, and I'm just curious (especially those in the professional Mac community) -- if I'm way off course here -- and why.

Comments?

#2
Cowboy Mike

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This is true, somehow...

Apple hasn't the finacial background to face Microsoft. I have the Idea, that if Apple's gonna publish OSX for the x86 infrastructure open to every system, they've a very big problem. Cause, MS would immedeatly cut support for Office on Macs. Afterwards Apple's gonna Deal with Hollywood, to widen it's base, but Microsoft, no doubt would take over Adobe, and cut the Application support for Macs - finally the mainbase of installations in advertising agencies wiill be lost and the only reason to buy a mac would be the possibility to connect your Ipod to. Apple's way just began back from the professional towards the home consumer - A BIS MISTAKE

#3
Ouch

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IMHO your barking up the wrong tree here - Apple is just too small to have any noticable effect on microsoft. Even if they released a general x86 version its unlikely to make much of a dent in windows's sales which dominate corporate environments (where very few will find it cost effective to switch to apple). Anyway there are no secret agreements. Bill will continue to develop software for mac os regardless of what apple does - its just another market. Ditching OSX in a hissy fit because Jobs is "moving in on his turf" would hardly be a good business decision and difficult for him to justify to his board.

The reason you won't see a version of mac os for pc anytime soon is that apple is primarily a hardware company - they just use great software to flog their comparatively expensive hardware. If you could buy mac os for your pc only the die hard fashion concious buyers would bother actually buying apple hardware. Steve jobs wouldn't love to sell his OS to the plebs running beige boxes - his operating system is for the cool people, who drink espresso's and drive audi tt's. Thats his brand.

Secondly one of the reasons mac os is so good is that it has to support so little hardware - and it can be thoroughly tested. If apple dcided to offer mac os for x86 they would have to commit to getting hardware manufacturers to support the OS with drivers/utiities etc written for mac os and as such would loose control over the quality of the product. This is the flaw with windows - its not that the operating system is bad - its that the non-microsoft support software is bad.

Edited by 0uch!p0tat0, 29 December 2005 - 12:32 PM.


#4
GuySmiley

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This is true, somehow...

Apple hasn't the finacial background to face Microsoft. I have the Idea, that if Apple's gonna publish OSX for the x86 infrastructure open to every system, they've a very big problem. Cause, MS would immedeatly cut support for Office on Macs. Afterwards Apple's gonna Deal with Hollywood, to widen it's base, but Microsoft, no doubt would take over Adobe, and cut the Application support for Macs - finally the mainbase of installations in advertising agencies wiill be lost and the only reason to buy a mac would be the possibility to connect your Ipod to. Apple's way just began back from the professional towards the home consumer - A BIS MISTAKE


This isn't the first time this discussion has done the rounds in this forum (or others for that matter). Personally I believe the idea of Apple releasing OSX for x86 platforms would in fact be a sound business tactic. Particularly so when you consider that a lot of the content in this forum is geared towards making unofficial versions of OSX 86 work on standard PCs ergo Apple may eventually take the "if you can't beat them, join them" approach. Of course the flip side of the coin is that Apple may lose revenue by not tying the OS directly to their hardware offerings and therefore losing out on revenue in that respect. But, and now I'm speculating, if Apple were to reconsider their pricing model in line with rival x86 hardware providers such as Dell, HP etc then they could compete and still have an off the shelf OSX install DVD available to non-MAC owners. I personally believe that Apple could wipe the floor with Dell if it came to a head - nothing against DELL, own 2 myself.

Saying however that MS would drop support for Office on MACs as some sort of petty reprisal for Apple trying to expand their market demographic is far fetched. Microsoft right now have enough problems as is with anti-trust cases, close friends going astray (DELL shipping firefox instead of IE as standard and other niggly things), South Korea and Europe on their necks. Oh and lets not forget Google ;-) Opening up another war front with Apple will only complicate an already difficult situation. And anyway MS support Mac editions of their software as a kind of after thought. Maybe you're right and something is in the works now: No more IE support for MACs, Messenger is 3 versions behind the PC version and so on. Basically though if OSX went mainstream for all then MS would probably not like to cut themselves off from a rapidly expanding market by withdrawing Office for MAC.

As for Microsoft taking over Adobe, well again if you base this assumption on the grounds that MS would like to punish Apple for the indiscretion you mentioned then this is also speculative. I genuinely believe that MS would welcome Apple as a new player in the x86 OS market. If the rumours of universal binary development are true then this may even be to MS' advantage. Look at it from another perspective: MS have the Xbox 360 and Sony have the PS3. You don't see them hitting each other with silly tat for tat blows. Vaios still ship with XP etc. In fact the XBOX 360 allows (will allow, see Toms Hardware) Ipods and PSPs to connect to it.

Anyhow I'm writing all of the above because I'm in the canny position of being a Microsoft .NET programmer who occasionally uses OSX to connect to a MS Virtual PC to program in Visual Studio 2005. The irony is palpable! I've said it before here: If Apple releases OSX for standalone installation on a PC I'm going out and buying at least 2 licenses the first day of sale.

#5
cyrana

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I'm sort of tired of this topic. It comes up ALL THE TIME.

Margins on their hardware are much higher and they'd need a huge # of Mac OS copies sold to make it up there. And don't forget support, they could just tell people to sod off if they aren't 'supported' by whatever limited # of devices the OS would support out of the box, but that would somehow lead to poor reviews I think.

#6
scousi

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I think it would suicidal to release a general osx86 to the public. Apple wants to control the experience 100%. With the millions of PC permutations available out there, the risk would be that the incompabilities would be blamed on Apple (even though it wouldn't be their fault). I think that gradually over time, it will become available but only in about 3-4 years. Apple will need to slowly bring drivers to its platform.

Microsoft's advantage over everythinh (including linux) is the instant availability of drivers for 98% of the hardware out there.

#7
unixguru

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Two things:
1. It's Mac NOT MAC. It ISN'T an acronym.

2. Where does MS make most of its money? Preloads!!! NOT RETAIL SALES! Studies have shown that most consumers NEVER change/upgrade the installed OS on their machines. Many never install any new software -- they just stick with what was preloaded. So the only way Apple could sell many copies of OS X on generic X86 hardware is to get it preloaded. Back when IBM tried to get companies to preload OS/2 (about 10 years ago), MS strongarmed all the vendors and no one preloaded it except the IBM PC division, and you practically had to argue with them to get it.

Then comes all the other problems -- drivers for all that hardware, and controlling the user experience. That's something that's tough to do. So probably the best thing for Apple to do is to keep it on their hardware and try to increase market share. They've really got good brand these days. If they can bring the price down a bit more, I think their market share will go way up. It's already doubled in the last couple of years. After this Intel switch I anticipate they'll get to 10% market share before too long.

#8
x64guru

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Margins on their hardware are much higher and they'd need a huge # of Mac OS copies sold to make it up there. And don't forget support, they could just tell people to sod off if they aren't 'supported' by whatever limited # of devices the OS would support out of the box, but that would somehow lead to poor reviews I think.


This is part of my earlier point.

Perhaps Apple is better off redefining its business model. If the average Mac consumer knew that they're paying double for hardware, then this gives Apple a bad name. Why not dump this bad business and move into a different arena. Apple can still create nifty hardware designs, but with off-the-shelf hardware -- and then pass their savings off to the consumer. The Apple loyalist will still buy Apple no matter what is inside the box.

Secondly, who says you need to release a broad, generic release of Mac OS X. IMO, I would start off with only 64-bit versions of the OS (for Intel EM64T, AMD64 and PowerPC.) Create strategic partnerships with the likes of Nvidia (and other companies) to obtain quality driver support. You don't need to "support" every piece of harware known to man. Start this off small and in a limited form only. This doesn't require much effort at all, and if the quality is there -- then support is a mute point.

I just think Apple needs to really look at itself and decide what makes it a better company. (Note, I didn't say this was without risk.)





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