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About alcibiades

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    InsanelyMac Protégé
  1. Yes, this basically right. If the software you bought will run on other machines, you have a legal right to run it on them, regardless of what the eula says. Eulas to the contrary will be unlawful and unenforceable. If you have to hack the software to make it run, this may involve violating US law on hacking. If you are running a different version of the software, which was not made available as a free upgrade to something you previously bought, then again, your previous purchase gives you no rights of running it on anything. It is pretty simple actually, and the analogy is Office for Windows. Regardless of what the Eula says, if my copy, upgraded by purchase or Service Pack, or not upgraded, runs under Wine, its lawful for me to run it (one copy). If I have to decompile it and alter it to make it run, that may be behaviour that is unlawful in itself. If I get a Mac version by downloading, my previous purchase of the Windows version gives me no rights to run this. The thing that makes me a bit uneasy in the above post is the reference to licensing. You have actually bought one copy. The industry talks about licenses, but that is not, legally, what has happened. Legally, you have bought a copy. It is to this copy that copyright applies. This is why they cannot stop you running it on whatever you want. But this is also why they can stop you making multiple copies. There are lot of mac enthusiasts who would like it to be more unlawful to run a bought copy of OSX on a non-mac machine, than it is to run Office under Wine. It isn't. Its exactly the same thing.
  2. OS X on Intel Still Not Complete

    I'm sure Apple can make it impossible, or at least impossibly difficult, to run X on white box hardware. The question is whether this makes business sense. The question is, whether staying in the Mac niche is long term viable. This is what Apple people need to think hard about. It has nothing to do with liking or not liking the company. Nor is it to do with whether you can deliver a better experience by restricting the hardware your OS run on. The question is simply, is it viable to continue selling PCs to 5% or less of the market, and mostly to repeat customers who have been using Macs for years and are buying new ones? Because this is what it means. It means having hardware prices and a cost of entry too great to allow you to get market share greater than niche. And, is this a better strategy than selling the OS on the open market? It is not at all like the clones episode. In that episode, they were making different hardware from the rest of the industry, and they licensed others to make the same hardware. Here, they are using the same hardware as everyone else, but they are seeking to prevent people buying some of that identical hardware and running their OS on it. I doubt its viable. It seems this is the kind of proposition that, over 5 years, takes you below 2% market share. But I have little doubt that its the strategy Cupertino will do its best to follow. And no, it has nothing to do with 'being the best'. It has much more to do with being pyschologically comfortable as a management team, and taking the easy way.
  3. The Future of Apple

    Isn't the problem something to do with 'the going rate'? The 'going rate' is what things sell for that most people regard as being pretty good quality at a fair price. People, when they buy machines, have this concept of what the going rate for both hardware and software is. For OSs, the main things are (1) its free with the machine when first bought (2) service packs for that version are free, and are mailed on CD if you ask for them (3) upgrades to the next version go for around $100. OEM copies less. Then you have hardware. The going rate is around $600-700, and that is supposed to get you a flat screen, 80G drive, 2.5-3Ghz processor, 512 memory. Not an all in one, two boxes. And of course, the OS is included, and probably some Works program, maybe Office if you're lucky. You have to have something special to get more than that. Apple currently has it for the restricted market of the faithful. Not for anyone else. But, it gets a lot more than the going rate on both hardware and OS from this particular niche of buyers. My question is, is this strategy getting more or less viable? The Intel move seems to me, its part of it getting less viable. The hardware has, over the years, become identical to everyone elses, and this is the final step. There will be no, absolutely no, company specific components except for the case. The OS is, temporarily, more secure than XP, but no more usable than either XP or the major Linux distributions. Where are the new buyers going to come from who will first buy the hardware at a big markup, and then go on to spend $100 a year on minor version upgrades? This is not an argument about what we like. So its pointless to reply with arguments about how great X is or how lousy Linux is, or XP, or MS, or how we all hate Dell. This is about the market and what will happen to companies following certain strategies. In Apple's case the basic strategy seems to be, milk the committed user, and refuse to get our costs down. I just cannot see this flying over five years. Can anyone else? And Isn't this the real market significance of X86, it is, like it or not, the hardware becoming directly comparable point for point, and so subject to easy comparisons against 'the going rate'.
  4. The Future of Apple

    Yes, there is some truth in that. Though some service packs have added features also. But it doesn't really affect the main point. The question is not, which OS is better, or which one we think is better. The question is, what is the likely future of Apple in the market. I haven't heard any argument to convince me they are not between a rock and a hard place. Nor have I heard any argument that proprietary closed hardware is a viable 5 year strategy - for anything other than milking the base as long as you can. Not a comfortable thought, but it seems to be reality.
  5. The Future of Apple

    You have to understand what Apple is really doing, and why it can carry on for a while, but it is not going anywhere as a strategy. They are taking output from the same Far Eastern OEMs as everyone else, putting it in cases which are also made there, but differently colored and shaped, and then selling it to their existing customers for 50% or more than the same output in generic boxes. If you doubt this, open one up, and you'll see Seagate drives, Radeon graphics, Samsung memory, the standard kinds of opticals.... And pretty soon, Intel processors. This is very simple: its called, milking the customer base, and using the proceeds to get into other business areas. You can be sure that is how it is talked about in Cupertino. So they have no sustainable competitive advantage in hardware - in fact, they are at a disadvantage. Now that they have gone to Intel, there will be no way at all to claim differentiation. The reason they can do this is the OS. Now, at one time the OS was easier to use. After XP that ceased to be true. Its a bit different, but its not easier. It is, for some period, more secure. Pretty soon however it will just be different. No easier, no more secure, and a lot more expensive. It is not just Mac hardware that costs more. What in Windows you get free as service packs, with Apple you pay handsomely for every year. There has been a long term competitive advantage in the OS, and security issues are its last gasp, but they are not long for this world, and they only apply versus XP, not Linux. So, premium pricing on the OS itself is going to go within 5 years. And with it, the effort to make people pay more for hardware to run it on, than the same hardware costs to run something else on, will also run into the sand. The differentiation is not going to be there, if it is really there now. At one time also, because they supported a restricted range of hardware, their machines were less problematic. There was better integration between OS and hardware. This is no longer true. Those Seagates, Radeons, Samsungs are all just as integrated with XP as with Linux or OSX. That is, they are standard components, and they aren't integrated at all, but that doesn't stop them from working together equally well in any of the OSs. There is no sustainable advantage for them in integration therefore. As differentiation fades, over five years, the strategy of charging a premium on both hardware and software, without offering any visible benefits, will fail. It will not fail right away, because brand image is a fairly hard thing to lose, and the faithful will keep buying. But over five years, the continuation of this approach will gradually turn Macintosh into Amiga. What's the alternative? I'm not sure from a strategy point of view there needs to be one - milking the base is quite a respectable strategy, as long as your new ventures pay, and they seem to be doing. Done too enthusiastically it can damage the brand, but it can be done. If however you want an alternative there are two, not exclusive. In fact, you probably have to do both. The first is to get the costs out and be a low cost supplier. Low cost means, as low cost as Dell. This does not mean producing inferior hardware, because Dell hardware is no different, it means producing the exact same hardware as now. It means carrying on getting the same hardware from your Far Eastern OEMs as you do today, but just mark it up less, because you have pruned Cupertino and improved logistics and supply chain management. The second is to sell the OS as a standalone product, to other manufacturers. They will take care to deliver products that work, just as they do with their Windows lines. Its not rocket science after all - this is how 95%+ of the world market is supplied, and the stuff comes out of the box and it works. There is no reason the OEMs cannot do this with OSX, just as they do with Windows. This is basically it. Its not going to be easy. But the fundamental problem is, you cannot remain a high cost undifferentiated supplier for long. Your loyalists will leave you, or they will die of old age, and the fanaticism of the ones that remain will not be a marketing asset. So, you either manage decline gracefully and milk, or you get the costs out and get into a new market model. One or the other. Its going to be interesting to see which it is.
  6. Build Your Own Mac for $199

    People commonly don't understand this. They will never be able to prevent installation of the OS on non-Apple hardware just by conditions of sale. This is not because EULAs are not enforceable - they often are, depending on what they say. It is not because of copyright - this only stops illegal copying. It is because conditions of sale which restrain post sale use are unenforceable, whether they are in a EULA or in any other sort of contract. The reason is, it is anti-competitive. So, MS cannot stop you running Office under Wine, regardless of what the EULA says. They also cannot stop you moving your Windows installation from one machine to another, similarly. GM cannot stop you using after market tires, stereos and so on. Gilette cannot make you use its blades in its razors, or stop other people making blades for its razors. Apple can stop you making illegal copies of X, and they can make it technically impossible to run X on non-Apple hardware. But they cannot stop you, simply by conditions of sale, from running a purchased copy of X on the hardware of your choice. Nor can they stop people making hardware and advertising it as 'X ready'. This suggests that one of two things will happen. First, they may release X to run on generic hardware. This will be a true revolution for them. I doubt they have the guts. They would have to get the costs out and compete. Second, they may implement draconian measures like product activation and DRM to stop this. This is the most likely way. As a friend of mine said: no management team ever changes a failing strategy voluntarily. I don't think these guys will. But, we will see....