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Summary:

Since Apple’s announcement to switch to x86, there has been an increase in talk about the possibility of Apple licensing OS X to other PC manufacturers. The discussion came to a head today, when Fortune published a story quoting Michael Dell, former Dell Computer CEO (current […]

Since Apple’s announcement to switch to x86, there has been an increase in talk about the possibility of Apple licensing OS X to other PC manufacturers. The discussion came to a head today, when Fortune published a story quoting Michael Dell, former Dell Computer CEO (current Chairman of the Board), as saying “If Apple decides to open the Mac OS to others, we would be happy to offer it to our customers.” This is the first time a major PC manufacturer has expressed public interest in licensing OS X. I, for one, would be devastated to see Apple license OS X and let it run on such crappy hardware. I would go so far as to say that I would be utterly disappointed in Apple as a company. It just does not seem right, or logical to me for Apple to license OS X. One of the reasons OS X is so stable and reliable is that Apple has complete control over the hardware that OS X will run on. Thus, Apple software and hardware engineers can work together to find the best operating environment. If Apple were to let OS X run on just any old PC hardware, Apple’s ability to maintain quality control would disappear. In my opinion, Apple engineers and programmers should be spending their time working on new technologies for the OS and Apple hardware, not making sure that the OS will run on the every-day PC.

Read the Fortune article.

  1. Now why do you assume that if Dell licenses OS X, it would, in fact, run on crappy hardware?

    It is perfectly possible for Dell to build a system from scratch that will run Mac OS X flawlessly. All Apple has to do is say “listen, this is what we’re going to support, take it or leave it”. As things stand, Apple does not HAVE to spend a single more hour of engineering resources to allow Dell to ship OS X Machines. With the right specs, and that is the key, they likely already could.

    From here, Dell could very well build a higher-end system that’ll run Mac OS X, it just wouldn’t sell for as cheap as your typical Windows PC.

    Then it’s a matter of Dell figuring out whether or not it makes business sense for them to build and sell Mac OSX Compatible machines, which could also be “Mac OS X Certified Machines. Some of those machines could even ship with Windows XP, or even come pre-configured with both operating systems installed in dual-boot mode. This would weary switchers users to ease themselves into an OS X World.

    Possibilities are endless.

    I welcome all those developments as this can only help Mac OS X and Apple get more of the mindshare they deserve.

    My main reason for switching from a Dell laptop to an Apple TiBook 400Mhz back in 2001 was, indeed Mac OS X. From here, all i care about hardware-wise, is that OS X runs flawlessly.

    As Steve proved to us at the Keynote, and throughout the WWDC sessions, this is very-much achievable on X86 hardware.

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  2. Its not an issue of x86 hardware, its an issue of Dell’s normal hardware quality. I’m sure Dell could make a suitable system, but I doubt the would, because the price would be prohibitive for their targeted consumer base.

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  3. by the way, what i just rambled on, is exactly what’s mentioned in the second half of the article you link to ;]

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  4. So? This post is marked as commentary. I don’t neccisarily have to agree with everything I link to! ;)

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  5. Dell does make high-end systems, many of which are bought by professionals. Their “target audience” is *vast* and wide-ranging in nature. They heavily target corporate customers who are currently grapling with infected Windows machines that can’t be effectively locked-down. I’m sure there are plenty of IT managers who are jonesing to switch to OS X, but until now, couldn’t tell their superiors with a straight face that they wanted to switch everyone to Mac. Now they can tell them they’re switching them to different machines, built by a name they already know and trust, Dell that is, that runs a stronger operating system with UNIX underpinnings, which promotes security on shared workstations. BLAM.

    All in all, i just don’t see Apple ever compromising the integrity of their operating System.

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  6. hehe fair enough ;]

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  7. Although Dell may make high end systems, I think that if people are going to spend that much on a computer to run OS X, there really isn’t a reason not to buy Apple

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  8. Is it possible that our notion of x86 hardware is dated, especially vis-a-vis hardware incompatibility issues? If Apple, working with Intel (and this may be another reason they didn’t partner with AMD), developed a “Plug-and-play” spec, with very specific minimum hardware requirements, and a decent certification plan, there’s no reason to believe that the system wouldn’t be perfectly stable.

    I like John Siracusa’s formula: take the number of geeks who try to run OS X on Intel hardware, multiply that number by the inverse of the ratio of geeks to normal folks in the world, multiply by the cost of an OS X license. If the resulting number is greater than Apple’s hardware revenue, then chances are Apple will license their OS!

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  9. But Dell has a foothold in many markets that Apple has no traction in.
    In particular Government. The uptake would npt be immediate, if ever. But it is more likely for ig business and government to go with OS X if Dell were to offer it.

    Another aspect that I feel is underestimated is warranty. Applecare leaves a lot to be desired. If Dell offered a laptop that was in the same price/feature range as the PowerBook I would choose the Dell in a heartbet. Why? Onsite, next business day repair.

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  10. SpamBlocker Friday, June 17, 2005

    With people getting excited about the possibility of getting cheaper computers to run Mac OS X, no one has stopped to realize that Apple is kind of subsidizing OS updates and other software like iLife because they make their primary profit off the machines. If they license their OS to other manufacturers, they may have to charge more for their software. So, instead of spending $130 on Leopard, you could be spending $300 — just like Windows.

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