Michael Dell say’s he’d be happy to sell Apple’s Mac OS X if Steve Jobs decides to license

“For the first time, a PC player publicly welcomes the notion of selling machines loaded with Apple’s software,” David Kirkpatrick reports for Fortune. “I’ve mentioned several times in the past few months that executives from several PC companies have told me of their interest in Apple’s Mac OS X operating system. Sadly my sources would not let me attribute these assertions; PC executives are pretty leery of offending Microsoft, which holds enormous power over their businesses. So, many readers have challenged me on this point.”

Kirkpatrick reports, “But Dell (the company) has for several years fearlessly—and lucratively—sold servers loaded with Linux, the operating system Microsoft reviles and dreads. And as the industry’s top dog it wields more bargaining power with Microsoft than other PC-makers. So I emailed Michael Dell, now the company’s chairman, and asked if he’d be interested in the Mac OS, assuming that Apple CEO Steve Jobs ever decides to license it to PC companies. (For now, Jobs says he won’t.)”

“‘If Apple decides to open the Mac OS to others, we would be happy to offer it to our customers,’ Dell wrote in an email. It’s the first time any PC industry executive has openly shown enthusiasm for selling machines with Apple’s software. Though that’s all Dell would say for the record, I suspect his interest is not unknown to Jobs. So, as I said in this column last week (and in an article in the new issue of FORTUNE), the ball is in Jobs’ court,” Kirkpatrick reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Dell saying, “If Apple decides to open the Mac OS to others, we would be happy to offer it to our customers” certainly sounds better than “sell the company and give the money back to the shareholders.”

It also shows fear.

This would go a long way to answering the question we asked via headline last week, “Why buy a Dell when Apple ‘Macintel’ computers will run both Mac OS X and Windows?

Let’s face it, everybody knows that Windows can’t match Mac OS X and the stripped-down “Longhorn” Windows XP SP3 holds no promise, either. Microsoft’s Windows illusion has been shattered among those in-the-know and that reality is currently in the process of filtering down to the masses. There is a better way. Mac OS X offers the world a stable, secure, well-designed, fun, and simply better operating system than it’s slumming along with right now. If Jobs licensed Mac OS X to Dell, would you buy a Dell? Perhaps not, but would your company?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple’s ‘Mac OS X for Intel’ developer build reportedly running on Tablet PC – June 16, 2005
Apple could use Trusted Platform Module chip to keep Mac OS X off non-Macs – June 14, 2005
Dvorak predicts Mac OS X for generic x86, Apple ‘Office’ suite, dawn of Mac viruses and spyware – June 13, 2005
Report: Apple Mac OS X 10.4.1 for Intel hits piracy sites – June 11, 2005
Video of Mac OS X 10.4.1 for Intel running on Dell laptop posted online – June 13, 2005
Why buy a Dell when Apple ‘Macintel’ computers will run both Mac OS X and Windows? – June 08, 2005
Microsoft and Dell must have a lot of bricks lying around today – June 07, 2005
Dell CEO: Apple can’t just have one product and then say they’re the innovative leader of the world – February 22, 2005
Buy one, get one free: Ford offers Dell PC with purchase of Ford Focus – February 03, 2005
Dismissive Dell CEO not impressed with Apple Mac mini, calls iPod a ‘one-product wonder’ and a ‘fad’ – January 17, 2005
Michael Dell owes Apple an apology; Apple up 176 percent vs. Dell’s 13 percent in past 12 months – January 15, 2005
iPod success opens door to Mac OS X on Intel – March 04, 2004

Windows users who try Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger might not want to go back – June 07, 2005
PC World names Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘Best Operating System’ – June 01, 2005
Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘is the most advanced operating system on the planet’ – May 31, 2005
TrustedReviews: After using Mac OS X Tiger ‘going back to Windows XP is something of a joke at best’ – May 18, 2005
The Butler Group: ‘Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger the best desktop operating system in the world to date’ – May 13, 2005
BBC News: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘the most stable and reliable OS, well ahead of Windows XP’ – May 10, 2005
Windows users show strong curiosity about Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger – May 09, 2005
Windows tech writer Thurrott: ‘In many ways, Mac OS X Tiger is simply better than Windows’ – May 07, 2005
EarthWeb: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger is a ‘serious enterprise operating system, a pivotal release’ – May 06, 2005
BusinessWeek: ‘Tiger bolsters Mac OS X’s edge as the best personal-computer operating system’ – May 06, 2005
The Guardian: Mac OS X Tiger a powerful solution while Microsoft’s Longhorn remains on drawing board – May 06, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times: Mac OS X Tiger shows ‘there’s never been a more compelling time to switch to Mac’ – May 05, 2005
Dan Gillmor: ‘With Mac OS X Tiger, Apple is plainly in the lead today’ – May 05, 2005
Jupiter Research VP: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘runs rings around Microsoft Windows’ – May 04, 2005
The Independent: Apple’s ‘faster, smarter, simpler’ Mac OS X Tiger ‘a must-have’ – May 04, 2005
Mac OS X Tiger review for a Windows PC audience finds Tiger’s ‘far, far better than Windows XP’ – May 03, 2005
Boston Herald: Mac OS X Tiger should compel Windows PC users to think about switching to Apple Mac – May 02, 2005
Mac OS X Tiger will likely improve performance of your Macintosh – April 30, 2005
PC World review gives Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger 4.5 stars out of 5 – April 30, 2005
Ars Technica: Mac OS X Tiger ‘at least twice as significant as any single past update’ – April 28, 2005
BusinessWeek: ‘Tiger bolsters Mac OS X’s edge as the best personal-computer operating system around’ – April 28, 2005
Associated Press: Mac OS X Tiger ‘provides another excellent incentive to switch from Windows’ – April 28, 2005
Mossberg: Apple’s Tiger ‘the best, most advanced personal computer operating system on the market’ – April 28, 2005
InformationWeek columnist: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘a compelling upgrade’ – April 28, 2005
NY Times: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger is the most secure, stable and satisfying OS on earth – April 28, 2005
Wired News: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘full of welcome surprises’ – April 27, 2005
Apple posts QuickTime movies of Mac OS X Tiger features in action – April 13, 2005


  1. Sure Mr. Dell would welcome selling OS X. He still sells PCs one way or another. The OS and software costs him nothing in R&D, only in a licensing fee.

    I’m sure he’d love it – folks are already putting of purchasing a Mac and waiting for x86-ready OS X so they can put it in their own PC (mistaken or not). Apple loses the HW sale as a result.

  2. “Apple loses the HW sale as a result.”

    How much hardware does Microsoft sell? MS Market cap is $273B and Apple at $31B. Control the operating system and you control the market. Steve’s brush with death may have moved Apple from a niche company to a market force.

  3. Of course Dell would love to sell OSX. As we’ve discussed several times recently the real war will be between Apple and Dell not Apple and Microsoft.

    Buy a Mac and you get superior hardware, software, the best OS and the ability to boot into Windows..


    Buy a Dell and be stuck with Windows only.

    Michael Dell has got to be feeling the heat!

  4. Apple won’t licence OS X in a hurry. But it sets up an interesting problem for Microsoft.

    What if Apple watch and see how OS X on Intel sells and then decide to licence to Dell and HP? When should MS play their trump – i.e. pulling MS Office for Mac? If they do it too early Apple and others will cry foul to DOJ. If they wait too long, Apple will have unstoppable momentum.

    We live in interesting times

  5. Wahey, a cheap machine to run OSX on ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />
    (Cheap is relative, of course. I build them cheaper than Dell.)

  6. But then how does Apple keep unlimited release of OS X to the PC platform from being Attack of the Clones, Part II, without even a license to cover them this time?

    Cloning nearly killed Applle by cannibalizing hardware sales before (I know, because I was buying PowerComputing instead of Apple).

    The only way I see Apple doing this is through relying on the Trusted Platform Module on each licensed machine. But they would still be cannibalizing their low-end sales.

  7. yes, I’m posting it again…

    didn’t Apple explicitly say that they would NOT offer a stand-alone version of the OS to run on generic PC’s? I still don’t understand why there is so much discussion/speculation about this. It seems to me that the only real difference will be that the G6 will use an Intel processor instead of an IBM, and that otherwise it will be business as usual for Apple–you want Apple software, you buy Apple hardware.

  8. A thought to ponder….

    Is Windows a Virus?

    No, Windows is not a virus. Here’s what viruses do:

    1.They replicate quickly – okay, Windows does that.

    2.Viruses use up valuable system resources, slowing down the system
    as they do so – okay, Windows does that.

    3.Viruses will, from time to time, trash your hard disk – okay, Windows does that too.

    4.Viruses are usually carried, unknown to the user, along with< valuable programs and systems. Sigh… Windows does that, too.

    5.Viruses will occasionally make the user suspect their system is too slow (see 2) and the user will buy new hardware. Yup,
    Windows does that, too.

    Until now it seems Windows is a virus but there are fundamental differences: Viruses are well supported by their authors, are running on most systems, their program code is fast, compact and efficient and they tend to become more sophisticated as they mature.

    So Windows is not a virus.

    It’s a bug.

  9. It’s so good to think different!

    “I predict… Apple… announcing a deal at its conference in January – licensing hardware to Dell.” (Twenty Benson MDN June 14)

  10. Dell has made a non-statement.

    Dell sells hardware so they don’t care what OS you want with it. Of course they’d be happy to offer it. He doesn’t mention enthusiasm. He doesn’t mention that he’d promote Mac OS. He doesn’t offer a willingness to modify his hardware to optimize it for the OS.

    There is absolutely no information here, and Fortune and MDN are both being silly to read into it.

  11. reiscup,

    True, MS makes more money, has a higher market cap, and produces mostly software – but that’s changing. Microsoft is clearly headed in adding hardware.

    Apple IS a market force. It is a larger market force than most any other computer company. M$ shamelessly copies them!

    Now if you mean market force as in ubiquitous, then I’d rather not see it. Dell is a diluted, dull, brand. Nobody ever accused Dell of producing desirable things (other than by price). Apples products carry a cache that Dell only wishes he had. Apple has to protect this.

    But review some history and compare the origins of Microsoft and Apple and tell me if the market conditions from then are remotely close to now and whether either company should progress in remotely similar paths now as they did then. One was a software tools company, the other a PC company.

    Tell me, what percentage of Apple’s revenue is hardware? Would they miss it? How much licensing would Apple need to do to replace the loast hardware revenue? If I want OS X and it happens to run on a Dell, why bother buying a Mac? I just burn a copy of OSX for myself an install on my PC. Apple makes little or nothing now. If OS X must run on a Mac, then Apple makes money.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  12. Personally I think Apple will now have a bargaining chip answer to MS. “What was that? You are threatening to drop Office, again? Ok, do that, and we will release the next version of OS X for any PC as a public beta…. free. We’ll survive off the iPod sales until we gain a significant marketshare.”

  13. “Cloning nearly killed Applle by cannibalizing hardware sales before (I know, because I was buying PowerComputing instead of Apple”

    The difference being that the market will be much much larger for OSX and Apple would reap way more sales off the OS. Also, keep in mind that Apple wasn’t nearly the software company that it is now.

    They already have a prodcut line set in place.

    MW “living” as in Microsoft is living on borrowed time

  14. PS Oh and we also have this version of Apple Office running…check it out….this will be part of the free public beta. Like it?

  15. Remember that “stevenote” where they had the large target over michael dell and steve said “we’re coming for you, baby”?

    Remember that microsoft isn’t the target…Dell is. That keynote moment is beginning to make more sense now.

  16. There was a time when Michael Dull sold iPods… but it only lasted for a short while…

    For him to actually want to sell machines running OSX is such a bizarre thought !

    MW= about … as in .. “It’s all about the Benjamins”

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.