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?

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60 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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)

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.”

  6. “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

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