Dvorak: Steve Jobs eventually intends for Apple’s Mac OS X to run on any x86 PC

“I will admit that the possibility does exist that Apple doesn’t want its OS in the wild, since it could potentially hurt hardware sales. At least that’s the way the company might see it. This assertion does assume that the Apple marketing department is brain-dead,’ John C. Dvorak writes for PC Magazine.

“I see the OS getting out in the wild as having the opposite effect. For one thing, it would increase interest amongst developers, which should boost overall sales. Besides, I’m completely convinced that Apple could still get the same premium for its machines that it does today,” Dvorak writes. “People simply like the design of Apple gear. Just look at the sales of the overpriced iPod in a market glutted with MP3 players. Why does anyone buy one? How is this ga-ga mentality different with computers?”

MacDailyNews Take: This article is sort of a re-do of Dvorak’s PC Magazine article, “Mac-Intel Aftermath” from June 13, 2005. In this new one, Dvorak looks at the possibility of Apple using Intel’s “trusted computing” hardware DRM to lock down Mac OS X OS to ensure it ran only on Apple-branded hardware. As you can see above, John thinks this would be a “brain-dead” move by Apple. Somehow, Dvorak gives Apple’s Mac OS X lots of credit for being so good that it would boost overall sales while giving Apple’s “ga-ga” hardware designs little or no value. Dvorak discounts the value of Apple’s control of the whole widget (hardware+operating system] to guarantee as seamless an experience as possible for Mac users.

Dvorak goes on to repeat the theme of his mid-June article; that Apple is just making it seem like they wish Mac OS X to remain only on Apple-branded hardware, but really secretly plans to eventually let Mac OS X run on the Dells of the world.

Dvorak outlines his latest scenario:
1. Keep Microsoft from getting weird early [keep “freaky Microsoft from get freaky on them” and killing Office for the Mac].
2. Assure current Mac mavens that not much is going to change.
3. Allow for Apple to pretend to fight the OS getting out into the wild, so it can then say, “There was nothing we could do. This is the OS that people apparently want and need.”
4. Give Steve Jobs the path to a formal announcement at one of the Apple confabs where there isn’t much to announce.
5. Give Jobs the ability to tell Gates that Apple didn’t really want its OS on all computers everywhere. “Bill, you’ve got to believe me!”

At or around the 4th step above, Dvorak explains, “In the wings is waiting a shrink-wrapped [Mac OS X] upgrade that works perfectly on older machines. A public announcement comes. ‘It works on machines that Microsoft Vista won’t run on!’ says Jobs. The crowd goes wild. And it’s priced below Microsoft Vista. It turned out that the hacked OS-X86 that Steve was so angered by was actually the beta test for the rollout of the commercial product.”

Read the full article (and Dvorak’s older article – see related article below) here.

MacDailyNews Take: Dvorak seems to have dropped his sixth step: “Spyware and viruses emerge on the Mac” from his earlier piece. Perhaps he’s taken a closer look at Mac OS X and realized that might not happen. Or, who knows, maybe he just forgot about that one? As we said in our take to his first article, “The insistence by some that if Mac OS X had the market share of Windows that viruses and malware would be just as bad is just illogical. There are millions and millions of Mac OS X computers on the ‘Net and zero viruses. Do the math. Use common sense. Mac OS X is simply more secure than Windows by design.”

The rest of Dvorak’s theory – a “twisted scheme” in his words – is interesting and, after the last few years, we have to admit that just about anything is possible. We do think that Jobs intends to attempt to offer the world at large a better option than Microsoft can offer. At this point, it’s anybody’s guess what Jobs is planning. What do you think?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005
Michael Dell say’s he’d be happy to sell Apple’s Mac OS X if Steve Jobs decides to license – June 16, 2005
Dvorak predicts Mac OS X for generic x86, Apple ‘Office’ suite, dawn of Mac viruses and spyware – June 13, 2005


  1. You never know anything with Steve Jobs. . one minute he’s sayin’ no next minute he’s sayin’ yes, and sometimes he doesn’t say anything, while other times he says something doesn’t come through with it and fires everyone involved with the mistake. . .Gotta love ol’ Steve.

  2. hmm sounds alot like cringely.


    cringely said the latest announcement for intel macs was merely a decoy.. a way to release OS X to the hackers and let them play around with it for about a year.. so they could get the developer copy of OS X and have it ready to work on any Dell..

    this ‘transformation’ of OS X is happening as we speak

  3. SJ does not intend for Mac OS to be installed on some garage assembled bin parts PC from 3 years ago. Too many issues about quality. We will again see the day that the Mac OS is installed on x86 computers – just new ones that meet certain requirements.

  4. Steve clearly said in his keynote that they “want to build better hardware” and that’s why they are switching to Intel. Sure, the heart of a Mac is the OS (that could have a hidden message), but Apple wants and will continue to build the best computers in the world. They are different because they are different. Simple as that. The moment they become just another computer company is the moment they become unimportant. The world needs Apple for what they do and Apple is delivering.

  5. Why is the beta process for the Windows OS typically 18 months or more? Because of all the variations of hardware it tries (emphasis on ‘tries’) to support.

    I don’t believe Apple will ever want to get into those long development and test cycles. It is extremely expensive to do.

    Apple controls both the hardware and software to give the best experience. Expect Apple to do some type of tie in between the hardware and software so the Mac OS only runs on hardware sanctioned by Apple.

    It’s been that way since the original thin man. I don’t expect this to change.

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