How Apple can win the OS war

“Even if Apple secretly is contemplating an OS coup, it is likely that the company also is wondering how to woo Windows users and promise them minimal hassle. And that, said Gartner analyst Michael Silver, is the rub,” Elizabeth Millard writes for NewsFactor.

“Apple Computer executives have said that the company will not license out its OS for Intel-based PCs, but that has not stopped speculation that Apple will pursue that strategy to go after the Microsoft Windows empire,” Millard writes. “If Apple does — and it would not be the first time the company has voiced denials all the way up to a product launch or a new direction — it could make for quite a battle in the OS world.”

Millard writes, “In some ways, such a fight would harken back to the industry’s early days, with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs duking it out for market share, but this time Apple could have several new advantages. Not only has the company raised its public profile through the iPod, but also its hardware has become more appealing to the masses rather than staying a darling of niche markets.”

“If Apple did end up licensing the OS, it is likely that many companies that wanted to take advantage of such an arrangement would have to create workarounds to run its software, similar to how some might be employing Linux- and Windows-based applications in the same environment,” Millard writes.

Full article here.

The New iPod with Video.  The ultimate music + video experience on the go.  Buy it now at the Apple Store. From $299. Free shipping.
The New iMac G5 – Built-in iSight camera and remote control with Front Row media experience. From $1299. Free shipping.
As CNET’s Ina Fried reported following Apple CEO Steve Jobs announcement of the transition from PowerPC to Intel-based Macs:

After Jobs’ presentation, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller addressed the issue of running Windows on Macs, saying there are no plans to sell or support Windows on an Intel-based Mac. “That doesn’t preclude someone from running it on a Mac. They probably will,” he said. “We won’t do anything to preclude that.” However, Schiller said the company does not plan to let people run Mac OS X on other computer makers’ hardware. “We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac,” he said. Full article here.

It seems Millard’s article misses this crucial information. The ability to run Windows and Mac OS X only on Apple Macs could drastically alter the personal computing landscape. Apple doesn’t need to license Mac OS X to other vendors. Other vendors will need to figure out a way to compete with Apple Macs that can run Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux flavors. We don’t see how other vendors will be able to compete with Apple, especially if users can run Windows in a protected Mac OS X environment with no performance hit.

This idea doesn’t kill Microsoft right away (eventually it will, though, as users compare Mac OS X to Windows and end up using Windows less and less until they realize they don’t need Windows at all), but Dell, HP, Gateway, Acer, etc. wouldn’t fare every well pretty much immediately. You think Mac market share is growing rapidly now? Just wait.

Buyers could soon have the choice between buying a Mac that runs both Windows and Mac OS X or buying a butt-ugly, cheaply-made Dell and only being able to run Windows. Can anyone explain why would anyone in their right mind would buy a Dell or any other Wintel box assembler’s kit again? This could become “license Mac OS X or die” for the Dells of the world. But, what if Steve Jobs doesn’t feel like licensing Mac OS X? Checkmate. Is it too early to suggest that Michael Dell shut down the company and give the money back to shareholders?

Wait until Wall Street finally figures this one out.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Intel-based Macs running both Mac OS X and Windows will be good for Apple – June 10, 2005
Why buy a Dell when Apple ‘Macintel’ computers will run both Mac OS X and Windows? – June 08, 2005
Windows users who try Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger might not want to go back – June 07, 2005


  1. Let me add this. I just took the plunge sevarl weeks ago and bought my first Mac a many years of PC use. I like the machine, the OS and all but I was screwed roayally when the new iMac was announced a week after I received mine.

    I want to integrate my iMac as the digital home hub in my home, and that would have been a lot nicer with the just now released upgrades. I was antiquated in a week, a problem I haven’t had with PC’s in any years.

  2. I’ve said it before– Apple will do best by absorbing Windows, not trying to compete head to head. If someone can essentially choose whatever programs they want on Mac or Windows, the issue then really becomes about which OS is best, not which is currently most widely distributed.

    Cool stuff!

  3. Give me a break. Apple has so far to go in order to even get to the 10% market share point. I don’t think anyone, even die hard Apple fans, believe that all of the major vendors will fall to Apple.

    By the way MDN, you should pick up a grammar book for the statement above. I guess the educated Mac user image doesn’t apply to you.

  4. We hear this all the time. Macs will be able to run OSX and Windows, and PCs will only run Windows. Why? Because Apple will put some sort of DRM in their OS that won’t allow operation on non-Apple hardware. There’s just one problem…

    MS has never said it will allow Windows (from Vista on…) to run on a Mac. What if they choose to stick some DRM in Windows that only allow Windows to be installed on “approved” hardware (read: non-Apple). They may even put out an update (SP3?) that institutes this feature on XP. So before you get all excited about Apple hardware taking over the world because they can handle both OS’s, wait and see what MS does.

  5. There is just toooooo much money to be made by licensing Mac OSX to other PC makers to ignore, as well as the satisfaction to be gained from the Dells, Gateways, et all abandoning Microsh*t in favour of the Apple OS.

    As long as Apple’s desktop market share continues to grow, and they can command the latest/fastest/coolest chips from Intel (and AMD) in future, then unit sales won’t suffer too badly in competition to the other PC makers…

  6. Thats tough Switcher I agree! I bought a 4th Gen iPod for my son two weeks before the new iPod was released..

    But, I expect your iMac will do exactly what you thought it would do when you bought it. It will be an enjoyable ride compared to what you have been used to believe me. Worth every penny and people will admire you even more for your decision now they’re seeing the new stuff.

  7. Bryan, how will Microsoft then sell new versions of Vista to people with older legacy PCs?

    If Vista can only run on new machines with DRM chips, the 90% installed user base will not be able to update its operating systems to Vista (and pay Microsoft for the ‘pleasure’ of doing so…)

  8. Bryan, MS makes money selling os, not boxes, so running windows on macs should be fine for them.

    “Can anyone explain why would anyone in their right mind would buy a Dell or any other Wintel box assembler’s kit again?”

    Sure, they will still be cheaper.

  9. Bryan,

    MS can’t do the DRM thing to prevent Macs from running Windows. MS is screwed in this regard by their own need to support so many makers and hardware configs. MS would break too many maker’s products by trying to DRM Apple out of the equation. They need Windows to be able to run on too many cooks’ boxes.

    Apple will become the world’s top PC maker within 5 years.

Reader Feedback

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