Enderle: Apple as Windows OEM

“Last week, Apple became a tentative Windows platform OEM with its announcement of Boot Camp, which allows new Mac hardware to run Windows XP and, eventually, Vista. Apple had said it wasn’t planning to support Windows — just like it said it didn’t plan to support Intel or bring out flash-based media players,” Rob Enderle writes for TechNewsWorld. “Take note: When Apple announces something it won’t do, it might actually be a sign or warning of something it will do. It did make last week’s column on the possibilities of Microsoft buying Apple more pertinent.”

“Think of this as a big market test. With Steve Jobs now on the Disney board and very interested in getting that company to buy his products, he has undoubtedly learned that this isn’t going to happen with the Mac OS. He could get in the door, however, if his product were priced competitively and ran Windows. However, going after Disney and getting his butt whipped in the rest of the market would be both painful and stupid — and he’s neither masochistic nor dumb,” Enderle writes.

“Jobs needed a big market test that he could either fund and risk a leak to the press, or productize and make money from while controlling the media message. He chose the latter, smarter, path. If sales go up dramatically, as most expect will be the case, he will have the answer to his question, which will drive him toward a more Windows-centric solution than many of the Mac folks will probably like,” Enderle writes. “Of course, given that Apple will probably have the most advanced Intel-based hardware in the market at the end of this year, it may actually have the best Windows Vista-ready hardware at that time. The impact of that is very interesting to contemplate.”

“So, could all of this result in more OS X adoption? The easy answer is no — and no one knows this better than Steve Jobs. When he reclaimed leadership of Apple, the company was trying to build a product that was very similar to OS/2, which had a compatibility feature that would run older applications. He killed it because he, and all of us that covered OS/2 as analysts, had learned that what happens when you have a dual mode product like this is that developers don’t move on it,” Enderle writes. “Realize that OS X is a unique cost that only Apple, of all the Intel hardware OEMs, bears. This OS may do more to limit Apple’s true market opportunity — and clearly does more to reduce Apple’s margins — than any other single factor. The key word is ‘may,’ and that is why what happens over the next few months will be critical. If this experiment is successful, Apple can change ‘may’ to ‘does,’ further building a foundation for decisions that take the firm toward a more Windows-centric strategy.”

“For those of you having heart attacks right now or thinking of creative ways to get me to retire early, realize that Apple is unlikely to do ‘generic’ Windows. Apple knows how important its user interface is to the market and will want to hold on to that,” Enderle writes. “Fortunately for Apple — unlike when it last considered this option in the late ’90s — Windows has become increasingly modular over time. It is very likely that, just like it did for OS X, the company could eventually create a hybrid: Traditional Mac users could get a regular Mac experience if they wanted, and Windows users could be comfortable as well. Both sets of users would have access to Apple and Windows applications that they had never before been able to run.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple doesn’t need to junk Mac OS X’s kernel for Microsoft’s Windows kernel in order to create something like Rob “Microsoft Wrote the First Mac OS” Enderle describes. Mac OS X is different than OS/2 because it already had tens of millions of adopters and developers moved over along with the Mac userbase. Mac OS X is more than simply “a unique cost that only Apple, of all the Intel hardware OEMs, bears.” With the “Classic” Mac OS now dead, Mac OS X is now the Mac itself. We don’t see Apple taking it’s crown jewel (sorry, iPod) and throwing it all away as Enderle describes; it’s not necessary to achieve what we believe Steve Jobs wants: to elevate the personal computer industry by taking it back from Bill Gates’ Mediocresoft.

People who don’t use the Mac get all kinds of crazy ideas about what it is, what it can and can’t do, and they simply cannot grasp of a world without Windows. Well, there is a world without Windows and even Microsoft; and it works, and much better, too. That more and more people are imagining a Microsoft-reduced or even Microsoft-free personal computing experience doesn’t bode well for the Redmond behemoth.

You can generally divide the writers of “Boot Camp” articles into three groups:
• Mac-only users who can’t bear the thought of booting Windows on a Mac, even though they know they need to run AutoCAD, for example, and that there will never be a Mac OS X version of AutoCAD as things are today (there may be one in the future depending on how well Apple pulls this off).
• Mac and Windows users who understand the need to run a handful of Windows apps on the Mac and who can see how this move could positively affect Apple’s Mac platform. We see Apple’s move as “embrace and extinguish.” Sure, we always wish we could convince some developers to make Mac versions of their applications or that some upstart would make a better application in that same category that would run on Macs, but we see running Windows apps on the Mac as the next best thing and something that may ultimately result in native Mac apps in time.
• Windows-only users who can’t figure out why people use Macs in the first place (hint: it’s better, way better) and think Microsoft is a necessary ingredient in all personal computing instead of realizing that Microsoft is a purveyor of mediocre software products that have been widely adopted for various reasons – legal and otherwise – none of which have anything to do with quality, taste, and/or enhancing the end users’ experience.

As we have always said, even as many short-sightedly threw in the towel, the war is not over. And, yes, we shall prevail. For the naysayers we trot out our favorite example: In 1929, Ford held just over 61% of the U.S. market for automobiles. GM’s market share stood at just 12%. Ford was thought to be invincible, with GM regarded as a niche auto maker. But, in 1936, just seven years later, Ford held 22% of the market for new automobiles while General Motors held a 43% share. No company is invincible.

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Related articles:
Enderle: Apple’s Boot Camp allowing Windows on Mac ‘could change PC landscape as we know it’ – April 06, 2006
Enderle: What if Microsoft bought Apple? – April 03, 2006
Enderle on MS Vista slip: ‘I personally can not recall Apple ever getting an opportunity like this’ – March 22, 2006
Tech pundit Enderle: ‘Microsoft wrote the first Mac OS’ – September 28, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005
Bio authors: Steve Jobs wants ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – May 23, 2005
Apple about to resurrect its Switch campaign? Are the ‘OS wars’ really over? – May 09, 2005
iPod success opens door to Mac OS X on Intel – March 04, 2004


  1. I post it in every Enderle thread but it bears repeating. This is the guy who said that Microsoft wrote the original MacOS, that Tiger was a ripoff of Longhorn, and the Linux users are terrorists.

    Please stop giving this asshole webhits.

  2. I agree with MDN’s take. This sensationalism is meant to rattle the cages of the Mac Faithful, not to be taken seriously.

    In pure Jobs style, Apple is far more likely to resurect th recently rumored Yellow Book project and include a Coacoa DLL to allow Xcode Universal binaries to run _on Windows_ with the graphics library rather than the other way around – rely on thousands of Windows programmers to ignor OS X by simply runing their apps in a “Virtualization” environment.

    I won’t even entertain the idea of scrapping OS X completely and moving to be the best hardware reseller of Windows boxes.

  3. Apple Rules! OS X rules!

    Thank you Apple for problem free, inteligent, 21st century computing!

    MSoft is an insult to humanity!


    Enderle is a brainwashed Win user!

  4. Ladies and Gents . . .

    Are you aware that Micoshaft will release–count them–FIVE (5) critical security patches for XP tomorrow?

    Man, I just can’t WAIT for Mr. Steve to junk our impregnable (for now, anyway) OS for that piece of crap Windows users are stuck with!

  5. MDN’s take is spot on. The proof is in Microsoft’s reaction.

    If Apple had any intention of being the next big Windows OEM Microsoft would be trumpeting this fact loudly and widely. Instead, we have the tepid “Windows is a great product” press release and a slew of new “People Ready” ads.

    That, my friends, is the scent of fear. Even Enderle has it. He’s trying hard to deny it, but methinks he doth protest too much.

    Microsoft knows that its failure to get Vista out on time has led to this. Apple has the initiative and the opportunity to change the way PC’s are designed and sold. This is the thing that everyone has missed or has willfully tried to distract us from–Microsoft’s OEM relationship with computer hardware vendors is about to come to an end. When you can buy a PC from one manufacturer and easily run whichever OS you like, why would you buy any of the others?

    Expect new, stronger relationships between hardware vendors and Linux distributors in the near future, in an attempt to have an offering similar to Apple. Microsoft’s dominance on the desktop is about to be broken, thanks to their failure to deliver.

    MDN’s magic word: “western”. As in we’re all watching a western. We’ve returned to the wild wild west and the shootout is about to begin.

  6. “Well, there is a world without Windows and even Microsoft; and it works, and much better, too.”

    If only Apple believed this!

    Why don’t you think Apple believes this? Just because they let Windows boot on a Mac doesn’t mean anything more than what it is.

  7. I’ve done projects for Disney, and as such visited a number of their offices. They already have a mix of Windows and Macs depending on the job function being performed. Considering he can’t even get that right, this leaves me with the impression that Rob is, as usual, talking out of his Enderle.

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