Chicago Tribune writer: Will Apple’s Jobs offer Mac OS X to Michael Dell?

“Back in the mid-1990s when the mountains were taller and it was still OK to call somebody a liberal, your humble correspondent met at the corner of State and Madison with Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computers Inc. ‘I’ve learned something about you mass market technology journalists,’ Dell said while I took notes with my reporter’s tablet laid out on a newspaper vending box. ‘You guys write almost exclusively about Windows and PCs because Apple has only a tiny market share, but then you all go home and use your Macs to write the story. You guys all love your Macs.’ I lost that reporter’s tablet but I’m pretty sure I remember the quote because it has stuck with me for all the years since. Dell felt that a Macintosh bias led to unfairly negative reviews of his products,” James Coates writes for The Chicago Tribune.

“Dell’s opposite comment came to mind big time over the past several days as we have covered Apple’s unexpected decision to sell Macs capable of running Windows as well as Mac OS 10,” Coates writes. “With Boot Camp running, a Mac can start in dual boot mode, giving the user a choice of whether to run OS 10 or Windows XP. Or a user can set Windows XP or OS 10 as the most commonly used program to boot up automatically, leaving it to the user to reboot later into the other operating system. Everybody agrees that Windows XP runs great on Macs with those dual-core Intel processors. It works far faster than Microsoft’s own software called Virtual PC for Macs that emulates an Intel chip on a Mac based on PowerPC and lets one install Windows and run Windows software. This works, but it is so slow that nobody’s going to use Virtual PC running in a window on the Mac more than is absolutely necessary. Boot Camp on a new Mac runs Windows as fast as any but the most supercharged PCs.”

“Then came Michael Dell with the other side of the story. Why not put OS 10 on a far cheaper Dell Windows PC instead of a costly Mac? You’d get the best of both worlds and shell out far less,” Coates reports. “In an e-mail to Forbes magazine, Dell said: ‘If Apple decides to open the Mac OS to others, we would be happy to offer it to our customers.’ Apple’s response was quick and negative. Apple will not sell OS 10 for installation in non-Apple hardware. It will sell software to run Windows on Macs but not the other way around. Will Jobs flip-flop on Dell’s offer just as he did when it was Windows on a Mac rather than Mac on Windows? I don’t care what Dell thinks about my ilk, I’m on his side now.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This would be an entertaining story if you didn’t know that Michael Dell emailed the line “If Apple decides to open the Mac OS to others, we would be happy to offer it to our customers,” to Fortune’s David Kirkpatrick, not Forbes, in June 2005 or about 10 months before Apple released Boot Camp Public Beta, not after, as Coates implies. As Paul Harvey would say, “and now you know… the rest of the story.”

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Michael Dell say’s he’d be happy to sell Apple’s Mac OS X if Steve Jobs decides to license – June 16, 2005

34 Comments

  1. Let us not forget that it was Dell that suggested a number of years ago to just close Apple and give the money back to shareholders. If Jobs were to allow other manufacturers to have OSX on their hardware I hope he’d place Dell last on the list.

  2. He should be on the list in last place. Ahead of Dell would be all the major players but also every small time PC maker assembling hardware in their basements. But make Dell think he has a chance at getting OSX, string him along until he gives the money back to his shareholders.

  3. Yea, and maybe Steve Jobs will suck on a shotgun today! That would be less catastrophic for him than becoming Michael Dell’s performing monkey which is what Dell seems to be looking to happen. Which CEO was it that had the RDF. Oh yea, The Steve’s works on others; apparently Ol’ Mike has an intrinsic RDF!

  4. If (as is regularly mooted) Apple is a company focused on selling hardware, why would they license OS X for use on “a far cheaper Dell Windows PC instead of a costly Mac?” Seems like a no-brainer to me, Mr. Coates.

  5. I know that OSX is vasty superior to XP, but it’s Apple’s hardware that makes it a better computer experience all others, especially Dell. Putting OSX on a Dell would be awful. Please God…no.

  6. Is no one going to take Coates to task for writing: “It works far faster than Microsoft’s own software called Virtual PC for Macs that emulates an Intel chip on a Mac based on PowerPC and lets one install Windows and run Windows software. This works, but it is so slow that nobody’s going to use Virtual PC running in a window on the Mac more than is absolutely necessary.”

  7. I don’t think this writer is a Mac user. This story is completely fabricated.
    1. What Mac user would refer to OS X as “OS 10”?
    2. He states, “You’d get the best of both worlds and shell out far less.” What Mac user would imply that Dell hardware is the “Best”?
    3. He continues to perpetuate the “Macs are overpriced” mantra with this, “Why not put OS 10 on a far cheaper Dell Windows PC”
    4. He states, “It will sell software to run Windows on Macs ” when everyone knows that BootCamp is a free beta.
    5. He asks, “Will Jobs flip-flop on Dell’s offer just as he did when it was Windows on a Mac?”. I don’t recall Jobs every making a statement that “Windows will never be allowed on Macs”. In fact Phil Schiller made it clear that Apple would do nothing to preclude it.

    This is a hacked story to promote Dell. It’s meant to create a groundswell of demand for Apple to open OS X to non-Mac owners. Not going to happen. You want the Mac experience? Buy a Mac.

  8. Can someone tell me why it does not make sense for Apple to sell OS X for $300 per licenses to anyone PC vendor who wants them?

    I’ve heard the arguement against Apple selling OS X to other vendors before, but everyone always uses the Windows price model for their arguement. Clearly OS X is a better system and warrants a higher price. If people will cough up $300+ for MS Office, I think the same price makes sense for OS X and iLife. Screw what others have done, Apple should do what makes sense, and at a price that makes sense to Apple and their shareholders.

  9. “Will Apple’s Jobs offer Mac OS X to Michael Dell?”

    Now, why in hell would he do that? He’s sitting on top of a gold mine, and he’s gonna give the gold to the crazy prospector instead of reaping his own benefits? I don’t think so.

    Slow news day? Well, it is only 11AM.

    MW: Dell has an extreme lack of culture, innovation, and overall knowledge to even know what to do with OS X if it slapped them in the face (which, it has been doing for years already come to think of it)

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