Reasons why Apple won’t be making Mac OS X for generic PCs

“If OS X were distributed for generic PCs, two things would happen: OS X would be second only to Windows as the world’s most-pirated commercial software, and Mac hardware would be shut out of some of the world’s largest markets,” Tom Yager writes for InfoWorld. “Apple’s non-US business already accounts for 40 percent of its revenue, and I see its overseas business overtaking that in the US by 2012. Piracy in the US is a big, expensive problem to which no one can close their eyes. But elsewhere, software vendors don’t just lose sales to piracy. Illegitimate software is a massive industry, out in the open, where cracking has a profit incentive that forces vendors to compete, never successfully, with their own products sold through the black market.”

“As it stands, the Mac, among its other uses, is a dongle for OS X and Mac applications created by Apple and Mac developers… If you run OS X on a machine that wanders outside that small number of predictable configs, a) you’re a sitting duck for any user-mode app or Dashboard widget that gives your box a sniff; and b) when your cracked OS X won’t boot–and that will happen–you’re permanently SOL. You can’t ask for help without giving away that you’re running the crack,” Yager writes. “So if you wonder why Apple doesn’t sell OS X as a generic OS, remember these four words: You can’t pirate hardware.”

Full article here.

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
How Microsoft benefits from rampant piracy – April 18, 2006
Cringely predicts Apple Boot Camp for non-Apple PCs to allow Mac OS X to run on generic x86 boxes – April 07, 2006
Dvorak: Steve Jobs eventually intends for Apple’s Mac OS X to run on any x86 PC – August 09, 2005
Apple setting stage for Windows PC users to demand Mac OS X for any x86 PC? – June 25, 2005
Dvorak predicts Mac OS X for generic x86, Apple ‘Office’ suite, dawn of Mac viruses and spyware – June 13, 2005
iPod success opens door to Mac OS X on Intel – March 04, 2004


  1. Quote: “So if you wonder why Apple doesn’t sell OS X as a generic OS, remember these four words: You can’t pirate hardware”

    Remember these four words: “You can virtualize hardware.”

  2. Certainly true, with all the petitions over the last five years to put OS X on x86, it’s been a bit disapointing the number of those who just don’t care and seem quite happy with windows. Sigh! This must be the feeling the devout have when the world rejects the truth and follows the other 90 percent.

  3. I have to say that running Windows XP on my MacBook Pro via Boot Camp is bliss. Windows is extremely snappy, I can play all the games, get all of the software, no hassles. I usually run Mac OS X since it is totally superior, but it sure is nice to have Windows right there when you need it for application support. Mac OS X is, after all, just the operating system.

    Mac OS X on generic hardware would only make Mac OS X look bad. The Mac experience is half hardware and half software, and Apple knows it.

    Windows XP on a MacBook Pro makes Windows look good, funny enough. Now if my damn mouse button on the laptop had more than one goddamned button. Who wants to tote a mouse around with their laptop?

  4. This is all aside from the fact that OSX on generic PC’s wuld ultimately be the train wreck that Windows is for usablility and security.

    I wouldn’t walk into a Chevy dealer and ask for a Jaguar engine. Why should people care if they have to buy a Mac to get OSX.

  5. ppc:

    “If Apple really wanted to prevent OS X from running in beige boxes, it would NEVER change processors from ppc to intel…”

    Yes, but Apple could also have simply closed it’s Mac unit in a few years as laptop/small form factor PPC chips became horribly slow compared to Intel/AMD processors. IBM had no interest in making a low-power G5, and if Freescale is so great why did Motorola jetison it?

  6. I’m not going to pay $4500 for a hobbled down CPU and GPU Mac Book Pro.

    For that kind of money I’ll wait for the QuadTels to arrive.

    Heat kills laptops, thus the machines are hobbled to keep the heat down. But Apple oes ahead and announces Core Du0 2.0, 2.16 and so on, not telling us it’s less performance than a Dual 2 Ghz G5 from three years ago.

    Switching to Intel processors bought laptops some time, but there is no way any processor maker is going to get more performance out of then and manage to keep the heat down.

    We will all just have to accept laptops will be weak and need to have a powerhouse desktop at home.

  7. Oh another thing, I’ve been playing Quake4 on my rig and it’s nowhere near the the box killer that Doom3 is.

    I got the options at maximum and the enemy bots are rendered pretty low and move slow (not from lack of GPU either) It seems this is how they are making the games so it will run on most hardware.

    Before, like with Doom3, it was jacked up to hopefully take advantage of more powerful hardware coming down the pipe, I think that’s not going to happen so they reduced the quality.

    Given the Core Duo is almost the same as a Dual 2 Ghz G5, tells us it’s true.

  8. OSX will never be sold for Generic PC’s because Apple is a computer company that makes its own computers. They just happen to make a really great OS to go along with its computers. If they sold the OS separately to anyone there computer business would go down the tubes.

    It’s not going to happen so if you want to run OSX buy a Mac. Then if you want to run Windows as well you can.

  9. I’m so glad I’m part of the elite Apple “club”. Please Apple keep it that way! I’ll pay the extra $$$ if needed, even though it costs less to have a good Mac than a total crap Dell/Win disgusting PC.

    Since I switched to Apple, I totally enjoy my work on the computer. Thank you God for the Mac and OS X!

    I feel sorry for the Windoze uneducated crowd out there.

    Keep Windoze software AWAY from me!

  10. I’d like a count on MDN (but all media, really) on the number of stories since Jan Intel Mac debut that focuses on Windows on Mac vs Mac itself.

    This better end soon. In a couple years just about ALL the stories will be “Improve Quake3 framerate under BootCamp”

    Mac IS OS X.

    4 now.

    I’d like it to stay that way.


  11. OS X for generic PCs will happen whether Apple wants it to or not – it already has.

    When the rest of the PC hardware industry catches up with EFI, along with Universal Binaries, there will be some very good cracked versions of OS X out there that will be just as good, fast, and reliable as an Intel Mac box.

    Add to this the ability to run Windows apps without Windows installed, Apple will have the Microsoft killer OS.

    I also think that – eventually – software developers are going to reaslize the tremendous benefits of universal binary development and demand the same from Microsoft – thus forcing Microsoft to rewrite the Windows code (Vista successor?). This would give consumers the ultimate computing experience (can you say iPod?) – run any application you choose on any OS that you choose on any box that you choose- just plug it in… Nirvana!

    Once the cat is out of the bag, Apple will have no choice but to license OS X for qualified generic PCs or risk losing $millions and letting Microsoft catch up.

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