Should Apple release Mac OS X Leopard via selected PC box assemblers?

“My Apple Fool’s day story titled ‘Apple to release PC version of Leopard in Q3 ‘ was eventually recognised as a spoof by most readers. However, there was a discernible sentiment from many readers expressing a wish that it was in fact true,” Stan Beer writes for iTWire. “Now that Macs and PCs are based on the same hardware architecture, could Apple actually successfully put Leopard up against Vista?”

“I believe that most people who have looked at both Vista and Leopard would agree that Leopard is far superior in all aspects – better functionality, usability, stability and so on. Most Mac users love Leopard while many Windows users say they hate Vista. As far as the current generation of proprietary operating systems is concerned, Apple delivered and Microsoft didn’t,” Beer writes.

“Most will argue that Apple, being a hardware company, would never allow such a thing because selling Leopard to the PC market would cannibalise Apple’s Mac sales. I would argue the opposite. The vast majority of Mac users would stay with the products they know and trust. Most of them don’t care or want to know about Windows PCs and those that do have a need for Windows would rather install it on their beloved Macs than buy PCs. There would be very little leakage of the single mouse button brigade because they love the design, the elegance, the coolness and the whole Apple Mac experience,” Beer writes.

MacDailyNews Note: Cute. If disinformation can be cute. Secondary clicking debuted on Macs with the release of Mac OS 8’s contextual menus on July 26, 1997. All Macs (except Mac mini) ship with multi-button mice (Apple’s Mighty Mouse) or secondary-click-capable trackpads on notebooks (enable in System Preferences>Keyboard & Mouse>Trackpad: Check the box “For secondary clicks, place two fingers on trackpad then click the button”). Plug in just about any third-party multi-button mouse and Mac OS X will support it. If only we had a nickel for every Windows-only doofus to whom we’ve explained those facts. Contact or to explain that perpetuating myths about the Mac platform is not appreciated.

Beer continues, “On the other hand, there’s an untapped market of 1 billion PC users, many of whom are highly dissatisfied with Vista and Windows in general, that literally could be ripe for the picking for Apple. Offering a version of Leopard to large sections of that market initially through selected major OEM vendors would without a doubt produce significant software sales and additional revenues for Apple.”

Full article here.

This is a well-worn topic, but the one twist that always interested us was Apple releasing Mac OS X one version behind to selected OEMs. For example, these lucky OEMs would get the most up-to-date Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, certified by Apple to work on their hardware configurations, while Apple would retain the exclusive to the current Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

Also related to Mac hardware revenue and its importance to Apple, MacDailyNews’ own SteveJack wrote on March 04, 2004:

I believe analysts and others are missing the big picture: iPod success paves the way for Mac OS X on X86. People have argued for years for and against the release of Mac OS X on Intel (and AMD) commodity hardware, but Apple derives such a large portion of its revenue from hardware that doing so could potentially damage the company beyond repair. But, what if Apple replaces that lost Mac hardware revenue with iPod revenue?

Steve Jobs would then be free to drop what amounts to a hydrogen bomb on Microsoft. Mac OS X that runs on “regular” off-the-shelf x86 hardware. Or partner with a Sony, for example – to insure quality. Years before “Longhorn” even comes close to shipping. Moo.

Sell enough iPods and the OS war is on again in a big way – and for real this time. Steve Jobs knows this and that’s why, right now, iPod is much more important than Mac hardware to Apple Computer, Inc.

SteveJack’s article, “iPod success opens door to Mac OS X on Intel” was published over 4 years ago; and 15 months before Apple announced its plans to switch to Intel processors (June 6, 2005). It’s quite interesting to read that article and its Reader Feedback with hindsight.


  1. It has always been my belief that Apple is going to wait until they reach a threshold – maybe it happens 3-5 years from now – where they can’t squeeze out any more market-share. At this point the Fed might be looking their way, and then they’ll license it to HP and Sony.

  2. This is a moronic article. Now that Apple can deliver competitively priced hardware, why should they offer Mac OS X to run on a PC ? (a) They lose the margin on the hardware sales, and (b) risk compatibiity issues.
    Far better to continue as is.

  3. All well and good but for one fact:

    They tried it once before and it almost took Apple under! Instead of shooting for the cheap end, like Apple figured they would, third party manufacturers went straight for the jugular and Apple’s primary market!

    Steve will never allow that to happen again. Their greatest strength is control of the whole widget, and Steve will not relinquish that control.

  4. Not gonna happen. I wish people would stop this. The answer was no 5 years ago, 2 years ago, 8 months ago, 5 minutes ago, and will be no again and as long as Apple is a hardware company that wants to create an entire user experience.

    So, no.

  5. MDN,
    Very interesting idea!

    I like. It would be the best way for them to do it. But, you would have to somehow prevent people from buying and installing the new OS, which people would figure out how to do REAL quick.

  6. Give them Panther, but not Tiger.
    Apple makes its income on Macs, iPods, and iPhones, which are all hardware.
    Apple is a complete hardware/software experience and THAT will not change. OS X on a Dell is like the Queen having to scrub my toilet
    with a used toothbrush.
    Apple is only about user experience.B

  7. No, that would be the dumbest move ever! Apple makes a ton of money in hardware. I would rather spend the extra dollars for not having a substandard design, crappy fit and finish, stickerless products, random lights and buttons, doohickies everywhee and random lines of plastic molds.

  8. I’ve advocated offering OS X for generic PCs for quite some time, although not at the same price. NeXT used to charge $800 per seat for NeXTSTEP on Intel, and Apple could charge whatever their gross margin is for a middle-of-the-line Mac.

    What that would do, is break another barrier for business users, who often can’t buy a machine that they want because of a company-wide purchase agreement that says they get all their desktop machines from HP or Dell, but who do have the authority to spend a grand on a software package.

    Selling OS X for the same price for Macs and other makers’ machines would be suicidal. Selling OS X at a considerable premium to the users I just described could be a big win for Apple.


  9. It would be good to see OS X on a Sony Vaio or a Toshiba. The hardware would have to be customized with a command button etc.

    If I could have got OS X on a Toshiba, I would have probably got one of them, instead of OS X.

Reader Feedback

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