Apple’s apparent antipathy towards the Mac prompts calls for macOS licensing

“Why should Apple go down the OS licensing route again? Why repeat what was almost a fatal mistake?” Gene Steinberg asks for The Tech Night Owl. “The latest suggestions are about Apple’s questionable moves in the Mac space these days. It appears that product refreshes have slowed, and what about the company’s commitment to pros?”

“Despite recent reassurances from Tim Cook, it’s clear that some people question his understanding of the needs of power users and creatives,” Steinberg writes. “Right now, hobbyists sometimes build what are known as Hacintoshes, which are regular or custom-made PCs onto which macOS is installed. It generally involves hacking the macOS installer to allow it to be set up on non-Apple hardware. There is an online community that has posted instructions on how to induce macOS to run on such a box, and the range of hardware that will provide the most trouble-free experience.”

“But what if Apple decided to license macOS to hardware companies to expand the market? If Apple isn’t interested in a professional workstation, why not let someone else build it? What about a bigger, more powerful notebook?” Steinberg writes. “Don’t forget that Apple is not selling an OS. It’s selling hardware, and anything that hurts those sales could impact the company big time. How many macOS licenses would they have to sell to even cover the loss of a single sale of Mac hardware?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:
In Q117, Macintosh accounted for 9.25% of Apple’s total revenue. Services (mainly from iOS device users) generated 9.15% of Apple’s revenue, nearly as much the Mac. (iPhone: 69.4%, iPad: 7.06%, Other Products: 5.14%.)

Clearly, the Mac is no longer Apple’s bread and butter. Beyond revenue figures, this is blatantly obvious simply by looking at the pitiful state of Apple’s desktop Mac products currently (desktops are a small slice of Apple’s Mac sales; the vast majority of Macs sold today are notebooks).

So, the risk to licensing macOS is nowhere near what it was during the last licensing fiasco. In fact there is little or no risk to Apple at all. If Apple simply instituted a partnership with a vendor or vendors and insured quality standards with a “Made for macOS” program, a third-party could build Mac towers, mini-towers, and whatever other form factors Apple approved. Apple could reserve notebooks or even all-in-ones for themselves and restrict third-party vendors to desktops (towers) only.

Such a move would go a long way to assuaging Mac professionals. Even better, of course, would be Apple properly and regularly updating their desktop Macs as any competent management would have been doing all along.


  1. Licensing is a bad idea. No-one is going to get it as right as Apple does. And I do think that they will getting back to us Pros with something soon.

    Possibly we are dealing with a bit of a chicken and egg thing here. If Apple would get back on track with some new Macs, pent up sales demand would move the needle upwards in terms of higher Mac sales. I do think that it is still important for Apple to build us a PRO level piece of hardware that can stand up to the other fast/powerful machines out there, not so much for sales, as for credibility with customers and the general computer audience. Not too many people will be buying the new Acura NSX, however it sure makes you feel good to know that there is some racing technology under the hood of your regular Acura vehicle. Of course, my analogy breaks down when we start talking price of NSX at three times the cost of a regular Acura unit. 😉 Still, it would really make all of us Mac evangelists stand up and take note and start evangelizing if we had something that was worth talking about, without being shouted down by the PC crowd.

    Possibly even a machine that is useful to the Pro Video / Scientific Analysis / 3D community, rather than a design that makes Jonny look good as a designer.

    Jon, design is only as good as the functional problem that it solves.

  2. If you want to be further discouraged about there not being a Mac Pro in our near future, just analyze the image that accompanies APPLE’s WWDC invitation sent out today.

    You can see iPhones, tablets, and laptops, but nothing I see that looks like a desktop machine.


      1. Yuck. This picture has its lofty focus on numbers, or bean counting, for Apple I guess, or for iOS app developers. I’d rather see a boots-on-the-ground promise of a bleeding edge gpu, of that scripting doesn’t go away, and of more fun Xcode goodies to pursue my vision, which isn’t immediately in the pursuit of profit.

  3. Licensing the Mac OS is putting a bandaid on a seriously bleeding and broken limb. Doing that will, IMHO, signal many of us to jump ship to Windows.

    What we need is descent support of the Mac computers and the entire Apple ecosystem that we bought into. “It’s the Ecosystem, Stupid!”

  4. They should go ahead and license the OS — to end users. Let people install MacOS on any compatible hardware, and charge a reasonable subscription fee for it. The code base stays with Apple and users could pick their poison with regards to CPUs, GPUs, etc.

  5. Apple Friends,
    Tim Cook is a incompetent CEO that can not handle managing this company at all. The lack of hardware is unacceptable for a company of this size and revenue. How hard is it to update a product with new IO, higher ram options, higher storage options and adjust price competitively and accordingly? With less than 30 major hardware sku’s, this is just unacceptable. With a staff and resources, WHY is Pipeline Tim only focusing on iPhone and iWatch? They are WAY behind on anything related to the Pro market. The lack of love shown in that area in beyond embarrassing and Pipeline Tim has to GO! and GO NOW! The amount of FAILS this guy has outweighs his Wins.

    One analytic data point that must be understood in a prop context is the percentage of revenue from the Mac line. This data point has not been accurate since 2012, when they made Pro hardware products that consumers WANT and NEED and wasn’t 1,000+ days old. No one I know would buy a pro machine, unless they desperately needed it, since 2013. Especially when that machine had 4 year old configs with a price that is WAY out of FAIR to the consumer. THAT is why the Mac sales are low. That is a FACT!!!!!!
    I can’t wait for dumb surprise earnings call when Apple sounds all surprised when Mac sales did really well, AFTER they release NEW machines. Just plainly clueless.

    While I can complain all day about this, I need your help to get this petition to remove him higher and higher so it’ starts getting some attention. I want to have a face to face with Tim and call him out on his bulls###. As a CEO myself for 14 corporations, I understand how to manage people, projects and get things DONE! and I am DONE with Pipeline Tim Cook

    Sign this please

Reader Feedback

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