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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Hey Dude, You've Got OS X!

Well, that was fast:

Several sites reported this week that crackers had managed to install the developer-issued version of Mac OS X for Intel on non-Apple machines, including Dell laptops. One site has posted video purportedly of Mac OS X booting on a non-Apple-approved Intel-based PC.

Apparently, the Apple approved Intel machines have a chip (Intel's Trusted Platform Module) that the OS is supposed to need in order to run, and someone found a way to bypass this check. This is interesting, but not nearly as interesting as this:

Apple has been vague about whether other operating systems -- such as Microsoft's Windows -- will run on the new hardware (it has, however, said it will not sell or support other OSes)

As I've written before, this is the real win for Apple. If Apple hardware becomes a direct competitor to Dell and HP, you'll see entire corporate IT departments doing deals to outfit their users with Apple hardware. Apple will go from a niche player to a major competitor in a multi-billion dollar industry, almost literally overnight.

The articles I read just after the Intel announcement seemed to imply that they were definitely avoiding this scenario, and I'm glad to see that either a) those writers didn't know what they were talking about, or b) Apple has backed away from that exceedingly stupid stance and is now considering it.

It would be a new user base for them, and they'd have to work out a different customer service model in order to deal with the mass markets. For instance, they probably don't want to be in the business of supporting Windows, but they have to be able to explain to corporate clients exactly how they'll get support. Still, even a fairly large CRM investment seems to be worth taking the company's hardware unit to the next level of competitiveness...

posted by Brian at 1:50 AM


  • Alright, call me multiply confused by this post.

    1) Apple's said since day one that they're not going to support, but they're also not going to prevent, Windows on the new Macs. Barring their coming up with an architecture that makes Windows impossible, this hasn't been vague at all -- and the developer system makes it highly unlikely that this will be the case.

    2) I don't see why you think Apple hardware is going to immediately move due to its Windows compatibility. Is this resting on the quality of the product? No arguments there. But it's also a cinch to say that all Macs will ship with Mac OS -- and it'll be up to an aftermarket to ship dual-boot systems if Apple refuses to. To me, the most interesting idea here is Macs with WINE, so you can boot into a stable OS and then run any Window apps you like.

    3) Apple has been shipping Windows software for years, and already has teams in customer support that know it as well as anyone facing customers in Redmond. If anything, ramping up to support Apple hardware with Windows will simplified by the unified hardware model; Windows is more easily supported today on Virtual PC than on a hodgepodge mix of hardware.

    But where I really disagree with you is where you boil the argument down to shipping boxes. Apple is going for lock-in, and lock-in means Mac OS. I can't see them pursuing a strategy of trying to sell their hardware for the purpose of replacing the Dells and HPs running Windows today -- but providing a migratory path and/or open options, now that's interesting. Buy an Apple, and run Windows, Mac OS, or Unix apps as you please.

    By Anonymous jeff Porten, at 1:39 AM, August 14, 2005  

  • Responses:

    1) "Not going to support but not going to prevent" is extremely vague. If my company runs Windows, can I buy Mac hardware or not? Well, yes, it seems - the OS will run on the hardware. But then again, the hardware manufacturer isn't supporting it. So if the machine stops working, who do I call? Until that's clear, the strategy is vague. (Side point: you're not arguing with me here, I was quoting the article I linked to).

    2) I know I'll never convince you that anyone running Windows is anything but an ignorant fool, but the fact is, something like 90% of the world does it. In terms of selling hardware for money (which, remember, is the sole reason they do it), the big win is bulk corporate purchases. Selling me a dual boot machine so that I may one day see the light and abandon Windows is fine, but convince my employer that Apple hardware belongs on every desktop, and you just sold more than 20,000 machines in one transaction. Multiply that by the thousands of companies around the world that are our size or larger...

    3) This isn't about software. Software support is almost always part of the licensing agreement you reach with the vendor, be it Apple, Microsoft, or (as is typically the case) a third party. And as for your claim that Windows is more easily supported today on Virtual PC than on other hardware, could you cite a source? Because, as I mentioned above, 90% of the world's PC's seem to have missed this bit of information, and have put Dell & HP far ahead of Apple in terms of boxes sold.

    4) You say Apple is going for lock-in, and lock-in means Mac OS. But two sentences later, you say, "Buy an Apple, and run Windows, Mac OS, or Unix apps as you please." These sentences seem to contradict each other, and I agree with the second one. Again, back to my employer - 20,000 boxes currently running Windows software, and providing front-end access to Unix & Linux machines, plus a host of older OS'es (e.g., whatever the mainframe is running). If Apple wants a seat at that table, they'd need to be able to support our current environment - not the environment they think we ought to have.

    DISCLAIMER: I have nothing to say about what desktop hardware my employer selects. Everything in this post is theoretical, and not meant to imply that we're considering a switch, or that I'm recommending a switch. In short, if selling hardware to my employer matters to you, you're wasting your time reading into any of this...

    By Blogger Brian, at 11:52 PM, August 14, 2005  

  • Oy, too much to say. One more shrimp on the Red and Blue barbie.

    By Anonymous jeff Porten, at 3:18 PM, August 17, 2005  

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