Could Apple Really Make a Play for the PC OS Market?

Lora Bentley

As an April Fool's joke on Tuesday, iTWire writer Stan Beer ran a story headlined: "Apple to Release PC version of Leopard in Q3." Most of his readers quickly recognized the spoof, he said on Wednesday, but many of them also noted that they wished it was true.


That prompted him to ask these questions: What if Apple did create a PC-friendly version of its latest operating system? Could Leopard compete with Vista?


Of the cuff, I would say of course it could -- especially considering how poorly Vista has been received in the year since its release. However, that's assuming enough Windows users are so fed up they'd opt for the Apple alternative over XP, just to send Microsoft a message.


But based on what I've read lately, that assumption may be too big a leap to make. For example, there's the "Save XP" campaign and others like it. Then there's the fact that a Windows alternative already exists -- Linux, in all its variations -- and though it's made progress, it's barely made a dent in Microsoft's market share.


Migrating from one operating system to another is not an easy task. And when you throw in the headaches associated with training the IT staff on the ins and outs of that new system -- not to mention getting the rest of the company up to speed -- it's a tough sell.


iTWire's Beer argues that Leopard is "far superior in all aspects" and that "most Mac users love Leopard, while many Windows users say they hate Vista." He also points out that Mac market share in the U.S. is more than 8 percent. The ultimate question, he says, is how much more of that market can Mac snag?

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Apr 3, 2008 1:25 AM Paul Greatbatch Paul Greatbatch  says:
I've brought the training issue as a speed bump to progress within a company. It infers two things: 1) people can't learn, or 2) they don't want to learn. Either way, you've done a poor job of hiring if this is the case. Reply
Apr 3, 2008 1:39 AM roz roz  says:
Harvey those were different times. Apple had an OS that was a dead end and a cpu architecture that was a losing steam. They had to consolidate to survive the transition to OSX. Reply
Apr 3, 2008 2:23 AM Carlos Carlos  says:
Saying that Leopard is "far superior in all aspects" illustrates nothing other than Beer's ingorance with respect to the place Operating Systems hold in the world.At best, Leopard is cuter, at worst more bloated.Realistically, Apple offers little more with its newest OSX than it has with previous offerings: a nice, stable system designed to work on a limited number of platforms and do a limited number of things. Watching a mac-- even when run by an experienced Sysadmin-- in a production environment is like watching Northeastern University play the Boston RedSox in spring training. It quite frankly just doesn't even come close to measuring up. Add to that its nonexistent presence in the gaming sector and the fact that experimental software (which is where all the fun really is) only makes it to the platform as a port as an afterword, and you realize what today's mac really is: an OK computer (reference not intended) that doesn't offer anything over linux or windows who owes its success solely to attractive wrapping paper, an mp3 player and way too many clueless webdesigners/art students who were never really quite capable of figuring out "this whole computer thing".Apple got really lucky with 8%, but i'm quite sure that's as big as things are getting. They simply can't compete with presences so capable of offering so many solutions on so many platforms to both home users and the enterprise markets (that's *nix and m$, for those of you keeping track). Reply
Apr 3, 2008 3:28 AM rjschwarz rjschwarz  says:
Currently there is software that allows an Intel Mac to run Windows applications native, as if they were Mac apps. If that sort of thing could be made to work on the exWindows box I think you'd have a lot of people willing to set up a dual boot system and try it out.The real question is has the Darwin project managed to get enough drivers up and running because support for the various pc configurations could be a nightmare. Reply
Apr 3, 2008 3:32 AM rjschwarz rjschwarz  says:
Carlos, you do know that Mac OS X is based on the BSD Unix Kernel right? Reply
Apr 3, 2008 3:43 AM Gabe Strickland Gabe Strickland  says:
Carlos is one the half whited PC drones referenced earlier and will be sucking the chrome plated Balmer turd for a good long time. Life is as it should be for the Mac world. Why dilute the bread with morons.Carlos knows nothing but the FUD he sucks straight from his Lord & Master, Balmer. Reply
Apr 3, 2008 4:34 AM Knute Knute  says:
Apple WILL License the OS eventually...The old 90's "clone" licensing was a completely different animal - PPC/proprietary hardware - than what licensing for PC hardware would be. Since Jobs returned, Apple has diversified its product mix with iPods, iPhones, software and audio/video media. When Apple hits critical mass with developers and retailers, it will license the OS for a limited specification hardware platform (no crap PCs supported). "Apple" people will continue to buy Apple hardware, whereas a whole new segment of Windows switchers will open up, buying Apple software (iWork, iLife, etc.) along with Apple gadgets. Just as they said the Intel Mac would never happen, it did. So will licensing. When users have the opportunity to compare, most will switch unless MS gets its act together. Reply
Apr 3, 2008 12:04 PM Gabe Strickland Gabe Strickland  says:
If PC drones are going to pull their heads out of their asses far enough to switch their shit PC boxes to the Mac OS-X operating system, why not pull your heads completely out and buy a Mac so everything can actually work. Switching to the Mac would double your effective IQ make you a much better person, earn you way more money and maybe even help you get an education. I realize this goes against everything PC drones believe in; mediocrity, enduring stupidity, insecurity, the perpetual tread mill of serving your masochistic PC, continuous infections and the resulting enormous costs of cleaning your PC and of course the natural permanent cleansing of all current and past data to the destructive forces that are Microsoft mission. As any crack whore will tell you change is hard even when the change is such an obvious improvement. So I would say half measures for PC drones and crack whores are not going to change things. Either you come clean and start a new life living in a Mac world or continue the life you know as a half whited crack whore, doing blow jobs on Balmer for for chrome plated turds like Vista. Reply
Apr 3, 2008 12:30 PM Harvey Harvey  says:
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". It still amazes me that we continue to read articles about the possibility of Apple licensing Mac OS X to other PC manufacturers. In the early nineties Apple (sans Jobs) did just that. They licensed the Mac OS to other PC manufacturers, who produced cheaper (but less reliable) computers running the Mac OS pre-installed. The result... It cannibalized Apple's hardware business to the point that the company almost went out of business.It was only when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, immediately ending contracts with the other PC manufacturers, that Apple was saved and began its resurrection.So... No, Apple will never license its operating system to other PC manufacturers again. Anyone holding out for this has a very long wait ahead ;-) Reply
Apr 4, 2008 10:11 AM Ben There Alot Ben There Alot  says:
OK, the clans are at war again!! Let me first say that in my 55 years on the planet I have worked on more OSes than I can count. I currently use Linux on all my computers at home and two at work. I still have XP on the company issue laptop. Over time I have installed and used a lot of MacOS version back to 6 series.How would this be? One FREE OS supported on a lot of platforms that behaves and looks very similar? A FREE suite of apps like word-processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation and e-mail. FREE apps for web browser, e-mail, IRC, IM, Video and Audio players, FTP, etc. Wouldn't it be great if we could write a document and instantly send it or collaborate on it with any of our friends and co-oworkers?Also, would it not be great to be able to upgrade the apps anytime without reboots? How about being able to decide whether or not your computer calls the mothership over the Internet and reports on what you have and what you are doing with it?I really like the Mac OS as it is solid and capable but, the price tag for hardware is painful. PCs are cheap unless of course you add the price and pain of Vista. Is there something that gets rid of both problems? Sort of.I buy inexpensive PC hardware (like $600 for a pretty screaming basic system), and then add a solid distro of Linux. There are window managers out there for Linux that make you think you are on a Mac. All told, I want a choice. So, Winblows might someday become attractive again, Mac is attractive and the prices might come down a bit eventually. I want to be able to choose. Micro$oft is never letting up on the market as they have nowhere to go but down.Right now, Linux is my OS of choice and I have tried many distros. In the future, who knows?Doctor Digital Reply

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