Why Apple Should Make OS X for the PC.
On Apr. 14th 2008, Psystar came onto the scene with a machine that let you have Windows or Mac OSX installed. It got a lot of publicity and also lawsuits from Apple. A year later, Psystar is not only still going, but is the pioneer to those that want to put OSX on their PC. So why should Apple fight it?
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Apple once had Mac clones. Motorola built one back in the 90’s – called the Starmax series. They integrated PC parts on an Apple machine, although they still had PowerPC processors. It only lasted for 2 years as Apple decided to then terminate any partnerships, bring it all in-house and really control their hardware and software. For Apple, it worked. For consumers, they had no choice in Apple product. Some liked it, some complained and others switched.
Hackintoshing is the art of putting the Mac OS software onto a PC. During this time, many people tried to do this. Emulators were created for both sides. While you can get an PC emulator for a Mac, nothing really worked well to have Mac on the PC. That all started to change on June 6th 2005.
In a Key note of the World Wide Developers conference (WWDC), Steve Jobs announced that beginning January 2006, they would start sending out the new Intel based machines. The reason why? They were disappointed in IBM for the development of the PowerPC chip. By October, Apple finalized their migration – months ahead of schedule.
Of course one of the projects was to make the Mac OS work on an Intel Mac. When Leopard – or version 10.5 – was released, it was designed for the Intel processors – although you can still install on a PowerPC chip. The more important fact was you could also install Windows software on a Mac – either through a program like “Boot Camp”, or running in what is called “Parallels” – where you do not need to reboot to run another operating system.
So if Windows can run on Mac, why not the opposite?
All of a sudden it was easier to install Mac on a PC. A few tweaks and some code – An installation later you are running Mac on your Dell, HP or home built computer. Best part was it didn’t matter if you had an Intel or AMD chip – the software still seemed to work. Apple frowned on the idea and basically said you are not supposed to do that. They didn’t go after individuals legally, only that they wouldn’t condone it.
Enter Psystar – the company that installed Mac on a PC and sold it. This put up not only a bunch of red flags, but also raised the eyebrow of the average consumer. Before – Hackintoshing was a back room thing. Geeks would do it, but the average Joe would most likely choose either Mac or PC.
In the last year, Apple has slapped the hand of the consumer for making a consumer Hackintosh. But I ask this simple question: Why fight it?
Apple just recently felt something they haven’t felt in a while – a slowdown of sales. Q1 2009 PC sales results are out and it states Apple had 7.9 percent of the market share. However, the 4th place contender could not top HP, Dell and Acer, who collectively took 64.5% of market share. That means out of every 100 machines, HP sold 27, Dell sold 26, Acer sold 10 and Apple sold 8.
These numbers are hard to ignore. Apple is doing well overall, especially because of iPhone sales. However, it is only time when someone else comes out with something better. So why not take advantage and poise yourself in another area?
Here is the proposition: Make a PC version of the Mac software. This version is completely unsupported. The price of the software is more than if you were to buy if for the Mac. This version would also not have certain software with it – you would have to buy that separately. Time Machine would be a good example.
What does this do? Well, we’ll start off by giving people an option to have Mac software when they cannot afford $1000 machine. Apple can increase sales in an area that only gets a bump when a new Operating System is introduced. They can stop fighting with companies like Psystar, who only want to create a niche. After all, lawsuits – especially ones where companies loose – can bring economic hardship to one side. Every dollar wasted on legal action means a possibility of raising prices for computers.
Apple also wouldn’t support the PC version of the OS – unless a critical flaw was found. That means that if you have it installed, you will need to find someone to help if there is a problem. That is where the independent Mac specialist comes in. This would, in turn, create a new need and possibly new jobs for the tech industry.
There would be some purists that argue Apple should not spend time with this. However right now, Apple software installed on a PC is most likely a pirated copy anyway. You need the pirated copy to get it to work in most cases. Apple is not making money on this and to this point; they have not really made any serious attempt to go after those who do pirate the software. This will most likely come to a head eventually.
What could making a PC version of OSX do for Apple? Maybe increase sales. The customer likes the Operating System so much, their next machine might just be a Mac. They would then get all the extras, plus support. Not to mention a Mac.
Bottom line is there are 64.5 reasons why Apple should seriously think about doing this and curb the blatant pirating effort. A “Saturation Method” to the public really works. The more consumers see it, the more they understand and will ultimately get it. While the “All, In – House” method works right now, it may hurt them in the later years.
Of course the other option is to go Open Source. But that will happen only if Microsoft was to do it first…