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Apple's Colossal Disappointment? 640

Mudzy writes "Michael Roberson, founder of Linspire, has an article at The TechZone talking about Apple's 'Colossal Disappointment' for not porting Mac OS X to PC after they announced the move to Intel processors. He discuss why this could be a mistake." From the article: "Instead of a brilliant strategic maneuver, it's a step necessitated by IBM's inability to keep pace with Intel. It seems Apple was tired of losing the gigahertz competition to the PC world. Apple had been promising faster computers for some time and had not been able to deliver them. In addition, they were frustrated at IBM's inability to produce a fast low-powered chip for laptops."
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Apple's Colossal Disappointment?

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  • Apple isn't stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:43PM (#13170486)
    Why the heck would they? If they did they most certainly would no longer be a hardware company.
    • If they did they most certainly would no longer be a hardware company.

      You know, I often wonder if this wouldn't be a good thing for Apple. I'm not a huge Apple fan, but I'll be the first to admit they make some pretty *cool* hardware. I'll also admit they make a pretty nice OS. Sometimes I think thier forcing those two nice products as a bundle is what causes them to only have a sliver of the market.

      I mean how many people do you think would like to run OSX on a cheap Dell pc? How many people do you t
      • by falconwolf ( 725481 ) <falconsoaring_2000@y a h oo.com> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:30PM (#13170985)

        I mean how many people do you think would like to run OSX on a cheap Dell pc? How many people do you think would like to run Windows or Linux on a cool looking mac? Of course the Apple fanboys would still run OSX on the mac, but could they be getting more market by offering choices?

        You can run Windows and Linux on Macs. While Linux can be installed directly on a Mac Windows has to be installed in a virtual machine such as Virtual PC. As for MacOS on PCs, most PCs use Intel and Apple is switching to Intels. Now if you mean sale MacOS so Dell and others can build Macs, Apple tried that. For a short period Apple allowed other manufactures to clone Macs but Apple lost more in Mac sales than they made in licensing MacOS.

        Falcon
        • by Orgazmus ( 761208 )
          Apple tried that. For a short period Apple allowed other manufactures to clone Macs but Apple lost more in Mac sales than they made in licensing MacOS.

          This time they dont open up for competition on their field, they can compete on the 90%+ platform.
          If they just have the balls, they can have it all.
          • And end up like MSFT? rich but so fscking stupid and incompentent that nothing is actually innovated any more?

            Hell no, let Apple stay a small billion dollar niche company. they can be rich, innovated, and hip.

        • I owned a Supermac 180, and I gotta say, that thing had serious stability issues while running Mac OS 9 that I never ran into using the iMacs at school. It was better than Windows was at the time (around 1999) but that's not setting the bar very high.

          There is something to be said for the marriage of hardware and software design.
          • I owned a Supermac 180, and I gotta say, that thing had serious stability issues while running Mac OS 9 that I never ran into using the iMacs at school.

            That would be because the clones were never supported to run OS 9. Hmm... now that I think back, I *think* the last supported software for the clones was 8.5 and yes, you may be thinking, what about 8.6? Not supported officially either, but we helped out when we could. The 9 line was hard and firm, for solid technical reasons, the 8.6 line, was slight

      • I mean how many people do you think would like to run OSX on a cheap Dell pc?

        Not enough to justify the loss of Mac sales.

        How many people do you think would like to run Windows or Linux on a cool looking mac?

        We'll find out next year.
      • by coolgeek ( 140561 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @07:56PM (#13171768) Homepage
        How many 90+ hour/week engineers do you think they would have to lay off after losing the software development subsidy embedded in the cost of Macs? Truth is, we would not have OS X without Macs. OS X will not move forward without Macs, it's an economic impossibility. And as much of an open source fan I am, open sourcing Mac OS X would not cause it to evolve. Mutate, perhaps.
      • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot,kadin&xoxy,net> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:17PM (#13173187) Homepage Journal
        I think you hit the nail on the head.

        What makes people buy Apple is not their software. It's not their hardware (with the exception of the iPod, perhaps). It's certainly not their price or perceived value.

        What Apple survives on is two things: 1) the semi-mythical and nearly impossible to quantify 'coolness' factor, and 2) the user experience. People buy Macs because they're easy to use (or at least they have a wide perception as being easy to use, which in marketing is virtually the same thing) and powerful. It's the whole "it just works" philosophy, as cliched as that might sound.

        Apple can maintain it's edge in user experience because they have very tight hardware/software integration. By monopolizing the hardware which their OS will run on, they can limit the number of possible system configurations and then test the hell out of them, build drivers into the OS, etc. A lot of Mac users don't even know what a device driver is! (I'm pretty sure actually if I asked for a device driver to some friends of mine they'd ask whether I wanted the flat kind or the Philips-head kind.)

        If Apple sold the Mac OS for distribution on commodity x86 hardware, suddenly a lot of their advantage would disappear. You'd instantly go from a few dozen out-of-the-box configurations to thousands or millions, and have loads of incompatible hardware that people would expect to be able to use.

        Also, they'd have to start playing hardball about software licensing, which they've never done and would probably alienate a lot of users, and do a lot of damage to their "nice guy" image. A lot of PC users are surprised to know that there is no serialization during the Mac OS install process. None at all. If you have an Apple computer and an install CD, you can put the system on it. There's obviously quite a bit of piracy that goes on (and always has) but I assume Apple just doesn't bother because they realize even the pirates have paid them some money for the hardware they're installing the stolen system on. And the progress of operating systems requires you to buy new hardware periodically anyway, so you're always going to cough up every few years. They can afford to be nice.

        If Apple started selling the software by itself, I have no doubt (given their performance with iTMS) that they would come out with some pretty robust 'activation' scheme. This to me would be obnoxious: it's one of the things I've always enjoyed feeling above, as a Mac and Free Software user.

        Apple had their experiment with commodity hardware back in the clone days (anyone remember CHRP?), and Jobs pulled the plug. I don't think they'll go back there again. The question which interests me most today is, when Apple releases their first x86 version of Mac OS X for actual Apple/Intel boxes, how hard will they try to keep hackers from moving it to commodity hardware just for hobby and experimental purposes.
    • by NeedleSurfer ( 768029 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:24PM (#13170944)
      No offense but Apple of all company can be pretty stupid sometimes... They introduced/created/managed some of the greatest innovation this industry has ever seen in ways that never got them where they should be.

      They are exceptionnal engineers and very lousy businessman, let's hope they try to change in the near future...
      • by huckleup ( 636485 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:53PM (#13171217)
        They are exceptionnal engineers and very lousy businessman

        And exactly how many companies that were making desktop computers in the '70s are still around today, have tens of millions of paying customers, and billions in the bank?

        Get a clue. Don't measure everything against what a company like M$ did, much of which has since been determined to be illegal. Apple's business sense has been just fine. The company has weathered many storms precisely because they had financial buffers that the businessmen put in place as the technology landscape unfolded. No one knew exactly how it was all going to turn out, and most crashed and burned along the way. You should wish that you were so 'lousy' at succeeding in any business, let alone the cut throat computer business.
      • by xwizbt ( 513040 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:12PM (#13172308)
        What utter bollocks. Apple's main mistake was getting rid of Steve Jobs' bizarrely hypnotic business presence. Nowadays, Apple's market share steadily increases. iPod halo effect... who cares. Either way, Apple seem to be on the up.

        History-wise, Apple look a bit daft occasionally. Nowadays, they're on top...
      • by ja2ke ( 633770 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:28PM (#13172423)
        Considering Apple has stayed in business for the past 30 years as an innovator (versus leveraging off of someone elses hype and innovations) I don't think they're lousy businessmen at all.

        They make profit, they drive the market (and open new markets & massively expand existing small ones - iPod, consumer video), and seem generally content with their size.

        If by "where they should be" you mean "Apple should have 95% of the marketshare like Microsoft," then I think you should go back and re-think some details. Apple is in a pretty good place, and has been so for quite a few years at this point. To varying degrees, Apple has been doing pretty well since their first return to decent profitability with the 2nd generation G3 desktops, followed by the generally steady climb up starting with the iMac (dotcom bust notwithstanding) and going through to their current situation with the iPods, Mac mini's, and current iMacs. I don't think they're in a bad place.
    • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:58PM (#13171264) Homepage Journal
      to quote somebody who once had a one-shot success, "that is the stupidest idea I have ever heard of."

      you think apple wants to enter the creaky world of "mad dog" peripherals and dock sweepings network cards, PCs with pushed speeds, and all sorts of marginal parts from mysterious outfits that come and go in the night? why in hell would anybody wish that support hell on them?

      you control your hardware environment, you control the number of crash-and-burn intersices between hardware misbehaviors.
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:43PM (#13170493) Homepage Journal
    Bogus. What Michael (the author of the linked article) seems to think is that Apple made the switch for entirely reasons of CPU speed. The reality is much more complicated than that and encompasses reasons of yes, CPU speed, but also platform flexibility, heat, management of media rights and others. I covered some of these reasons here [utah.edu] back on June 9th, but the future of media management is central to their strategy and was one of the driving forces behind the move. Additionally, Michael goes on to state that Macintosh users will "first have to suffer through a period of uncertainty and forced upgrades.". I also talked about this in my article, but to summarize, there really is no uncertainty about this process. It is going forward and most users will not notice or care about whether their Macintosh has an Intel or a PPC inside of it. They just want their computers to work as seamlessly as they have before and help them manage their lives and be more productive. Users will not have to be making any tough decisions as both platforms will be supported for years and years to come. Apple has proven this ability by maintaining parity between the PPC and Intel codebases already since the beginning of OS X and is showing the industry how to proceed when it comes to backwards and forwards compatibility.

    Any other objection that Michael has to this switch has to do with OS X not being able to run on commodity PC hardware. Well, .......yeah. As we used to say when we were kids, "No Duh". Why would Apple want to get into the game of supporting literally millions of combinations of hardware compatibility issues and troubleshooting? Why? Where is the income from that going to come from? They already make available (and will continue to) make Darwin available for PPC and Intel, so if you want to swing that way, go for it.

    Don't get me wrong. I really do appreciate what he has done with Linspire, but it is not OS X and I cannot imagine that Apple will simply hand over their technologies.

    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Otter ( 3800 )
      [T]here really is no uncertainty about this process. It is going forward and most users will not notice or care about whether their Macintosh has an Intel or a PPC inside of it.

      It's not even like this is a purely hypothetical question. Apple has already been through a CPU arch change, and while they nearly made a huge mess of it on the developer side (and had their asses saved by Code Warrior), from the user's point of view the change was seamless. On this round, they have the developer-side problems much

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by n0-0p ( 325773 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:00PM (#13170710)
      Isn't this the same guy who was trying to argue that there is no vulnerability in running as root all the time? Honestly, his reality distortion talent could give Jobs a run for his money.
    • I also talked about this in my article, but to summarize, there really is no uncertainty about this process.

      This statement seems to be either disingeneous or naive. There is plenty of uncertainty "about this process." You can have all the confidence in Apple that you want, but nobody can predict the future. Carthage was pretty confident regarding their eventual triumph over Rome at the outset of the Punic Wars, and look what happened to them. In other words, as quoth from Star Wars: Your overconfidenc
    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WalterSobchak ( 193686 ) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:09PM (#13170809) Homepage Journal
      I fully agree, particularly on two points:

      - The switch will be painless
      Creating Fat Binaries is easy and quick for those using Xcode. Been there, done that already. And as Motorola is no longer supporting CodeWarrior, everybody not using Xcode woulld have had to make the jump sooner or later

      - Apple has no interest in having the OS running on other hardware. They are a hardware company, this is how they run their business.

      Just my 0.02

      Alex
    • the future of media management is central to their strategy and was one of the driving forces behind the move

      You've asserted this, but I see absolutely nothing to back up this statement- including in your blog entry to linked to. I haven't been able to think of a single reason myself- any media rights management technology, including hardware-based, would be equally easily introduced in both platforms.

      What Michael (the author of the linked article) seems to think is that Apple made the switch for ent

  • by Ohmster ( 843198 ) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:44PM (#13170504) Homepage Journal
    Not sure I understand this, and it seems to be a relatively old story (last month already)...it seems to be more Michael Robertson's disappointment rather than Apple, with a tinge of sour grapes in the air. Anyway, the world is rapidly changing to make the whole Windows vs. Mac box competition to be relatively less interesting. With more applications and services moving off the desktop and into the network, the battleground is increasingly shifting online. Apple has already leveraged this move by becoming the number four vendor of personal computers, right behind Gateway on the recent numbers. Now they just need to start to race Microsoft to making more of their applications web-optimized and OS-agnostic. iTunes is a basic step in that direction. The portals are not standing still though...Yahoo!'s acquisition of Konfabulator is in my view a move toward making this new reality happen faster. More on that here: http://mp.blogs.com/mp/2005/07/on_yahoo_acquis.htm l [blogs.com]
    • The online perspective is interesting. Combined with the reduction in fundemental differences between CPU models, it really leads to a world it which it matters less what you computer is running, and more how the computer communicates.

      So, the Intel switch may not create a big advantage for Apple, and i don't think it will. But what is happening is MS is still promoting IE as the browser for the internet, but increasingly integrating it with the OS to the point that the latest browser is only going to ex

  • by CdXiminez ( 807199 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:46PM (#13170534)
    Apple is in the business of selling computers, not OSses. They're not going to support computers they didn't make themselves.
  • Excuse Me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:47PM (#13170543)
    But who the hell is Michael Roberson, founder of Linspire to tell Apple's Steve Jobs how to run a successful computer company? Linspire has how much revenue/profit and how many users?
  • I'd use it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LiNKz ( 257629 ) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:47PM (#13170544) Homepage Journal
    An operating system build around Unix that provides some elements of Unix but keeps everything incredibly simple? I'd love it. I want something simple these days. Let my servers be their usual basic selves. Let my computer be simple!

    It honestly would be the answer to a lot of problems with PC's. People don't want to be arsed with learning everything, they just want to use it, and forget it. Apple does a good job of being almost sickly simple on most tasks.

    And in style.
  • by Aqua OS X ( 458522 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:48PM (#13170549)
    Ohh how quickly we forget about Power Computing, Power Max, Windows, and why this a bad idea.
    • by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:13PM (#13170844)
      "Ohh how quickly we forget about Power Computing, Power Max, Windows, and why this a bad idea."

      Bad idea for Apple, in the short term at least. Since it would cut deaply and immediately into Hardware sales as it did with the Mac clones (I bought a clone, but would I have bought an Apple?).

      Keep in mind that being an OS company has worked pretty well for Microsoft as a business model, but they weren't trying to sell their own hardware except as accessories for the software (ie the MS mouse) I think in the long term that Apple could get out of the hardware business altogether and sell the OS only. Or alternately split the hardware and software businesses as was envisioned with the clones.

      Though, I agree why mess with a good thing, but the clone strategy was in response to slipping market share, not the cause of it. Ultimately, I think the clones helped maintain mindshare and helped Apple reinvent itself.

      Another counter example, Sun now has a x86 version of Solaris that works on non Sun hardware. But that makes sense simply because it means that unix admins and college students can hone their Solaris skills on commodity hardware which helps support their core server business.

      Overall, I'd just be a little less quick to judge the lessons learned from the Apple clone experience. After all, it was a short lived business model and the Mac OS wasn't nearly as good a product as it is now.

  • by ShaniaTwain ( 197446 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:48PM (#13170550) Homepage
    I'm incredibly dissapointed that Linspire will not run on my 1982 vintage casio wristwatch, but I sure hope they're working on it, I mean, wow! just think of how much marketshare they'd get if their OS could run on such inexpensive commodity hardware!

  • by gsfprez ( 27403 ) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:48PM (#13170555)
    there is nothing at all stopping apple from doing exactly what this guy says...

    When the conditions are most ripe...
    when Apple is ready to face that challenge from a support perspective...
    when Microsoft becomes more loathed with the release of Vista which will have 8,000 viruses out for it BEFORE its released...

    you don't walk into a saloon and just start shooting up the place even if you're packing a big-ass gun. You wait to size up the situation, you make sure that you're transition to Intel is complete and solid, and you make your move when you want to.

    Hell, just that very THREAT should be enough to keep Microsoft awake, pissing their pants at night. That's what the US military did to the Iraqi's the first Gulf War... we kept them awake for a whole 36 hours waiting for them to be so tired of staying awake, anticipating the strike that we did far more damage than if we had attacked at zero hour.

    Don't be stupid and confuse shrewd business timing tactics for making bad decisions. This linspire guy has his head shoved up his ass if he thinks Jobs isn't interested in beating the stuffing out of Microsoft.
  • After reading through the article, I'm not sure that I was convinced that it was in Apple's best interests to allow clones.

    Look at it from Apple's point of view, the things he points out as negatives work more like positives:

    1. Forced upgrades. Apple has announced "dual binary" support for their applications for an unspecified length of time, but either way the company has to be salivating at how many people will be buying new machines in 10 more months. And as recent reports show, they're selling more machine now than ever, so it would appear that the "halo effect" is greater than the "Osborne effect".

    2. If Apple sales continue to do well after the final shift to Intel, then Apple can keep on their plans: make money off of computer and iPod sales (and whatever other new devices they come up with). Right now, they have a good line of movie editing software which only works on their software set (and they control the hardware to run it), they are developing other business tools (Pages and the like). So as long as people keep buying their machines and their market share is growing with the company making good profits, why change?

    3. If, in some future, Apple decides to do cloning, it is in their best interest to do it later than sooner. My reasoning? They can use the next 10-36 months to iron out all of the issues dealing with the Intel transfer, see how the market reacts, how things like an "OS X WINE" works out, and so on. Then, with this expertise, they will be in a perfect position to dictate to cloners how things will work so the "Mac Experience" will be maintained, rather than just throwing the OS to the winds and hoping for the best.

    Would I like it if Apple just let OS X free? Sure - but that's not in Apple's best interest. So, as long as they show a steady rise in profit and sales, I don't see them changing their minds any time soon. They seem to be doing what works, which probably makes them and their investors happy.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.
  • by gearmonger ( 672422 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:49PM (#13170575)
    "Apple was tired of losing the gigahertz competition to the PC world."

    I think we're all well beyond that, what with AMD and Intel now successfully battling each other on chip features far more important than clockspeed (e.g., dual core, specialized instruction sets, heat generation, power use, etc.). It just doesn't seem that too many people are making PC purchase decisions based mostly, or even partly, on clockspeeds. Thankfully, we now have a much richer assortment of attributes upon which to base our selections.

    Maybe Apple just wanted to tap into a better (i.e., cheaper and more rapidly innovating) market for important parts. Can't blame 'em...same thing drove me to Firefox. ;-)

    • "Apple was tired of losing the gigahertz competition to the PC world."

      I think we're all well beyond that


      Us, on Slashdot, sure. Just an hour ago I was talking to a well-educated guy (college student working at NASA) and he was astonished to hear that there wasn't a huge difference between 2 GHz and 3 GHz, and that clock speeds weren't really being focused on these days, and has plateaued in the last few years and isn't expected to climb much in the near future.

      And if he doesn't know, your Joe Sizpack
  • No shit (Score:3, Funny)

    by Linus Torvaalds ( 876626 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:51PM (#13170591)

    Apple had been promising faster computers for some time and had not been able to deliver them. In addition, they were frustrated at IBM's inability to produce a fast low-powered chip for laptops.

    Do we have to have this explained to us in almost exactly the same words in every single fucking article that mentions Apple's switch?

  • by Omega1045 ( 584264 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:51PM (#13170593)
    I am sure this is dead obvious to many here, but I am going to make the point anyway. Control of hardware makes a Mac as stable as it is. Look at the stability of Win95 v. Win98 v. Win2k. MS create more and more stringent rules on the "quality" of drivers for hardware. One of the reasons that Win2k does not have as many blue screens as 98 or NT4 is that 3rd party drivers are not f@cking up everything as much, since they must pass tougher tests to be certified.

    Now imagine how much control Apple has, knowing exactly what hardware their OS will be running on. They can do any number of things to optimize their OS and software to the hardware, and still keep their high level of stability.

    Porting OSX out to everything would have also gotten rid of the sexy mac machines vs. the ugly beige PCs. And I am sure the MBAs out there will tell me that there are all kinds of money reasons that Apple wants to control their own hardware.

  • by saha ( 615847 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:55PM (#13170635)
    You have to take this op/ed with a huge grain of salt. Its like Rob Glaser complaining about iTunes and the iTMS not opening their Fairplay DRM. Linspire may be worried about the long term impact on their own company when Apple starts to sell Intel based Macs which with virtualization could run Windows, Linux, BSD...any x86 compatible OS thanks to Vanderpool.

    This quote from him "I would love to see Apple's PC market share reverse its downward trend". Is pure FUD being sown by the Linspire folks. I think Linspire should focus on competing with the other Linux distros out there. For the last six months report after report has been showing Apple increasing their sales. i.e. PC units sold (+35% from the same quarter last year) and profitability primarily due to the iPod.

  • by aixou ( 756713 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:55PM (#13170645)
    This is actually old news, as documented in Michael's Minute [michaelrobertson.com].

    I'm sure Michael is bluffing. He knows that if Apple allowed OS X to run on commodity hardware Linspire's potential market would be marginalized even further... it could be devastating to the Linux desktop push. Why would he want such competition from Apple?

    It's rather curious that a week after that, Michael stepped down from CEO of Linspire (check the Michael's Minute entitled "What's Our Purpose in Life") Cause-and-effect? Maybe. Correlation? Definitely.

    Michael's not dumb. He feigned disappointment at the Apple on Intel announcement, but my guess is that it was a carefully orchestrated bluff to allow him to distance himself from Linspire in the weeks after.
    Any company investing in LOTD with the hopes of profitability had better hope to god that Apple does not allow OS X to run on commodity hardware. It's just common sense.
    • by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:09PM (#13170808) Homepage Journal
      I interpreted it as "I'm very disappointed that OSX won't run on commodity hardware! But, Linspire does, so all you cheap PC users, buy Linspire right now!!!". Of course, Linspire doesn't WANT OSX on generic hardware. But, they won't mind mentioning it if it DOESN'T.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:57PM (#13170661)
    Okay, let's look at this:

    1) Robertson criticizes Apple for not porting OS X to work on stock PCs.

    2) Robertson happens to be the head of a company competing for those very desktops.

    Why would he really want Apple to step into the market he himself is trying to gain market share in? Maybe, just maybe, he's riding on Apple's popularity as an opportunity to promote his own solutions?

    Nah. That's just crazy. :)

    (On a side note, I saw him give a presentation once, and before he started the presentation he asked how many people owned/used iPods. Only a few hands went up. Then, during his presentation where he spoke about their "LTunes" and their iTMS clone, he criticized iPod for being hard to use, saying thigns like "how do you turn this thing off? This thing is hard to use. We practiced turning it on, but we didn't practice turning it off..." I'm sorry, he's either so brain-dead he can't use a consumer electronics device with clearly labeled play and stop buttons on it, or he's playing to the ignorance of the crowd. The former makes him stupid, the latter makes him dishonest. And I don't think he's THAT stupid. ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:57PM (#13170665)
    Apple's reason for switching to intel has nothing to do with more megahertz, better heat dissapation, DRM issues or any of the other crap that people have been spouting.

    It comes down to one thing, they want to take on microsoft for control of the desktop. The way they are doing it is brilliant. They will switch to Intel based hardware made by Apple for the first year or so. They will then announce a deal with the HP and/or Dell allowing them to sell OSX with their hardware. After a year or so of that they will open up the floodgates and sell OSX to anyone and everyone.

    What this means is that in 2 or 3 years time microsoft will have some real competition on the desktop (maybe even sooner, who knows). This also means the end of the line for linux on the desktop (linspire especially).

    The reason they are implementing in these stages is simple - to keep attention on themselves. Apple will be in the news constantly the next 2 or 3 years, their stock price will continue to rise with all this attention, especially when wall street sees that each subsequent step apple takes leads to more more profit. Brilliant.

    -ec
  • Stupid. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jpsowin ( 325530 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:57PM (#13170676) Homepage
    Hilarious! Perhaps when he can make his own products work in a successful way, he and Steve can talk over these issues.

    He doesn't even understand the reasons Apple made this decision.

    Nothing to see here, move along...
  • by rdean400 ( 322321 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:59PM (#13170693)
    It was the Apple/IBM alliance's inability to agree on a mutually profitable path that would allow Apple to keep up. The PPC 970, based on POWER4, is a generation behind IBM's POWER5. IBM *can* put together a roadmap that will keep the PowerPC competitive with Intel. The question is whether Apple would buy enough of them to allow IBM to leverage economies of scale.

  • *yawn* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by colmore ( 56499 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @05:59PM (#13170701) Journal
    Why do people keep thinking Apple is a software company. Just because you want OS X on your PC doesn't mean it's a good idea for them to port it. A lot of what makes Apple Apple is the fact that they operate on a small range of rigorously controlled hardware.

    There will *never* be a general PC release for OS X, their profit margin is just too good on their own hardware, why would they want to spawn a bunch of cheap competitors?
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:03PM (#13170738)
    The point of having a Mac with OSX, for Apple, is that they have *one*, very well defined platform to support, therefore they can concentrate on supporting it well. I don't own a Mac (well, a Mac 128 in my collection :-) but I understand that's how they define their business.

    Now if they ported OSX so it could run on every PC, that means supporting a billion devices, or letting a billion drivers do who-knows-what and it would be a mess, just like Linux and Windows are (yes, I'm a Linux fan, don't give me shit I'm just being realistic here...)
    • The typical Apple customer wants an innovatively designed system with good performance and top reliability. He or she wants computer that is ergonomically superior to the competition. You become an Apple customer because because bolting together your own PC and installing Linux on it with all the resulting annoyances due to hardware problems or having to get some software component to work gets in they way of you doing sensible work. Yes, all the annoyances you get with Linux can be solved if you just spen
  • by iopossum ( 877631 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:04PM (#13170749)
    Some guy writes "Man Apple made a mistake and should have made their OS generic to PCs" and we treat it like its a new proposition. Welcome to 1990.
  • by Ho Kooshy Fly ( 561299 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:09PM (#13170810)
    Look IBM has world class fabs for SoC's, can do low power, high performance computing and have major mind share in the ASIC world. Their high volume/high profit market is not what Apple is selling. They did the PowerPC 970 for Apple and d they are the highest volume runner, which for IBM is the proverbial drop in the bucket. It adds more visibility but not revenue.

    If Apple delivered more product or *gasp* payed IBM to develop low power processors for the laptop market, they couldn't complain. Should Apple have paid IBM for development when getting it from AMD/Intel in the x86 world would be free? No, but people should believe that it was because their vendor was incapable. It was just the Apple itself isn't significant enough to justify chip development with low payoff for IBM.

    -Ho
    • Apple hasn't been maligning IBM's chip-building technology. It merely stated the facts: that IBM isn't delivering what Apple needs.

      First, IBM failed to deliver on their roadmap. The PowerPC 970 roadmap circa 2003 called for 3.0GHz, 90nm CPUs shipping in volume by mid-2004. The 90nm transition was harder than expected, so Apple was left without chips (which made it less competitive, which impeded sales volume, which meant IBM sold fewer chips.)

      IBM also has no significant low-power CPUs for mobile applicati
  • by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:21PM (#13170917)
    Let's say Apple releases OS X x86 for generic x86 hardware. It's a box right next to Windows XP. What happens?
    • Some people buy it. Quite a few people who buy it find out that OS X doesn't support their particular hardware configuration. These people each tell 10 other people that OS X sucks because they'd have had to upgrade their hardware to use it. OS X gets bad word-of-mouth and quickly dies.

      After all, Apple have significantly less resources to test OS X with the wide range of x86 hardware out there than Microsoft does, and even Microsoft can't get it right half the time. If they were to dedicate the required time and energy to making sure it worked on as many configurations as reasonable, OS X for x86 would put Longhorn to shame in the "RSN" department with all the delays it'd experience.
    • Say Apple, by some miracle, manages to support as many configurations as Windows does (or close enough). What then? Microsoft undercuts the shit out of them, that's what. OEM's like Dell would get huge discounts as long as they agreed not to sell OS X on any of their boxes. The worst thing that happens to Microsoft is they get another DoJ slap on the wrist, but in the end they've eliminated the most viable competitor to come along in the last decade. Even if that's not the exact method they use, rest assured, they'll find some way to pummel Apple out of existence. That $40 billion warchest would see to that.
    • Say the DoJ actually grows a shrivel of integrity and stops Microsoft before they can obliterate Apple completely. Apple has a great OS that runs on a wide range of commercially available hardware and costs only $129. Their hardware sales dry up, and they're forced to rely on OS X revenue, iTunes Music Store revenue (barely turns a profit) and iPods (how much longer till market saturation?). Not a great position to be in. Profits plummet, investors lose confidence and Apple's stock sinks.

    This is why geeks aren't in charge of companies. If I were to speculate, I'd say this is Apple's strategy.

    1. Release Intel-based boxes and become a sort of "testbed" for new Intel technology. Since Apple control their hardware, they can afford to adopt things like EFI before anyone else. The new boxes are faster, cheaper and Apple gets all the latest and greatest stuff as soon as Intel can deliver. Geeks complain about Apple locking people into their hardware.
    2. Being sick of Windows, people buy these new, cheaper Macs with assurances that they can always install Windows if they aren't satisfied with the experience. Geeks complain more and warn of the Coming of the Cracked Mac OS X x86 Torrent. This holy torrent will, they claim, herald an end to Apple's hardware lock-in, since everyone will now simply buy cheap PCs and install The Holy Cracked Mac OS X on them. They refuse to acknowledge that normal people don't want to build their own PCs and will never know The Holy Cracked Mac OS X even exists.
    3. The Holy Cracked OS X arrives. Geeks begin pirating OS X. Normal people don't notice and continue buying Apple's hardware.
    4. Longhorn comes out, no longer a distant Vista. Leopard is there to meet it. Apple trashes Windows Vista for sucking. Microsoft ignores Apple.
    5. OS X's popularity grows, but the price of Apple's hardware still puts some people off. Apple, having been working in secret, licenses OEMs a version of Mac OS X that installs on their machines. Dell and HP begin selling machines with OS X on them. (Apple refuses to be associated with eMachines and Gateway. Steve may or may not say they suck at a keynote address.)
    6. Geeks complain more about how they can't get a supported version of OS X for their $300 custom PCs. Normal people remain unaware.
    7. This stupid "colossal disappointment" crap fades from memory.
    8. The entertainment industry begins imposing absurd DRM restrictions on everything up to and including what pixels are displayed on your screen. OS X does not adopt these ridiculous restrictions and becomes even more popular as th
    • The hell kind of slashdot post was that? You forgot the last two steps:

      11. ???
      12. Profit!
    • Actually, since you're speaking in hypotheticals, your entire post is made up.

      For crying out loud, there's so many pirated copies of Windows floating around that it's pretty obvious that a large, large portion of "ordinary" people are running an OS that didn't come on the PC:

      Yes, most people do not build their own computer. Even if they have an OEM computer, they could install OS X.
      Yes, most people don't install an OS on their own machine. They get someone else to do it. That's why there's so many pirated
    • by mstone ( 8523 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:18PM (#13171924)
      There's another path leading out from roadmap item #1:

      Apple becomes the company that creates markets for all the Really Cool Stuff that will make its way into the commodity PC market two or three years later, once sufficient consumer demand exists. Apple gets first-mover advantage on all that tech, which means:

      2a. Apple's branding of the technology goes into the cultural mindset. Face it, the term 'podcasting' is a kick in the balls for the marketing department of any other portable-audio-device vendor.

      3a. Apple sticks to the "limited, 'overpriced' hardware" model, but becomes known as the platform to own if you really want to be on the cutting edge. Apple's market share grows 'modestly' to cover the 20% of the market that generates 80% of the profit.

      4a. Apple gets a tasty new line of hardware design, middleware, and brand licensing once Microsoft, Dell, et al decide enough of a market exists to warrant adopting the new technologies.

      5a. Apple develops a good relationship with Intel's R&D group, meaning some of Intel's resources get devoted to creating Apple's Next Big Thing, which can then be turned around and licensed to the PC market once sufficient consumer demand exists.

      It isn't unreasonable to think that Apple could get $15-25 in technology and brand licensing for every Windows box sold, without ever having to license OS X itself. And the direct revenue from Apple's own version of the technologies, the tighter integration with Intel's R&D wing, the massive branding potential, and the increased market share wouldn't hurt either.

      We geeks need to realize that an OS isn't a single, monolithic product. It's a whole package of things, and Apple can make a whole ton of money licensing individual items from the package without ever licensing the whole 'OS' package itself.
  • by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @07:14PM (#13171405)
    "Hey, if Mercedes starts making really cheap cars, and sells them at a low enough price to compete with Ford Focuses and Honda Civics, they could have a shot at taking over the car market!"

    Granted, this is _never_ going to happen, because Mercedes-Benz is in the business of selling LUXURY cars - not muscle cars, not economy cars.

    Similar for Apple - their business model is obviously not centered around allowing people to have just about any hardware combination possible, nor is it centered around allowing them to get the cheapest computer they can get, nor is it centered around having the fastest computers on the market. If you want any of these, you are not in Apple's target market. Live with it.

    The day that Apple starts allowing MacOS to run on any old computer with the right CPU is the day that I stop buying Apple products, because it is the day that the one advantage Apple has over its competition disappears.

    If you want OS X, shut up, quit praying for Hell to freeze over and fork out the $500 for a Mac Mini.

    If you want an OS that is hacked together so that it can run (after a fashion) on any old hardware you might care to have, quit being an idiot and realize that what you really want is a computer you assembled from parts you got off of eBay or out of the dumpster of a CompUSA that is running some version of Windows or Linux with the GUI skinned with a mostly-white color scheme, all crammed inside a spiffy brushed aluminum case. You'll hardly know the difference, but you'll sure be a lot happier!
  • by 2ms ( 232331 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @07:15PM (#13171410)
    To me the most salient benefit of owning an Apple to the vast majority of users (like my parents), is that they just work better than commodity hardware pcs. If you look at Consumer Reports' data for pc reliability you see that Apple kills the pc manufacturers with less than half the reliability problems of even the 2nd best (Dell) out there.

    This of course is the result of the fact that as a software maker they know the exact hardware that product will be running on and also seem to be much better than MS at making the applications that people use all the time (iphoto, itunes, imovie, iwork, etc.) which reduces conflicts and problems with/among 3rd party apps.

    All this would be out the window if they went to offering OSX on commodity hardware. I consider the cost savings of commodity hardware to be at least offset for the average user by the above benefits.
  • by mrex ( 25183 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @07:20PM (#13171455)
    If you're smart, you'll arrive at the Best of Both Worlds solution. Make MacOS X 100% compatible with off-the-shelf PC hardware...as long as you have the $300 Macintosh Compatibility PCI Card. What the card actually does is almost inconsequential, though such a design would actually offer some technical advantages, in addition to the more obvious and important business advantages.
  • by ikekrull ( 59661 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @07:51PM (#13171731) Homepage
    Could have been a good, useful desktop OS.

    But its just a shitty, unpolished Linux distro.

    Oh well.
  • by TempusMagus ( 723668 ) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:18PM (#13171923) Homepage Journal
    The thing we need to be watching is not if Apple ports OSX to work on non-Apple hardware. We need to be watching how well the intel macs run Windows. If Apple does this - they win. Seriously, they win. Why? Every single person I know who has a mac and a windows machine ends up using OS X at every turn except when they have to use a Windows box. I have a PC and a Mac and I only use the mac for games and 3dsmax. If you can run windows dual booting on a powerbook you will see a corporate invasion of macs like nothing you've ever seen. Then, over time, you'll slowly see more and more native support of OS X apps while people look for any excuse to stop booting into windows.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:57PM (#13172199) Homepage Journal
    Apple discovered that dealing with IBM eventually ends in failure. There simply isn't enough time nor enough conference rooms to sufficiently capture all of the billions of passive-agressive do nothing opinions the naysayers at IBM have to throw at you. Ultimtately the basic truth of dealing with IBM is that success doesn't matter, sales don't matter, nothing matters except slavish compliance with the PROCESS.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:40PM (#13172516)
    Apple cannot compete with Microsoft on its own turf. Pure and simple.
    1. OS X has been available for PCs before: when it was called NeXTSTEP 3.x and 4.x. Here's what NeXT, er, Apple, learned. When you are a secondary operating system on Intel, you have to write your own drivers. Microsoft does not: hardware manufacturers must write drivers for them. Even with all the companies involved in supporting Linux (notably IBM), its breadth drivers are astonishingly limited by Apple's standards. This is not a small problem. By restricting the machines on which OS X will run, Apple dramatically simplifies the driver issue.

    2. Microsoft holds a dagger of Damocles over Apple's head. If Apple makes their OS available on Intel, Microsoft can simply pull Office for X. Apple is highly dependent on Office, and StarOffice is not an option. Part of the reason for Keynote, I suspect is for Apple to slowly back off of Office dependence. But it won't be complete for quite a long time if at all.

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