Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Cringely Predicts Apple to Ship OS X for Any PC 789

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the aqua-for-all dept.
boosman writes "In his current column, and in a similar op-ed piece in The New York Times, Robert X. Cringely predicts that Apple 'will announce a product similar to Boot Camp to allow OS X to run on bog-standard 32-bit PC hardware.' I dissect why this is unthinkable and challenge Cringely to a public bet on the subject."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cringely Predicts Apple to Ship OS X for Any PC

Comments Filter:
    • Just about every professional should know when to leave their profession. john Dvorak should have left 10 years ago. He has been wrong on SO many things.
    • by jo7hs2 (884069) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:29AM (#15090872) Homepage
      You know, the funny thing is I was wondering if were weren't going to see the exact opposite of what Dvorak is predicting yesterday when pondering boot camp with the local Mac zealot. It struck me that Boot Camp might be the first step in a Microsoft purchase of the Apple OS, allowing Apple to concentrate on being a hardware company. With the delays and problems with their future OS, one can imagine Microsoft quitely purchasing Apple's OS line, or even just licensing it, rewiring the GUI to look like Windows. It would solve some of their security and stability problems, and chances are that they could pull it off without the average user noticing the change.
    • Dvorak, Cringely and Jobs and all the Apple fans should take part in a public mass debate about this.
    • by hey! (33014) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @12:21PM (#15091100) Homepage Journal
      The pundit game reminds me of a something I learned in college psychology class.

      If you have an experiment where pushing button A in response to a flashing light gives you a reward 70% of the time, and pushing buton B 30%, college students will converge on a rate of pushing A of 70%, but rats will end up pushing A nearly 100% of the time.

      This means that in a hundred trials, the rats get 70 treats, students 58.

      Which illustrates the danger of trying to get predictions "right". If there is no downside, you shouldn't worry about guessing wrong occasionally, and go with the approach that maximizes your reward relative to effort, rather than attempting to be right 100% of the time which in many if not most cases is impossible.

      So, if you're a pundit, an occasional wild stab in the dark doesn't hurt; if it doesn't come true, the downside is very minimal. But if it it does come true, you get to strut around like you've got a private channel to Gold almighty.
  • They may have to (Score:2, Interesting)

    Someone is going to do it eventually anyway. If apple wants to get any cash from PC's using their OS they will have no choice but to come up with a "real" version to conteract the hacked versions that are undoubtedly going to spring up on every torrent site sometime in the near future (if not already)
    • by acidblood (247709) <decioNO@SPAMdecpp.net> on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:25AM (#15090855) Homepage
      Someone is going to do it eventually anyway. If apple wants to get any cash from PC's using their OS they will have no choice but to come up with a "real" version to conteract the hacked versions that are undoubtedly going to spring up on every torrent site sometime in the near future (if not already)

      Right, because all the big OEMs like Dell install OSes downloaded from The Pirate Bay. Oh, they don't? But surely Joe Sixpack is competent enough to install a new OS and is even aware of the existence of OS X (and hacked OS X)?

      Face it, whoever's installing OS X on a non-Apple computer is not Apple's target market anyway. They're not paying now and wouldn't pay if Apple released a legal version, just like they pirate Windows today.
      • by mrchaotica (681592)

        Face it, whoever's installing OS X on a non-Apple computer is not Apple's target market anyway. They're not paying now and wouldn't pay if Apple released a legal version, just like they pirate Windows today.

        Not entirely. For example, I currently own an iMac and an iBook. The iBook is getting obsolete, and I would like to replace it with another Mac, but because Apple refuses to release a damn tablet (or even just a modern Newton!) I'll be forced to buy a Tablet PC of some sort (maybe an "Origami" device)

      • Re:They may have to (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ACME Septic (936684) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @12:23PM (#15091108) Homepage
        I agree that right now it's mostly total PC geeks and not Apple's target market.

        But that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of geeks out there that would buy an official version of Mac OS X that "just works."

        There is an upside and a downside for Apple. Downside is it's harder to make OS X such a great experience when it's going on hardware they didn't build.

        The upside, aside from any profit made from the sales, is that if they do a good enough job on it, you may be able to lure that person into buying an Apple computer the next time they need an upgrade.

        My transition has been like this:

        - Age 8 to 17, hardcore PC user and mac "hater"
        - Age 18 to 23, hardcore PC user and ambivalent mac spectator
        - Age 24-26, PC user and occasional Mac user (to help friends and family)
        - Age 26-28, iPod owner several times over, and fan of Mac OS X technology (still PC user)
        - Age 29, PowerMac G5 and Mac Mini user, and an Apple sticker on the back of my car.

        THEY'VE WON.

        I still program mostly on Windows systems, and still like Windows for some things, but it's safe to say I am getting fanatical about Apple.

        The more you start using some of their stuff, the more you like it and want to use more of their stuff. Introducing Mac OS X that can run on a regular PC may be the taste that can push Apple of the edge.

        You know, you get geeks using Mac OS X, like me, and next thing you know, your whole family is running it. This is what happened to me. Everyone now comes to me for advice on what to buy, and I tell them a Mac, every time. Mac mini if they want to save money, or a macbook, imac, or powermac if they can afford it.
    • Not necessarily (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @12:02PM (#15091020)
      Apple's value lies in its name, not in its propagation. Apple has been selling by the credo of "unpack - plug in - work", i.e. their stuff is known to work. Unlike Windows, which is more renowned for installing, downloading and installing drivers, downloading and installing patches, tinkering with this or that to make it work, etc.

      The hacked OS doesn't hurt them. It's neither a damage to the brand nor to the sales. It doesn't work? So? WE DIDN'T MAKE IT! It works? So? You wouldn't have bought it anyway. If you did, you would've bought a Mac as well.

      If they did make a "PC OSX", though, it could hurt the brand. It could drop Mac sales, and most likely it would suffer from driver problems, at least in the first year or so. A year is a long time, time enough to ruin a brand name for sure.
      • Re:Not necessarily (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @02:28PM (#15091674) Journal
        If they did make a "PC OSX", though, it could hurt the brand. It could drop Mac sales, and most likely it would suffer from driver problems, at least in the first year or so. A year is a long time, time enough to ruin a brand name for sure.
        Do you think Apple could get through a hypothetical year of driver problems if they said right up front, "We're trying something new and there will be problems. Work with us, submit bug reports. We want Mac OSX to work seamlessly on all hardware, but it won't be easy."

        Instead of doing the MS song-and-dance routine and claiming "everything will work perfectly in our new OS. Vista will solve all your old problems and won't create new ones, while working with anything you run it on."

        People are willing to deal with problems if it isn't a showstopper and if the company is willing to come forward and say "yea, we know there are problems, we're sorry and we're trying to fix it." Look at how pissed off people get when they buy something and get stonewalled by the support: there is no problem, do an RMA and we'll send you another (with the same problems) until there is a class-action lawsuit & the company decides to seetle... again, without admitting guilt.

        I'd be willing to give OSX a go, but the limited Mac hardware choices queers it for me. I'd love to run OSX & have 3 optical drives, 2 scsi drives and a 4 drive raid array + hardware raid card w/separate channels.
  • by maggard (5579) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:18AM (#15090824) Homepage Journal
    Oooohhh!

    Random blogger issues challenge to PBS columnist / NYT editorialist!

    ASCII animation at 11pm...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Random blogger issues challenge to PBS columnist / NYT editorialist!

      Random slashdotter makes ad-homenim dismissal rather than confront the actual content. Examples at any time of the day or night.

    • by Avatar 888 (256911) <mark@markwhQUOTEeeler.net minus punct> on Saturday April 08, 2006 @01:19PM (#15091375) Homepage

      Paul Thurrott actually makes a very similar argument to this in his recent review of Boot Camp [winsupersite.com].

      One might wonder why Apple would create such a thing. After all, with barely 2 percent of the market for computer operating systems, should Apple be trying to win market share for Mac OS X and not offer a way for Mac users to run Windows? Not exactly. Unlike Microsoft, Apple doesn't actually make a lot of money directly from sales of its OS. Instead, Apple makes most of its money--even now, in the heady days of iPod supremacy--by selling computer hardware.
      ...
      Now that Apple's operating system runs on Intel hardware, what's to stop the company from letting users install Mac OS X on any PC? As noted above, Apple actually makes much more money from hardware than it does from software, and given the rampant piracy in the PC market, it's likely that any move to open up Mac OS X like that would do little to help Apple's cause. Overall, Apple did the right thing: Under the current plan, it's likely that its hardware sales will go up. And as people discover Mac hardware, they could very well be tempted to consider using OS X as well.

      Assuming that Thurrott is right with his loose facts regarding where Apple makes its profit, it's hard to argue really.

    • by cgenman (325138) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @02:44PM (#15091747) Homepage
      This is Cringely we're talking about here. He's basically an inverse oracle: everything he predicts will not come true.

      Such classics in the past include:
      "Apple's future lies in computer-like devices"
      "Microsoft has already been crippled by the department of justice"
      "Sega may dominate personal computing"
      "Ending the culture of secrecy doesn't matter"
      "The next generation of processors will be clockless"
      "Intel will ride its new Merced processor to profit"
      "Y2K will be a bigger pain in the butt than most people think"
      "The stock market will continue to rise"
      "AOL isn't in the market to buy Netscape"

      Etc.

      Personally, I'd love to see some sort of Survivor style contest for that PBS columnist / NYT editorialist position. 19 Bloggers and Cringely are forced to live in a house together, where each week they make predictions about large announcements that companies make. Those with the most wildly incorrect predictions are forced into a future-past bakeoff, where they have to explain historical technological shifts to MIT professors while cooking representative food items. The professors then confer over dinner, and then walk up to the loser and shout in his face "You Fail!"

      I'm guessing Cringely lasts three weeks, soley on his love of food.

  • by drewzhrodague (606182) <{drew} {at} {zhrodague.net}> on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:22AM (#15090843) Homepage Journal
    Seriously. I want OSX on my Dell laptop. This isn't rocket science, people. Even operating system development isn't rocket science -- it's computer science. If some guy on the Internet can put OSX on a generic PC, why won't Apple? I would pay $200 to put OSX on my Dell, maybe even more if it comes with all the extra bits. And if not? I'll still use Centos [centos.org], if Apple doesn't want me as a customer.
    • by ral8158 (947954)
      Guess what? ...
      They don't.
    • What is your reason for wanting OSX on a generic "Dell" as opposed to a Mac Book Pro?

      Is it simply because you already have the hardware and can't justify spending money on new hardware? Do you feel the Mac Book Pro doesn't have the same cost/ value quotient as your Dell?

      If such is the case, then perhaps you should wait three years when your Dell becomes obsolete, and when it comes time to replace it, replace it with a MacBook Pro (or equivalent). That way, you'd be able to run OS X, Yellow Dog Linux, and
    • The reason Apple can't do it is because if it doesn't work on someone's particular configuration, "Some random guy on the internet" isn't going to have to put in all the tech support trying to get it working right and suffer massive PR flack for messing it up in the first place. Apple will have all that against them. That means that Apple has to make their bootstrapper much more robust and flexible than SRGOTI.
    • The price of a dell + an extra $200 is more than the swing for an equivalent mac product. You can't argue that Macs are too pricey when arguing you wouldn't mind paying hundreds extra for an OS. When the macbook pro came out I priced it against Dell's offerings. Without going to a much thinker book you couldn't get anything close and even then it was more money.
    • by Tim Browse (9263) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @12:36PM (#15091159)
      Seriously. I want OSX on my Dell laptop. This isn't rocket science, people.

      You're right - it's not rocket science. It's much harder.

      To do what you request, all Apple would need to do is to get all the hardware manufacturers to write OS X drivers for their hardware, or do it themselves. And then test a representative combination of hardware systems. That's the hard part. Ever seen the MS hardware test labs? They have lots of hardware. (As a side note, apparently eBay has been a boon for the hardware labs when they want to pick up an item of some esoteric discontinued equipment, which amused me.)

      And if Apple don't do this, then the support would be a nightmare, and the user experience would just be a lottery. It's that latter thing that doesn't even come close to how Apple want people to perceive their products.

      I mean, Windows drivers are often a lottery, and that's when they have 95% share of the market (or whatever it is), so it's in the manufacturer's interests to make sure their drivers don't suck. In view of the actual quality of many drivers, I'm sure the manufacturers would spend up to several days getting their OS X drivers working.

      By the way, this does seem like one of those things that won't happen. I know many of the Apple faithful refused to believe that Apple would switch to Intel, or that Apple would allow Windows to run on their Intel hardware, for no sane reasons I can discern. Before the fact, both things seemed to me likely or reasonable (but not inevitable). So I was pleasantly surprised by the Intel switch, and Bootcamp - but it was 90% pleasure, 10% surprise.

      Running OS X on commodity PC hardware seems much less likely than either of these - precisely because one of Apple's major advantages is their closed hardware system; they only have to make their stuff run on computers that they make themselves. That's why hardware/driver issues on Macs are much less common than PCs.

      Apple may be willing to sacrifice that advantage, but I doubt it. You just have to look at the insufferably smug copy on their website whenever they mention PCs. (Of course, they used to talk about Intel CPUs like that, so nothing's certain in this world.)

      Apple's view is most likely that if you want a Windows laptop that runs OS X, then that's fine with them, because they sell those, too.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:23AM (#15090846) Journal
    The reason is simple. Linux is shaping up to be better and better at being user friendly and desktop quality. Apple will have to compete with that.

    I'm actually interested in getting a linux box up at work, as an introduction to what office software is available on it..
    • Linux is shaping up to be better and better at being user friendly and desktop quality.

      Yeah, right. They may be `shaping up', but it will take at least a decade before they reach the level of Apple in 2006. Never mind that they'll have to catch up with Apple's 2016 experience then.

      That's from a former on-and-off Linux user since 1998, full time user since 2001, who switched to Macs in 2005 and isn't looking back in the least. I had to suffer (strong emphasis on suffer) Ubuntu for a couple of days in February, and I was reminded how painful Linux is and seriously wondered how I managed these four years as a Linux-only user. Windows is paradise in comparison. (Oh, by the way: I've never seen such blatant imitation as KDE's Control Center is of OS X's System Preferences. I actually laughed out loud the first time I saw it. I'll forever use it as an anecdote to characterize open source developers and their culture of imitation.)
    • All this talk about "catching up to Windows" and "catching up to XP" is quite backwards to me.

      For me, I recently tried to actually use Windows XP for work. I felt like my hands were tied, and I wanted the flexibility that Linux gave me. The Windows tool bar is primative, I wanted KDE. The Command window is little different that Win95 command window. I wanted Konsole, or another modern shell. Add-on software, compilers that are naturally available (install or a apt-get/yum command away) in Linux, aways seam
  • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:28AM (#15090862)
    The eternal question about Apple is if they're a software company or a hardware company ... and when it comes down to it, I think they'll choose hardware.

    The release of the Bootcamp Beta opens the door for Apple becoming a Windows OEM and shipping dualboot systems with Windows and OS X. Apple still has decent margins on their hardware, and can make plenty of money selling to customers that just want a stylish Wintel box. Plus it gives people a low-risk opportunity to try OS X.

    Apple has also had a very strong relationship with Microsoft in recent years, and I don't see them competiting head-to-head for Dell's sales.
    • by jcr (53032)
      The release of the Bootcamp Beta opens the door for Apple becoming a Windows OEM and shipping dualboot systems with Windows and OS X.

      Apple's not going to go down the Windows rathole. They're very clear, right on the Boot Camp web page that they don't sell or support windows.

      Remember, Steve was selling OpenStep for Windows back in '97, and it was not a pleasant thing to be dependent on MS's good will to stay in business. I'm sure that's why iWork was started, and I'm just as sure that the iWork crew are ha
    • by znu (31198) <znu.public@gmail.com> on Saturday April 08, 2006 @12:01PM (#15091019)
      I think you've got it exactly backwards. Apple's move to Intel hardware, and especially its decision to use off-the-shelf Intel chipsets, demonstrates that Apple has decided to leave the heavy hardware engineering to someone else, and concentrate instead on software. OS X is the big thing Apple has that e.g. Dell doesn't. Pretty cases are nice, but not something on which to base a serious grab for market share.

      If you look at how Apple is presenting Boot Camp, everything from the text of the press release to the design of the icon suggests Apple is positioning it as the new Classic; it's a tool to allow people to run their old apps while they transition to OS X. In other words, the shift here is that Apple is positioning OS X not just as an alternative to Windows, but as a successor.

      So, why shouldn't Apple bundle Windows, then? After all, they bundled OS 9 with OS X, for use in the Classic environment. Well, I don't think there's much point in this case. Regular users are not going to be interested in dual booting; they can barely use one operating system. Two markets will take an interest: the enterprise market, and tech enthusiasts. In both of these markets, people don't really care if Windows is pre-installed, as they probably have copies kicking around already. As such there's no good reason for Apple to put itself in a position where it's relying on Microsoft for OEM copies of Windows.
      • Apple's move to Intel hardware, and especially its decision to use off-the-shelf Intel chipsets, demonstrates that Apple has decided to leave the heavy hardware engineering to someone else, and concentrate instead on software.

        I don't understand your point. All they did was switch IBM's G5s for Intel's Core. I don't see how this changes their focus as a company; they still have to engineer the system itself.
    • Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GileadGreene (539584) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @12:57PM (#15091262) Homepage
      The eternal question about Apple is if they're a software company or a hardware company

      They're neither. Apple is a system company.

  • by Psykechan (255694) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:28AM (#15090865)
    I have to agree with this site [macosrumors.com] that talks about Apple possibly resurrecting "Yellow Box" for Windows which would allow for running Cocoa (and possibly Carbon) apps under Windows after a paltry 150MB install. Sort of a sanctioned WINE for running OS X apps cross platform.

    This would allow developers to continue developing Cocoa for Mac and have instant ports to Windows; no dual booting or emulation involved.
    • by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:48AM (#15090956) Journal
      As I said over on Macslash:

      I was yelling as loud as anyone else when Apple reneged on the promise they'd made at WWDC three years in a row that a Cocoa runtime would be available for windows, at no charge. I still think it's something Apple probably should have done, since MS's hammer-lock on the industry isn't because of their crap knock-off the the Mac's UI, it's the number of developers who are locked into their APIs. If Yellow box had been kept alive, .NOT wouldn't have been able to take over the windows developers quite so easily.

      Nevertheless, the yellow box depended on Display Postscript, which Apple and Adobe couldn't come to terms on licensing (Probably because anyone could have written far better PDF-manipulating app that Acrobat in about a week using Cocoa.)

      When Apple abandoned DPS for Quartz 2D, the amount of work necessary to implement Cocoa on windows got a lot bigger. Windows simply doesn't have a lot of the underlying facilties on which Cocoa depends today. Their POSIX layer is a joke. Their graphics are only begining to catch up to Jaguar. Their reliability? Well, don't get me started.

      But, all that being said, the main reason why Apple's not going to revive Cocoa on Windows is that there just isn't enough money to be made selling developer tools on Windows. Compare Apple's revenues to RealBasic, Delphi, and CodeWarrior combined. It's not worth it just so that Apple can make life better for developers on the other platform.

      -jcr
      • While I agree that this is unlikely, I can see a potential positive outcome for Apple in doing this, and it's tied to the findings of the MS antitrust case.

        Remember there, where it was found that Microsoft's main thrust was to have developers adopt the Windows APIs? The reason they took a hard stance against Netscape and Java was because they exposed APIs which didn't tie developers (and therefore, consumers) to the Windows platform. Microsoft saw the creation of large-scale APIs upon which applications co

  • Why pay attention? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bokmann (323771) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:30AM (#15090878) Homepage

    Why does anyone pay attention to Cringley? I mean, do any of these 'industry pundits' ever have to keep track of the accuracy of their 'predictions'? No... they just make ever-outlandish predictions because it gets them some publicity and gets some eyeballs for ad revenue over to their website. Just say 'no'.

    Nothing to see here except a crank who made a fairly obvious, if not very likely prediction.

    • by taskforce (866056) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @12:00PM (#15091011) Homepage
      I mean, do any of these 'industry pundits' ever have to keep track of the accuracy of their 'predictions'? No...

      Actually, funnily enough he does: Each year. [pbs.org] Although his definition of correct is a bit liberal, at least he tries.

    • "I mean, do any of these 'industry pundits' ever have to keep track of the accuracy of their 'predictions'?"

      No, they don't have to... but Bob Cringely is one of the few who does, albeit to a limited extent. Each January, his column starts by analysing all the predictions he made in last years' column, and seeing how accurate they turned out. He then goes on to predict what he thinks the coming year has in store.

      You can find this year's column here [pbs.org], and previous columns are all linked from his archive [pbs.org]

    • Umm, actually he does keep track of how accurate his predictions are - here's a column [pbs.org] from January 2006. Past ones are in the archive.

      mant
  • by Cthefuture (665326) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:31AM (#15090881)
    Much more likely that Apple will start selling hardware to run Windows. It will be marketed as a "high-end" Windows platform that is certified and all that jazz. The drivers and everything will be tested (or written) by Apple just like they do now for OS X so they system will function as a cohesive unit much like OS X + Apple hardware does now.
  • by EMB Numbers (934125) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:34AM (#15090895)
    I am the founder and owner of probably the most successful formerly Openstep based software companies. We were very successful, and I suspect but can't prove that we made a lot more money from Openstep than NeXT ever did. Apple acquired NeXT and after a couple of years refused to sell more Openstep deployment licenses at any price (reneging on a couple of years of promises to the contrary that I personally heard emanate from Steve Job's mouth).

    We sold specialized vertical market software for a lot of money. We could easily have bundled a Mac with each license to use our applications as long as Apple let our customers toss the Mac in a dumpster and run the software on an embedded Intel based single board computer. Apple clearly did not regard such a proposition as an adequate business model for selling Openstep deployment licenses.

    Neither Apple nor Mr. Jobs nor market conditions have changed in any way that would change this. Yellow Box is not coming back. OS X on generic Intel will not be sanctioned by Apple any time soon. The rules of doing business with Apple have become painfully clear.

  • boutique hardware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _|()|\| (159991) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:35AM (#15090901)
    Cringely discounts the significance of Boot Camp:
    While Boot Camp might help show prospective purchasers the superiority of Apple hardware, those purchasers would have to buy their Macs first and then convince themselves that they had done the right thing, which is totally backwards.
    It's not that Apple hardware is superior, it's that it occupies a part of the market with relatively little competition. The iMac is the best all-in-one I've seen, and the Mac mini is virtually unique. With officially sanctioned drivers and a boot loader, I can see lots of people buying a Mac just to run Windows. The fact that it comes with OS X is just icing on the cake.
    • by MBCook (132727)
      It's superior.

      There is no question in my mind. It looks nice, it's easy to use, it's easy to work on. Remember when Apple released the G3 Towers that folded open? As far as I know there still aren't many cases like that on the market for the PC. Dell uses some, but I don't think they are availabile to individuals. Most Macs I've come across (Performas, LC II, Quadras, PowerMacs) have been very easy to open and work on.

      Then there is my PowerBook. Great battery life, and it's quiet. VERY quiet. Despite the

    • Re:boutique hardware (Score:5, Informative)

      by UnanimousCoward (9841) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @01:31PM (#15091439) Homepage Journal
      All my laptop POs for my company from now on will be MacBooks--I need to run WinXP, but for 10,000 reasons, I want an Apple laptop...

  • by PenguinOpus (556138) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:42AM (#15090931)
    Boosman's response is far better than Cringely's column in pointing out the real problem: device driver management.

    My experience with OSX drivers is that Apple barely gets enough support from device manufacturers (DMs) to stay above water. In some cases they bring development in-house to try to improve quality. Doing so in the Darwinistic land of PC hardware is impossible: the DMs must provide good drivers. Getting OSX marketshare up to the 25-50% level necessary for DMs to pay real attention will require years. During that time, OSX-on-nonApple-HW customers would provide a stream of complaints that would tarnish Apple's reputation but, more importantly, would slow down their development of OSX and give Microsoft a chance to catch up.

    I personally would love to run OSX on other hardware right now, but PC hardware is getting _so_ commoditized that prices are falling to the point where the human cost of a poor operating system may outweigh the marginal cost Apple charges for their hardware for many people.

        Apple is now 100% on that commodity train and as long as their marginal cost stays rational, they'll slowly grow marketshare.
    • I think the driver issue is the only technical one Apple would face putting OS X on any random PC (note: I don't think they'll ever do it). I don't believe that they would have "all the problems MS does" as Cringely seems to.

      That said, I don't think the driver issue would be one for long (for major hardware). If available OS X would have a HUGE demand. I can not tell you how many people I know who hate using Windows (but don't want to buy a new computer to get OS X). There are TONS of people who would swit

    • All Apple would have to do is put a little "is my computer OSX-ready?" program up on the web as a free download and let device manufacturers put an "OSX compatible" logo on their boxes. It could work, if Apple wanted it. But I don't think they do. We had a brief period where software had value because a worldwide network didn't exist and data transmission over a modem was too slow anyway. Those days are coming to an end, but products of actual material value will continue to be profitable.
  • by earthbound kid (859282) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:44AM (#15090941) Homepage
    This isn't the first time Cringley has predicted OS X on generic hardware see also his January 12th column [pbs.org].

    "Here's how I believe it will work. Apple won't offer versions of OS X for generic Intel hardware because the drivers and the support obligation would be too huge. But just as you can buy a shrink-wrapped copy of 10.4 for your iMac, they'll gladly sell you a shrink-wrapped Intel version intended for an Intel Mac, but of course YOU CAN PUT IT ON ANY MACHINE YOU LIKE. The key here is to offer no guarantees and only limited support, patterned on the kind you get for most Open Source packages -- a web site, forums, download section. and a wiki. Apple will help users help themselves. With two to three engineers and some outreach to hackers and hardware makers, Apple could put together an unofficial program that could easily attract two to three million Windows users per year to migrate their old machines to the new OS. Imagine the profit margins of three engineers effectively generating $300-plus million per year in sales."


    There's nothing new about his prediction in this week's column, he's just confirming that he still think it's going to happen, even though they released the reverse product from the one he said they would. In the same column he predicted "two new Intel Macs with huge plasma displays, but with keyboards and mice as options -- literally big-screen TVs that just happen to be computers, too" and an expanded .Mac service. The year is only a quarter out, so there's still time for him to have been right, but I'm still a little skeptical. Then again, it's Apple, so you never know what they'll do next. Last year at this time, who'd a believed in Intel iMacs?
  • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot@NOspam.stango.org> on Saturday April 08, 2006 @12:30PM (#15091139) Homepage Journal
    Computer sales still represent 2/3 of Apple's revenues. How many copies of standalone OS X would they have to sell (and at what price), to offset the sudden disappearance of nearly 2/3 of their revenue? (I say nearly, because there are some people who would still continue to buy Apple hardware.)

    The last time it was possible to legally run the Mac OS on non-Apple hardware, Apple nearly went under because nearly everyone stopped buying Apple hardware and their revenues dried up, and they didn't have anything to offset that shortfall. Selling OS X for generic PCs wouldn't offset the shortfall, either. They'd have to price it high enough to maximize revenue, but low enough so that more people would buy it than pirate it. I just don't see that price being enough to make up for the lost hardware sales.

    I've fleshed out some other reasons in a journal posting, as well, the link's in my sig.

    ~Philly
  • by 386spart (725207) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @01:30PM (#15091433)
    First of all I don't think Apple can do it - they have an OS that works on a ridiculously small percentage of the possible hardware combinations out there. This will not change magically.

    Secondly, Apple is not a software company, they make all their money selling hardware. If their OS could run on any hardware and tons of mac-heads buy the OS only, they would lose their hardware sales.

    Jobs killed the Mac clone business for a reason, that reason is not gone. Apple fights the hackers that port the OS to other machines, but provide free bootcamp in response to the hackers that try to run other OS's on their machines. The strategy seems pretty clear.
  • Of course they will (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peacefinder (469349) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `ttiwed.nala'> on Saturday April 08, 2006 @01:32PM (#15091444) Journal
    Apple will release OSX for generic PCs eventually. (PCs of some minimum specification, that is.) The question is simply when.

    But it won't happen until one or the other of the following becomes true:
    1) Apple PC hardware sales become insufficiently profitable to remain a (mostly) hardware company
    or
    2) Apple decides it is in its best interests to fight a head-to-head OS marketshare war with Microsoft
          Which won't happen until at least:
            2a) The minimum-spec PCs themselves have a very large market penetration. (I think minimum-spec will at least require EFI.)
          and
            2b) Microsoft's continued development of apps for OSX can be lost without serious strategic harm
          and
            2c) Microsoft interoperability protocols are sufficiently documented or openness is legally enforced such that MS would have serious trouble fighting dirty
          and
            2d) Apple is supremely confident that OSX can crush XP/Vista/Whatever in terms of user experience

    Of these, (1) is clearly not the case. It seems almost certain that (2a) is not true. (2b) will be solved if Apple comes out with their own office suite, or once OpenOffice has a version truly native to OSX. (2c) is close, and (2d) is obviously here right now.

    In all, probably not this year. If it doesn't happen by one month after Vista's release, then I think it'll be a long while yet.

    (Hmmm... I wonder if the real reason 32-bit Vista does not support non-BIOS-emulating EFI is to reduce the number of "Vista-ready" PCs that are OSX-ready? Microsoft might well be fearful of this move and have already executed their countermeasure. Can Apple make a BIOS version of OSX? Would they? Will manufacturers generally support EFI if Microsoft doesn't require it?)

    PS: Now that I've placed my bets, it's time to go RTFAs. :-)
  • by Aphrika (756248) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @01:44PM (#15091495)
    drivers.

    Currently, OSX runs well on a limited selection of hardware - it's all chosen by Apple - and non of it at the time of writing can support third party AGP,PCI or PCIe cards. Opening up OSX for all PCs is going to cause all number of problems for Apple - firstly by making sure that OSX supports pretty much an infinite number of hardware configurations, and secondly to support people directly who are having problems.

    One of Apple's strengths is its control of the hardware its OS runs on. Throw this away and you're also throwing away a large chunk of OSX's stability...
  • by theolein (316044) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @08:37PM (#15093033) Journal
    Over the last few years, and especially since Apple switched to x86 and even more since Boot Camp was released, I've watched the usual suspects here on Slashdot rip Apple for not selling OSX on generic PC hardware. To be very honest, I don't think those people would ever be happy, whatever one were to do for them, but it did occur to me that one way that Apple can really swing in extra cash is for Applw to make a generic grey box PC ITSELF! That's right, for Apple to make a bog standard cheapo PC with mutiple drive bays, numerous free PCI and PCIe slots, in a cheap as shit case from GuShangHoo or where ever in China and sell it along with OSX for all the motherfuckers who complain here constantly about not being able to get cheap hardware.

    It would be an interesting experiment.

"I'm a mean green mother from outer space" -- Audrey II, The Little Shop of Horrors

Working...