As someone who likes to get out there and hypothesise, I’m going to half come to the defence of John Dvorak who suggested that Apple may ditch Mac OS for Windows.
Clearly that won’t happen, as had been widely accepted and explained around the Blogosphere. Gadgetopia – “more preposterous than ever“, Matthew Ingram – “it’s a new low“, MacSlash – “delusional, pot-smoking, half-baked, preposterous, offensive, short-pants-wearing, goose-stepping, lollypop-eating crazy idea” & TechBlog – “whatever professional contrarian John Dvorak is smoking, I want none of it“. Ditching Mac OS X would be like ripping out a major artery.
However, Apple should offer Macs running on Windows. And I’ve even got the marketing strategy to make it fly which I’m offering up just because I’m a nice guy.
The foundations of Dvorak’s article, I believe, are sound. I firmly believe that Mac OS X that is really what is holding Apple back. Because everything Apple does today gets back to the OS. If I could have bought one of Apple’s beautifully designed machines running Windows chances are I’d have done so by now. I may also have invested in any number of its cool, software products like Garageband, iLife, etc. Those decisions you make based on best of breed products, whereas an OS decision, has always been like changing your religion. It’s a big, life-changing decision.
But does it have to be? Aren’t we moving into an age where much of your software runs independently of the OS. Isn’t the Internet becoming the OS?
It’s for that reason that for the first time, I would actually consider buying a Mac because I’m no longer hooked on the OS. Using my previous analogy, I’ve become an aethiest so your Gods don’t hold much sway with me anymore. For the first time my computing is now beholden to Windows. Why then, might you ask, would Apple even consider offering Windows, when it’s never been better placed to woo users off Windows?
Try this on for size as a Mac mantra: The OS doesn’t matter
Apple can offer its Mac up in any configuration. Want Mac OS. You got it? Windows. You can have that too. Linux. Ditto.
Apple starts beating the drum that the OS is insignficant because the Internet is the platform. Stop making decisions based on legacy principles like OS-based computing.
Apple proves that the OS has ceased to become important by doing something never thought imaginable (until the Dvorak article at least), offering Mac’s with whatever OS you like and maybe even allowing Mac OS X to run on whatever computer you like.
Of course, Apple markets the new machines so that my Mac with OS X is $100 cheaper than Windows. So if you sell me on this anti-OS story, and you win me over with the design of your machine, then chances are I’m going to go with the OS X machine just on a hip-pocket basis.
Whatever, the case Apple sells more hardware. It puts OS X back in the game. And if it starts porting all of its cool software to all three platforms it supports, it can sell a shitload of that too (or else provide an additional value-add for buying a Mac).
And it just keeps on doing great design. Because when the machine truly is OS independent and I do believe that’s coming quickly, the only thing that matters is price (forget that one), design (who does it better) and brand (Apple! nuff siad).
In a world where the OS, Mac OS included, doesn’t matter, Apple is sitting pretty damn pretty.
UPDATE: This is pretty funny.