Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Why Apple should offer Windows

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.

Filed under: Apple

15 Responses

  1. Silvermac says:

    I think Apple is offering something close to what you are trying to get, a computer able to run windows. All you need to do is get an intel Mac, buy Vista (soon) and off you go.

    Running Mac apps on Windows – I wouldn’t recommend doing that.

  2. […] Since his claim, a ton of people have been raining down words on him typically associated with people in tight white suits with little straps on them.  See for yourself, here, here, here and here.  If you don’t want to make the jump, “smoking crack” and “off his meds” are a few of the choice phrases used. Who am I to say if he’s right or not?  He’s the pro I suppose?  But in a related note, I’ve been told by pretty reliable people that the New York Times is ditching news in favor of an all celebrity gossip rag, Disney will be making hard core Porn from now on, and, if my sources are correct, ESPN has decided to ditch sports and sees its future as being the “Worldwide Leader in Competitive Knitting.” Technorati Tags: Apple computers OSX Windows […]

  3. Asher Moses says:

    Sorry Phil, but while I agree that there are plenty of good web 2.0 apps out there — I use many of them myself — the OS is far from being redundant. Sure, our office productivity applications (email, word processing, spreadsheets, etc) are all in the process of jumping across to the Internet, but it will be a long while before professional apps such as graphics, audio and video editing desktop software are over-ridden.

    I think we need to take a step back and consider why this blog was started — to cut through the web 2.0 hype. By preaching that web 2.0 apps will make the OS redundant, in my opinion you’re only contributing to said hype.

    RE: Apple, I initially agreed with you/Dvorak, but on second thought I started to have my doubts. I think Apple’s appeal isn’t only in its hardware designs. A huge contributing factor is the OS, which MacOS users constantly tell us is prettier, more stable, and more intuitive than Windows. Shipping all of their machines with Windows would reduce Apple to competing solely on a hardware-level, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Do you think it’d really be that hard for one of the major PC OEMs to design a machine as sexy as the Mac? Apple’s competitive advantage would be reduced immensely.

  4. Tony Meurer says:

    Have to agree with the notion that the o/s doesn’t matter [or shouldn’t matter].

    I’m probably one of many who would buy a Mac if only it could run……………[fill in blank with specific app – in my case a process modelling tool]

    But I think the idea of letting Mac OS x port to the wider world, an idea that was rightly passed many years ago, is risky. It goes against the notion that the o/s doesn’t matter, and put Apple in the position of having to fight Bill on his terms, while bringing the sheer chaos of Windows compatability issues [and who in the wintel world hasn’t copped a bad dose of those issues] to the Mac world.

    I’d like to move to a Mac for all of the features that platform offers. I’d hate to see it decay to the operational lottery level of Windows

  5. scudie says:

    Apple has already lost control of its hardware by switching to Intel. Losing control of the OS would require a new revenue model and a total re-orientation of its business strategy. So the question is, what does ol’ Jobs have up his sleeve?

  6. As someone who spends far more time than I would like fixing my pals Windows problems, I’m having a hard time understanding why Apple would sell machines with Windows. Take a beautiful machine and cripple it with an operating system that is and endless series of compromises and patches? Apple deserves its knocks for stupid moves in the past, but one of the things it has done well is design some core things right the first time. Then, when “legacy” time comes along, they’re able to make things work a lot longer than they have any right to.

    Lastly, if the OS doesn’t matter, your point seems lost. Why care if they run OS-X (which they presumably own, and therefore costs them only to the extent that they update and enhance it) versus licensing Windows (for any cost)? If the OS doesn’t matter, then there are no more feature upgrades necessary, as those will come from the Internet apps. Assuming that the browser experience is as good under OS-X today as it is in Windows (which is arguable), then the OS-X team should be disbanded, go into bug-fix mode, and be done with it.

    How, again, is this a good idea?

  7. […] Apologies if you have read this title elsewhere. It is precisely that article that I have derived my inspiration from. Lets plunge headlong into Dvorak’s view that Apple is about to drop OS X and put Windows on its computers. Here are my views about why that is very very far fetched, […]

  8. Andre Tchen says:

    I guess Dvorak published a joke to see how many gullible people would take him seriously, or how fast the blogosphere would respond.

    Well, here’s a more practical suggestions: “Why Apple should offer *a Windows add-in board* ”

    Add profits and remove another reason not to try the MAC OSX. Better than dual booting or virtual machines with all their complications/ restrictions, use the real thing, a dedicated intel/amd cpu on an add-in board to get full speed, including graphics, and any number of advantages (managing PC hard drive partitions from the MAC etc.)

    Apple (and SUN) have done it before; nowadays with plummeting hardware prices and more features than ever, you could also use a mixed DVI/analog LCD screen so the PC part can run at full graphics speed by toggling the LCD from MAC to PC modes.

  9. on30guy says:

    There’s a basic flaw in your logic. You should always base your buying decisions for a computer and OS based not on the computer or OS. Instead, you base your buying decisions on the APPLICATION. If you want a best in class software application, then you choose that application, and build the system around that application. Your choice of machine and OS should be predicated on the requirements of that software.

    This is as true now as it was in the 80’s and 90’s.

  10. Saleel says:

    This is one amazing blog, I am dissapointed that I havent found it before now. I personally dislike the idea that the internet could eventually replace my OS. I keep thinking that if the replacement happens the internet could turn into a neccesity, and for some reason or another I dont exactly feel comfortable with that.

    Now for a more on the point comment:
    Your mantra: The OS doesn’t matter.
    My question is why would my grandmother care? Why is it that she or anybody has to buy/download different versions of the same program so that she can run them on 2 almost physically same chunks of metal? what keeps the OS makers/users to develop interoperatibility? Perhaps thats not a real word, but I think the the mantra should be:
    MacOS: filling in the OS schism.

  11. Martin Wells says:

    We seem to be very far over one side of the pendulum. What if Apple open-sourced OSX and ported it to other intel hardware? Maybe using Intel chips in Macs is one step towards the expansion of Apple as a software/OS company. Whilst I’m not an OSX user I have to say that it’s starting to look impressive. The ease-of-use/consumer focus of Windows (ie. not linux), a huge spread of applications (including the unweb2.0able office) along with the power foundation of BSD Unix. Compelling stuff that’s growing in popularity (even amongst my most technical of friends). Couple iTunes for media distribution… is a microsoft competitor under our noses?

  12. Rob Irwin says:

    I’m not sure people would pay a premium for Apple hardware just because it looks pretty. I certainly wouldn’t, despite being able to appreciate a iMac’s design, or whatever. Give me a pile of parts and I’d rather built a better, faster machine… and who cares if it’s sitting in a matte black tower format, rather than a shape which Apple will deem out of date 12 months from now anyway?

  13. Coelomic says:

    An imac with OS X is greater than the sum of its parts!

  14. Gurgel says:

    music download

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  15. “Macs do Windows, too.”

    http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/

    It is in public beta though, and you may have to buy it in the future. You have no choice of having only Windows installed.

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