Apple's decision not to license Mac OS deemed 'biggest bus...


stoid

macrumors 601
I think that if the Mac OS had been licensed, that it would suck in many of the same ways that Windows does because of having to support so much random hardware. I don't think that this is a black and white issue at all.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,817
37
Andover, MA
It seems to me that far better candidates would be IBM (for giving Gates the keys to the kingdom) and Xerox (for failing to capitalize on so many PARC-produced innovations).
 

millhouse_man

macrumors member
Apr 8, 2004
49
0
Lawrence, KS
stoid said:
I think that if the Mac OS had been licensed, that it would suck in many of the same ways that Windows does because of having to support so much random hardware. I don't think that this is a black and white issue at all.
I totally agree. It would also get rid of the entire Macintosh/Apple experience and leave many users with a bitter taste in their mouth, much like the feeling Windows users get from using an awful combination of hardware/software/os.
 

lduncan

macrumors member
Jun 17, 2003
59
0
ChCh New Zealand
Look where licensing got Microsoft! A piss poor excuse for an operating system. Not licensing the OS has made MacOS what it is today. Apple is hardly struggling as a company, far from it. As far as i'm concerned it was no mistake.

Layton
 

azdude

macrumors 6502
Sep 27, 2003
387
16
stoid said:
I think that if the Mac OS had been licensed, that it would suck in many of the same ways that Windows does because of having to support so much random hardware. I don't think that this is a black and white issue at all.
Absolutely correct, but that's not what the article is saying. Not licensing MacOS was great for stability, interface "harmony," and the general "feel" of what makes a Mac a Mac, but -- as Microsoft has demonstrated -- those three do NOT necessarily represent what's best for business (as in money). :D
 

zelmo

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2004
5,490
1
Mac since 7.5
Failing to license the Mac OS was a mistake in a classic business sense (money), which is what this article is about. Purely from a "responsibility to the shareholder" perspective, it is more important to be financially successful than it is to make great products.
Had Apple licensed the OS, it would have become a watered down weak version of itself, not the elegant and efficient interface it is today. The only reason the OS and Mac hardware can work so seamlessly is because they are controlled by one company.
Given the choice between an operating system that works well with the hardware and is developed without having to account for the lowest common denominator of h/w, or an OS that is crippled of it's core advantages in order to "work" across all possible platform permutations, is there even a choice to make?
Oh yeah...Mac vs Windows.
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,386
130
Purcellville, VA
1: Apple did license the MacOS to third parties for a few years. It nearly killed them. Nobody made low-end el-cheapo Macs that Apple didn't (and still doesn't) want to make. The third parties all made high-end Macs that directly competed with the Apple models and users wanting cheap machines remained out of luck.

2: Microsoft didn't invent the PC, IBM did. Microsoft didn't license DOS, IBM did. Look what it got IBM - today, they're a minor player in the market they created. If they didn't have their workstation/mini/mainframe business, they'd have been completely sunk by that licensing deal.

If Apple had licensed MacOS the way IBM licensed DOS, we might all be running MacOS now, but it wouldn't be on Apple computers. Apple would be little more than an afterthought - the one everybody talks about but doesn't buy from. Just like all those people who buy their "IBM PC" from Dell and Gateway.

This is, of course, assuming that it went anywhere at all. Don't forget that the IBM PC (and DOS) shipped before the Mac did. Apple's only period of market dominance was with the Apple II series. Despite what pundits claim, the Mac was never in a market dominating position.

Apple's only opportunity to dominate the market (if there ever was one at all) was along the Apple II path. But even that's far from certain. Notice how Atari and Commodore (also extremely popular at the time) weren't able to dominate. Their classic platforms (Atari 400/800/1200, C-64/128) didn't go anywhere, and their next-gen platforms (Atari ST, Amiga) also didn't dominate (this despite the Amiga's incredible price/performance.)
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,386
130
Purcellville, VA
powermac666 said:
Failing to license the Mac OS was a mistake in a classic business sense (money), which is what this article is about.
This is assuming it would have worked to begin with. That is far far from certain.

Read The Art Of The Parlay for a wonderful explanation of exactly why this is so.

At the time the Mac came out, PC hardware was incapable of running a Mac-like GUI. There was no mouse. Video cards were text-only or extremely low resolution (320x200 with 4 colors or 640x200 monochrome). The first MacOS barely fit on a 400K diskette, with half of its code in ROM - PC diskettes were only 320K and had no toolbox ROM.

By the time PCs grew enough to be able to run MacOS, DOS was firmly entrenched as the monopoly system.

People who think Apple could've taken over the world by simply licensing MacOS are either unaware of the timeline or are deluding themselves.
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
15,925
1
Portland, OR
Yeah. Stupid article. Apple isn't a software company. They are an hardware company. The Mac OS is developed to help sell their fancy-scmancy hardware. They don't make jack in revenue off the Mac OS.
 

bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
13,951
3
Gone but not forgotten.
shamino said:
1: Apple did license the MacOS to third parties for a few years. It nearly killed them. Nobody made low-end el-cheapo Macs that Apple didn't (and still doesn't) want to make. The third parties all made high-end Macs that directly competed with the Apple models and users wanting cheap machines remained out of luck.

2: Microsoft didn't invent the PC, IBM did. Microsoft didn't license DOS, IBM did. Look what it got IBM - today, they're a minor player in the market they created. If they didn't have their workstation/mini/mainframe business, they'd have been completely sunk by that licensing deal.

...
Apparently, history has re-written itself.

IBM has never had any ownership of DOS, PC-, MS-, or 86-. They licenced the operating system from Microsoft, who bought it from Tim Paterson and Seattle Softworks when it was named 86-DOS. The only DOS they owned would be DOS/VS and later, DOS/VSE, which ran on the System/370 platform.
 

JeffTL

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2003
733
0
I don't see what the problem is with Apple's business model, frankly. They are debt-free, making money, and literally have billions of dollars in the bank. They can't make enough iPods and stock keeps going up. If they'd started licensing earlier or ended it later I don't think there'd be any of that and we'd all be having to buy Dells all the time.
 

stoid

macrumors 601
redAPPLE said:
is it not possible, in anyway, to license software (in this case, macos) and control the quality?
In many ways yes. One of the bigger issues that Windows faces is maintaining compatibility and stability when run on literally thousand or millions of combinations of processor, graphics card, motherboard set-ups. Mac OS X doesn't have to deal with this because Apple controls the hardware, and can therefore guarantee functionality on 'supported' hardware.
 

trebblekicked

macrumors 6502a
Dec 30, 2002
897
0
Chicago, IL, USA
i don't think much of the notion that licensing would have made apple into microsoft. perhaps a better agreement with windows on the GUI would have given apple some more revenue to play with, but you have to look at what MS did w/windows as catching lightning in a bottle. simply following their steps would not bring about the same success, least of all for a company like apple was in the mid-80's.

i do, however, agree that firing steve jobs was a pretty big and inexcusable f-up by sculley and the board.
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,386
130
Purcellville, VA
bousozoku said:
Apparently, history has re-written itself.

IBM has never had any ownership of DOS, PC-, MS-, or 86-. They licenced the operating system from Microsoft, who bought it from Tim Paterson and Seattle Softworks when it was named 86-DOS. The only DOS they owned would be DOS/VS and later, DOS/VSE, which ran on the System/370 platform.
Semantics, and not correct either.

While you're right that IBM didn't develop DOS, they didn't "license" it from MS. MS developed/bought/stole it as a part of a contractual obligation. As with any other work for hire, the developer only owns what that contract says he owns.

Since the pipsquak MS was in no position to dictate terms to IBM at that time, the decision to allow DOS to be deployed on non-IBM equipment was solely IBM's decision.
 

macnulty

macrumors 6502
May 18, 2003
496
0
Rehoboth Beach, De
Moot

I agree with some others that the decision not to license MacOS is really a moot point. At the time of Apple's largest market share with Apple II it was about 20% or there abouts. When Mac came out, all those customers with Apple II's had to upgrade their hardware to run it. With no emulation to run the new software, it made for an expensive proposition. This made older hardware more valuable to keep and when time came to upgrade it made x86 hardware/software an affordable alternative to "expensive" newer Apple hardware/software. In effect, Apple ended up competing with itself and lost as strange as that sounds.
 

snooziums

macrumors regular
Apr 30, 2004
121
0
Evergreen State
No, no, no....

When Apple licensed the Mac OS to the Mac clones, it was a really good idea. Even though it did hurt Apple a little bit, it allowed for lots of great computers built around the Mac OS to be built. Many of these computer systems had features that no system made by Apple ever made.

I still have my Power Computing Power Tower Pro, which Apple has never made a computer that can even compare to it to this day. It had six PCI expansion slots, and four 5 & 1/4 drive bays (which I have used all of them). I seriously love that level of expandability.

In addition, the clones were sold in markets that Apple still to this way has not reached.

With good regulation, the returning of clones would actually help Apple dramatically in terms of making their OS more popular.

If Apple does not allow the return on clones, then they will NEVER have more than ten percent of the personal computer market share.
 

iMeowbot

macrumors G3
Aug 30, 2003
8,643
0
bousozoku said:
Apparently, history has re-written itself.

IBM has never had any ownership of DOS, PC-, MS-, or 86-. They licenced the operating system from Microsoft, who bought it from Tim Paterson and Seattle Softworks when it was named 86-DOS. The only DOS they owned would be DOS/VS and later, DOS/VSE, which ran on the System/370 platform.
IBM do share full rights to PC-DOS with MS, and they even still sell it, as badly as MS wanted to see it dead :D
 

bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
13,951
3
Gone but not forgotten.
iMeowbot said:
IBM do share full rights to PC-DOS with MS, and they even still sell it, as badly as MS wanted to see it dead :D
IBM was always known as a co-developer (Compaq was for quite a while too) and have had full access to source code, but they got there by essentially allowing MS to collect royalties on every x86 PC they sold.

It's too bad Gary Kildall didn't have the presence of mind to meet with IBM to sign the agreement.
 

iMeowbot

macrumors G3
Aug 30, 2003
8,643
0
stoid said:
I think that if the Mac OS had been licensed, that it would suck in many of the same ways that Windows does because of having to support so much random hardware. I don't think that this is a black and white issue at all.
OPENSTEP managed to run on a surprisingly wide range of '486 and up systems in its Mach guise, and pretty much everything in its NT incarnation.

The core OS hasn't been the Apple secret sauce in years, that's why they can freely give away the source code. It's a pretty safe bet that even Carbon has been intelified, iTunes is a little too faithful to its Mac counterpart's behavior to be a ground-up reimplementation.
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
15,925
1
Portland, OR
snooziums said:
When Apple licensed the Mac OS to the Mac clones, it was a really good idea. Even though it did hurt Apple a little bit, it allowed for lots of great computers built around the Mac OS to be built. Many of these computer systems had features that no system made by Apple ever made.
Ugh. We bought ~20 Power Computing boxes. They made up about 13% of the Macs I took care of. They took up about 50% of my time. We had them all swapped out within 2-3 years because they were such junk. I think you got lucky.
 

Timelessblur

macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2004
1,086
0
well it was just one of the many mistakes Apple made in it past. Apple made several very costly mistakes in its past that almost caused the compainy to go under. It got a few extermly lucky breaks that saved it