So, there's a big fuss about the banners at the Moscone Centre. They say "OS X", rather than "Mac OS X". This has led to speculation of the OS being licensed out, or even opened to install on vanilla PCs. It's well known that the original MacOS licensing program nearly killed Apple. Rather than expand the market for Macs, they directly ate into Apple's sales. Steve Jobs wisely killed-off that venture when he returned. But things are different now, and here's why: There was nothing to differentiate Apple Macs and Clone Macs. They all came in unimaginative grey boxes. On a superficial level, there was little reason for people to buy an Apple machine, other than familiarity and loyalty. Now, Apple is world-renowned for their industrial design. Cloners would have a fairly difficult time edging them out in terms of style and design. People who want OS X, want OS X. People who want an Apple, want an APPLE. Windows 95 was a HUGE marketing success at the time. Everyone was quite happy with it, and saw no reason to shift away form it. Also, Microsoft, while stained with a slight tinge of evil, was still viewed by the public as mostly benevolent. Apple could not successfully fight against Microsoft. Now, the whole Vista fiasco. People are tired of Windows, and all the faults it has. They want to shift over to something different. Microsoft is also viewed as a lumbering, arrogant corporation. Apple has been making serious inroads into the market share, as a result, and it would be impossible to expand it much further without bringing on a licensing scheme. The iPod. Apple is no longer purely a computer company, hence the name change last year. The iPod, the iPhone, and other experiments like the AppleTV, have proven that Apple no longer needs to rely solely on the sale of Macs. They won't abandon the Mac, but now they can safely let others into the game. Plus, iPod adoption drives Mac sales, as people like the complimentary design. OS X, an advanced operating system. It runs on standard PC components, making hardware development easier for possible cloners. (The downside being that some will try to shoehorn cheap, unsupported components in, lowering stability.) So, what do you think? Will Steve Jobs relent, and let a select few manufacturers in to take on Windows? Will he open OS X to everyone, and allow a free-for-all? Or is this all quite far-fetched?