Licencing OS X: It may work now.

Discussion in 'macOS' started by lunarworks, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. lunarworks macrumors 65816

    Jun 17, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    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?
  2. aethelbert macrumors 601

    Jun 1, 2007
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Regardless, they still make a great amount of money from computer hardware sales. Software, not so much. That's why their software isn't too expensive, the real money comes from the hardware. It doesn't matter if they no longer solely rely on mac sales. Losing a large portion of mac sales would hurt them, even if they sold a few more $129 DVDs.
  3. Slip macrumors 6502a


    Oct 16, 2007
    Wiltshire, England
  4. operator207 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2007
    Who says they have to sell the "install on anything you want" DVD for $129?

    Sell it comparably priced to Vista 64bit whatever, and they make some more cash. It will keep those who want OS X and the form factor, buying Macs, and the ones that want to build their own machine, will pay the premium.

    Of course this will end up turning Apple into a Dell, but may force Apple to update/get better hardware into some of their stuff quicker.
  5. speakerwizard macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2006
    I think we all know this wont happen and the reasons why, its will no more happen than itunes supporting other mp3 players, because the software is there to sell the hardware, and apple is serious about the hardware, look at a very big purchase of a certain chip company they just bought, Every other company out there is trying to clone apples vertical hard and software solution because of its benefits, microsoft (xbox and zune) asus (eee lineup and linux) etc.
  6. benlee macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2007
    I equate putting OS X on PCs to having sex with your own sister...

    Its Just Not Right.
  7. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    I don't expect this to happen but I wish it would. Choices are always good, and dare I say that some manufacturers have more reliable hardware than Apple?
  8. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Oh... not right... right...

    In all honesty, OS X? On a generic PC? It's less likely than you'd think...
  9. mr.light macrumors 6502

    Such as?

    I've yet to see Hard ware as reliable as my 5 year old iBook G4.
  10. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    Well, you're lucky. I've had a bad logic board in an iBook G3, two bad SuperDrives in an MBP, an iPod that stopped charging, another iPod that completely died without warning, and I can't help but think that I've had something else go wrong too. I've been using Apple products for 5.5 years now.
  11. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    FWIW, doesn't look like there's any significant difference in notebook reliability between manufacturers (a 3% spread from best to worst). I'd guess that the desktop reliability is the same way, although they single Apple out as being #1. :confused:
  12. Syrus28 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2008
    Peoria, AZ
    Well, I know the MacBook is not problem free... I just got mine repaired (for the second time) because the casing cracked. My iPod touch had one of the "negative" screen problems. My dad's iPod touch had a "white screen of death". Those are just the problems I experienced, and I know im not alone. (i.e. iPod battery problems in Japan)

    Apple's hardware is very reliable, but I have a hard time believing the majority would pay the premium we pay for Macs if you could get Mac OS X on anything else. Market share would likely increase 10% or so, but they would be sacrificing their profits, which is arguably more important.
  13. Joe The Dragon macrumors 6502a

    Jul 26, 2006
    Well if apple does not come out with mac os x for all pc they should have a $700 to $2100 desktop system.

    The mac pro starts at the $2300.

    The old g4 and g5 towers went for $1200 and up.
  14. zlinger macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2007
    I believe that Apple will leave it as Mac OS X, and possibly distinguish as Mac OS X and Mac Mobile OS X. Also, why would they open the licensing to another hardware vendor at a time when market share is increasing? What makes Apple unique is that is provides a full hardware and software solution.

    A mid-tower is the way to go also, and I am in the market for this. Then consumers have a choice with the Mac Mini, iMac, xMac, and Mac Pro. All competitively priced and the consumer has a choice to use a single or multiple OS's: Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows.

    I do also believe that Apple would benefit by releasing a few more Mac apps for the PC (one or two max... but not iLife), as they did with iTunes, QuickTime, and Safari. It gets people thinking even more about the Mac experience from within their familiar Intel-inside boxes that is running the Vista Ultimately Bloatware Edition.

    I hope that we will soon see iChat for PC so that Mac users can instant message & video chat with PC friends. Not only is it good promo for Apple, iChat looks way nicer than MSN, AIM, and Skype. It is time to wage war with these VoIP and Instant Messaging programs.
  15. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Part of the reason Mac's work so well is because OS X is optimized for the hardware Apple chooses.

    If they made OS X available for clones, then Apple would have to support every computer combination out there, which would compromise OS X's "it just works".

    What Apple need to do is make their computers cheaper - for the same price you can get a much faster PC, which is why a lot of people buy PC's. Better value for money.
  16. JG271 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 17, 2007
    It may work now, but for the long term having osx on a mac will be better for apple.
    If apple slowly win people over by buying a mac computer, even if they only buy it for the OS, chances are they'll buy another mac, and the profit margins on the hardware/os combination are a lot better too.
  17. ert3 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2007
    See I have been playing around with this sort of thought in my head ever since I heard of snow leopard.

    Maybe a version of Mac OS that could be installed on 3rd party machines made by companies that meet certain requirements in their hardware.
  18. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    The fundamental reason why this is unlikely to happen is that companies do not deliberately create competitors for themselves. This is a bad business strategy for reasons which are too obvious to state. They were goaded into making this strategic blunder once under the old leadership and it was a near-death experience. I would not count on them making it again.

    A few weeks ago I polled the readership on how much they'd be willing to pay for a copy of OSX which could be installed on generic PC hardware. The average of the responses was around $200. Of course this isn't a scientific survey but I think it suggests that Apple could not sell freestanding OSX for enough to offset what they'd lose on hardware sales.

    Also, issuing a version of OSX unbundled with Apple hardware would necessitate the creation of some sort of activation and authentication scheme, as with Windows. I think this comes under the heading of "be careful what you wish for."
  19. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Those who look at Apple's product line notice that there are five different products running OS X: Macintoshes, XServe, iPhones, iPod Touch, and Apple TV. Since only two of these five products can be called a "Mac" with a good conscience, the change to "OS X" is quite understandable.
  20. br0adband macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2006
    They already do sell OSX unbundled, that's part of why Apple hasn't sicked Apple Legal all over Psystar as of yet - the EULA stating you're not to install OSX on anything but "Apple-labeled hardware" will most likely never be tested in court, and I seriously doubt it would ever stand up to scrutiny anyway.

    I have a brand new unopened shrink-wrapped copy of Leopard in my closet, purchased from the Apple Store here in Las Vegas 2 days after it was released. Will I open it? Nah... it's a collector's item as far as I'm concerned, but I do own a legit copy of it, even has the receipt attached.

    What can I do with it? Anything I want. That's the beauty of it... ;)
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Well, that's only a theory held by some. The Psystar computers are hacked to run OSX and are in limbo-land legally. Even if they survive, the market they will serve is miniscule at best.

    I think we all know what is being proposed here, and it's not some glorified screwdriver shop hacking OSX to run in a doubtful way on garbage hardware.
  22. br0adband macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2006
    In my experience with OSx86 (since inception), in the instances that I've used it (no sense denying it), the machines that I've used it with (hand built by myself) outperformed "real" Macs of the same or similar hardware configurations, so...

    I get the point, I do, really. Apples are boutique PCs, really they are the original ones, no one can really argue they're not. They're not meant for every Tom, Dick, and Harry coming down the pike, I get that too. But since they're all using the same components now, now is when it really becomes a boutique issue:

    Alienware or companies like it will take a handful of components that any Tom, Dick, or Harry can buy from most any retailer and slap 'em together, install the OS for you, do some tweaking for performance (and they really aren't very good at it, to be honest), make you a nice leather spiral-bound manual with the brand logo all over it, and sell it to you for about 225% over retail cost for the hardware it's made of.

    Apple isn't too far off, they never have been. With the huge profit margins they've always worked with, these days they are arguably the most successful boutique "PC" maker on the planet. Go figure...
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    I don't understand the use of the term "boutique PC maker" when applied to Apple. In fact this term has been used dismissively for decades. That, and "niche player." It's a way of saying in not so many words that whatever Apple does, it won't have any real significance in the wider computer market. I think that particular canard has been disproved many times over. They are and have always been the largest seller of computers that isn't simply an Windows OEM, and they are growing their market much more rapidly than the rest. If that's a boutique, then it's a boutique like, say, Starbucks is a boutique.
  24. rainmanbk macrumors 6502


    Jan 30, 2006
    Southington, CT
    Why doesn't anyone else realize this... The reason there is no 'Mac' in front of OS X is because this is a developer conference. All the people there are mac developers who use OS X and don't need to be told that it runs on Macs. Plus how stupid would the banners look if one said 'Mac OS X Leopard' and the other said 'OS X iPhone'. It's just to keep things looking consistent.
  25. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    I equate putting OS X on PCs to having sex with your sister :cool:

    PCs are_the_same_as_macs, just not as pretty.

    They are the Hillary Swank to Macs Jessica Alba...

    So all in all, I would happily install OS X on a PC

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