Return of Mac Clones?

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Silicon.com provides a speculative but interesting piece of the possibility of Apple (again) licensing the Mac operating system to 3rd party PC manufacturers and brining back Mac Clones.

The article also recaps the history of Mac licensing from an early suggestion by Bill Gates for Apple to do so in 1985.

Although the Apple management team resisted his advice initially, the seed was planted and the rambling clone licensing saga spanned the tenures of four Apple CEOs.

The first faltering steps were taken by John Sculley; Michael Spindler ushered in the first clone agreement and Gil Amelio took the scheme to his heart.
The first Mac clone appeared in 1995 and lasted until Steve Jobs return in 1997. At that time, Apple terminated the program, claiming that the clones were not expanding the market and cannibalizing high end Mac sales.

Apple and Steve Jobs, however, have insisted that Mac OS X will remain on Apple branded Macs, despite being approached by a number of PC manufacturers asking to license Mac OS X.
 

Josh396

macrumors 65816
Oct 16, 2004
1,128
0
Peoria/Chicago, IL
I just don't see this happening. Mac's seem to becoming more and more popular so I think Apple would just stick to what they have been doing recently. As long as they keep the OS intact and keep adding good features I think their market share should keep increasing.

GO REX.

Flava Fav.
 

AoWolf

macrumors 6502a
Nov 17, 2003
956
0
Daytona Beach
I doubt it apple makes most of its money of hardware. Clones would take away the seamless integration we mac user enjoy.
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
28
Washington, DC
Doesn't make any real sense with the switch to x86. If Apple wants, it can just allow OSX to be run on any PC. Why bother licensing the hardware? Just go for the software sales to existing PC owners.
 

p0intblank

macrumors 68030
Sep 20, 2005
2,557
2
New Jersey
No, no, and NO! I, like many other Mac users, do not want to see this happen. Mac OS X is just fine on Apple hardware and only Apple hardware. Like Josh is saying, Mac sales are getting better by the day and don't show any signs of slowing down. Just leave it how it is... please.
 

Josh396

macrumors 65816
Oct 16, 2004
1,128
0
Peoria/Chicago, IL
WeBleed4Real said:
If it's true, get ready to see some real UGLY lookin' macs then.
That's one of the main reasons I just can't see it happening. Could you imagine Jobs doing a demo of a new App on a Dell LCD? Nothing against their LCD's, but they just don't come near to the beauty of an Apple one.
 

dashiel

macrumors 6502a
Nov 12, 2003
876
0
might be feasible at this point. back in the bad old days there was very little differentiation between a clone and an apple produced kit other than price. today people buy apple kit as much for the way it looks as the OS. el steve has done a brilliant job making apple hardware desirable from a purely aesthetic point of view. to pull out the dead horse car analogy, with top of the line design and components apple could position itself as the BMW to the clones volkswagen, if the loss of some customers would be made up for in the volume of new customers.

personally i don't believe it will happen, but it'd be a smarter time to do it than it was back in '96.
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
28
Washington, DC
This is a debate we've had many times. What's best for Apple in the long run. To get up to say, 10-15% of the market and completely control both its hardware and software sides? Or license some elements and go for more? There is a limit to what's advantageous.
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
More interesting to work with MS to make sure Windows runs well on the new Mactels.

Even though Apple wouldn't "officially" support this OS configuration, the ability for Apple to sell "premium" PCs directly to Windows users does offer a more interesting growth prospect than Mac OS clones.

This opens up a massive opportunity that Apple wouldn't have had otherwise to get Macs and their OS into the hands of people tied to Windows, many people salivated at the Macs -- but couldn't quite make the switch for various reasons, not all of them related to hardware cost issues alone.

Why buy an inferior Chinese x86 clone in Mac clothing, when you can have the real thing...
 

DTphonehome

macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2003
1,767
2,245
NYC
Unless Apple has very tight control over the design of the computers (which would raise the price anyway, so what would be the advantage?), I don't see this happening. Apple is not ready to become a mass-market commodity yet. They have a nice little niche that they are expanding gradually. They do NOT want to become a Dell (look at Dell's recent earnings and customer satisfaction ratings).
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
28
Washington, DC
Sun Baked said:
the ability for Apple to sell "premium" PCs directly to Windows users does offer a more interesting growth prospect than Mac OS clones.
Good point. I think they'd sell a lot of computers that way, and could generate some solid halo effect from that path as well.
 

Object-X

macrumors 6502a
Aug 3, 2004
631
1
Once on Intel

It will happen eventually, once the Intel switch is completed; probably a couple years. Apple's market share is rising and Microsoft's will start to fall once Vista is released. I've said it before and I'll say it again with even more conviction: Microsoft is falling apart and will eventually break itself up in order to compete. They are moving forward only on inertia and their movement is slowing down. The demand for Apple's OS X will be high and Apple will not be able to resist the money potential of OEMing their OS. iTunes/iPod will give them the financial backing to make the risk acceptable. I predict a strategic alliance with Sony and a VIAO with OS X first.
 

Fred Flintstone

macrumors newbie
Oct 7, 2005
9
0
I don't see the attraction for clones

I hear this from PC guys all the time. They are so used to buying garbage and frankensteining it through the years to breathe new life into it that they think this is the only way to buy a computer. I realize the BMW analogy has been used to death, but I just can't see the appeal of taking a BMW engine (OS X) and slapping it inside a Soap Box car you built in your own garage. Aside from the novelty of it, I suppose, but you couldn't expect it to work at peak performance and be reliable.

Clones aren't built in your garage, but they have the same frankensteined mentality. But with the Mac mini, does Apple need clones?
 

AlBDamned

macrumors 68030
Mar 14, 2005
2,626
0
It's unlikely really (though nothing is impossible with Jobs in charge).

The article actually highlights the fact that with Mac Clones: Episode I, people took the cheap option on hardware and it ended up screwing Apple. There's not much that would change. While I think people would still pay for decent looking hardware (and you only need to look at Dell's "Luxury Range" to see no-one else can do it like Apple), the majority of people usually vote with their wallets and more OS's would sell than hardware.

It's not a bad article, but it's speculative comment at best and there's still no concrete reason for this to happen unless there's a major sea change at Apple to go for a direct Windows (i.e. softeware only) competitor. The infrastructure and capabilities of Apple are likely not yet up to that either IMO.
 

link92

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2004
335
0
Macrumors said:
Apple and Steve Jobs, however, have insisted that Mac OS X will remain on Apple branded Macs, despite being approached by a number of PC manufacturers asking to license Mac OS X.
I don't really see what that means. A year ago he said there would be no video iPod. A year later, at the same place, he announces a video iPod. Surely we should expect what he has said "no" to?
 

MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
7,830
1,120
The Netherlands
So, will Hell freeze over again?

First the iTunes for Windows
Then Mac OS X on Intel
Now the return of the Clones??

Nah.... was a bad idea then, is a bad idea now. Same ol' story: it will cannablize the Apple hardware sales.
 

MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
7,830
1,120
The Netherlands
Sedulous said:
Does anyone here picture Apple as a software company only?

No way.....

Apple makes such beautiful hardware. What would Jonathan Ive do?? :p

No, I wil always see Apple as a company making the "total package".
 

Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
8,273
4,636
Canada
This would be one way of rapidly expanding the Mac marketshare.

It wouldn't do Apple much good in terms of hardware sales when licensees can put out machines significantly cheaper than the current selling price of iMacs et al ( i.e., the $400 Mac Clone ).

I'm wondering - did Apple increase its marketshare when Apple licensed clones in the 90s?