Originally Posted by SSA
Apple these days is a hardware company insofar as that they make a lot of money off ipods and now the iphone, but ultimately most people buy MacOS for the software, not the hardware.
Then nothing has changed since day one of Apple Computers. Even if Apple didn't sell iPods and iPhones they are still a hardware company. Never in Apple Computers history has Apple ever made more money selling their software than their hardware. Ever.
The worst years of Apple Computers history was when Jobs was forced out and that Pepsi guy and the other guy almost drove Apple out of business. And guess what, those were the same years Apple licensed out their OS and Mac clones were on the market. (and yes there was even a mid price mini tower Mac clone.
) Not even then did Apple make more money on their OS than on their hardware.
Save for using EFI instead of BIOS what separates a Mac from any other x86 computer? Not much really. Beyond the slick chassis designs from Jonathan Ives there isn't much that makes a Mac a Mac except the software. While Apple sometimes gets early launches of products where they either are the first to market or very close to the first(eg. the Geforce 9400M, the Santa Rosa mobile chipset, Yonah based CPUs, Merom based CPUs, Penryn based CPUs, etc.), but generally speaking people aren't buying a Mac for the hardware specs. They buy a Mac for the Mac software experience. The thing that stops quite a few people is Apple's large hardware dongle in order to use it.
If you exclude a small cadre of people in the OSx86 project who managed to create their own Macs generally speaking one needs to buy a Mac in order to use the software. The notion that Apple couldn't be fairly profitable on selling their software. If you spread the costs of development over enough people you can easily make money selling an entire OS at that price point, just ask Microsoft. Even after their Xbox division is now profitable, their Windows and Office divisions still make up a bulk of their profit.
What price point? $129.00? Not even MS gets anywhere near that for Windows. The vast majority of MS OS sales are OEM licenses to have Windows pre-installed on computers. They maybe get $30.00 per OEM copy. And then you have the MS server license where big businesses pay for a license to use Windows on their networked computers. These licenses most likely goes for less that $10 per computer. Depending on the how many licenses you need to cover all your business computers. Comparatively, MS makes very little selling the retail version of their OS. The reason MS margins are so high is because it cost next to nothing to sell a license for 5000 computers and then give the IT guy several hard copies of Windows. And then tell him he can install Windows on no more than 5000 computers. The same goes for Dell, HP, Acer and Lenveno. Do you think MS spent any money burning that OEM disk you get with a new computer?
If Apple license out OSX, they won't get anywhere near $129 per OEM copy (or license) of OSX.
And let's not forget that a vast portion of the MS OS market is not open for OSX. These would be big enterprises that network thousands of computers using MS servers. Consumers and businesses that are still using XP (and older versions of Windows) because they don't want to spend the money to upgrade their hardware. If these people aren't willing to spend the money to upgrade their hardware, do you think they're going to spend the money to also upgrade all their software? Gamers are not likey to switch to OSX. If anything they're more interested in Apple's hardware. And then there's the "Windows fanboy"
that just don't see any advantage of using OSX or just hates anything that has to do with Apple and Jobs. When you add all these into the equation the potential new market for OSX isn't really that large. It mainly consist of consumers that are ready to buy a new computer (and make the switch to Vista) or small businesses ready to upgrade their networks. (and not to forget all those consumers that want a mini tower.
) Apple can do better by selling their own hardware with OSX.
The usual argument against Apple licensing MacOS to others is that Apple would harm their corporate image because some Mac clone sellers may make cutrate computers that are unstable and make Apple's image look bad. This could reasonably be averted in that Apple could make limitations upon the vendors used to make any authorized Mac clones. Therefore, you couldn't use some no name cutrate vendor for your RAM or motherboard that might result in instability of said machines. Since these vendors would be paying for the privilege to resell machines with MacOS, Apple could let others take the risk of certain experiments like a Mac tablet for example. If interest in such a item really is too much of niche market then Apple wouldn't be on the hook for the losses.
This will never happen obviously due to the cult of Steve Jobs and his lieutenants who are little more than yes men to his agenda, but I don't think the idea of Apple exploring new products whether sold under the Apple name or through an authorized clone maker would be such a bad idea.
But this is what Apple does now. Apple don't build their own computers. (not any more) They design their computers and out source it to various venders. Apple sees to it that it's built to their specs. If Apple is going to see that each Mac clone is built to their specs, then where's the advantage for the Mac clone makers. By the time they meet Apple's specs, their hardware cost would equal or exceeds Apple's. And then they would still have to pay for OSX. Which Apple gets for free.
It's too late. MS won the OS war a long time ago. Apple will never own more of the OS market than MS. Now this doesn't mean the Apple Inc. will never be as big as MS. Apple Inc. can be bigger than MS without having anywhere near a majority of the OS market. The cell phone industry, movie industry and music industry makes the gaming industry look like a neighborhood lemonade stand. And the last time I checked, Apple isn't losing any money on each iPhone, iPod, iTunes Store song, movie or app. sold. Now the Apple TV may just be Apple's "Xbox", for now.
The only way Apple can win is to build a time machine and send a "Terminator" back in time to terminate Bill Gates mother. Or Jobs can emit a "reality distortion field" so that everyone thinks Apple won. But we all know that there's no such thing as a time machine. And that Jobs would never use his "reality distortion field" for such evil purpose.