Steve Jobs wanted Dell to license Mac OS

2

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 51
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,266member
    I was part of the 1993 discussions. Andy Grove and Steve Jobs were good friends. I was told that Andy encouraged the NeXT/Dell discussion. See Steve demoing NeXTSTEP 3.0 on Dell DGX my team developed: https://youtu.be/_GwlvZcXig8?t=6270 
    Any insights on Jobs' ultimate decision to quickly return Apple to a closed hardware/OS development model? This is at the heart of what still makes Apple different, and it's surprising after all these years that no significant competitor has seen the value of that business/design model and chosen to emulate it. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 22 of 51
    XedXed Posts: 1,102member
    Sounds like an embellished story. For one thing, Dell used NeXT software in developing and running their webstore back in the mid to late 90’s. IMHO, this is how the two knew each other. The timing of the story doesn’t mesh with the announcement of Apple killing the clone market and the subsequent explanation by Jobs of why. 

    The crack by Dell was never forgotten by Jobs or Apple. 

    In what way is it embellished? Jobs said a lot of things that either never came to pass or just to see how others would react. Sometimes I think it was planned and other times I  think it just made sense when he thought of it and so he said it. Remember when he promised that FaceTime would be open sourced? I do. Apparently it was a shock to everyone working on it at Apple when Jobs said it.

    The notion of getting macOS to dual boot Windows isn't a bad one. Many on this forum make comments about how Macs are only being propped up by the ability to run Windows when they complain about the M-series chips. If Michael Dell would've agreed to put macOS on every Dell being sold with a cut of each sale they would've had increased revenue without risk, a massive upswing in installed base, a chance to get even more switchers at a scale still not seen today, and the ability to pull the plug on giving Dell future versions of macOS at any time Jobs wanted to back out. It sounds exactly like the kind of opportunity Jobs would want to get in his pocket.
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 23 of 51
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,080member
    lkrupp said:
    Well, here’s the bottom line for Michael Dell. In terms of innovation, moving technology forward, invention, making a dent in the universe, Michael Dell is a big, fat nothing burger. All he did was start making cheap boxes with off the shelf parts and hawking them to the market. There were numerous other ‘entrepreneurs’ doing the same thing. He got rich doing it. Big yawn. And he’s still doing it today. You don’t hear his name mentioned when the discussion turns to innovation, paradigm changes, making lives better. Dell sells boxes running Windows. So what?
    Why are you insulting the man?  He's just telling a story about Steve Jobs.

    Why are you so salty about everything?
    designrfastasleeptht
  • Reply 24 of 51
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,266member
    Xed said:
    Sounds like an embellished story. For one thing, Dell used NeXT software in developing and running their webstore back in the mid to late 90’s. IMHO, this is how the two knew each other. The timing of the story doesn’t mesh with the announcement of Apple killing the clone market and the subsequent explanation by Jobs of why. 

    The crack by Dell was never forgotten by Jobs or Apple. 

    In what way is it embellished? Jobs said a lot of things that either never came to pass or just to see how others would react. Sometimes I think it was planned and other times I  think it just made sense when he thought of it and so he said it. Remember when he promised that FaceTime would be open sourced? I do. Apparently it was a shock to everyone working on it at Apple when Jobs said it.

    The notion of getting macOS to dual boot Windows isn't a bad one. Many on this forum make comments about how Macs are only being propped up by the ability to run Windows when they complain about the M-series chips. If Michael Dell would've agreed to put macOS on every Dell being sold with a cut of each sale they would've had increased revenue without risk, a massive upswing in installed base, a chance to get even more switchers at a scale still not seen today, and the ability to pull the plug on giving Dell future versions of macOS at any time Jobs wanted to back out. It sounds exactly like the kind of opportunity Jobs would want to get in his pocket.
    It was Tom Sawyer inviting the neighbor kids to pay him for the opportunity to paint Aunt Polly's fence.
    edited October 6 watto_cobra
  • Reply 25 of 51
    ... The timing of the story doesn’t mesh with the announcement of Apple killing the clone market and the subsequent explanation by Jobs of why. 
    To the contrary, killing the clone program makes perfect sense in the context of this story. Dell (or Compaq, where discussions were apparently being held as late as 1999) would not be making Macintosh clones. This is about putting OS X onto x86 machines. That’s not the same thing. 
    edited October 6 watto_cobra
  • Reply 26 of 51
    I am glad that no deal was made with Dell.

    Michael Dell once said that if he was in charge of Apple he would shut the company down and return the money to investors.

    Dell is now worth $79.3 Billion and Apple is worth $2.3 Trillion... Go figure
    See video at about 1:30

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 27 of 51
    thedbathedba Posts: 667member
    I am glad that no deal was made with Dell.

    Michael Dell once said that if he was in charge of Apple he would shut the company down and return the money to investors.

    Dell is now worth $79.3 Billion and Apple is worth $2.3 Trillion... Go figure
    See video at about 1:30

    Hindsight is always 20/20. 
    In that same video M.Dell does say that when asked that question back in 1997, he told the reporter to ask another question twice and the third time he gave that infamous answer. So what's the big deal? Many were wrong about Apple back in 1997.
    Many of us here were using PC's / Windows. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 28 of 51
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,928member
    Jobs also wanted IBM to license MacOS X. Internally, IBM had ThinkPads that triple-booted Windows, OS/2 and MacOS X.
    edited October 6 designr9secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 29 of 51
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,653member
    Not a single person here is complaining that Intel is allowing manufacturers of computers to use their chips to build computers that run different operating systems.

    But I have a feeling everyone will complain about me when I suggest here that Apple should do what Intel has always done, successfully, which is sell their CPU chips to PC and mobile device manufacturers. To be clear, I'm suggesting that Apple consider selling its Mx and Ax chips to other companies who want to build their own mobile and desktop devices which run their preferred OS. On the downside this would hurt sales of Apple's devices, but on the upside it would give Apple a cut from the sale of many/most non-Apple devices. Which way means more profit for Apple? I don't know, but Intel has done quite well for itself doing this.
  • Reply 30 of 51
    In the spirit of Steve Jobs, all my Hackintoshes have been on Dell hardware.  They were flawless.   :)
    edited October 6
  • Reply 31 of 51
    Not a single person here is complaining that Intel is allowing manufacturers of computers to use their chips to build computers that run different operating systems.

    But I have a feeling everyone will complain about me when I suggest here that Apple should do what Intel has always done, successfully, which is sell their CPU chips to PC and mobile device manufacturers. To be clear, I'm suggesting that Apple consider selling its Mx and Ax chips to other companies who want to build their own mobile and desktop devices which run their preferred OS. On the downside this would hurt sales of Apple's devices, but on the upside it would give Apple a cut from the sale of many/most non-Apple devices. Which way means more profit for Apple? I don't know, but Intel has done quite well for itself doing this.
    I'm guessing Apple can't make enough M1X and M2 chips for their own needs, let alone for other companies to use. 
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 32 of 51
    Not a single person here is complaining that Intel is allowing manufacturers of computers to use their chips to build computers that run different operating systems.

    But I have a feeling everyone will complain about me when I suggest here that Apple should do what Intel has always done, successfully, which is sell their CPU chips to PC and mobile device manufacturers. To be clear, I'm suggesting that Apple consider selling its Mx and Ax chips to other companies who want to build their own mobile and desktop devices which run their preferred OS. On the downside this would hurt sales of Apple's devices, but on the upside it would give Apple a cut from the sale of many/most non-Apple devices. Which way means more profit for Apple? I don't know, but Intel has done quite well for itself doing this.
    Apple has already used that option in real world more than 20 years ago with MacOS and figured out that going it alone is lot more profitable in the long run. So, NO, they are not going to license Ax and Mx SoCs for use by other manufacturers by any stretch of imagination. Even if they do, it won't be of much use because Android/Windows cannot take advantage of the tight software/hardware integration that only Apple can pull of, with them owning the entire stack.

    Your other suggestion for letting Android to be installed in iPhones to avoid anti-trust investigations - that is a decent one. Much less than 0.01% of iPhone users would bother trying that option and it would not make any difference to Apple's bottom-line in any material way. I don't have any clue whether it would help significantly in the anti-trust investigations. But, if the answer is Yes to that question, then it is a very good suggestion.
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 33 of 51
    thedba said:
    skingers said:
    I don't believe this story.  Jobs was the guy that Killed Mac clones and made OSX upgrades free.  Money grubbing by putting his baby on the beigest of beige boxes just does not seem consistent with his demonstrated record.
    Let me introduce to you the Motorola Rokr E1.



    Also known as the "iTunes phone". 
    From Wikipedia:  Launched on September 7, 2005, in San FranciscoCalifornia, the E1 is the first phone to be integrated with Apple's iTunes music player. 

    This phone was released and failed obviously, years after the proposal to Michael Dell. 

    Also let's not forget this.  
    Steve Jobs wanted Sony's Vaio computers to run Mac OS X
    Conclusion: Michael Dell's account is pretty consistent with other deals SJ made or tried to make back then. 
    Sorry Vaio was not the equivalent of Dell.  It was the closest to the Mac design philosophy you could get on Windows.  This one I can believe.
    edited October 6 watto_cobra
  • Reply 34 of 51
    crowley said:
    skingers said:
    I don't believe this story.  Jobs was the guy that Killed Mac clones and made OSX upgrades free.  Money grubbing by putting his baby on the beigest of beige boxes just does not seem consistent with his demonstrated record.
    Vertical integration had burned Steve badly at Next, and the Mac was not in a healthy place; I'm not at all surprised that he was considering licensing options.  The clones didn't work, but a partnership with a major player like Dell would have been a very different proposition.

    And don't forget Steve's own words:
    If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth – and get busy on the next great thing.

    The man changed his mind.

    And he did milk the Mac for all it was worth but it did not include licensing it to Dell or anyone else.  The Mac was not in a healthy place because Apple was not in a healthy place but it was the four quadrant Mac based strategy that got it back to healthy and part of that was killing off the clones. So, no, I still don't believe this account, Steve was all about owning the whole widget, a philosophy you can trace all the way to M1 based Macs today.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 35 of 51
    thedba said:
    jimh2 said:
    The only other person who can confirm this conversation is dead so there is no need to drag Jobs into his need to sell his book. 

    I'd like to meet 10 people who buy this book and read it. Of course it will be on The NY Times best seller list but by now everyone should know by now that bookstores by this garbage sell a few and return the rest to the publisher where they will be resold to the stores that peddle other non-interesting zero value books and merchandise that cannot be sold in legitimate store. This process does get authors on best seller lists.

    Another thing that happens is the company (Dell) will buy enough of these to give to their employees and this counts as a sale. At least his employees will have some kindling.
    People alive write books or talk about dead people very often.
    I was watching a show about mathematics the other day and the narrator, very much alive, was talking about Pythagoras, Euclid, Newton, Leibniz, Gauss ... etc.
    Guess what all these great mathematicians have in common? ........ They're all dead.

    Back to topic, why wouldn't Michael Dell reminisce about that moment in history, especially since he was personally involved in it? 
    What was the name of the show? Sounds interesting. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 36 of 51
    thedbathedba Posts: 667member
    hexclock said:
    thedba said:
    jimh2 said:
    The only other person who can confirm this conversation is dead so there is no need to drag Jobs into his need to sell his book. 

    I'd like to meet 10 people who buy this book and read it. Of course it will be on The NY Times best seller list but by now everyone should know by now that bookstores by this garbage sell a few and return the rest to the publisher where they will be resold to the stores that peddle other non-interesting zero value books and merchandise that cannot be sold in legitimate store. This process does get authors on best seller lists.

    Another thing that happens is the company (Dell) will buy enough of these to give to their employees and this counts as a sale. At least his employees will have some kindling.
    People alive write books or talk about dead people very often.
    I was watching a show about mathematics the other day and the narrator, very much alive, was talking about Pythagoras, Euclid, Newton, Leibniz, Gauss ... etc.
    Guess what all these great mathematicians have in common? ........ They're all dead.

    Back to topic, why wouldn't Michael Dell reminisce about that moment in history, especially since he was personally involved in it? 
    What was the name of the show? Sounds interesting. 
    Caught it in “Curiosity Stream”

    The story of Maths: Narrated by Marcus du Sautoy (2008)
    Magic Numbers: Narrated by Hannah Fry (2018)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 37 of 51
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,266member
    Not a single person here is complaining that Intel is allowing manufacturers of computers to use their chips to build computers that run different operating systems.

    But I have a feeling everyone will complain about me when I suggest here that Apple should do what Intel has always done, successfully, which is sell their CPU chips to PC and mobile device manufacturers. To be clear, I'm suggesting that Apple consider selling its Mx and Ax chips to other companies who want to build their own mobile and desktop devices which run their preferred OS. On the downside this would hurt sales of Apple's devices, but on the upside it would give Apple a cut from the sale of many/most non-Apple devices. Which way means more profit for Apple? I don't know, but Intel has done quite well for itself doing this.
    Why would anyone complain about what Intel does with their chips? That’s their business model. Intel doesn’t make operating systems. They don’t even make computers. They make processor chips. If they didn’t sell them to computer manufacturers, they’d go out of business. 

    Apple does make computers and operating systems. They design both together. That’s the whole point. That is their business model. The “shock value” of the article above is entirely about Steve Jobs making an early offer to license his operating system, because soon after that he firmly eschewed that concept and reset Apple on its course of designing computers and operating systems as a closed unit. 

    Apple started making Ax chips for iOS and now Mx chips for Macs because they wanted to further enhance their ability to design hardware and software together from stem to stern, without depending on others’ pipelines and timelines. That’s the whole point. That’s their business model. 

    They don’t need income from selling surplus chips any more than they need income from selling surplus chargers or earbuds to be packaged with others’ gear. 

    Selling Ax or Mx chips to other computer manufacturers would result in others making requests or demands for the design of those chips, which undermines the whole point of their decision to make silicon in-house. 

    They won’t do that because it’s another daft idea in a long tradition of people posting here things that Apple should do that fall under the rubric of “tell us you don’t understand Apple’s business model without saying you don’t understand Apple’s business model.”
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 38 of 51
    AppleZulu said:
    Not a single person here is complaining that Intel is allowing manufacturers of computers to use their chips to build computers that run different operating systems.

    But I have a feeling everyone will complain about me when I suggest here that Apple should do what Intel has always done, successfully, which is sell their CPU chips to PC and mobile device manufacturers. To be clear, I'm suggesting that Apple consider selling its Mx and Ax chips to other companies who want to build their own mobile and desktop devices which run their preferred OS. On the downside this would hurt sales of Apple's devices, but on the upside it would give Apple a cut from the sale of many/most non-Apple devices. Which way means more profit for Apple? I don't know, but Intel has done quite well for itself doing this.
    Why would anyone complain about what Intel does with their chips? That’s their business model. Intel doesn’t make operating systems. They don’t even make computers. They make processor chips. If they didn’t sell them to computer manufacturers, they’d go out of business. 

    Apple does make computers and operating systems. They design both together. That’s the whole point. That is their business model. The “shock value” of the article above is entirely about Steve Jobs making an early offer to license his operating system, because soon after that he firmly eschewed that concept and reset Apple on its course of designing computers and operating systems as a closed unit. 

    Apple started making Ax chips for iOS and now Mx chips for Macs because they wanted to further enhance their ability to design hardware and software together from stem to stern, without depending on others’ pipelines and timelines. That’s the whole point. That’s their business model. 

    They don’t need income from selling surplus chips any more than they need income from selling surplus chargers or earbuds to be packaged with others’ gear. 

    Selling Ax or Mx chips to other computer manufacturers would result in others making requests or demands for the design of those chips, which undermines the whole point of their decision to make silicon in-house. 

    They won’t do that because it’s another daft idea in a long tradition of people posting here things that Apple should do that fall under the rubric of “tell us you don’t understand Apple’s business model without saying you don’t understand Apple’s business model.”
    Completely agree. But in this case I’d add that the two [?] posters here advocating for Apple selling Silicon are ass-backwards and missing the point of this news, which is old news, really, Jobs’ exploration of this angle ca. 1997-1999 is well-known.

    On the other hand, I’m just going to put this out there…

    After the transition to Apple Silicon is complete and Intel Macs are no more, Apple could, if it wanted to, license macOS for Intel on PCs. That’s the takeaway here — if it made enough business sense for Jobs to pursue it then, even though he couldn’t get the absurdly favorable terms he wanted and Apple ultimately went a different direction and made history doing so, it might make business sense again tomorrow, now that Macs will stand apart within the industry in a way they never have before. It might be time to invade the PC space and challenge Windows on its own turf.

    I’m not sure if Apple would have much to lose, and I don’t think it would require a huge investment, which means they could always just pull the plug. I don’t think there’s any question that Apple is in a much stronger position now than they were in 1999, so maybe now they can get the terms Jobs was trying to get then. The big sticking point seems to have been that Jobs wanted to retain Apple's ability to just pull the plug. Maybe now Apple is in a strong enough position for, say, HP, to make that concession and partner with Apple to produce a dual-boot PC that runs both macOS and Windows.

    edited October 7 watto_cobra
  • Reply 39 of 51
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,080member
    skingers said:
    crowley said:
    skingers said:
    I don't believe this story.  Jobs was the guy that Killed Mac clones and made OSX upgrades free.  Money grubbing by putting his baby on the beigest of beige boxes just does not seem consistent with his demonstrated record.
    Vertical integration had burned Steve badly at Next, and the Mac was not in a healthy place; I'm not at all surprised that he was considering licensing options.  The clones didn't work, but a partnership with a major player like Dell would have been a very different proposition.

    And don't forget Steve's own words:
    If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth – and get busy on the next great thing.

    The man changed his mind.

    And he did milk the Mac for all it was worth but it did not include licensing it to Dell or anyone else.  The Mac was not in a healthy place because Apple was not in a healthy place but it was the four quadrant Mac based strategy that got it back to healthy and part of that was killing off the clones. So, no, I still don't believe this account, Steve was all about owning the whole widget, a philosophy you can trace all the way to M1 based Macs today.  
    But not at Next, which is where he was immediately prior to the timeframe of this story. Next made complete computers, but they also licensed their operating system. As someone else pointed out, Steve himself gave a demo of Nextstep running on a Dell machine.  That was just a few years before Steves return to Apple.

    So why don’t you believe it?  Everything lines up, Michael Dell doesn’t have any particular reason to lie, and no one is denying it.
    muthuk_vanalingamfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 40 of 51
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,266member
    AppleZulu said:
    Not a single person here is complaining that Intel is allowing manufacturers of computers to use their chips to build computers that run different operating systems.

    But I have a feeling everyone will complain about me when I suggest here that Apple should do what Intel has always done, successfully, which is sell their CPU chips to PC and mobile device manufacturers. To be clear, I'm suggesting that Apple consider selling its Mx and Ax chips to other companies who want to build their own mobile and desktop devices which run their preferred OS. On the downside this would hurt sales of Apple's devices, but on the upside it would give Apple a cut from the sale of many/most non-Apple devices. Which way means more profit for Apple? I don't know, but Intel has done quite well for itself doing this.
    Why would anyone complain about what Intel does with their chips? That’s their business model. Intel doesn’t make operating systems. They don’t even make computers. They make processor chips. If they didn’t sell them to computer manufacturers, they’d go out of business. 

    Apple does make computers and operating systems. They design both together. That’s the whole point. That is their business model. The “shock value” of the article above is entirely about Steve Jobs making an early offer to license his operating system, because soon after that he firmly eschewed that concept and reset Apple on its course of designing computers and operating systems as a closed unit. 

    Apple started making Ax chips for iOS and now Mx chips for Macs because they wanted to further enhance their ability to design hardware and software together from stem to stern, without depending on others’ pipelines and timelines. That’s the whole point. That’s their business model. 

    They don’t need income from selling surplus chips any more than they need income from selling surplus chargers or earbuds to be packaged with others’ gear. 

    Selling Ax or Mx chips to other computer manufacturers would result in others making requests or demands for the design of those chips, which undermines the whole point of their decision to make silicon in-house. 

    They won’t do that because it’s another daft idea in a long tradition of people posting here things that Apple should do that fall under the rubric of “tell us you don’t understand Apple’s business model without saying you don’t understand Apple’s business model.”
    Completely agree. But in this case I’d add that the two [?] posters here advocating for Apple selling Silicon are ass-backwards and missing the point of this news, which is old news, really, Jobs’ exploration of this angle ca. 1997-1999 is well-known.

    On the other hand, I’m just going to put this out there…

    After the transition to Apple Silicon is complete and Intel Macs are no more, Apple could, if it wanted to, license macOS for Intel on PCs. That’s the takeaway here — if it made enough business sense for Jobs to pursue it then, even though he couldn’t get the absurdly favorable terms he wanted and Apple ultimately went a different direction and made history doing so, it might make business sense again tomorrow, now that Macs will stand apart within the industry in a way they never have before. It might be time to invade the PC space and challenge Windows on its own turf.

    I’m not sure if Apple would have much to lose, and I don’t think it would require a huge investment, which means they could always just pull the plug. I don’t think there’s any question that Apple is in a much stronger position now than they were in 1999, so maybe now they can get the terms Jobs was trying to get then. The big sticking point seems to have been that Jobs wanted to retain Apple's ability to just pull the plug. Maybe now Apple is in a strong enough position for, say, HP, to make that concession and partner with Apple to produce a dual-boot PC that runs both macOS and Windows.
    This makes no sense whatsoever. Apple is making its own silicon in order to more tightly integrate the development of the hardware and the software. Mx processors allow Apple to plan their design pipeline more years into the future so that MacOS can demand and expect exactly what the processor can deliver. MacOS is no longer dependent on Intel's development timeline, and Apple no longer has to deal with compromises in processor design that were made to meet the demands of other PC makers and WindowsOS design. This is the whole reason Apple is switching over to its own silicon. Critical to this entire concept is that the integration of hardware and OS design means both are able to limit unnecessary variables that must be anticipated in their design. Mx processors only have to meet the needs of MacOS (and iPadOS). MacOS only has to address the architecture of Mx processors. Neither has to be bloated to accommodate unanticipated outside variables.

    The idea of licensing future versions of macOS to run on intel PCs throws away that entire concept of integrated design efficiencies. This is quadruply the case because of the divergence in processor architecture between the Mx ARM processors and Intel's design. Apple's Mx chips aren't an intel clone. They weren't made just to avoid paying Intel their profit margin. It's an entirely different chip.

    This is, yet again, one more example of “tell us you don’t understand Apple’s business model without saying you don’t understand Apple’s business model.”
    edited October 7 fastasleepwatto_cobra
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