MAC OS for Wintel Machines?

June 4, 2005

Looks like what started out as a rumor might actually turn out to be true – C|Net is reporting that Apple Computer plans to announce Monday that it’s scrapping its partnership with IBM and switching its computers to Intel’s microprocessors. This is quite a shift for Apple but nothing new given their history of not worrying about backwards compatibility.

Now why would Apple want to switch to Intel chips? Would Apple actually sell their OS to the masses without their proprietary hardware? Could you just deploy the MAC OS on any vanilla Wintel machine? If that is their intention, it could potentially open up a huge market and revenue stream for Apple. It’s interesting to look at a company like Microsoft who makes all of their money on software, running on commodity hardware. Hardware companies have had a much harder in the past 2 decades and so Apple could actually grow if they start thinking of themselves as a software company. I wonder what Microsoft thinks about this – Linux on the desktop for the masses has never been a viable option. I’ve been a Linux user since the early 90’s but I’ve relegated my Linux boxes to the server role. If MAC OS was generally available for any Intel based machine, Windows would finally have some real competition for the desktop.

The article goes on to say that the higher-end Mac’s would be running Intel chips in mid-2007, which is right around when Longhorn will probably ship. I guess this could end up being a great OS battle. The latest OS from Microsoft vs. the latest OS from Apple – I don’t know how will win or even what will happen but I think consumers will win in the end because Microsoft will finally had to start innovating. Microsoft will have real competition in the OS market and they know that if you lose the OS market, you’re going to lose the desktop and that usually means ‘game over’. It’s like the old Chinese proverb – “May you live in interesting times”.

Of course this is all supposition as Apple could just be happy with the market share it currently has and the move to Intel could just something internal. But it seems like that this architecture change is pretty radical and there has to be something more to it.

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5 Responses to “MAC OS for Wintel Machines?”

  1. RefuX said

    You’re assuming Intel would be making an x86 CPU for Apple, they could be making a PPC CPU for Apple.

  2. Vinny said

    Hi Refux. You are absolutely right – I guess Intel could be making PPC CPU’s for Apple but wouldn’t that infringe on Motorola and IBM patents?

  3. Waz said

    You’re also assuming that using x86 makes it Wintel compatible. Won’t happen.

  4. DiskDamn said

    It doesn’t have to be Wintel compatible. Apple’s main draw back (as I see it) is the highly priced hardware that really doesn’t beat the commodity Intel or AMD systems out there. What’s the most innovative thing, hardware (computer) wise, that Apple has done since making the Apple disk drives? The one click mouse? Firewire? Apple IIc? (lol)

    The main things missing from Linux on the desktop has been, ease of setup, ease of use and decent office tools (don’t dare say OpenOffice).

    I miss the 68000 😦

  5. “Whats the most innovative thing, hardware (computer) wise, that Apple has done since making the Apple disk drives?”

    Removing the floppy drive? Making USB and/or Firewire standard features? Using titanium, I mean Aluminum? 😉

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