Even Apple Can Change Its Mind About Mac OS

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-11-16 Print this article Print

5. Vendors Make an Offer Apple Can't Refuse

Vendors could also play a role in whether or not Apple decides to license Mac OS X. Dell and HP have both indicated in the past that they would be more than happy to license Mac OS X. So far, those companies haven't been able to make it happen. But if Windows 7 turns into another Windows Vista, it could. Vendors would have no other choice but make major concessions to get Mac OS X running on their computers. If those concessions are good enough, it could cause Apple to consider licensing its software.

6. A
Change at the Top

Steve Jobs has said time and again that he doesn't believe Apple should license Mac OS X. As long as he is at the top of Apple, it's likely that the company will maintain that policy. But once Steve Jobs steps down, a new power structure will emerge with new ideas. It's tough to say now, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility that the new leaders believe it might be in Apple's best interest to license its software. Time will tell.

7. Psystar
Overturns Court Judgment

Although Psystar was dealt a deadly blow that probably means the end of its operation, there is a slight glimmer of hope for the company. If it can somehow overcome the ruling, appeal, and find a way to win out, it could cause Apple to rethink its position of licensing Mac OS X. After all, if another company has been allowed to license its software, what will stop hundreds of other companies from doing the same thing? Apple's best strategy in that case might be to license its software to make the cash those small firms would have otherwise taken.

8. Apple
Shifts Gears

Apple might be a hardware company today, but it's becoming increasingly clear that its software is helping it dominate the market. Why is the iPhone so successful? Its OS. Why is the iPod so successful? iTunes. The list goes on. Apple provides outstanding software in all of its products. Its applications provide an experience that bests the competition across several industries. If Apple decides to focus more of its attention on its software, the company might find more financially advantageous opportunities with its operating systems.

9. Google
Gets Involved

As Google prepares for its entrance into the operating-system space with Chrome OS, it's entirely possible that the search giant will send shockwaves through the software business. It could also affect Apple. At first, Chrome OS probably won't have any measurable impact on Apple's bottom line. But as it gains in popularity, who knows what it could do to the operating-system market? Will it force Microsoft and Apple online? Will it gain significant market share? A strong Google could put Apple in a tight spot that might make it more amenable to licensing Mac OS X.

10. Customers
Change Their Minds

Apple relies heavily on its customers to push its products. Apple has done a fine job of getting those who own its products into the selling business. And it has made the company billions of dollars. But if those users start to move away from Apple products, Apple will be nothing more than the typical technology firm. It will need to find ways to uniquely position itself in the marketplace to attract customers again. And perhaps that might happen solely by offering Mac OS X to other vendors. It might not be ideal or even expected. But it's certainly possible.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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