Apple: The Hardware Company?

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-07-04 Print this article Print

Apple: The Hardware Company?

Apple is a hardware company. It always was and it always will be. Although it's true that it develops compelling software, like Mac OS X, it only does that to create a unique value proposition for its hardware. Consider this: If Apple were a true software company, it wouldn't be wasting time developing an operating system for only its computers. It would be selling its software to every major vendor in the business to target Microsoft and increase its market share. 

But that's not Apple's strategy. Quite the contrary, Apple has no plans to sell its software because it considers that a key differentiating factor that will attract users to its hardware.  If it sells Mac OS X to Dell, HP and the rest, Apple loses the single advantage it has clung to for so long: a unique experience.

Apple can charge a premium for its products because it delivers a premium service.  From the packaging to the beautiful computers to the operating system, Apple is doing its best to deliver an experience that its competitors can't match.  And as long as it maintains its level of expertise through providing that experience, it believes it will perform just fine.

But that's an experience that's designed specifically for the consumer. Anyone who has used Mac OS X will admit that it's a consumer product.  Although it finally has some business features, it worries more about style than applicability to business.  It boasts special animations, design conventions and other little tidbits that make it ideal for the person who wants to enjoy a handsome operating system, but rather annoying for those who want to get some work done.

But who cares?  Mac OS X isn't about the enterprise; it's about selling hardware.  After all, with the iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac Pro leading Apple's product line, who cares about the software?

So, maybe it's time we all realize that as nice as Apple products are, the company isn't too concerned about the enterprise, nor should it be.  Let Microsoft hold that ground.  It's a complex market sector and, to be quite honest, Apple doesn't need to dominate it to be successful.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, 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

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