I hate to be late to the party, but the recent discussion between Jim Louderback and Rob Enderle about Apple makes some good points and misses others.
For example, arguing over whether Apple should be in the PC business is lunacy. You can argue whether Apple should be in the PC hardware business—I think yes—but I cant imagine why Apple should abandon the computer business entirely. And I even have this fantasy in which Apple turns PC hardware on its head, which Ill share in a moment.
If Apple did dump Macintosh, what business would the company be in? I presume this means the server and storage farm businesses would also go away. That would leave consumer electronics and maybe some software, which would have to be rewritten for Windows.
While the concept of Apple writing Windows apps is an interesting idea, consumer electronics, even with the success of the iPod, is way too iffy to bank the companys future upon. Apple has but one commercially successful CE line—the music players—and hasnt been able to develop any other hits.
Count on the fact that the day Apple announces its getting out of the Mac business that iPods would start to tank due to some completely unrelated circumstance.
Apple pioneered digital cameras and PDAs, but abandoned both, seemingly never to return. The company might bring some value to wireless devices, and there have been rumors of an Apple-designed phone, but at least printed account was merely Steve Jobs “playing” a well-known newspaper reporter.
Earlier I mentioned Apple could perhaps get out of the hardware business, keeping operating systems and apps and porting them over to an Intel platform. Or maybe Apple could drop the PowerPC platform for Intel and stay in the hardware business.
I like the idea of an Intel-based Mac that could be sold with a “double your Windows back” guarantee for people who want to switch to Windows after using Mac OS X. More likely, it would be used as a dual-boot machine for folks like me whod really rather use a Mac but have Windows apps we just cant do without.
If Apple were smart, it might also build Mac OS X for Intel atop a Linux of some sort. Im not sure why FreeBSD, which lives under the current Mac OS X, isnt good enough for the Linux crowd, but it doesnt seem to be. So if youre going to port the OS to Intel, why not make the switch to Linux? When I think about an Apple-designed Intel box capable of running Mac OS, Windows and Linux—perhaps all at the same time—I really get excited.
I also get really depressed because I know this will never happen. Just like I know Apples servers ought to be a bigger deal with enterprise customers than they will ever be. But at least I have some hope the server business will improve—while an Intel-based Mac is pure fantasy.