Or perhaps I should say, “Hell No!”
I normally don’t comment on articles that are already running rampant on Slashdot, but I can’t help myself here. Windows is my nemesis, and there’s an article running on PC Magazine that suggests that Apple may actually switch its OS to Windows.
Is it April Fool’s day today? No. Is Dvorak insane? Maybe. Will Apple switch to Windows? Not a chance. Let’s take a look at a few blurbs and attempt to at least provide a cursory disarmament.
Bigger companies than Apple have dropped their proprietary OSs in favor of Windows—think IBM and OS/2. IBM also jumped on the Linux bandwagon over its own AIX version of Unix. Business eventually trumps sentimentality in any large company.
Ok, business is business. I can agree with that — but examples prove nothing. Nothing at all. Not in mathematics, not in business, not anywhere. Moving on…
Another issue for Apple is that the Intel platform is wide open, unlike the closed proprietary system Apple once had full control over. With a proprietary architecture, Apple could tweak the OS for a controlled environment without worrying about the demands of a multitude of hardware add-ons and software subsystems. Windows, as crappy as many believe it to be, actually thrives in this mishmash architecture. Products, old and new, have drivers for Windows above all else. By maintaining its own OS, Apple would have to suffer endless complaints about peripherals that don’t work.
Ok, Apple has clearly benefited from not having to deal with 1,001 different pieces of hardware. There’s no question that having a “controlled environment” releases you from the demands of a multitude of hardware add-ons and the support that comes along with it, but wait a tick, what about that last comment, “Apple would have to suffer endless complaints about peripherals that don’t work”? — Not true. What would Microsoft tell you if you called them and said, “Hey my non-MS camera doesn’t work with Windows”? They’d tell you to call the manufacturer. Not them. Apple would do the same. No OS vendor is required to handle 3rd party hardware issues, and Apple is no different.
Linux on the desktop never caught on because too many devices don’t run on that OS. It takes only one favorite gizmo or program to stop a user from changing. Chat rooms are filled with the likes of “How do I get my DVD burner to run on Linux?” This would get old fast at Apple.
Ditto. This is an absurd point to make. Either the third party manufacturer supplies the drivers or they don’t. Heck, if Apple (or Windows) were responsible for such things, then why would manufacturers even bother writing their own drivers?
Apple has always said it was a hardware company, not a software company. Now with the cash cow iPod line, it can afford to drop expensive OS development and just make jazzy, high-margin Windows computers to finally get beyond that five-percent market share and compete directly with Dell, HP, and the stodgy Chinese makers.
So effectively, you’re saying that Apple would simply become an overpriced hardware company? And you claim to have used OS X? The beauty of the software is as much a defining property of Apple as the hardware ever has been, not to mention the beauty and flexibility of the development kits available. So, yeeeaaahh. Let’s just ditch Tiger and the upcoming Leopard and just shift over to Vista (if it’s ever released) on some overpriced custom hardware. Absurd.
To preserve the Mac’s slick cachet, there is no reason an executive software layer couldn’t be fitted onto Windows to keep the Mac look and feel. Various tweaks could even improve the OS itself. From the Mac to the iPod, it’s the GUI that makes Apple software distinctive. Apple popularized the modern GUI. Why not specialize in it and leave the grunt work to Microsoft? It would help the bottom line and put Apple on the fast track to real growth.
Are you serious? The last thing Windows needs is another software layer slowing it down, and besides, the look and feel of Aqua is just one element to consider. The inherent stability is the other big one you need to consider.
Various tweaks could improve any OS, so that’s sort of an irrelevant comment.
“Why not specialize in it and leave the grunt work to Microsoft?” Well, because of this thing called software engineering. I don’t think we’re going to be able to take Quartz and just slap it on top of whatever kernel Windows uses — not even after a significant amount of effort.
The only fly in the ointment will be the strategic difficulty of breaking the news to the fanatical users. Most were not initially pleased by the switch to Intel’s architecture, and this will make them crazy.
No, your idea makes me crazy. But moving back to your original plan, why would Apple even care about their fanatical users that so define them? If they’re willing to go through the utter hell of the software engineering and tarnish to their name after such a move, then honestly, why even care about the users? Effectively, what would happen is that Apple probably would lose a lot of their cult following, AND the would-be Windows users wouldn’t want to buy their products either. They’d just stick with their Dell that is running standard hardware. What you’re talking about here is a lose-lose situation. Not a win-win by any stretch.
Luckily, Apple has a master showman, Steve Jobs. He’ll announce that now everything can run on a Mac. He’ll say that the switch to Windows gives Apple the best of both worlds. He’ll say this is not your daddy’s Windows. He’ll cajole and cajole, and still hear a few boos. But those will be the last boos he’ll hear, for then the Mac will be mainstream. We will welcome the once-isolated Apple mavens, finally.
If you’re gong to speak for Steve, then so am I — he would never do that. The thought of it would make him stick to his stomach. He’s way to picky and finnicky to ever want a substandard software product to run on his pampered hardware. Remember here — we’re talking about the same guy who had a NeXT building painted with multiple shades of grey until it was just right. The same guy who had the latch of the PowerBook redesigned till he liked the way it snapped shut. The same guy who had the corners of the PowerBook redesigned till they were just right. Or so it’s rumored.
“We will welcome the once-isolated Apple mavens, finally.” No. Maybe you would, but I would switch to Linux entirely, and you can call me on it when Steve fulfills your prophecy that’s never going to happen. I wouldn’t buy overpriced hardware, nor would I buy any product that runs Windows.
What about you? Would you buy Apple hardware that runs Windows? Would you feel at all betrayed if OS X development were just abandoned? Could any idea be more absurd?