Can Mac OS X in x86 dethrone Microsoft's Windows

Posted by nailchipper on Nov 21, 2005 4:31 PM EST
nailchipper; By Eddie Tejeda
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Apple has worked on Mac OS X for the past 4 years, and its market share has grown steadily. Now, Apple looks to be making a comeback in the operating system industry. Can it dethrone Microsoft's Windows?

Apple gave us the first PC in the 1980s (after this). Microsoft took over the market in the 1990s and marginalized Apple to obscurity. Now, Apple has worked on Mac OS X for the past 4 years, and its market share has grown steadily. Apple has proven itself by dethroning the original symbol of cool–Sony–with the iPod. Now, Apple looks to be making a comeback in the operating system industry and bringing down its former conqueror.

Macs for Everyone:
The latest buzz surrounding the OSX86 project, which manages to install Mac OS X on regular PC hardware, goes to show that Apple knows how to make a great operating system, people have recognized it and want to use it. Apple has been using the success of the iPod to catapult its Mac product lines back into the mainstream, especially with the very affordable MacMini. Now, with the recent news that Apple has been developing Mac OS X in parallel for the x86 architecture, we can see where Apple wants to go — mainstream. 

The past 4 years have been a testing bed for what Apple planning on doing all along: to make a comeback. Microsoft has become fat and stagnant, creating the perfect opportunity for Apple to break ahead while the competition is weak. Microsoft has lost sight of what people want, and instead fills its operating systems with features that no one uses – for example, DCOM. Companies like Google and Yahoo have demonstrated that a company needs to listen to its loyal consumer base and give its users features that excite (Google Maps, Spotlight, Exposé ). A bit of eye candy doesn’t hurt, but don’t be tacky (Windows XP). Apple has proven itself (Tiger); Microsoft has not (Vista). Smaller companies have lead; Microsoft has not. Microsoft has been losing top executives and developers to younger and fresher companies. Almost every month a top ranking person leaves Microsoft. What would be more appropriate than for Apple to begin unraveling Microsoft? Apple has positioned itself to take over the PC market by allying itself with the largest PC processor manufacturer in the world, Intel. They now need a computer manufacturer, like Dell or HP, to package their proven Mac OS X operating system. If this happens then Apple will not need a "switch" campaign. The system will sell itself. PC users have oogled at Mac OS X for so long that a switch would prove easier than ever before. We are beginning to see a new era in Apple. A slimmer, more agile Apple that is no longer bound to or by its hardware or its hardware manufacturer.

The moment Apple decided that they were going to port Mac OS X to x86 they also agreed that they would begin to phase out their hardware division and become a software company. Apple makes money from their hardware sales, but if they team up with a PC manufacturer then with sheer quantity of Mac OS X sales, they would make up for the hardware sales. The company will also become slimmer because their hardware research division (bless their souls) would essentially be “outsourced” to the PC manufacturers. We will begin to see a software company, which works with the manufacturers instead of developing hardware themselves. What role will the open source movement play during the transition of Apple dominance? For one, Apple will benefit greatly from the vast resources and hardware support from Linux and BSD driver developers. Almost immediately (since Darwin is also open source) Apple would have access to a massive pool of developers willing to port over their drivers from other systems. This will rapidly give Mac OS X the required driver support required for dominance of the market. Linux, BSD and Apple will be able to co-exists in a friendly Unix-based environment that will make the lives easier (and bring down costs) of having to maintain a multiple platforms.

The paradigm we all have grown to know and love (or hate) with Windows workstation and Unix servers would be turned upside down. This paradigm shift will allow servers and workstations to coexist, as they never have before, unifying the computer world with a command interface. Administrators can use their favorite tools to resolve both server issues and user issues. The massive library of open source tools that Windows users have been oblivious to for the past few decades would become mainstream. Somehow, the delicate balance of open source and closed source tools that users of Mac OS X users have become accustomed to will finally be mainstream.

We have two historic companies, IBM and Apple, both nearly destroyed by Microsoft finding themselves anew. IBM has sold off most of its consumer products, including the ThinkPad division, and is now concentrating on servers, research, embracing Linux, and supporting other open source projects. Apple appears to be leaving the hardware industry and moving towards being a software company (except iPod, which they will continue to produce for a long time) and taking over the PC market. And soon Apple will be a beneficiary from open source developers that use x86. Both companies are embracing compatible Unix-based platforms and share common philosophies that balance the ability of a company to make money from software and promoting innovation by sharing ideas and opening source code. This is the first time that a real challang is being posed to the Windows dominance and if Apple’s attack to grap the mainstream audience goes well then the future might look a bit different then what we are used to.

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
all this talk about "dethroning" chalex 6 1,603 Nov 22, 2005 4:43 AM

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