February 16, 2006

Will Apple Adopt Windows?

Dvorak has an intriguing question : Might Apple Adopt Windows?

Hmmm. On first glance it sounds crazy. But he makes a couple of good points : that business sense trumps sentimentality (even at Apple though?), that Apple see themselves as a hardware company, that with the switch to Intel architecture Apple are losing a lot of the control they used to have anyway.

Apple basically provide nice hardware and a nice presentation layer. By putting their presentation layer on top of a Windows OS infrastructure, they'd sell a lot of nice, expensive hardware into corporate settings which need to run standard Windows software.

A couple of thoughts. Firstly, Apple already admitted that they weren't in the OS infrastructure game when they switched to a Unix core.

Presumably if Apple did go this route, they'd be building on some version of post-Longhorn windows which would presumably have a fairly modular architecture?

What would then happen to Apple's Unix core? What about Darwin? Or let's put this another way. How much of MacOs's develoment is actually being done in the BSD, Darwin etc. communities? What's the value for Apple in switching from an free software core to a proprietory one built by MS? What's the value to Apple if their fanatical community decide to create a free MacOS clone based on Darwin?

As commenters point out, there are some very important, Mac-only niche applications (in the creative industries etc.) Unless Apple can move them over to a Windows core, early, then this is Apple effectively ditching its existing userbase in favour of a different one.

Isn't Jobs now going to be running Disney? How does a "non-creative" Apple fit with that?

Cringely thought that the Apple / Intel deal was about Intel taking control of the PC market. Apple getting into bed with Microsoft doesn't help there at all.

Dvorak is right, that what Apple wants is Windows software able to run transparently on the Apple platform. Dvorak thinks that porting the Mac higher level presentation layers to a future Windows is more likely to get them there than Windows emulation tech.

After writing this, I suspect that's off the mark.
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