I know this sounds crazy and I normally wouldn't post something like this unless I thought it had merit. Before I get blasted (I’m just waiting on the Mac fans to go ballistic) I am hoping that people will read what I have to say and consider that this is only a blog, it’s not the gospel. I am simply throwing out a theory that seems plausible.
About six months ago my brother (our CEO) proposed a whacked out theory that Apple might start an “OS war” in 2006. Needless to say I all but dismissed it – until recently. His theory was that Apple would lure people in with their sexy hardware and introduce flexible OS configurations by allowing users to install Windows on their Macs. This would allow new non Mac users a taste of Mac OS in hopes of them “making the final switch” to Apple. I thought he was nuts, I didn’t quite believe that Apple would allow Windows to be installed on their systems - that until Boot Camp was launched.
Personally I have had a long look at Apple’s latest OS, and I don’t appreciate it as much as many of my friends do. I am not sure how to describe my feelings for it other than to say they made it too simple for someone who appreciates complexity. I believe Apple designs PCs for those who hate machines, but love what the machines can do for them. Apple hardware is sexy no doubt, but again it’s too simplistic for me, I’m a gamer and I need maximum power and flexibility.
Even though I may prefer Windows over Mac OS - Apple is essentially giving the choice to their customers and in the process they introduced a new variable which few people have considered. This could be dangerous for other large OEMs if they don’t learn how to play with this younger, edgier generation of consumers.
On another note, after Apple announced their partnership with Intel I knew there was a good chance that they would increase their market share to around 8% by January of 2007 (by way of Intel). In fact I had somewhat of a friendly bet with the CEO of another major OEM about this (you know who you are). He completely disagreed and was willing to bet that Apple would not come close to 8% North American market share by January of 2007.
I think it’s evident now that Apple will gain share in the mainstream market - and thanks to Boot Camp it’s more likely to happen now than ever before. Apple is now officially “unofficially” allowing customers to install Windows on their Macs.
Does this mean that they may have planted the seeds of a monopoly? Could major Windows based OEMs sue Apple if they do not make their OS available to them? Will Microsoft put the boots to Apple – or do they like the fact that people are installing their OS on more machines? Short term thinking makes me believe Microsoft doesn’t care - but long term thinking says it might be more of a threat than Linux and Google combined.
Here are just a few implications to Apple Boot Camp.
Implications to Apple:
Apple hardware is quite desirable. They may use this opportunity to give Windows users a taste of MAC OS. Ultimately this means people may switch if they find the Apple operating system easier / better than Windows.
Apple will grow to 8% U.S. market share by January 2007. Global market share will also grow very quickly with jet fuel from Intel.
If Apple can sell a piece of hardware with software that no one else can buy – there may be some people out there that view this as “Monopolistic”. Although nothing that Apple is doing now shows behavior of a monopoly, who knows what could happen down the road. As I said above, they may have planted the seeds to something bigger.
If Microsoft can be sued for unfair competition by Netscape and the like, Apple might be challenged for unfair competition by other large OEMs. The United States is a fairly litigious society, wackier lawsuits have been launched.
Something tells me Apple may ultimately release their OS and unofficially allow others to do as they please with it.
Implications to big OEMs:
Oh oh, unless big OEMs start implementing some real outside of the box thinking to their designs in order to attract this younger edgier generation of consumers they could be in trouble, at least in the consumer space. At the same time it might be wise to work a deal with Apple to install Mac OS on their systems – or alternatively variations of Linux may need to be elevated to the next level.
Dell may rely on Alienware to create cool products to compete for design as they continue to evaluate their relationship with Intel. Gee, I wonder where Michael got the foresight to plan to compete against the pending threat from Apple. He must have some smart people working for him.
Implications to Microsoft:
The $150,000,000 that Microsoft used to bail Apple out (or bail Microsoft out depending on who you speak with) a number of years ago seems to have come back to haunt them in an odd ironic sort of way. I am sure Microsoft is considering “all of the above” and there are various opinions at the Redmond Campus. Some are probably hoping that this problem will just go away. Others realize that Vista getting delayed doesn’t help.
Microsoft could have an issue if Apple decides to license their OS to other OEMs. This could prove to be a huge problem in the long run. At the same time, why should they worry? Doesn't Bill own a big chunk of Apple?
Regardless of the situation I hope that Vista will be the ultimate operating system leaving little choice for the consumer. I am quite open minded on this point, I love Vista so far so I’m pretty optimistic. I love the built in media center features, the support for multiple displays, and all the rest.
I can only imagine what Bill Gates is thinking at this moment. Bill, if you get a minute please drop me an email, I’d like to know what you’re thinking.
On another note, here is the link to the Mac on Windows benchmarks.