winblowz on Mac hardware?

The first I heard of this was from John C. Dvorak on TWIT. Dvorak basically said that he has a theory that Apple is going to go all hardware and quit using OSX. So, earlier in the week came the article he talked about on the podcast. Now, Dvorak is quite the guy, and has some deep thoughts from time to time, but I have to take the exception to this. Let’s enumerate the points he makes:

  1. Apple Switch is over – with no-one switching
  2. iPod FireWire giving over to USB
  3. iPod didn’t get people on the Mac
  4. Intel switch
  5. Freak-out over the breakout box
  6. 5 years of Office, wtf?
  7. Adobe for x86
  8. IBM dropping AIX and OS/2 for Linux and Winblowz
  9. Intel platform is wide open
  10. Devices that don’t run on the Mac or Linux
  11. Compete directly with Dell, HP, etc on a hardware only basis
  12. Layer Mac OS services on top of winblows

Well – my counterpoint:

  1. I switched. Not only I, but many many good technical people are doing it. They are also recommending that their friends and family’s switch. For good reason too. My record uptime on my laptop is over 52 days. Try that on a winblows machine while traveling all over the country, installing tons of software, visiting tons of open access points, etc.
  2. FireWire – ok cool tech, but there’s tons of other samples of good technology loosing to cheaper, mass produced stuff. I can’t imagine that firewire chip sets are anywhere near as cost effective as the ubiquitous USB. I just call that smart cost control.
  3. So, iTunes runs on winblows. Good for Apple. It means that they have a cash cow that is funding the rest of the strategy. I just went to the Apple store yesterday to pick up a new batter for the laptop. Guess what, there’s a buzz. Kids there want their iPod’s on the Mac. The important thing to note is that they already have an iPod. Now the Mac is the thing to get. Maybe the parents aren’t getting them this year, but they will soon. I take my daughter as a prime example of this. She has an iPod. She loves it. She has a nice winblows laptop, but would gladly chuck it for a Mac, because she knows it works better. A 12 year old knows.
  4. Now, given all the rumors about the why of the switch, one thing can be said for sure. Those nice Intel processors are much faster, consume less power, and probably cost Apple less. Once again we get into some smart hardware cost savings thing.
  5. This is a strange one. However, having been part of the corporate world, it doesn’t surprise me that someone in the legal department of a multi-zillion dollar company got their panties in a wad about something. And then, to save face, they went wild and took it too far.
  6. Of all the things he talks about this one is the one that bothers me the most. Why say five years, unless Ms. Ho is just not so good at the presentation thing. There’s ample evidence of that. Lookup any of Steve’s keynotes where she presents. It’s like watching paint dry. Besides that though, is it really in M$’s best interest to say they will support office on Mac beyond a five year window? What will the landscape be then? Are they really setting a stage that is that far out? Now, how about the Mac being able to run winblowz native office directly on OSX through something like Wine? There’s many rumors floating around that the next iteration will be able to do this. Do you really need a native app at that point? I know that I’d much rather run the "real" thing and not have to worry about the compatibility issues that creep up.
  7. Isn’t this the same as what happened during the Classic to OSX transition? Why’s everyone freaking out about this? It sucks, yes. Does it mean we change the everything to support one set of, admittedly, kick ass applications? Hell no. Even my newly instated Mac addiction would be kicked out just out of principle of the matter.
  8. There’s no real cheese on the moon. What the hell is this got to do with it? Yes, other people switched OS platforms, but there’s no real correlation here. True enough, OS/2 was a kick ass platform, but look at who was pushing it – IBM. Other than in the corporate world, they have no real marketing savvy. There’s no RDF there. There’s no one that makes people want to buy their stuff in the mass market space. Dvorak argues that this same technology would be used to convince us that we can do without OSX, but I doubt that one (hence the whole point of this diatribe).
  9. Come on! Dvorak! McFly!?!? Intel platform is wide open because there is no PC standard. There is a Mac standard. The hardware is under control. Only apple is making this platform. This is so true that they didn’t even use decrepit PC BIOS.
  10. Other than things that are on the edge, I’ve had a hard time finding things that don’t work on a Mac. There’s always going to be something along those lines. Maybe now that the USB thing is settled and the Intel thing is settled the stragglers on this this will go away. From what I have been able to gather, writing device drivers for the Mac is actually not that hard of a thing.
  11. Would you want to go against Dell? Really? Why? They are happy with 5% margin. I mean really happy. Unless you have all of their processes patents and are willing to duke it out for little to no margin, why the hell would you put yourself on this space? I mean – come on. Apple has a captive audience willing to pay top dollar for hardware that is supper slick and just works. But it just works because it’s a tightly integrated software and hardware platform. There’s no way I would pay over $3k for a Dell laptop to run winblows. I did for a Mac, so I could run OSX. I did this even knowing that I was paying a performance penalty and that my work stuff was going to require some extra attention. Why? Because I knew that the rest of the time it was going to work. Not so for a Dell.
  12. Nope. Won’t do it. Won’t really work. Although I do trash winblows, they do, finally, have a stable OS platform. However, layering the Mac "executive" on top of that is going to fritz crap up. This is thinking is not much different than what drove Microsoft’s to spawn Bob. Besides, what impetus would M$ have to make that work well? Remember that little word processor WordPerfect? Remember how much Microsoft helped that "partner?" Enough said on that.

As you can tell, this Dvorak thing has me fired up. I don’t really know why. Is this an example of that rabid addiction he talks about? Probably. Is this an excuse to post on my blog? Yep. Will this be read by anybody? Probably not. But, I feel better.


3 Responses to “winblowz on Mac hardware?”

  1. rshangle says:

    [WARNING: I’ve been called an Apple fanboy but I’m really not. There’s plenty I love and hate about Apple and their products.]

    Apple becoming a box hw company ==> not in Jobs’ lifetime.

    Not that I, or anyone, is attuned to Steve’s moment-to-moment whims, but it seems that Apple’s ability to provide quality-of-life-enhancing apps is tied to controlling the technology stack. Which goes away when you jettison the OS.

    I’d sooner predict Apple would become a OS/app-only entity and jettison the PC hardware biz than focus on the gear business, with the associated razor-thin margins.

    JCD has decried the death of Apple tirelessly since around April 1, 1976. He’s a very smart guy, I enjoy listening to TWIT and he has some visionary thoughts. He also, esp with regards to Apple, loves to go out on absurd limbs in the off chance that he’ll be right one of these years, allowing his vision to be further heralded.

    And Apple momentarily had a higher market cap than Dell a month or so ago, fwiw. I’m pretty sure that Dell ships quite a few more PCs than Apple, by at least an order of magnitude, so that says something about the margins in the PC box biz. Except, of course, Dell doesn’t sell iPods. Oh wait, they do – crap ones.


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