Most people switching to Linux aren’t switching because of the ease of use, or the shiny graphics, or the pretty interface. They switch for a variety of reasons, some would say it lowers the operating cost, some do it to support Free Software, others may do it because of its technical capabilities, etc.But it is strikingly clear that Apple and Linux aren’t fighting for the same set of market. On June 6, 2006, the first x86-based Mac comes out – after general interests dies down, Macs would be no different from the marketing standpoint then as it would now.
Macs would still be a niche market. Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller confirmed, “We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac.” Nothing has change. In fact, the sole Apple advantage gained by moving to an Intel-based platform is that new users could use Windows along with Mac OS X – however Schiller also confirmed that Apple wouldn’t sell nor support Windows on their Macs.
As such, Mac OS X would continue to be doomed to be the operating system for a shrinking, in terms of market share, market. Unlike Linux, it is unlikely much corporations would mass-deploy Macs starting June 6, 2005 for non-design related uses. Hardly anyone that wouldn’t forking out for today’s Macs would fork out for Macs next year. Having a better user interface than Linux would make not much of a difference.
Could Apple gain more market share for Mac OS X? Perhaps. But it wouldn’t be by the virtue of changing platforms. They could start stealing market share from Microsoft should they start licensing out Mac OS X to non-Apple hardware. But they could already have done that with on the PowerPC platform. In fact, by licensing Mac OS X licenses out, it could perhaps have ‘saved’ PowerPC in the sense that IBM and Freescale have more of a market and economic reason to churn out better and faster processors.
But of course, in such a scenario, Apple’s profit would be severely undermined, and that’s why it is unlikely Mac OS X would be sold for non-Apple hardware and thus be an actual threat to Microsoft Windows anytime soon, be it on PowerPC or Pentium. And because of that, desktop Linux developers need not worry that Linux would be pushed off the market.
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My take on this all is that the major linux distributors especially RedHat have missed a 5 year window to compete on the desktop. RedHat has been building a business model based on using open source software to advance a very short term vision of charging premium fees for software they did not create. The only business model that is sustainable in open source is as a hardware company….selling factory-installed Linux boxes just like Apple does but leaving the source code open and free. This is the only model that Apple or Dell cannot beat. Many Linux firewall /network appliance companies are already making a killing with this but no one is doing that for the Desktop.
A small company called Linaire is doing this but they still charge for the Linux software…. This will not gain them deep market penetration in the long run. If RedHat will sell
Pre-installed servers and desktops while the Linux software is free for download. They will bury Apple in a heartbeat
If an x86 mac cost is close to the cost of a PC, and it can also run windows, then why buy a PC. I think they could easily steel a decent bit of the PC market just because the don’t limit the mainstream market to just MS, and open up a wider software selection by being able to run both OS’s.
And anyways, macs usually look better, and have better integration.
BTW, I have never owned a mac, but they have always been tempting. If they would only offer AMD instead of intel, I would probably be buying one in a year