3) But Apple WILL make some inroads against Microsoft. The new Intel Macs will run Windows XP unofficially, and Apple Support acknowledges that they are only days from running XP officially, too. So Apple finally has a solid argument why Windows-centric companies and homes should consider trying a Mac. The best case, though, says that Apple sells an additional million units, which aren’t enough for Steve Jobs, so I see him going into a kind of stealth competition with Microsoft.
Here’s how I believe it will work. Apple won’t offer versions of OS X for generic Intel hardware because the drivers and the support obligation would be too huge. But just as you can buy a shrink-wrapped copy of 10.4 for your iMac, they’ll gladly sell you a shrink-wrapped Intel version intended for an Intel Mac, but of course YOU CAN PUT IT ON ANY MACHINE YOU LIKE. The key here is to offer no guarantees and only limited support, patterned on the kind you get for most Open Source packages — a web site, forums, download section. and a wiki. Apple will help users help themselves. With two to three engineers and some outreach to hackers and hardware makers, Apple could put together an unofficial program that could easily attract two to three million Windows users per year to migrate their old machines to the new OS. Imagine the profit margins of three engineers effectively generating $300-plus million per year in sales.
I’ve respected Cringely’s views and opinions since I first started reading him back in 1999, and I think he is on the money here.
How can Apple get more people to use OSX for one, and Apple machines for another? Let me nail my colours right now, if I could get a new Intel-powered Apple tomorrow, that would dual boot Windows XP/Vista with OSX, I would move to Apple and never go back.
And I think there are alot of people out there who think like me. I think a million units is below what would be sold if or when this scenario comes about. Apple might not want to go into the cut-throat PC vendor market, but having the option to boot XP or OSX seems like a good selling point to geeks like me.
I guess it’s time to start saving, and Dell should watch out.