PC Magazine’s Jim Louderback, trolling for hits.

To spare you the dirty feeling you’ll get and the subsequent showering with the lathering and the rinsing and the repeating, the Macalope has read Jim Louderback’s desperate cry for attention disguised as a “serious” column about why Apple should license OS X for you.

The things the Macalope does for you…

Louderback is one of seemingly scores of PC magazine (small “m”) writers who wilfully forget the fact that Apple is…

Everyone say it together along with the Macalope now…

a hardware company.

In fact, Apple has a significant opportunity to trump Vista as the desktop OS — if only it would stop insisting on being the sole hardware supplier for the operating system.

Ah, yes! If only Apple would ditch its primary revenue stream other than the iPod in order to act out Jim Louderback’s wooden and unimaginative technology industry porn script!

It’s not wishful thinking. I’ve talked with top execs from two of teh top 10 PC makers recently, and both said they’d be more than happy to sell PCs running OS X.

One was Michael Dell, who promised to start selling OS X-based machines as soon as Apple opened the doors.

Of course he would! Michael Dell would love to have any possible alternative to Windows. That’s why Dell sells Linux machines. The ability to offer OS X on Dell hardware would give Mikey another bargaining chip when negotiating with Microsoft and allow him to compete directly with one of his chief hardware competitors.


Now, Louderback isn’t stupid, he just plays stupid on TV. He knows Apple’s a hardware company. He’s just punking us. Mad-dogging us. Mean-mugging us.

Still not convinced? Considering clicking over?

This should convince you:

Apple, are you listening?

Ponderous. Ill-conceived. Clich├ęd.

Now, if you’ll excuse the Macalope, he has to go roll in the dirt to get the stench off of him.

UPDATE 9/7: Some commenters have pointed out that Apple is both a hardware company and a software company (and a floor wax!) which is fairly obvious in as they make both. But it’s true that what makes the Mac shine is the tight integration of OS and hardware.

Well, and all that aluminum also makes it shine. And those shiny new MacBook screens.

While Windows or Linux on a Mac Pro are not going to be as rich an experience as OS X, the Macalope was really more looking at it from a P&L perspective. The company just doesn’t make that much on software as compared to hardware. The Mac OS is a loss leader.

While it’s doubtful Apple will ever sell Macs with Windows pre-installed, there’s a reason the company makes Boot Camp but cracks down on hacking OS X to run on non-Apple hardware.

And why do we have to keep having this argument? Because unserious pundits like Jim Louderback keep dragging out the same brilliant idea that would drive Apple out of business in order to troll for hits from Mac users.

  • Methinks Apple is not only a hardware company. After all, it’s the company that makes the most advanced operating systems in this world. The smooth mouse behaviour is programmed, not welded, into the hardware. What about iWeb? Everybody uses iWeb! You picture more evidence.

    Apple is both hardware and software company in a way many people and animals can’t even understand. They love every aspect in our computing experience from core to user swithcing and even packaging and promoting.

    Others make just one aspect and give you (or really some dummy reseller) the “freedom” to compile the rest. We have seen what this results in. They do not have completely thought computer systems. They have only patches of it hastily glued together. It’s like a penguin with a fox’s tail … and Mr. Dell’s bottom. That is unnatural. That is also not what the modern computer means to the rest of us.

    Thus Apple is even not only a hardware and software company. It’s probably the world’s only computer company.

  • Gaz Hay:

    Why oh why must we go through this utter tripe of Apple being either a hardware company or a software company?

    Why do we have to put Apple into a nice little box, that the rest of the PC and business world understand?

    Apple, is Apple. They produce computers – the Macintosh, they produce software – MacOS, ProApps, iWork, ILife, they produce consumer electronics – ipod, iphone?

    The plain and simple facts are – Apple are a jack of all trades AND that’s the way Steve and the investors want it.

    Why do people struggle with this concept!??!?!

  • Indeed, you are both correct. The Macalope would point out, however, that the vast majority of Apple’s revenue comes from the sale of hardware. Software is a loss leader.

  • Peter:

    I won’t bother with the whole “Apple is a Hardware/Software/Solutions Company.” To me, it breaks down to simple economics.

    I did some calculations several years ago, just for entertainment sake, comparing the money that Apple makes selling hardware and the money that Apple makes selling system software. Assuming Apple makes $100 off of every copy of Mac OS X, they’d have to sell 4 boxes of Mac OS X to make up for the hardware loss.

    So if Apple were to do this, would they sell four times as many copies of Mac OS X as they sell computers today?

    Where Microsoft makes it’s money is volume. While you can go to the store and buy Windows, Microsoft doesn’t make as much money doing that as they do by selling through OEMs–companies like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Gateway, etc. Wait–let me clarify that. Microsoft makes more money per unit selling through stores, but they make more money in total selling through the OEMs. Because for pretty much every PC sold, Microsoft gets money for the operating system.

    In the second quarter of 2003, just to pick an easy to google example, there were 33.2 million PC shipments. We’ll use that as a “typical” quarter–why not? This past quarter, Apple shipped 1,3 million Macs. So Apple would need to sell 5.2 million copies of Mac OS X bundled on PCs to make the same money they made selling Macs. Or, to think of it another way, 16% of all computers sold in a quarter would have to be running Mac OS X for Apple to make the same amount of money they make now from Mac OS X.

    …and that’s assuming that Apple could get $100 for a copy of Mac OS X. And that’s a pretty big assumption. Why? Because of the OEMs.

    OEMs are not interested in selling Mac OS X because it’s a wonderful operating system. OEMs are interested in selling Mac OS X because it gives them a stick to hit Microsoft with. They’d be telling Microsoft that they’d better cut a deal on Windows or they’ll start pushing Mac OS X. Microsoft would be more than willing to cut a deal, too, in order to squash Apple. So the OEMs would start getting Windows for $50. Then, of course, they’d turn to Apple and say, “Give us a deal or else.” It would be a race to the bottom.

    Microsoft has something like $40 Billion dollars in the bank. Apple has $8 Billion. Who do you think has the ability to take losses longer?

    Personally, I see no way that this will work.

  • Yes, revenues and where they come from. But for a second, think about the box without Dock. No brushed metal. No cube effect. No Reset Safari button. Just penguins with fox’s tail. Or Mr. Gates’ bottom. — Or the iPod without iTunes. Insanely awkward?

    Software is not merely some loss leader. If Apple suddenly became just a hardware company, their hardware sales would go down substantially. Where would the revenue then come from?

  • But that’s exactly what a loss leader does. It gets the asses in the seats. It’s the same thing with iTunes and the iPod. Yes, the iPod’s no fun without the music, but they make their money on the hardware.

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