Dear Fortune's David Kirkpatrick…

The Macalope has read your piece entitled Windows on the Mac changes everything and he wonders what you were drinking last night that you woke up this morning and decided that history begins right now.

At MacWorld [sic], a little company called Parallels won awards for the latest version of its hit product, which enables you to run both operating systems at the same time on a Macintosh. It’s a major breakthrough.

First of all, it’s “Macworld.” Small “w”.

Second, it was a major breakthrough… about thirteen years ago. Sure, it’s a hell of a lot faster now that Apple’s on Intel, but let’s give Insignia, Connectix and OrangePC some props, shall we?

Both companies’ products specifically aimed at the Mac will remain self-consciously crippled in order to satisfy Apple’s demands that users not be encouraged to put Mac OS on a non-Apple machine. But pressures seem to be building in a way that Apple and Jobs will increasingly have a hard time controlling.

Hard != impossible.

Even if Apple didn’t somehow use Intel’s Trusted Computing technology to make running OS X on non-Apple hardware harder [UPDATE: In response to several commenters, yes, the Macalope knows Apple does not currently use Trusted Computing, his point was simply that that could be one way to control the hardware that OS X runs on. There is no evidence that they would even do this, however.] and even if it didn’t take legal action against those who enable it, it can simply not support it. Then it would be run by a smattering of hackers and geeks who probably aren’t Apple customers anyway. Any business, school or home user would find the proposition a non-starter because here’s how a support call would go:

Apple: Hello, Apple support.

Dimwit using OS X on a Dell: Hi, I’m having a problem printing.

Apple: OK. Can you tell me what version of the operating system and what Mac you’re using?

Dimwit using OS X on a Dell: I’m running 10.4 on a Dell Dimension.

Apple: (click)

Dimwit using OS X on a Dell: Hello? Hello?

Maybe what’s confused you, Dave, is that Michael Dell is not the lathe of heaven. His dreams do not become reality.

The pressures are building on Steve Jobs. Eventually, as virtualization improves, it will prove harder and harder not to accede to Dell and others who want to sell his software in different ways.

Right. Please explain how that statement is different than this one the Macalope just made up:

As David Kirkpatrick’s stalking of Beyoncé Knowles becomes more belligerent, it will prove harder and harder for her not to accede to his desire to have sex with her.

Yes, VMWare and Parallels would love to sell OS X virtualization for non-Apple hardware and, yes, Dell would love to sell hardware that ran OS X and drive Apple out of the hardware business.

But why, Dave, would it be in Apple’s interest to simply hand its hardware business over to these companies? It makes sense for them, but it doesn’t make sense for Apple.

Apple makes the iPod, the Mac and soon the iPhone. All of these platforms are closed to varying degrees because that’s Apple’s business model. If you took a few minutes to pull your head out of your ass, you might have heard that somewhere.

Silly pundits everywhere would like to see Apple open these platforms up for no other reason than it would satisfy their desire to report a big story in the industry. As Apple is not insane it’s currently just a useful tool to try to bash the company over the head with and create a controversy out of something that’s more important to the pundit class than it is to the user base.

So, Dave, if we’re going to be forced to endure your stilted technology industry fan fiction, at least give your main character some motivation.

The Macalope

Trackbacks Comments
  • jopo:

    There already is a way to run Mac OS X in a virtual machine: MacOnMac
    Although I am not sure if it is still under active development or available on Intel.

  • Ha! I laughed out loud at the Beyonce quote.

    One other jackass point you didn’t mention though. Parallels virtualizes Windows on Intel Macs. It doesn’t virtualize Mac OS X on anything. So for Kilpatrick’s scenario to come true, Paralells would have to invent a whole new product.

  • Thank you for putting this in a way that makes sense to the dimwits. Silly pundits indeed

  • Bob:


    No, Parallels doesn’t have to invent a whole new product. Read The Fine Article as kindly linked to be the Macalope, rather than replying only to the Macalope’s commentary.

    After reading the fine article, this quote stood out:

    “That’s because Mac OS remains the easiest and most enjoyable software to use day in and day out.”

    WTF? Are these pundits now admitting that Mac OS is better than Windows? Better even than Vista?

    And by using the word “remains”, is David Kirkpatrick saying that Mac OS has been better than Windows for a long time?

  • Aero:

    Mr. Macalope, please be advised that what you have heard on the vast Intertrons about Apple and ‘Trusted Computing technology’ are not true. It has propagated so much because people seem to ENJOY believing it so much, but nevertheless I am spreading the word one little bit at a time.

    Please, please read this, at least the executive summary:

    I realise that this is not directly related to the content or rhetorical purpose of this blog entry, but I am very tired of hearing references to Apple and TPM brought up all the time, in the same way in which you are surely tired of hearing offhand references to ‘iPod killers’ or ‘iTunes falling marketshare’ repeated as though they were fact.

    Thank you, have a nice evening.

  • fudo:

    “Even if Apple didn’t somehow use Intel’s Trusted Computing technology…”

    You know that they don’t, right?

  • Peter:

    I love the Michael Dell quote, though: “We would offer MacOS if customers wanted it and Apple would license it on reasonable terms…It’s Apple’s decision.”

    Note the magic part of the sentence–on reasonable terms. That’s the important part of the statement.

    Dell is Walmart. They will sell whatever you want to buy and they will use their market power to get a good price on it. Dell’s interest in Mac OS X has nothing to do with Apple and everything to do with Microsoft.

    Dell can use Walmart tactics on every component in a PC. He can get the cheapest memory, disk drives, processors, cases, motherboards, etc. by pitting suppliers against each other. However, he can’t do that to Microsoft. All he can do with Microsoft is accept their pricing. Where else is he gonna go? Linux? Yeah, right.

    Michael Dell would love to sell Mac OS X because it would give him something to hit Microsoft over the head with. His “reasonable price” for Apple is cheaper than what he pays Microsoft for a copy of Windows. If Apple did that, he’d be talking to Steve Ballmer that afternoon saying, “Hey! Apple is giving us a deal on Mac OS X. You better match it or we’re going to start pushing Mac OS X over Windows!”

    Dell’s interest in Mac OS X is to get cheaper Windows licenses. Pure and simple.

  • Hey now! OrangePC ran DOS/Windows at full hardware speeds. Heck, for that matter, so did Apple’s own PC Compatibilty cards.

  • Kamal Mubarak:

    Apple *can* do the unthinkable! They could, for example, release Jaguar or Panther as an unsupported OS for generic PCs available via download only after releasing Leopard. (Keep the PC version 2 or 3 generations behind!)

    You want the latest and greatest? Just get a Mac!

  • BOB:
    You’re right. Now the post is even better.

    Also, Engadet on the same:

  • Peter,

    For serious,

    Dell wants OS X ONLY to open up competition among its suppliers? Are you trying to tell me Michael Dell used the phrase “on reasonable terms” because all he wants is to play Apple off Microsoft?

    That’s the funniest/most naive thing I’ve ever heard.

    “On reasonable terms” sounds more to me like a freshman’s feeble request before a brutal and torturous hazing to get into the most amazing fraternity on the planet. That’s because I think Michael Dell would probably give his left testicle to be able to sell OS X on his machines.

    But that’s just me.

    Besides, trying to play OS X off windows by his business is akin to going to a bicycle shop are saying: “I think you might wanna come down on the price of that Huffy there; you know, I could buy a F-18 fighter jet for HALF that price.”

  • Jorge:

    This is a very pedantic comment, but it must be said that “…becomes more beligerant,” would have had more punch were it spelled correctly (as belligerent). It makes the humor less assailable if the punch line has no grammatical errors into which the derided can sink their teeth. Firefox does real-time spell-checking, by the way …

  • Sadly, Camino — which is arguably more Mac-like in other ways — does not. It’s the Macalope’s only real regret about Camino and one he’s willing to ignore just to get the damn windows to open up at the top instead of cascading down the screen.

  • Mark:

    Dear Mr. M.,

    Props for the excellent Ursula K. Le Guin reference!

    (Perhaps you could advise on a screenplay adaptation as well, so that someone will finally make a decent movie out of it.)

    Carry on.

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