Friday, March 08, 2002

Hardware vs. Software The peculiar thing about OS X is that it highlight's Apple's UI engineering skill--they've put a fantastic GUI on Unix (here's a fun history on operating systems) but have structured the company around end-to-end integration. According to various analysts, OS X's adoption will be stymied by it's reliance on Mac hardware--in particular, Moto's PPC.

Is this true? Quite probably. If you're not a Mac user, switching to the platform requires an investment in Apple hardware which, while reasonably priced, is still expensive. But Apple wants people to buy their hardware, so they'll pass on this opportunity. The real value in owning hardware, OS, and applications is appropriate investment in smooth integration across all three, which users of USB/Firewire peripherals, iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, or iPhoto can attest to. But is the value Apple creates through end-to-end integration larger than what it could capture by trying to displace Windows on x86? At first blush, the answer seems a clear no--displacing Windows is a much bigger deal than making it easier to shoot home videos. But MSFT would probably pull support for Office OS X which, to be honest, would toast the company. (Thanks to Mark for the link)


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