How to Use Heresy to Ignite Apple’s Mac Sales

| Editorial

From the TMO Department of Heresy comes this thought. Apple is no longer in a pitched PC war. Instead, upwards of 65 percent of Apple's total revenue comes from iPhones. On the other hand, Apple wouldn't mind selling more Macs. So why not pour on the coals and provide Windows 10 on selected Macs, pre-installed? It would eliminate headaches for many education and business customers who really want Mac hardware, and it could really boost Mac sales.

________________________

Several things got me thinking about this idea. Of course, as always, I present it as food for thought. It makes no sense to insist that this is something Apple must do. They probably won't. But consider....

First of all, during each Apple earnings report, Tim Cook notes the fact that PC sales are in decline and Mac sales are steadily improving. This has been the case for over two dozen consecutive quarters. Mr. Cook is proud to announce that.

A new future with an old enemy.
Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Second, many schools find it expensive and awkward to buy a virtual machine system and then install Windows on a Mac. Or use Boot Camp and pay extra for copies of Windows. Some colleges, unable by policy, to charge students for required software, would direct their students to this out-of-the box solution in the campus bookstore. In addition, Business people are perpetually appalled by the build quality of many PC notebooks pre-installed with Windows. Plus, there's something to be said for the halo effect in owning a MacBook to run Windows.

Just a thought. Apple's aging MacBook Air, ready for a price cut and full of PC-friendly ports, would be a great machine for a test program. When customers go into an Apple store, they'll see a great MacBook Air. Show it running OS X, to be sure. Then show it running Windows side by side with OS X. Their minds (as well as their spouse's) will go "Bingo!"

Third, thanks to the shift to mobile solutions, the PC wars are basically over. It's time to stop thinking like Captain Kirk, who can't ever get over his disgust for the Klingons and be more like Captain Picard who has a Klingon security officer on his bridge.

Finally, the ever more astute Microsoft, under CEO Satya Nadella, has cleverly decided to provide Ubuntu Linux compatibility (binaries and shells) in Windows 10. See, for example: "Ubuntu’s bash and Linux command line coming to Windows 10." This is an amazing, bold, smart move. If Microsoft can think like this, so can Apple.

Pre-installed, out of the box. Would be cool.
Image credit: Parallels

Issues

There would be several obstacles, but they could be overcome.

First, a dual boot with Boot Camp would be unsatisfying. The real leverage for the user would come from being able to click on Windows apps in the OS X Dock, and just run them. That requires a virtual machine system also installed.

Second, in order to make this happen, Apple would have to strike a deal for a quantity license and then, contractually, make sure there were no changes to either the VM system (or OS X) that would adversely affect the customers down the road. A plan to switch to ARM processors in MacBooks might put an end to this line of thinking, but we aren't sure about Apple's intentions here.

Third, Microsoft has always been happy to work with Parallels and VMware to make sure Mac users can run Windows. But the customer has to pay up. Would Microsoft be willing to drop its OEM price for Windows 10 far enough? Apple wouldn't want to charge too much of a premium. Would both companies see a mutual benefit?

Finally, Apple would have to figure out which Macs would be most appealing to customers and then sell two kinds: the traditional model and then one with a VM system and Windows 10 pre-installed for $XX extra, where XX is to be determined. Perhaps $35 to $60. Would this effort pay off in increased Mac sales? (I think it would.)

Final Thoughts

No corporate technological agenda or warfare lasts forever. Times change. New opportunities arise. Schools and businesses (and maybe even the government) would very much like the convenience of having high quality, long lasting Mac hardware and a functioning "Two OS" system out of the box. ("Three OS" when Ubuntu is added.) Even as Apple is making hundreds of billons of dollars with iPhones, it might be possible to unexpectedly steal some additional PC hardware market share from competitors.

Personally, I like the idea. What do you think, all you Jean-Luc Picard fans?

Popular TMO Stories

Comments

BurmaYank

1. It seems to me a hopelessly bad idea, because if Apple sold the Windows OS, Apple would thus be responsible for all associated problems (many of which might be utterly beyond Apple’s power/authority to control/manage).

2. Is Windows 10 an adequate OS, judged by core Apple standards? (Might not Windows 8 be better for many/most - e.g. more secure & more protective of private user information than Windows 10, as I have heard?)
Is Windows 10 more secure & protective of private user information than Google Chrome OS? If (as I expect) neither is anywhere nearly as secure & protective as MacOS, how could Apple possibly afford to assume any responsibility for either of this OS’s on a Mac Apple sold, no matter how profitable selling those modern-day MacCharlies might be?

geoduck

No

The only possible path might be to go the Blue Box/Rosetta route. Embed Windows APIs inside OS-X so it could seamlessly run either OS-X or Windows software. But then nobody would develop software for Mac any more. Of course that would be the same problem if Apple sold Windows with Macs. Windows would become the default OS and effectively Apple would just become another money losing Windows clone maker. I can’t think of a better way to assure the death of the Macintosh.

So, no. Just no.

CudaBoy

And they should market them with “Intel Inside”, too.  Not. Way stupid idea.
I find Windows users absolutely not Interested and in fact strongly dislike or hate Macs, period. Nothing in the Mac OS makes sense, the hardware is funky and way too expensive compared to better spec’d PCs (true). One common complaint is they “can’t find” anything in the Mac, the file structure makes no sense. Plus, they are thrilled to death the “Start” button is back in Windows 10; without that they were lost.  I scratch my noggin’ and walk away.

paikinho

No

People can do that on their own.
Perhaps just sell them as Windows 10 ready.

BurmaYank

Yes, I can see how appealing it would be to Windows users considering a Mac to get an Apple-procured OEM Windows on it for many-fold times cheaper than current Mac users must pay to get Windows on their Macs, BUT,

NO, it could never be worth the burden of:
- the responsibility for customer support of all Windows issues on those devices which Apple would then necessarily be responsible for, no matter how profitable the extra sales might prove, &
- the fragmentation of Apple’s focus on how to make the widget GREAT.

John Martellaro

BurmaYank: I can imagine how this might work. Microsoft would enclose a card, well labeled from Microsoft, that says something like: “Thank you for purchasing this special edition Mac with Windows 10 pre-installed. If you have any problems with the operation of Windows, please contact….” And then a reference of Microsoft’s normal support channels.  A few people might still complain to Apple, but the responsibility remains with Microsoft.

Plus, one of the nice things about a guest OS in a VM, it can always be set back to the factory installed state.

Old UNIX Guy

<sarcasm>
At the Tesla Model 3 announcement yesterday, Elon Musk announced that the 2nd trunk was provided explicitly for the purpose of hauling cow manure.
</sarcasm>

And that is why Apple should not provide a VM running Windows on Macs.  wink

Jamie

No, because as you have stated yourself, the PC wars are over. I think there’s a bit of tech insularity in this post. wink The average person generally has no idea what an operating system even is in the first place. Kids today don’t even know what a file system is due to the fact that on mobile OSes they are so well masked and hidden. That thread of logic may seem like it only reinforces the premise from a consumer standpoint, but the cost in terms of licensing, and support, and incompatibility (not just in terms of software parity - think security etc. as well) would likely make it an undesirable proposition for the companies involved.

brilor

An interesting idea; thanks for sharing it John. FWIW: Besides the surmountable hurdles John mentions, IMO adding Windows doesn’t quite mesh with the support model Apple envisions. Apple has a closed architecture( or moving in that direction ), closed machines ( sealed with glue )etc. which point to a company that wants to control their support expenses by reducing the number of customers that can tinker and cause unintentional support issues ( thus increasing support phone calls/chats and increasing costs ). Adding a major piece of software ( Windows ) Apple doesn’t control potentially increases the support overhead/costs. Today’s cost conscious ( witness the default 5400 RPM HDD in the low end iMac ) Apple might flinch based on support costs alone.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account