Psystar vs Apple
On ZDnet today, Sam Diaz asks whether “Psystar has a legitimate argument in Apple Countersuit?” what follows is a comment I added to the article. Generally, I’m usually for Open systems, Open software; but I think that right now, if Psystar win’s this case then it’s bad news for everyone, not just Apple.
I’m just wondering if the judgment goes Psystar’s way who is it that benefits?
In the early 80s when “IBM Compatible” was the thing hardware makers were aiming for, there really wasn’t a dominant OS.
Before long the term “IBM Compatible” was only uttered by people with long beards who didn’t like the genetic re-branding to “PC” (IBM long loosing out as their hardware, nice thought it undoubtedly was with it’s shiny little IBM badge, couldn’t compete with the clones)
Now, should the judgment go Psystar’s way and they (and essentially any manufacturer) are allowed to build and sell Apple Clones – who would buy them? I would think that we would see another “IBM Compatible” scenario where people, other than those with more money than sense, would be buying the clones and not the genuine Apple hardware; which raises the question of whether or not the OS and Software business would be enough to sustain Apple ? (let’s ignore the iPod/iPhones for the moment)
Microsoft dominates the OS market; yes we have the various flavors of linux, and a few flavors of genuine Unix (or is that an oxymoron?) still floating around; but for the most part, an OS comes and Microsoft sees it off.
The Apple OS is a marvelous thing to experience; a thing of beauty … but how long before Windows does everything Apple does? (either out of the box, or with 3rd party bolt-ons); right at the moment we have competition between the two OS vendors. If apple loses it’s Hardware battle due to clones, and it would do, then it would only be a matter of time before it would fail in the OS and software markets too – causing it to go the way of OS2 and GEM and many others before it.
That is assuming that hardware vendors care enough to take Psystar’s lead and make Apple Compatible Clones;of course, as it’s all generic hardware, there’s no reason why they couldn’t(wouldn’t) make IBM and Apple Compatible systems.
So, for a few years, the consumer wins. Those who want their cheap Apples get their cheap Apples. Then Apple bites the big one. Those who went to Apple are left with the choice everyone of us who’ve backed the wrong horse has had to face. Either ditch the beast and get on board with the competition, or ride it until it’s pushing up daisies.
25 years (or so) ago, when the first shades of what would become Apple’s OSX came into being would have been the time for Apple to go down the route Microsoft went down, and subsequently dominated.
Had Apple’s OS been available then, maybe we would be in an Apple, not Microsoft, PC World. Maybe not.
What Apple have is, at the moment, a unique combination of hardware and software. They have complete control over both. The have freedom to innovate and provide reasons, attractive reasons, for people to be a part of Apple’s world.
They also provide competition to Microsoft; do you think Microsoft would keep innovating and trying to do things differently if it didn’t have competition? (and vice-versa); maybe one day Apple will be the dominant force, maybe one day everyone will be using google apps and no-one will care what OS or hardware everything is sitting on. I don’t know, but I think if Apple loses this case, then in the end we all lose.