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Apple, Hardware, but the World is Software.
Author: HumanX | Thursday June 09, 2005

Over the last week I have read a variety of articles criticizing Apple’s hardware decision, the move to Intel. Was this inevitable?

In my opinion the move to Intel is a healthy move for Apple and here is the reason why. Apple over the years has slowly watched its market strength dwindle from a high of 25% to 13% to its current low of 5% to 7%. The “cool” factor of Apple has helped its market share a little but not even that is going to break its measly trend.

As Microsoft and many other software companies embrace the x86 platform, Apple is losing a portion of the market that is most important, software. The x86 platform can now accomplish any task that the Mac had mastered in the past and do it faster. The AMD and Intel competition has delivered unprecented performance to the desktop / server market and big guys like SUN and IBM are no longer the only guys to offer big guns.

This was an inevitable change in the market. As processors began to reach there peak speed and as processor manufacturers could not produce improved processors faster then mores law, well, the little guys would catch up and the playing field would be evened out. In business and highspeed computing, the little guys were INTEL and AMD. Guess what folks, they caught up and surpassed the speed champions of the nineties, allowing them to swarm the enterprise and high end desktop market.

So why does this hurt Apple then? INTEL and AMD produce vastly more chips every year then IBM which makes the products cheaper. X86 systems these days can be purchased for under $400 with a monitor, Apple cannot compete with that. Since they cannot offer more speed then x86, why buy Apple? In my opinion Apple as a branded proprietary hardware system is not worth buying. But software, well, that is another story.

Apple’s OS/X is an elegant operating system free at the moment of enterprise computing. OS/X is still evolving into a modern operating system without fear of disrupting hundreds of millions of computers across worldwide. This gave Apple the opportunity to redevelop there operating system into a cross platform, highly reliable secure system. They reinvented themselves. And when Apple reinvented themselves they took the best idea’s and encapsulated it into a modern O/S.

The tech industry should not be surprised with Apples x86 moves. This is not the first time they have toyed with the x86 idea. Way back when, a friend of mine sent me a developing operating system whose name was Rhapsody. Guess what, it ran on my Pentium system. Though it was a system only nice to look at, it gave the industry an idea as to what Apple was up to.

Enter Unix. With O/X, Apple embraced the Open Source market and built an underlying operating system on the backs of millions of developers. Genius. Throw a proprietary GUI on top of that and you now have a powerful operating system. But guess what, Unix / Linux is portable and runs on just about every hardware platform today. Apple is not only prime for G5’s, but for just about any other hardware platform. A few tweaks and Apple can approach a diversity of hardware specific vertical markets. This is a win-win for Apple. They can grow market share, profit, in terms of dollars, Apple is going to be a force to be reckoned with and I think many in the industry did not see it coming.

Like ants attacking its victim, hundreds of little bites lead to victory. Apple quietly took the music industry by storm at both home and on the road, attacked video and fused these technologies together. Apple delivered a system based on modern users needs. That is foresight folks. Throw in the security which Microsoft is grasping at, Apple is a player.

Who is the winner and who is the loser? Microsoft now has a serious competitor boring down on them. A couple of left and right blows and Apple is a threat to Microsoft. With Linux eating a way at server and Apple nibbling at the desktop, Microsoft’s kingdom is beginning to show some major cracks. But here is my warning, NEVER doubt Microsoft.

Microsoft has been bleeding billions to lawsuits from governments and corporations for years. New competition in the market will help stave off more lawsuits which will add to Microsoft’s bottom line. I am quite sure a strategist up in Redmond has foreseen all of this and plans are in place for a counter attack. Personally, I would not be surprised if Microsoft wised up and released a free server operating system (not open source) which runs only IIS. That could take the industry by storm and allow Microsoft to dominate once again in some serious key area’s.

So where do we go from here? The ship is still sailing and its destination is a curiosity to me as well as others. But what the tech industry can expect to see is more choice in software, a reduction in proprietary standards, and more of that old industry competition which has brought on the computing revolution.

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