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Should Apple licence OS X to Dell?

There was an interesting op-ed by Doug Mohney in The Inquirer yesterday, which suggested that the launch of Vista provides a good opportunity for Apple – if it licences OS X to Dell.

However, Vista is being beaten like a dead horse by the mass media – most of them already are enthralled to the God of Jobs if you read between the lines, so Microsoft could make nuclear fusion work tomorrow and they’d give it a lukewarm review at best. The consensus view out of the babbling punditry is “Don’t buy Vista today, unless you have to buy a new computer tomorrow.”

On that front, I think the babbling pundits are right. Heh.

So what about Apple?

If Apple was serious, and I mean really serious, about gaining more PC market share, they’d realize they need to license/sell their operating system to another hardware manufacturer or two. Sure, Apple’s tried the license route before with mixed results, but it’s about time to bite the bullet, look into the mirror, and realize they should try something bold.

Apple should license their operating system to Dell.

Mohney isn’t suggesting that Apple should make OS X available to any PC user; the dangers of that (such as hardware incompatibilities or really crap machines ruining Apple’s reputation) have been talked to death for years. Rather, he’s suggesting that Apple could team up with a single PC manufacturing firm to make decent clones, expanding OS X’s market share without diluting the core Apple brand. It wouldn’t be an Apple Mac: it’d be a Dell Mac. Dell’s good at churning out PCs, so if Apple laid down strict criteria about what should and shouldn’t go into a clone you could get decent non-Apple Macs competing in different markets to Apple Macs. Does anyone really think Dell is capable of making something as sexy as a MacBook or as iconic as the iMac?

I’m sure Mohney will be inundated with angry emails, but I do wonder how many of the senders will have reacted similarly to suggestions a few years back that Macs should run Intel chips. I think his idea’s fascinating.