Is Apple Proprietary?

Ross Snowden and I have been interacting online for a while. He emailed me again last night:

I watched a video (or perhaps it was the live feed on your site) a couple of evenings ago. You were reading a letter you received from someone who mentioned they might consider switching to the Mac operating system, and you were impressed that he considered the possibility and wasn’t strictly against the idea.

I believe the video is forthcoming, so you must have watched it as we recorded it live.

I, myself, would also not be opposed to using the Mac OS, but the only thing keeping me from doing so is that the Mac uses proprietary hardware, if I’m not mistaken. You made it sound as though the Apple used the same hardware as the PC, but isn’t that just for some of the components? If that was true, I would be able to install Leopard without any problem on my machine, no? I will try it out when, and if (and that’s a big if), Apple decides to release an operating system that installs on regular PC hardware. I would consider it, though.

ATI is proprietary? NVIDIA is proprietary? Intel is proprietary? EFI is proprietary? You, and millions of others, are sadly mistaken. Apple’s Intel computers will run a full-blown installation of Windows (just as easily as they can run a copy of Mac OS X). Moreover, it’s not really Apple’s own hardware – it’s Apple’s computer, comprised largely of countless components from third-party vendors.

It’s not the hardware itself that’s proprietary, nor is it necessarily the software itself (the OS). It’s Apple’s choice to restrict the types of machines that its operating system can run on – as it’s been proven that Mac OS X can indeed run on non-Apple hardware. It’s a proprietary cocktail, but not because of raw hardware or software limitations.

Apple controls the entire “ecosystem,” and you need to think long and hard about why that’s not so horrible for consumers. I’ve written (and talked) about this several times in the past.

Until then, I’ll stick with Vista, which, for the record, has not crashed or given me any BSOD whatsoever. In fact, for me, on my new hardware, this has been the most stable version of Windows I have ever used, and I’m using the 64 bit version!

Good for you (seriously). I’ll also stick with Vista… in a VMware virtual machine on my Mac OS X desktop.