Mac OS X has become OS X. There is speculation about why that is. Perhaps Macs are old-fashioned.
Another possibility, remote though it may be, is that Apple wants to go head-to-head with M$ on x86/amd64 hardware. Look at it this way:
- Apple is not making much money on MacOS because it’s only licensed to run on Apple hardware.
- Apple has a new boss not anchored in the mud of the walled garden.
- Apple could make a ton more money shipping MacOS to OEMs and consumers of x86/amd64 hardware.
Apple clearly has the market/mindshare to do this. They might have driver issues because the world of Wintel is more diverse, but with enough money that can be overcome. How long do you think it would take manufacturers to produce enough drivers for OS X roaming freely on the plains of x86/amd64?
Apple is selling something like 20 million Macs per annum. They could probably sell 100 million copies of OS X per annum and charge $100 per unit with a licence to run on non-Apple hardware. That’s $10 billion, too much to ignore. I would bet Apple could swing its marketing department into high gear and make things happen before Christmas 2012. Would it cut into sales of Macs? Nope. Mac lovers love them and will buy them no matter the price or availability of OS X on other hardware.
The question remains whether or not Apple and M$ have a non-compete agreement over x86/amd64 machines. I doubt that would fly in court these days. Would M$ dare challenge them on it?
I think Apple sees the end days of the Wintel monopoly and wants to clean the bones of the dead dinosaur. They have to open up OS X to do that. While I despise Apple’s treatment of Android/Linux, the enemy of my enemy could be my friend if Apple helps kill the Wintel monopoly sooner rather than later.