It’s been ten years since the world lost Steve Jobs and people start their stories about the former Apple CEO. The latest story, told by Dell CEO Michael Dell, dates back to when Steve Jobs wanted the company to license Mac OS to run the platform on Intel-based computers. Had the move been completed, the entire PC industry would have turned out differently. Scroll down to read more details on the story.
Steve Jobs wanted Dell to license Mac OS to run on PCs and pay hundreds of millions in royalties
Steve Jobs first approached Dell when he founded NeXT. Jobs talked about a partnership where the NeXT operating system would run on Dell PCs (via CNET). Apple’s former CEO claimed the operating system was better than Windows. What Michael Dell Jobs said was that this would not happen because there were no applications for it and “no customer interest”.
Even after Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he persuaded Dell to sign a license agreement for Mac OS. Jobs told Dell that users could have the option to choose between Windows and Mac OS.
“He said look at this – we have this Dell desktop and it is running Mac OS,” says Dell. “Why don’t you license the Mac OS?”
While Dell thought this was a good idea, Steve Jobs was concerned that users would prefer Windows because PCs are cheaper and that would impact Mac sales. From then on, Steve Jobs suggested that Mac OS should be loaded on every PC along with Windows. This would have cost hundreds of millions in license fees even if the users weren’t using Mac OS.
Dell smiles as he tells the story. “The royalties he was talking about would be hundreds of millions of dollars, and the bill just didn’t work because most of our customers, especially larger business customers, didn’t really want the Mac operating system,” he writes. “Steve’s suggestion would have been interesting if we’d just said,” Okay, we pay you every time we use the Mac OS “- but pay him every time we don’t use it … well, fine try Steve! “
However, Dell wasn’t sure about the future of Mac OS on PCs, and license fees changed its mind. If the deal had happened, Dell says “it could have changed the trajectory from Windows and Mac OS to PCs”. After a while, Mac OS was exclusive to Macs and PCs were left with Windows as the main competitor. Even so, Steve Jobs and Dell remained friends despite their differences and without a Mac OS deal. Steve Jobs also ditched the original iPhone prototype just to prove its durability to journalists.
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