My Turn

OS X To Be a Huge Success

- 2001.03.27

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

In the long run Mac OS X will be one of the most successful computer products ever. Why? Because it combines the four holy grails of computing:

  1. The ease of use of a Mac
  2. The power of Unix
  3. The NeXTstep Development tools
  4. A broad application base

I'm pretty sure this combination is going to be very tempting for a lot of people. First, there are the old diehard Mac users who have been waiting for a "modern" OS ever since Apple promised to build one in the System 7.1 era. They will want to have it no matter what.

Later there will be those diehard Mac users that will be caught by Apple's marketing efforts as soon as they start (probably somewhere in the summer) pushing this thing in the media.

But Mac OS X will also tempt a new group of customers: Unix geeks. These will come in droves, because they will finally be able to get their hands on an OS that is both Unix and also able to run stuff like Internet Explorer and MS Word. This is not a very large group, but I suspect they have some influence in the enterprise IT world.

There will also be lots of developers porting their stuff to Mac OS X. According to Apple, 20,000 apps are being built for the new Mac OS - that is more than are currently available for the old Mac OS.

Besides current developers of importance (Adobe, Macromedia, Microsoft, etc.), you'll see lots of other big name software companies (Oracle, SAP, Computer Associates, etc.) port their stuff to OS X. They will not only be tempted to do this because of the fact that OS X is Unix-based or that you can develop using the new Macified version of the NeXTstep Development Tools, but also because Apple will be dominating the Unix world. Apple will be the single biggest supplier of Unix-based computing on this planet.

Because of that latest group of developers, I'm pretty sure OS X not only will be quite a success in the consumer market, but more significantly in the server market. As soon as Apple gets those quad and octo G4s out the door, they will almost instantly grab a large part of the server business. It will be just too tempting to get your hands on a Unix server that even an uneducated mortal can administer.

Yeah, OS X rocks. Mark my words, in the coming year it will be totally uncool to even point your finger at a Wintel or Linux box. Of course, we old Mac users, will need to get used to OS X and probably complain a bit about not being able to put docs all over the hard disk and about the interface being a bit like system 6 on steroids, but in the end we will rejoice the simplicity and the beauty of it all.

And what will Microsoft think of all this? I don't think they are really worried. They will continue to dominate the application market. It's Linux users Microsoft is a lot more worried about, because that is an entity they can't control and can't negotiate with.

With OS X, it is an entirely different matter. Bill Gates just has to pick up the phone and call Steve Jobs. "Hey, buddy, what's cooking?" "Just made myself another billion." "Me, too."

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