The iMachine

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Date: Monday, May 15th, 2006, 09:00
Category: Opinion

With Apple moving to Intel processors and with Michael Dell talking about running OSX on Dell PC’s, I have been contemplating the concept of Apple reaching out to the mainstream PC users.
Of course, the first argument forming in any technophiles mind is the fiasco surrounding ‘clones’ in the mid 90’s, before the triumphant return of Steve Jobs rescued the beleaguered company from mediocrity. So let me nip that in the bud. I know that I speak for many by saying that licensing OS X will not work.
Between driver issues, etc., Apple would quickly lose the reputation that ‘it just works.’ Plus, Steve Jobs called the licensing ‘ill-conceived’ and a result of ‘institutional guilt.’ So, if Apple were to make a play for market share, it would be through a partnership, or through acquisition. Of course, the ‘partnership’ concept is tantamount to ‘licensing,’ so we are left with acquisition ‘ which would allow Apple to maintain a robust OS and still have a low-cost product line.
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Contributed by: Kevin


With Apple moving to Intel processors and with Michael Dell talking about running OSX on Dell PC’s, I have been contemplating the concept of Apple reaching out to the mainstream PC users.
Of course, the first argument forming in any technophiles mind is the fiasco surrounding ‘clones’ in the mid 90’s, before the triumphant return of Steve Jobs rescued the beleaguered company from mediocrity. So let me nip that in the bud. I know that I speak for many by saying that licensing OS X will not work.
Between driver issues, etc., Apple would quickly lose the reputation that ‘it just works.’ Plus, Steve Jobs called the licensing ‘ill-conceived’ and a result of ‘institutional guilt.’ So, if Apple were to make a play for market share, it would be through a partnership, or through acquisition. Of course, the ‘partnership’ concept is tantamount to ‘licensing,’ so we are left with acquisition ‘ which would allow Apple to maintain a robust OS and still have a low-cost product line.
Dell is the big player in the PC space, so acquiring them is extremely unlikely. Thus, looking at the market, a smaller player (i.e. Gateway) is the answer. As you may or may not know, Gateway acquired eMachines a couple years back. Remember them? The first US$400 computer? Gateway is small enough to be acquired, but large enough to give Apple a substantial footprint in the PC space.
Gateway sells 5,000,000 computers per year and with Gateway’s presence in 10,000 retail stores including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Costco, etc. They also have a strong retail presence in Europe winning the ‘Best New Vendor’ award from Comet (UK), and inking deals with Darty and BUT to sell computers throughout France. Thus, Apple would never have to risk its brand by placing the ‘iMachine’ in its Apple stores.
When you ask the average PC user what the biggest factors are in purchasing a computer, the first answer is usually ‘cost’ which usually prompts them to cross Apple products off their list. If Apple were to take the eMachine’s price point of US$399 and remove the cost of Windows Licensing, the ‘iMachine’ could be sold for around US$340, without any loss in profitability. Furthermore, the consumer need not be scared to try a new operating system since Boot Camp would allow them to run Windows just as easily.
Looking at the bottom line, I think it’s just a matter of time before we see Apple make a big play for market share. Of course, there will be doubters who will argue about the marketing specifics, but given Steve Jobs’ track record, I’m sure it will be spun and marketed in the right way.
Contributed by: Kevin

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