Will Mac OS ever be the business platform of choice?

Windows is apparently in decline, and Mac OS is growing. Does that mean that it’s primed for the business market?

Apple shows little intention of attempting to break down the mass market business sector, either. This is a pity: like it or lump it, but Mac OS would bring a variety and choice to the sector, and in terms of sheer usability, it's likely to earn itself friends.

Yet to try and compete with the PC in the average office would mean a substantial shift in the Apple business model, one the firm has understandable reluctance at embarking upon. Simply, the manner of the PC marketplace, with multiple manufacturers competing on a cutthroat level with one another, makes it a brutal environment where cost is concerned.

For Apple to begin to attack that sector, would immediately see it sacrificing its premium brand identity, a gamble that could have far-reaching ramifications for the company.

Hackintosh?

But there is, of course, another option. And that's for Apple to release a version of the Mac operating system for PCs. The internet is awash with stories of people who have attempted to do this with existing software, and some have enjoyed success, too. That's unsurprising given the Intel architecture that Apple Macintoshes are running on, which could look equally at home in the belly of a PC.

Yet Apple is keen to control its market space, and has shown no interest quite the contrary in releasing its operating system for a platform other than the Macintosh. Currently it's embroiled in a legal battle with Psystar over so-called Hackintoshes, that have seen the Apple operating system installed onto non-Apple hardware.

Granted, the legal process takes in more than just the operating system, but Apple has made its displeasure clear over a third party company installing the Mac OS operating system onto its hardware. The legal case is going, and may be for some time yet, so it remains unclear whether Psystar will unlock the ability to install Mac OS onto its machines long term. But given the manner and ferocity in which Apple is fighting the case, this will run and run.

And that alone gives a clear indication that the business desktop space is not a place that Apple is keen to reside. It's probably, right now, a wise strategy, but it does nonetheless limit just how far the Mac OS market share is likely to grow.

With Windows 7 set for release later this year (or so it seems), Microsoft's flagship product is set to get a jolt in the arm that could see Apple's market share retreat back to a level a good deal below 10 per cent.

Right now, of course, the irony is that Apple makes it possible to run Windows on a Mac using its Boot Camp software. But its current strategy of producing a premium product with the price to match means that, short of a court ruling or two going against it, Apple won't be competing in the mass market business space for a very long time.

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