Dell (the company) has for several years fearlessly—and lucratively—sold servers loaded with Linux, the operating system Microsoft reviles and dreads. And as the industry's top dog it wields more bargaining power with Microsoft than other PC-makers. So I emailed Michael Dell, now the company's chairman, and asked if he'd be interested in the Mac OS, assuming that Apple CEO Steve Jobs ever decides to license it to PC companies. (For now, Jobs says he won't.)
"If Apple decides to open the Mac OS to others, we would be happy to offer it to our customers," Dell wrote in an email. It's the first time any PC industry executive has openly shown enthusiasm for selling machines with Apple's software. Though that's all Dell would say for the record, I suspect his interest is not unknown to Jobs. So, as I said in this column last week (and in an article in the new issue of FORTUNE), the ball is in Jobs' court.
Apple has a lot of momentum going for them right now; I think that it would be a very good move to license their OS to other computer manufactures. I would think that they would gain a much larger customer base if it was possible to buy a Dell Mac (or Compaq or whatever...).
It's an interesting prospect.