How much should OS X for x86 cost?
One of the main reasons Apple hasn’t sold OS X separately from its hardware is because supporting the myriad different devices that are on the market and available to consumers is really hard. Apple gets around the problem by using specific hardware and saving themselves a lot of effort. A retail version of OS X would have to address this issue, at significant cost to Apple. That, in my view, is the main reason why Apple won’t sell OS X by itself. The second reason is that they want to sell their hardware with a markup, and the OS is merely one of the features of the expensive Apple hardware. If Apple sells OS X separately, they’d cannibalize their hardware sales. This second point is merely speculation, but it’s probably true. The third problem is piracy. If you could buy OS X in the store, you could probably get your hands on a pirated version, which you cannot do now. This would probably reduce their retail OS sales, but maybe give them more marketshare (which is only useful if they sell add-on software).
But, ignoring those issues, suppose you could buy OS X in the store, with the two different editions as proposed by Tom. Then your options would be:
- Windows XP Professional - $169
- Windows XP Home - $89
- OS X Pro - $299
- OS X Home - $199
- Ubuntu Linux - $0
Why would anyone in their right mind pay $299 for OS X Pro? What exactly does it offer that WinXP Pro doesn’t? Ok, so maybe you argue that. Better yet, what does it offer that Ubuntu Linux doesn’t? Considering the fact that a “good”, fast computer these days costs ~$500, there is no budget for a $300 OS. A $0 OS which doesn’t limit your freedoms, provides you with perpetual free updates, runs on a wider range of hardware, has more functionality…