A commenter writes:
It's funny you speak about choice and apple in the same article....how many computer manufacturers support Mac OSX? Microsoft/Linux offer you choices and competition...Apple offers you to give them money.
Too bad Mac OSX couldn't run on a standard PC platform :-)
I haven't heard this in a while, but it's the right time to get back to it. Excitement over Windows on the Mac has pushed debate about OS X on non-Apple PCs off the front page. The remarks in this post are not directed at the commenter.
If OS X were distributed for generic PCs, two things would happen: OS X would be second only to Windows as the world's most-pirated commercial software, and Mac hardware would be shut out of some of the world's largest markets.
Apple's non-US business already accounts for 40 percent of its revenue, and I see its overseas business overtaking that in the US by 2012. Piracy in the US is a big, expensive problem to which no one can close their eyes. But elsewhere, software vendors don't just lose sales to piracy. Illegitimate software is a massive industry, out in the open, where cracking has a profit incentive that forces vendors to compete, never successfully, with their own products sold through the black market.
As it stands, the Mac, among its other uses, is a dongle for OS X and Mac applications created by Apple and Mac developers. Apple has, wild guess (somebody knows this count; please write in), maybe twenty model lines of Macs that OS X supports, each with a very limited number of nailed-down configurations. If you run OS X on a machine that wanders outside that small number of predictable configs, a) you're a sitting duck for any user-mode app or Dashboard widget that gives your box a sniff; and b) when your cracked OS X won't boot--and that will happen--you're permanently SOL. You can't ask for help without giving away that you're running the crack.
So if you wonder why Apple doesn't sell OS X as a generic OS, remember these four words: You can't pirate hardware.