Abandonment

John Gruber calls Gundeep Hora a “jackass” for his claim in a recent column that Apple is drifting away from Mac OS X.

First of all, we should probably get the terminology straight. I don’t think Hora is really saying that Apple may be ditching Mac OS X, which is the point that Gruber focuses on. (It almost certainly can’t be true, because OS X is what drives the iPhone.) What I think Hora is saying is actually something bigger: that Apple may eventually ditch the Mac.

To be fair, this is a thought that occurred to me while watching the iPhone keynote. Not only were thoughts of larger-screened, “general-productivity” iPhones dancing in my head–as was the thought that such a computer might be a lot more fun than the Mac currently sitting on my desk–but also was the pretty amazing realization that not a single product in the keynote had anything to do with the Mac. And while that isn’t necessarily a deathknell for the product, it’s hard to see it as a ringing endorsement, either.

A little more thought let me put this worry to rest, however. Building Macs is a profitable business, increasingly so. But more importantly, Steve Jobs–along with the rest of the folks on the Apple campus–simply don’t want to use Windows to do their jobs. And as long as they can make some money on the business of selling those computers that keep them from using Windows, they’ll do it, regardless of how small a percentage of revenue the Mac eventually becomes.

The real outrage in Hora’s column comes later:

Apple used to be persistent about its core product, but its slowly drifting away and changing directions, rightfully so. As such, it may not be surprising for Apple to leave behind OS X sometime in the future.

Personally, it would be fairly devastating if Apple were to make such a move. But things could settle down if Apple decides to open OS X and make it an open source application, similar to Linux. Hopefully, then, we won’t miss it.

Is he kidding? Has Hora ever used an open source app even close to the scale of an operating system? Do any of them feel remotely as streamlined as Mac OS X?

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