Unlike Microsoft who licenses out its Windows operating system to consumers and computer manufacturers, Apple’s macOS is pretty much exclusive to the company’s own computers. However, it seems that at one point in time, Apple actually wanted to license out its Mac OS platform and Dell was one of the companies that they had in mind.
This is according to a report from CNET that cites a book being released this week called “Play Nice But Win”, a memoir by Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell computers. According to the book, Dell talks about how Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs had at one point in time approached him and his company with a proposal, offering to license its Mac OS to Dell.
According to Jobs at that time, this would give customers the option of having Apple’s software or Microsoft’s software installed on their computers while they were buying a PC. This was around the time that Jobs had rejoined Apple and they had managed to port over the Mac’s software onto Intel’s x86 chips.
While Dell says he was open to the idea and was willing to license Mac OS and pay Apple for every PC that was sold with Mac OS, it seems that Jobs had another idea in mind. Apparently Jobs suggested that Dell should just preload every PC with Mac OS and just pay Apple a fee for every PC sold, regardless if that user chose to use Mac or Windows.
This deal would have benefitted Apple greatly, but it was simply too costly for Dell, and so ultimately the deal never came to be. It is an interesting story because for all we know, this deal could have made Apple a bigger company than they are today, but at the same time, it could have gone the complete opposite direction.