There’s a fascinating thread at LinkedIn going on right now regarding the just-for-argument’s-sake idea of Apple spinning off its Mac and OS X divisions into a separate entity a la the company did with FileMaker Inc. years ago.
Though it makes for a fascinating discussion, I’m 99.9% certain that Hell will freeze over before this happens because:
° Apple likes to control the “whole widget” (hardware and software) of all its product lines. Though the Mac doesn’t generate the tons of moolah that the iPhone line does, it makes an incredible amount of money for the company.
° The Mac OS X and iOS are on a long, slow road toward merging at some point in the future. Spinning off the Mac line into a separate entity wouldn’t make sense for this long-range strategy.
° Apple had a very bad experience when it tried, post-Jobs’ return, licensing OS X to other vendors. With those memories, the company will certainly keep its computer hardware and software line totally in-house.
That said the LinkedIn discussion has some intriguing reasons why Apple should spin off the Mac departments into their own “separate-but-still-under-Apple’s-brand” entity. To wit:
° Apple is paying too little attention to its Mac line as the big love is reserved for the iPhone and iPad (as witnessed by the way-longer-than-usual update of the iMac line and the extremely long-in-the-tooth Mac Pro).
° Within Apple, the revenues from Mac sales pale in comparison to iOS devices, so there’s probably less investment in R&D for the Mac right now. Having a separate computer entity might change this.
° Giving the Mac more of its own identity within Apple, along with people at the top who will fight for it, would be a way for Apple to keep its computer reputation among the people who depend on it now and stop them contemplating an existence where other systems seem to have strong advantages of choice at the high-end.
As I said, the Mac will almost certainly remain totally within Apple proper. But the LinkedIin discussion underscores the fact that many folks — especially pro users — feel that Apple ain’t giving their computer line the love it deserves.