File this under revelations not leaked from Walter Isaacson’s upcoming Steve Jobs biography.

According to Ben Rosen, former chief executive office of Compag, Jobs expressed interest in licensing the Mac operating system to Compaq in 1999, which was after Jobs terminated the Mac clone contracts in 1997.

Jobs called Rosen and suggested the two meet to talk about an “important matter.” Rosen goes into great detail about the meeting in a blog post he authored and published today.

After we finished with the amenities and reminiscences, we got to the purpose of the meeting. Steve wanted Compaq to offer the Apple operating system on its PC line, adding to the Microsoft OS that had always been our sole OS. At the time, Compaq was the world’s largest manufacturer of PCs. Our adopting the Apple OS would be seen as a feather in Apple’s cap (and a pretty visible slap at Microsoft).

The catching up with Steve was fun, the food was great, but the OS idea never gained traction. Upon further analysis, it didn’t make sense for either Compaq or Apple. Compaq wasn’t about to declare war on Microsoft, our partner from our birth in 1982, and Steve had second thoughts about licensing their crown jewels. � Rosen

What a different world it could be if Apple and Jobs successfully negotiated a deal with Compaq to license Mac OS. A large part of Apple’s success apart from producing quality products, is the perceived exclusive nature of owning a Mac. Apple’s brand is synonymous with being on the cutting edge of technology, the epitome of cool. If Apple licensed their OS out, sure they could still have their line of laptops, desktops, and mobile devices, but the perception of exclusivity would be watered down. It would be Android. It would be Windows. Apple has complete control over the way people perceive the entire range of their products. Licensing software and the user experience out to others waters it down.

However, the email exchange between Rosen and Jobs in 2007 seems to fully realize the impact and influence of Jobs’ return to Apple.

This was Jobs response about 6 weeks later.

It’s hard to imagine Apple taking a different path than the one they’re currently on, or rather a path where they’re more successful. Still, one has to wonder what an Apple licensed Compaq PC would look like.


Source:�Through Rosen-Colored Glass


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