On the 10th death anniversary of the revolutionary Steve Jobs, Micheal Dell recalls his experience with him and his wish to run macOS on Intel-based PCs. In his memoir ‘Play Nice But Win’ Dell talks about his obsession with Apple II and meeting Steve Jobs as a teenager.
Recalling the time when he meet Jobs as a businessman after he had been removed from Apple’s CEO position and ran his new software company Next. Steve wanted him to run the Next operating system (OS) on Dell PCs and in hindsight, Dell believes that deal could have changed computer history.
Steve Jobs made Micheal Dell an offer which “could have changed the trajectory for Windows and Mac OS on PCs”
Dell says that was fortunate to not only met his idol but also build a bond of friendship with the charismatic visionary, Steve Jobs. CNet writes:
“Jobs in person was even more compelling than he was in print. When he entered the room at our meeting, it was as though the waters parted. He spoke with passion about how the personal computer — his personal computer — was revolutionizing the world. He spoke in soaring metaphors … He was saying — with his personal computers — people would have the capacity to accomplish the unimaginable.”
Moving on, he explains that the issue with running Steve Jobs created OS on Dell PCs was because of the limited demand for Windows alternatives, at the time. When Mr. Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he still wanted Dell to consider his macOS licensing offer. However, the deal did not materialize because Mr. Jobs wanted Micheal to pay for every Dell PC sold and Mr. Jobs did not commit to delivering macOS updates beyond a 5-year time frame. Having said that, Dell acknowledges that if that deal had gone through it would have changed the computing industry.
“It could have changed the trajectory for Windows and Mac OS on PCs. But obviously, they went in a different direction.”
As time went on, Micheal Dell shares that their friendship was not impacted by the competition and the media’s portrayal of the two CEOs as “archenemy”. He calls Mr. Jobs a dreamer who wanted to envision a new future.
Even so, the Apple-Dell rivalry, real or imagined, didn’t get in the way of their friendship, Dell tells me, commenting on Jobs’ legacy. “We need dreamers and idealists — people that have an unbelievable and difficult vision for how the future comes together — to drive things.”
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