Steve Jobs said to have approached Sony about using OS X in VAIOs

By , Feb 5, 2014

sony vaio

As serious as Apple has always been about making all of its own hardware and software, it’s hard to believe that OS X almost wound up on Sony VAIO PCs. But it’s true, according to Japanese freelance writer Nobuyuki Hayashi.

It’s even harder to believe that the effort was spearheaded by Steve Jobs himself, but it was. In a recent blog post, Hayashi recounts a time when Jobs and other Apple executives met with Sony and pitched them the OS X VAIO…

The Verge translates Hayashi’s post:

“Japanese freelance writer Nobuyuki Hayashi, who has covered Apple for over two decades, quotes ex-Sony president Kunitake Ando recalling a 2001 meeting between he and Jobs in Hawaii. After playing a round of golf with other Sony executives, says Ando, “Steve Jobs and another Apple executive were waiting for us at the end of the golf course holding VAIO running Mac OS.” Jobs had shut down the Mac “clone” business years earlier but, according to Ando, admired Sony’s VAIO line so much he was “willing to make an exception.”

So if Jobs was in favor of the idea, why didn’t it ever come to fruition? Apparently it was just bad timing for Sony. VAIO laptop sales   had just begun taking off, and the negotiations to make Mac-compatible models ultimately fizzled.

As crazy as this all sounds, it was well-documented that Jobs had a good relationship with Sony and its then-president Kunitake Ando. He admired many of Sony’s PC products, and was spotted at the company’s HQ multiple times.

sony mac os x

This was also around the time that Apple was planning its jump from PowerPC chips to Intel, and it’s been rumored that software engineers working on OS X were told to buy top-of-the-line VAIO PCs to demonstrate the software.

Admittedly, this was a minor event in Apple’s history that ultimately amounted to nothing. But could you imagine if things would have gone differently? We’d for sure have Sony PCs running OS X, what about handsets running iOS?

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  • Guest

    Sony products are straight garbage always pick Apple of them

    • Rowan09

      Really their products are garbage? I think Sony always made beautiful devices, the Vaio laptops reminds me of a Mac laptop.

    • RarestName

      Throw away your iPhone. Sony makes the camera sensors.

      • Franklin Richards

        Sony does make the camera sensors for iPhone 5s

      • Tommy

        Funny how their own mobile devices have poor cameras.

      • Andrew Roth

        Yeah, ok. A 20MP camera on a phone (Xperia Z1) is just waaay worse than an 8MP one on an iPhone. Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple, but that statement is simply not true.

      • eXoguti093

        MP count doesn’t make a good picture, it just gives you detail , I’ve seen a picture with a low resolution but it looks like it was crazy high until I zoomed in and saw pixels right there, no detail, but when you looked at it normally it looked great.

      • Andrew Roth

        True. However the sensor used in the Z1 is the same as in their stand alone cameras, AKA a lot better than an iPhone camera. The Z1 is basically a camera with a phone feature added.

      • Kash Gummaraju

        yes they do

    • Chuck Finley

      Have you ever even used a VAIO? Their build quality and design are pretty much equal or just below Apple’s chops. I always used VAIO laptops before I moved on to Mac.

      • Charles Ditzel

        Very true. I’ve owned both. Sony’s VAIO products are very good.

      • rene

        there is some carbon case x1 sony or something that are really outstanding no even mac air get close to that

    • R4

      Sony is the only company which produced products with a similar quality to Apple. Steve Jobs loved Sony.

      • Anthony Antunez

        I agree, when they showed the new design of the PS4, I could only think of Apple being able to think of something better. Sony make beautiful products and I can’t imagine what would happen if Apple and Sony made a partnership and starting making products together.

    • Charles Ditzel

      That’s just silly. They make great, high quality PCs. The VAIO line has always been of interest to me and I have owned a couple along with MacBook Pros.

  • Matt

    No wonder why I always had a thing for those computers.

  • Stefan Djurcic

    One word: HACKINTOSH ;)

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      The problem with hackintoshes it’s the performance.
      Probably only noticeable to the people who own both. :)

      • Brady Nielsen

        The only times I’ve seen a hackintosh perform worse than a mac of similar spec is in battery life and if the hacked kexts aren’t up to snuff.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Is it really that bad? I have a MacBook Pro w/ Retina Display and have been thinking of building a hackintosh and while I don’t expect it to be anywhere near as good I’d still like to think it’ll perform moderately well…

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        It’s not bad. The performance can be good actually but can’t explain why but using a “real” mac I see differences. Specially with the UI “frame rate” when you move windows and other computer generated graphics… Maybe it’s something related with the graphic cards and hacked kext’s to work with BIOS because on real macs, all hardware are “controlled” by the EFI.

        Also the hacked kernel can bootleneck a little bit the performance and stability… this experience can be different from hardware to hardware… but sometimes even the closest hardware you get to real macs can have some issues.

    • Damian W

      Give me all the Kexts I need and I will agree with you. Just to find kext for my wifi card is impossible. Yet many people report the same wifi card works on theirs PC.

    • marcus1324

      OS X isn’t optimized for non Macs though so the performance isn’t that great.

  • wonderboydave

    it would’ve been a bad apple.

    • Jonathan

      Rotten. :P

  • Abdo Whyha

    When can we have OS X installed on Sony pcs?

    • R4

      You already can, look up Hackintosh

  • CJ

    it could’ve been a mid range laptop for OS X but still better buying Apple products but more people would acknowledge OS X

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      I don’t know why someone down voted you. I completely agree with you. Macs are great but their also pricy. “Yeah, well Macs are crap” was what one person told me this week. They gave sound reasons for their argument but mostly sighting the price. If Apple had a cheaper entry-level device that costs less than the Mac Mini I bet this person wouldn’t think this way…

      • CJ

        if they disagree how comes Jobs had a Vaio running OS X on their meeting according to Hayashi, means it capable of running it and no one can really judge since it never happened

  • Jamil F Ghanayem

    No please apple keep ios osx closed sources for your products

  • Ernie Marin

    lol I can see it now, The SOS X

  • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

    I always liked Sony Vaio computers.
    For me they were always the best PC laptops out there.
    (talking about quality and design)

    What makes a Mac better it’s the OSX. And some technologies like the Magsafe…

    Apple did the right choice to not allow Sony to use OSX because that would decrease the MacBook’s value. it’s bad for us, indeed, but good for the company.

    • Kash Gummaraju

      Sony denied Apple’s request

    • lolder

      u really need to learn to read dumb

  • niooong

    MacOS X not special anymore

  • onebyone_

    Great design, but…
    many of those had the same problem on hardware. the graphics chip after one or two years doesn’t work well, you need to do some tricks to make it work again.

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      Unfortunately we had a lot of problems like that with Macbook models from 2007 and 2008, using Nvidia Graphic cards and some problems related to the logic board. But like Apple, most of the Sony products have a really great lifespan.

  • David J Delgado

    Steve Jobs was always a fan of Sony, even dating back to his first tenure as Apples lead guy, right before he was ousted and he started NeXT. He always felt they paid a lot of detail to what they made, and he was infatuated with that. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that he would have wanted to strike a deal with Sony.

  • Ted Forbes

    I have owned many different sony products especially pro digital still cameras and HD DV video cameras, they never break down on me as long as I am using them. If I don’t use it for three months or so, something seriously go wrong with it. It does not matter if it is new or used it breaks down when you don’t use it for a while.

  • sn1p3r

    Sony is the only brand able to compete against apple in terms of industrial design. Take the vaio pro and xperia z1 for example, those are really beautiful devices.

    • R4

      Exactly, they actually care about design and ease of use unlike Samsung who just bloat their products with useless features and finish it off with a horrible casing.

    • Jason Baroni

      Now look at the new version of PlayStation Vita! This thing is really beautiful.

  • madmaxmedia

    Sony has a lot of nice hardware, but typically bad software. So Apple software on Sony hardware might have been nice.