PBS: How Apple is Using Open Source Software to Defeat Microsoft Without Appearing to Do So

“You can learn a lot just by reading advertisements. Next week
is the big MacWorld show in New York, and I have been doing some
intelligence gathering simply by reading the catalogs and Web sites
of Mac-specific retailers. Of course, Apple will be introducing
newer, faster models — that’s a given — but recent discounting of
the 350-MHz G-3 Mac with an internal DVD drive suggests to me that
we’ll suddenly see DVD across a much broader (and faster) range of
desktop Macs.”

“The most interesting ads of all, though, are for plain-Jane
233-MHz iMacs for $898 or some even lower price if you call the 800
number. These iMacs are refurbished and have been selling in all
the catalogs at this low price for months with no end in sight. In
an era of just-in-time inventory and build-to-order computers, how
can Apple have so many of these refurbished iMacs on hand? The
answer is simple. Back when the iMac was introduced, I predicted
reliability problems, much to the consternation of the MacFaithful,
who denounced me as a heretic. Now we have thousands, maybe tens of
thousands, of refurbished iMacs hitting the market. These are the
iMacs I predicted would fail. Apple instituted a 100 percent test
policy and diverted the bad boxes before they reached customers.
Now those early iMacs have finally been repaired and Apple is
quietly dumping them.”

“…So why make the effort? Why did Apple bother open-sourcing
this particular code? The simple reason is to harness the
testosterone of the Linux and FreeBSD communities, but the real
reason is to attack Microsoft…”