Mac Apps On Windows

Okay, as long promised (and delivered on time!), here is the story that no one else seems to be covering, but is the result of three separate tips that we have gotten since we started operations. More than a year ago, rumors started to crop up about this subject, using the codename “Dharma” (from Lost, for fans of that show), and yet no one has sat up and taken notice (probably because on the surface, things like iPhones and Mac hardware are more interesting to speculate about)…if you read until the end of this article, we promise you will more excited about this than any other Apple rumor on the web today!

First, a little introduction…everyone these days is talking about running Windows apps on the Mac with stuff like VMware, Wine, and Parallels coherence mode. That’s all well and good, as every now and then maybe you want a little Visio or Access or some other pile of crap not available for the Mac. Our question, though, is what about going the other way, with Mac apps on Windows? How would Apple do this? Why would Apple do this? When would they do it? What would happen if Apple did this? Sit back and enjoy the absolute cutting edge of Apple Recon, which you can only find here in an EXCLUSIVE report, told in our famous goofy style…

First, the how…put a quarter in the way back machine as we take you back in time to the days of Rhapsody. For those that don’t remember those times (you were probably too busy day-trading eToys, Avenue A and Excite stock), we’ll provide a Wikipedia link. You see, Apple once had technology called the Yellow Box, they even openly talked about it…it would allow Cocoa applications to be run on Windows (there are already some open source efforts to do this, with things like GNUstep (see the Cocoa article at Wikipedia for more info))! This was all technology that was inherited with the NeXT acquisition, and as Apple has recently shown with the Intel version of Mac OS X, old projects don’t tend to die at Apple, but rather to live a secret life.

Where this gets really interesting is that since our huge traffic numbers catapulted Apple Recon into the forefront of the Apple rumor sites, we have gotten exclusive reports that the Yellow Box is alive and well. Apple has nearly every Cocoa application they write running on Windows (yes, even Vista) in their skunkworks labs. Imagine the Yellow Box being deployable like the .NET runtime, or the Sun JRE; technically, they share similarities in implementation…just as you can run a Java application on Windows or Mac, with Yellow Box, you can run Cocoa applications on Windows. Connecting the Yellow Box to your application, currently, is a build option in the secret version of Xcode that Apple maintains to do this. In the future, such applications will be truly universal between Mac OS X and Windows at the discretion of the publisher.

Second, the why…there are numerous reasons why:

  1. Switchers – once people see how great Apple’s apps are, and start to rely on them for things like surfing the web, managing photos, editing video, etc. they will begin to realize “why do I need this piece of $h!t Windows operating system with all its security and virus holes?” Just as they have already started to realize due to iPod and iTunes.
  2. Irreparable damage to Microsoft – software developers are already frustrated with Microsoft (the fact that apps written to take advantage of all the new Vista crap won’t run on XP and 2000 for instance) and moving to Apple in droves (note the amazing increases in attendees at Apple’s WWDC each year)…imagine a future where you build your application on the Mac, and the same application works for Windows, too!! Once developers start moving to Apple hardware and development tools, Microsoft becomes completely marginalized, if no one is using its developer tools and building Windows-only applications, no one is locked in to its platform…and here is the Microsoft dirty secret…no one uses Windows because they like Windows, they use it because they have to!!
  3. Java for the 21st century – even today, Java applications are slow, and their user interfaces are inconsistent at best. Yellow Box solves both of those problems, Cocoa applications are by far the fastest on Mac OS X (and because of the lightweight and portable NeXT-derived APIs, share that same speed and efficiency on Windows), and if there is anyone that knows how to get the UI right, it’s Apple! Thanks to GNUstep, much of the open source foundation is there to bring this to Linux, should it ever become desirable for Apple to do so!
  4. Bring new developers (entry level) to the platform – anyone noticed lately that Apple’s developer tools are FREE compared to the $500+ for Visual Studio (and let’s not even get started on the thousands of dollars you have to spend on Visual Studio Team System if you want to go that route)?
  5. By selling Mac applications that are already written to the huge Windows installed base, Apple will add hundreds of millions of dollars in pure profit to its bottom line…not to mention other Mac developers (and can you imagine Adobe’s joy to be able to develop only a single version of all of its applications?).
  6. Being Intel-native means two things, both that developers need to move to Xcode to build Intel-native Mac apps (which will then “just work” on Windows with Yellow Box), but also that Apple’s job at building Yellow Box itself is much easier than having to keep both PPC and Intel versions going (of course, they will continue to have a PPC version for Mac OS X beyond Leopard).

Third, the when…this one is pretty straightforward…Apple will NOT release this, or even speak publicly about it, until AFTER Microsoft releases an Intel-native version of Office. The Office club that Microsoft wields is why the Yellow Box disappeared from the face of the earth in the first place years ago…times have changed, however, and Apple no longer is as desperate for future versions of Microsoft software on its platform. The Yellow Box will be seen by Microsoft as an outright declaration of war (as Mr. Ballmer likes to say, “developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers…woooaaagh!!”). You can expect nearly an immediate end of Microsoft software development for the Apple platform when this is announced. So, we don’t expect this announcement to come until at least Macworld 2008, once Office for Intel is already shipping and we are a couple of years away from the next release of Office. By then, Apple will have less to fear as it will have a current Intel native version of Office, there will be a fully functional Open Office out there (a Cocoa one, perhaps??) and for those that still want a true MS Office can always run it via Wine, Parallels or any of the other options.

Lastly, what would happen if Apple did this…first of all, it would end any fears of “developers stop developing Mac applications because you can just run their Windows counterparts via Parallels” because it would in fact cause the exact opposite to happen (build for the Mac, run on Windows…basically an Apple version of Wine, only instead of being reverse engineered by open source hackers, built by Apple itself); second, while Microsoft is focused on the wrong game, beating Google and building its “Windows Live” and “Office Live” Apple will come in and eat their lunch and crush them on the desktop platform (where all of Microsoft’s profits come from); and third, it will simultaneously bring piles of cash, hordes of switchers and legions of developers to the Mac platform, hurting Microsoft beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Now we know, one of the arguments against this is that if we give people Mac apps Windows, there’s no reason to switch to the Mac…seriously…think about that for a second…Windows is such a mess, its very existence is the reason you switch to the Mac…getting a bigger taste of how good life can be with Mac applications will only make more people switch, not less!

Looking forward a couple of years, you can quickly see why Apple’s future is so bright and Microsoft should be very, very worried. The best part is there is nothing Microsoft can do to stop it…the boys in Redmond can’t even get their own OS shipped on time, let alone bringing any security or innovation to the table…as already mentioned, they are fighting Google on the web, Sony and Nintendo in video games, Apple in media devices, Linux in servers, legal battles on dozens of fronts, etc. which ends up giving them too many fronts to fight wars on, and leaves them wide open for an attack at home. The Microsoft house of cards is starting to fall, and all those iPod-loving-Apple-fans are ready to say good riddance!

Ultimately, the only respones that Microsoft executives will have is to kill Mac Office (which will immediately get the anti-trust concerns going again), and if they want to have a prayer at holding on to a development monopoly, do the exact same thing as Apple and release a “.NET/Win32 runtime” for other, non-Microsoft platforms. But as soon as they do that, and you an run all your Windows apps on a Microsoft-sanctioned runtime on other operating systems…well who in their right mind would keep running Windows??? This spells absolute doom for Microsoft, no matter how you look at it!

What do you think? Post comments below, or send us your tips, …and of course, please don’t forget to:

Digg DIGG THIS! (each Digg brings more people here, who pass on more tips, which let us deliver more recon…it’s the Apple Recon circle of life!)


80 Responses to Mac Apps On Windows

  1. Ken says:

    Microsoft has already submitted the .NET Framework and C# to a standards body; they are already standards, and anyone can implement them. .NET can be used for either desktop or web applications.

    The Mono project has implemented .NET on Linux and OS X, if you speak fluent Geek. Borland already sells a C# compiler. It is presently possible to run ASP.NET applications on Apache.

    I’m wondering why Apple hasn’t implemented .NET. Microsoft certainly wouldn’t mind.

  2. coumie says:

    *IF* this is true, then wooooaaaaghhh! to quote good ol’ Steve Balmer. I think it could work, but before I or ANYONE with half a brain and who wants to keep his/her job installs this Yellow Box in a production server BETTER be sure it doesn’t cause blue screens. Besides, all MS has to do is create a random hotfix and BAM! everything starts to blue screen and “whoa, you didn’t put ‘Yellow Box on there did ya?”

  3. Steve says:

    Was this it AppleRecon? This is the huge thing? You’d better tried harder. Sources? Examples? Screenshots? Give us something so we can believe this.

  4. Tommo_UK says:

    I think I already wrote about this almost a year ago. I wrote about it, right after MacOSRumors wrote about it, which was reported on over at MacDailyNews, here:

    In other words, sorry – but you’re very very late to this rumour party.

    Anyway, this was my own take on the subject back in April 2006.

    “Topic: Red Box, Yellow Box, Windows Software on the Mac in Forum: Apple Finance Board Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:17 am
    I love the idea of a Yellow Box – an environment which would allow software to be written once, and compiled to run on Wintels or Macs by using a common toolbox and set of APIs in much the same way iTunes is compiled for PCs now, by using the Quicktime toolbox and and extended set of Mac APIs running under WIndows.

    I don’t see a problem with Mac software running on Windows making it easier for people to choose Windows over Mac: the DTP and graphics industries are good examples of where the stability and attractiveness of the underlying OS, not to mention the better design of the Mac both aesthetically and in manufacturing, come up trumps. Many houses switched to Windows to run Photoshop and Quark, but the fact that so many stayed with the Mac at all demonstrates committed to and enduring interest in the platform.

    I think the opposite would be true: applications that might not otherwise have seen a Mac would eventually be written in Cocoa (or XCode now?) and compiled for both platforms, increasing the richness and diversity of the Mac’s software base rather than decreasing it and opening opportunities for developers to reach new customers.

    People who want a Mac will always buy a Mac given the choice, providing their applications are available for it. Otherwise they’ll have to buy a PC. But people who prefer a PC as a platform (for whatever reason) will always buy PCs. They won’t buy a Mac for any reason, and don’t need to as virtually everything they need already runs on Windows. So they’re currently a lost cause, until they start preferring Macs

    So, existing Mac users (and new users attracted to the platform’s inherently more appealing and useable OS/hardware combination )aren’t going to switch to buying a Windows PCs just because some newly-coded Yellow Box apps are also made available for PCs. But they will switch if they have to – if an application they need isn’t available. Conversely though, Windows users not emotionally or professionally committed to PCs who find suddenly their apps running on Macs might well switch to Mac, given the opportunity to do so.

    Its more like a one way street, all flowing PC to Mac and not the other direction, in the Yellow Box world

    I think the idea of the Yellow Box is a real barnstormer, but Apple would have to throw considerable weight behind efforts to convince the developer community they were serious about becoming a long-term, dependable player and wouldn’t pull Xcode for Windows/Yellow Box after just a year or two of struggling to get it accepted. If companies are going to commit their code to an Apple-controlled software development environment they need to know it isn’t going to become redundant or obsolete just after they’re finished writing it.”

    I continue to believe in the Yellow Box/X-Code proposition, whereby you can write apps on a Mac, and compile them for both Windows and OS X with a single click, simply requiring an install of the Yellow Box APIs on PCs for those apps to work (which presumably could be part of the application install process anyway). This would encourage developers to use Macs as their development platform, and enable them to produce two version for the development cost of one, thereby adding hugely to the application base for OS X while they’re essentially developing for Windows without any trade off.

    Its a win-win for developers and Apple. It wouldn’t surprise me if, as someone suggested here, this might be how the next version of Adobe CS is developed. I imagine Adobe would be pleased as punch not to have to develop to completely different version of CS (or any of their new apps) and could simply streamline development just using XCode (although I recall them saying Xcode wasn’t ready for such complex apps just yet).

  5. dualsub says:

    dude, seriously. this is not news. it isn’t even a rumor. it is, at best, a hope. you (and perhaps others) HOPE this will come to pass. I hope I win the lotto saturday night. not gonna happen. see?

  6. JerMander says:


  7. me says:

    this is all you offer for your super-hyped monday post??!?!??!?

    god you are the worst spam blog out there.

  8. Andy says:

    I was hoping this anticipated rumor would pertain with Leopard.

    Nevertheless, this seems to be a pretty good move by Apple, although I am not too excited about it.

  9. Bart Lee says:

    So Apple would rather sell a $79 suite of programs to a Windows user than sell them a $1,500 iMac? I don’t think that’ll happen boys. Between the constant crowing about web hits and “Microsoft will die” fanboyism, you’re losing my interest fast.

  10. buzzin55 says:

    Buy iLife for windows, (50 $) and sync your digital assets via AppleTV even from a windows machine. Apple has to sell this pretty soon. It’s big business..

  11. Richard Neal says:

    You really ought to research a bit before assuming that the codeword Dharma is from Lost. See this:

  12. Richard Neal says:

    Also, why would Windows developers be frustrated with Microsoft over adding new features that prevent backwards compatibility when Apple is doing the same thing with Leopard?

  13. digitallite says:

    I’m not geek enough to know if the code will work but I do have a hunch about what would send the masses leaving windows behind. When IT people start switching, corporations wake up and realize their life would be easier on a Mac, THEN Redmond had better innovate ELSE… EOF. There probably is something going on like this at Apple but it may or may not see the light of day. If it happens we’ll say you got it right.

  14. shaun mclane says:

    So who won the used shirt? I said safari on windows, so that’s pretty close, right? The header does say, “Mac apps on windows.” So technically, just replace “mac apps” with safari (which IS a mac app), and I guessed not only the subject of the post, but also the damn title. Hooray for me!!! I love semantics.

  15. Dan Moore says:

    How does iTunes for Windows work now?

  16. So this was the big story?…

  17. SSK says:

    What a waste of my attention. I am going to unbookmark you.

  18. vlad says:

    Hmmm… I somehow recall the days of “DOS ain’t done ’till Lotus won’t run”, the horrendous problems other suites than Office had when Windows95 came out, not to mention the bogus error messages Windows 3.x displayed when it was run on anything but MS-DOS…

    Coumie’s insight is unfortunately borne out by Microsoft’s history.

    If true, it’d be a gutsy move from Apple, but they better have a rock solid implementation.

  19. coumie says:

    vlad: Coumie’s insight is unfortunately borne out by Microsoft’s history..

    don’t you mean …borne out by Microsoft’s unfortunate history? 😉

  20. Jason says:

    I really have to agree with the collective YAWN over this.

    If I CARED aout PCs – I’d own one.

    Chill out on the fanboysim, and I just might check back here…

  21. Switchwich says:

    Apple has and continues to be in the business of selling compelling hardware. They are a hardware company and bundle / create unique, easy-to-use software to run on/with the hardware. Its a total, tightly controller end-to-end package for the consumer.

    Running Apple apps on a Windows platform offers no compelling reason unless ofcourse if its to sell hardware. So, what are the current hardware offerings?

    iPod, Apple TV, iPhone — all of which are closed platforms.

    BTW, the Apple Apps running on Windows still needs to communicate with low level OS APIs (drivers) – which is were the real mess is.

  22. Robert Phares says:

    From Saturday’s post: As you saw with our post earlier today, we have a major story coming out on Monday, by far the biggest we’ve ever worked on, and without a doubt the hottest Apple rumor out there (and it boggles our minds that no one is reporting on it!).

    I guess I should have been skeptical when you said “and it boggle our minds that no one is reporting on it”. The reason nobody is reporting on it is because it’s old news. You bring nothing new to the table with this ‘announcement’.

    I don’t mind saying that you had a fan of the site, if only fleetingly.

  23. Doug says:

    This will never happen. Apple will never be able to overtake MS given the current state of xCode and the lack of proper developer evangelism. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of people are very content with MS development solutions.

  24. Joshua says:

    Kinda Makes sense as to why apple remove the word computer from their name. I think this would help apple in the end. Some people might see this as a bad move but i welcome it.

  25. Not going to happen. Sorry, but if you have Windows developers using the tools to write apps for Windows with the added benefit of working on the Mac then they’re going to work and look like Windows applications. Plus this would require Apple porting both Cocoa and Carbon to Windows many applications use both. Apple would have to port all of their graphics technologies over, they wouldn’t have the same way to integrate with the hardware.

  26. # Doug Says:
    January 29th, 2007 at 9:57 am

    This will never happen. ……. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of people are very content with MS development solutions.

    If “a lot of people are very content with MS development” why is there a “popular belief” otherwise? How did the “misconception” develop?

  27. phil says:

    meh, i did not even bother reading the post since the headline was such a turn-off. boring. old. i guess you’re not off on a good start.

  28. koolio says:

    This is an interesting concept but I don’t think it’s on the top of Apple’s priority list at the moment. I am in agreement with the other commenter about how Apple’s strategy is focused on selling hardware. And, the iPod has assisted Apple in that goal a la the iPod halo effect of selling more Macs. Apple has realized they can and will be a serious contender in the consumer electronics space (iPod. iPhone, Apple TV).

    Personally, I think Apple should make a huge push to get into our living rooms – the Apple TV is a good start as a 1st gen product but needs improvement in its functionality/features in order to truly be an integral component in our living rooms. If Apple can do this successfully, it will finally get consumers to think, “Ah, having my audio/video device in my living room connected to a computer does make sense.” When this happens, more Windows users will switch to the Mac. I actually wrote about how Apple can be successful in our living/media rooms on my blog.

  29. Jason says:

    Additionally – if this was such a hot rumor, or something a decent handful of people wanted, or even cared about – the other rumor sites would have picked up your ball, and ran with it.

    Right now, the best thing THIS thread has going for it, is people weighing in on this newsbreaker!

    Your next alert should be – Bill Gates makes a LOT of money!

  30. Reb says:

    I would like this to happen; but the Yellow Box was a native Intel platform version of the Mach kernel, not a Microsoft OS emulation environment as I understand the history. It would take a lot of work for Apple; but if they wanted to avoid the work of supporting more native apps on Windows, such as iTunes, it might be worth it. The game software companies are now having to program for so many platforms it might enduce a few to use the Mac. It’s likely to be a virtualization process similar to Parallels Coherence mode which will need to launch OS X behind the scene.

  31. earpick says:

    Ah.. There is some interesting info on here, but it’s wrapped in so much drama and wording that I lost patience on the 2nd paragraph. Then I kept scrolling, until I encountered another reminder that you escalated into the top of rumour sites.

    It’s cool and all, but you guys are way too caught up in this “apple geek fame” which is a non-existent thing to begin with.

    Blah.. Sad.. Spice the articles up with some humour, and don’t loose your head.

  32. Ethan says:

    phil, if you didn’t take the time to read the article, you’re comments aren’t valid or worth anything. sure, the article could have benefited from a better title, but it is pretty interesting regardless, even if it isn’t completely new.

    First of all, I don’t think that Apple Recon meant that this was a subject that hadn’t been covered, but rather that no one notable has really talked about it for almost a year, and they were surprised that there was no attention placed on this and were excited to possibly be the first to bring it up again and, most importantly and something that has not been done (that I could find), reflect on the effects this could have on the market and future technology.

    I understand that many of you find this a boring and unimportant issue because it doesn’t relate directly to you, but just because you don’t find it immediately interesting is no reason to bash on Apple Recon. Obviously many who have read and commented so far are those who are simple-minded enough only to care about the shiny special product announcements or rumors, which is ok if that’s all you care about. However to appreciate the views presented in this article you need to try to understand the overall market changes that this could bring about. It is a very important and interesting issue and I appreciate Apple Recon’s approach to it being weighted pretty evenly between the historical, technical, and market aspects of it.

    @dualsub: This isn’t a simple hope, this is very likely to happen, and Apple Recon has provided some good evidence to how, why, and when.

    @Bart Lee: Its not about selling $79 software or $1,500 hardware, its about Apple making their products more widely available, gaining recognition and brand recognition, and hopefully gaining market share through this. Yes, they might be more willing to offer the software now for $79 in anticipation of the customer considering buying a mac later because of their experience with Apple software. It happened with iPod/iTunes (I’m a real-life case).

    @Dan Moore: I think (and welcome corrections) iTunes for Windows is currently a native port.

    @Jason: Try to ignore the fact that this won’t impact you directly simply because you don’t use a PC.

    @Switchwich: I think most people see Apple as being just as much a software company as a hardware company. I know I do – their software is just as innovative and “special”.

    @Robert Phares: It is not that no one is reporting on this because its old news. Other sites and analysts should be dissecting this as much as they do other Apple products, as it could have much more impact.

    @Doug: How do you know this won’t happen? There is significant evidence that it will. Its not about overtaking Microsoft, its about expanding Apple – two very different focuses.

    @Martin Pilkington: First, Apple cannot let worry about developers making Windows-like mac apps prevent them from releasing a Yellow Box type product. Every current Mac developers is just as able to create applications that work and look like Windows, especially those who have moved from developing on Windows, and yet they seem to have adapted very well.

    Second, of course they would have to port Cocoa and Carbon, as well as much of their graphic technologies for use on Windows. That is what this project is all about…duh.

  33. Ron says:

    A few tips, AppleRecon:

    — If you’ve got a hot news story, don’t dance around for several paragraphs before you reveal what the so-called scoop is. You bored me half to death before getting to the meat of the story.

    — You need to jettison the computer-speak and tell us in PLAIN ENGLISH what Apple is trying to do and what the desired impact will be.

    I think I gleaned what this report is about, but I’m not positive. And I’m not sure why this is a big deal, nor am I convinced this will be the much-ballyhooed death knell for Microsoft that you claim it is.

  34. donahchoo says:

    You smoke crack!

    From the 2007 Keynote:

    “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.” – Alan Kay

    Apple is a hardware company. It doesn’t matter what you hope/wish/want. Steve says so.

  35. Dan Conley says:

    What a boring non story. It doesn’t even make sense from a strategic point of view. Nobody who uses a Windows PC moans about all the great aps on the Mac that they can’t use … they moan about the crappy, unstable OS. And no big-time developer is going to be crazy enough to just develop for the Mac instead of the PC because you know Gates and Co will be working triple time trying to figure out a way to cripple the yellow box or whatever the hell it’s called, just like they do now with Wine. This story had to be written by a 15 year old.

  36. Brandon says:

    Bleah. Stupid story, stupid hype, stupid commentary. Perhaps nobody else posted on it because nobody else cares?

  37. Bob says:


    You guys are trying to do good work… sort of put the proverbial foot in the mouth with this one though… 🙂

  38. DaveD says:

    Ethan, many good points. Too bad they don’t fit the proper context.

    (1) AppleRecon more or less hyped up it’s own article for a few days, and did it by comparing themself to other rumor sites.

    (2) AppleRecon labelled this as “hot”.

    (3) AppleRecon – tooting their own horm like they have always, despite such a small sample size – claimed that they had a scoop because nobody else was talking about this.

    But then….

    It present no “news”, only something everybody else talked about 1-3 years ago. It then added that it might be released… in January 2008.

    No news nor rumor be this. Interesting? Possibly to those who recently bought their first Mac.

    Oh, and one more thing… in the self-generated hype AppleRecon did they chose to talk about how accurate their predictions for MWSF were. Yes they were. Amazing accurate.

    At least the ones posted Monday. But DAMN, the ones posted Sunday were 100% wrong!

  39. Ethan says:


    Actually no I don’t smoke crack.

    Also, your comment was a complete contradiction. The statement “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware” puts more emphasis on software than hardware, but also conveys that the “people” in question create the hardware because it gives them the control and power they need to create great software. So really this quote from Allan Kay used by Steve Jobs only strengthens the idea that Apple is a software company that makes hardware so that they can deliver the best product possible.

    Additionally, if you consider their past, Apple never really relied on another company to create their software for them, but in the 90’s they did allow other companies to create mac clones that ran Mac OS. Obviously at that time especially Apple put more emphasis on their software than they did their hardware.

    However, I don’t think its as simple as just saying software is more important to them than hardware, or vice-versa. I think that both are the key parts of the company and without both they would not have the ability to create some of the best consumer products on the market.

    Taking all of this into account, I reaffirm that Apple is just as much a software company as they are a hardware company.

  40. Bart Lee says:


    You are correct, Apple is as much a software company as a hardware company. It’s the excellent blending of hardware/software that makes Apple products exceptional. However, they make most of their money on the hardware. If they released a version of iLife for Windows one of two things would happen:

    1. It would be as excellent as the Mac version. Great, except now you’ve removed one of the reasons to own a Mac over a regular PC. If a typical Windows user is using iLife and loving it on their current computer, where’s the incentive to make the switch? OS X? Possibly, but you’re taking away reasons to switch instead of adding them.

    2. It would not be as excellent as the Mac version. One of the reasons PC software has so many more problems with incompatibilities/crashes/etc is the vast array of hardware configurations out there. If iLife didn’t run well on someone’s PC, they wouldn’t really go run to buy a Mac, would they?

    Don’t worry though, it aint ever gonna happen, at least as long as Steve is in charge. Bye bye Apple Recon. Your “exclusive story” turned out to be simple fanboy daydreaming, backed up with no real inside info.

  41. alex says:

    I doubt this and have no reason to care cause I’m not excited to use Windows OS, I think Apple are rather working to make Windows apps work on the Macs because I want to run some windows apps not the stinking Windows OS but Mac OS.

  42. alex says:

    You guys remeber iTunes is written on windows for free because Apple makes money on iPods and iTMS so there is no way Apple write apps for windows not making money on hardware. Refresh your memory on how Steve Jobs thinks. He showed off a quote from Alan Kay that hes said, “…that explains how we look at things”. And the quote goes like this “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.” You guys this was less than a month ago don’t think Steve Jobs has changed his mind already. Forget this Yellow Box it’s never gona happen any time soon, unless there is a way for Apple to make money on hardware like they do with iTunes and iPods.

  43. alysonstrother says:

    I was so amped about your “big” story…but this was definitely a let-down. Also, I’m doubting the validity of the article. I’ll stick with and, thanks for trying.

  44. Shaun Mclane says:

    AGAIN……Who the hell wins the shirt?

    Are you guys so spent from reporting this incredibly amazing (lame) story, that you can’t comment or announce the winner?

  45. […] couldn’t happen to a more deserving company if Microsoft is, in fact, doomed. Here’s a link to the rest of Apple Recon’s article. Great job guys – welcome to the […]

  46. realtosh says:

    Carbon will NOT ever be ported. Cocoa is all that is necessary. Apple has spent the last several years getting all Mac developers over to Cocoa from Carbon. Carbon existed only to allow to easy transition to MacOSX from old MacOS. CArbon was a compatibility layer so that all the old software would work seamlessly in MacOS X. It workes so well that people don’t realize that it’s there. In fact, until recently Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop were still being developed in Carbon. They were such large applications with lots of lines of Code written in the old “carbon.” They only switched to Cocoa recently so that their apps would be Intel-native. There is no Intel-native Carbon, nor will there ever be. The whole point of Cocoa, which derives from the Next code, is that is is easily ported between platforms.

    It is entirely possible that Apple could do this. It is entirely possible that they maintain this Yellow Box current, as they had maintained the Intel native version of the Mach kernel, and kept MacOS X compatible with the Intel-native kernel, even though they weren’t shipping the Intel kernel, before 2006.

    So yes, this is all feasible technically – being able to release Yellow Box for Windows. It is not, however, a foregone conclusion that Apple will actually deliver Yellow Box or any Yellow Box components such as running apps — anytime soon or ever. They will only do so, if and when they feel that they may actually increase their revenue and contribute to shareholder value. Even then, they will only do so for strategic and technological reasons.

    At this time Apple is focused on getting their hardware out the door. It’s the hardware that pays the bills. And yes, Apple is also a software company — many would even say that they are the best software company. However at Apple, the software exists principally, if not only, to sell the hardware.

    The other thing that Apple is doing is building platforms. They have gotten a taste again of what it is to actually have a successful platform. Not since the AppleII, had they had such a successful platform as iTunes, and such a successful franchise as the iPod (see hardware). Apple will try to extend their reach into various markets in the consumer electronics space. At present, they have cellular phone and living room markets in their sites. They may in fact add others in the future, such as VOIP telephony and gaming. They will do so, if and when the timing is right, and they are prepared technologically.

    Apple could do Yellow Box whenever they want to do so. Count me in the group that believes that Apple has a secret lab where they do nothing but maintain Yellow Box, and keep it compatible with the current shipping kernel and APIs. I’m not sure they want, at least not at this time, to release Yellow Box into the wild. For starters, the two non-Apple flagship software suites on Mac — Office and Photoshop CS — are not even Cocoa. That means that the most popular and highest revenue producing non-Apple software on Mac is not yet Yellow Box compatible. That is, Apple hasn’t even finished their transition to Intel, at least not on the software side. Once Office, Photoshop and Leopard ship, then Apple will have many more possibilities. At this time, Apple is not ready for Yellow Box, even if it is ready. The other question is. “is Yellow Box ready?” Whatever options Apple chooses to pursue will be to further Apple’s strategy, technology and profit. They will not ever do so, just because they can; they will do so only to attain a particular objective.

    My conclusion — Apple can do Yellow Box any time they want to do so.. The only question is will they? And if so, when?

    I wonder if Yellow Box is one of the secret features of Leopard. Leopard would be the earliest that Apple can consider releasing Yellow Box ( as long as their 2 largest third party developers -Microsoft and Adobe- have completed their transition to Intel and Cocoa. It would be nice to see Yellow Box with Leopard, but I would guess that Apple would consolidate some of their gains before they extend themselves again. But then again, Apple has done some incredible things before.

  47. Gent says:

    I believe this is big news, but not for the reasons stated, or for the reasons many here cite.

    I think Apple is to the point where they would want MS to deliver the Office product, but it’s not 1998 anymore. There are options versus Office these days, maybe not as sophisticated, but people rarely use 30% of Office’s capability anyway. Apple could create a real competitor to the legacy Office product in about 2 seconds and pull a MS and charge 30 bucks for the whole thing. MS isn’t stupid and one wonders if MS wouldn’t think the Yellow Box is a good thing anyway. I think they could get used to the idea.

    From Adobe standpoint, they have already found out where their customer’s loyalty lies. They have ample case study. Given the choice of Apple with no photoshop or MS with photoshop, the mutual customers seem to choose Apple. Why else have we seen them scurry back with their Premier product. Again, with coreimage Apple could build a photoshop equivalent in about 2 seconds. Or they could do what they did with Safari and build it with an open source foundation.

    My point is, I doubt Apple needs to wait for these 2 companies to ship cocoa product before they announce a yellow box.

    I think the real reason for a yellow box is simple: interoperability with the iPhone. How the hell are they going to make the user experience outstanding while relying on Win32 apps for a calendar, address book, and email? They could do what they did with ITunes, but to build 3 world class client apps from the ground up is no easy to do. OR they could just dust off the the old openstep code (presumably one that has been updated over the last 10 years) and presto: world class apps. Apple wouldn’t even have to release into the wild if they didn’t want to, but they probably would.

    This would make much more sense than in my mind. It’s more fitting in terms of Apple’s MO anyway. They always do what is best for themselves first. I suspect the openstep software would be free, but any 3rd party apps would have to pay a runtime license. Would this hurt Mac sales? Yea, but since windows has 30 times the market share, Apple would only have to make about 14 dollars for each PC sold to match what they make selling 1 Mac (estimated 400 dollars made on every mac sold). The math could work, and probably does.

  48. peakaction says:

    I hope Ballmer will be flapping his head about this eventually. Listening to him talk about his competition is hilarious. It’s the kind of reaction a fanatic D&D player would have if someone insulted his custom scenario and then hid his dice.

  49. […] Mac Apps On Windows the return of the Yellow Box (Rhapsody, circa 1995 or so). I doubt this will play out as written, but interesting all the same. (tags: Apple microsoft markets) […]

  50. realtosh says:

    To Gent

    Thanks for your comment.

    Your iPhone example is exactly the kind of strategic use that I had in mind. Apple may want to deliver a platform independent software solution for iphone using the Yellow Box tools.

    And yes, they could do this without opening up the entire Yellow Box to all developers. I was just responding to others desire/hope that Yellow Box would be available for third party app development.

    Like I said it is feasible that Apple could technically release Yellow Box or Yellow Box components. They would do so only for the kind of strategic reason as the iPhone software example that you mentioned – which is entirely separate of any third party software development API that has a number of folks on this post worked up into a lather. It is possible that Apple could do the former or the latter. The latter is only likely if they decide to employ the former for whatever reason – iPhone or any other reason. And even then they are under no obligation to open Yellow Box to everyone else in order to be able to use it themselves for their own projects.

    Although, it is entirely possible that they would at some point open up their tools for many of the reasons stated in many of the above posts. IF they did ever do use the Yellow Box tools for their own projects first, having a super fresh and functional code base and sterling example of world class apps developed with Yellow Box built by Apple, then their chance of opening Yellow Box would likely increase, but then only after Adobe and Microsoft have delivered Cocoa suites of the flagship products.

    So yes an iPhone Yellow Box runtime could come before the Cocoa transition is complete, but a Yellow Box API for the third party developer likely would not.

  51. Gent says:

    To realtosh

    I know exactly nothing in regard to this. It’s just a wild a$$ guess at this point. My point: your guess is as good as mine and probably better and our insights (or lack thereof) aren’t really thant different anyway. We should know something in the next year.

    In the mean time, it gets more and more interesting. Look at Apple’s new take on DLLs. Openstep’s libraries were highly compressed in the old days. Perhaps Apple has found a way to improve the loading of libraries and bring the performance of the yellow box up to speed:

    Let’s see if WordPress allows for links.

  52. jaryileka says:

    You guys are setting yourselves up for a fall by ripping on the other rumor sites – it makes you look really stupid when those same sites are ALL right about something like today’s addition to the iPod family and all you guys are talking about are Apple Events that aren’t happening and running Mac apps on Windows which no mac person really cares about right now. I like your energy, but it’s a little immature.

  53. Scott F. says:

    Well… you’re HALF right. Apple is indeed developing it’s applications to run on the Windows platform – but not for the reasons you suggest. The clue to knowing why is to simply look at Apple’s new name: Apple, Inc.

    Apple’s insanely profitable, and it’s all because of the iPod and the iTunes Music Store. Setting themselves up to evolve into more of a ‘consumer electronics company’, Apple will continue to build some great computers. But the Mac OS is taking a quiet, subtle journey toward retirement. With Intel chips now in every Mac that Apple turns out, within the next two to three years you’ll see Macs shipping with Windows pre-installed.

    The benefits? Without relying on Boot Camp, Apple’s computers are now fair game for every business and consumer out there who currently lives in a Windows-only world. They get to ditch the OS X development effort (which has to be quite big and costly), their bottom line goes up, and they get to turn OS support over to the MS Empire. And the apps? Well, they all run just dandy on Windows – so Apple still sells the finest productivity applications available. And, once and for all, the great MS vs. Apple war is finally over.

    Mark my words – five years from now, this is how it’ll work out. And it works out great for Apple. 😉

  54. raggedyman says:

    I would not be so quick to minimize what Microsoft can do. I remember a long time ago the direction to the troops at Redmond was: “DOS isn’t done till Lotus won’t run.” I also remember IBM having a nasty experience trying to run Windows applications under OS 2. As soon as they succeeded, Microsoft came out with a software update that broke compatibility. They will not hesitate to destroy the Parallels/VMWare option for running Windows applications on the Mac. Gates and Balmer are ruthless veteran warriors.

  55. Justin says:

    thanks for earning me five dollars and a cheap laugh.

    when you care more about sources and credible (i.e. non googled) information, post something, but until then you’re just making rumor sites look much worse than they already are.

    while apple isn’t a “hardware company” anymore, why would they kill a business that obviously gaining in market share by the year? The Yellow Box is staying in the glass case at 1 infinite loop.

  56. Pale Musings says:

    […] article on Apple Recon poses some interesting theories about the future of Apple and Microsoft centered […]

  57. vkilla says:

    I would so run tiger,

  58. Michael Brian Bentley says:

    I believe that Apple will continue to use the currently proprietary cross development software technologies in a proprietary fashion, and expect third party developers to get their own. They support their hardware initiatives with cross developed software applications because they’re smart enough to decouple the Mac platform from these consumer products by making access available through Windows implementations of their software. Apple is not migrating toward a more free access policy, as witnessed by current iPod development policy and upcoming iPhone development policy.

  59. William Carr says:

    I was on the Rhapsody discussion list back in the day, and I think there might be something in this.

    Yes, there was the discussion of publishing some of the Yellow Box API’s so you could run OS X apps on Windows.

    The concept was attracting more developers to a common platform, and that still makes sense.

    I have been expecting Apple to release a Linux version of XCode for a while now.

    If you make a good programming IDE, and give it away, you will at least confound your enemies, and possibly smooth the path to gaining new friends.

    The Linux crowd are their own Evangelists. Giving them a Linux version of XCode, be sure to make it bulletproof, and …

    “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

  60. I Believe that apple will soon rise, but maby not dominate

  61. Vista vs OS X says:

    Do you wonder some times what would have been of Apple without the iPod?

    It’s not its computers, it’s about consumer electronics; I predict MS will buy Apple in the next 5 years when Steve Jobs dies of cancer.

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  63. Yawn says:

    Your Feb 20th rumor better be sure and perfect else you will loose all credibility.

  64. nizam ali says:

    At 50 and how the world and business have changed,those who think they can hold on to the monopoly will find that some day someone will show them a better way

  65. Secret list building software

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  66. photoshop 7 install on windows vista

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  68. dorms says:


    classic scorched earth…

  69. John C. Randolph says:

    “I’m wondering why Apple hasn’t implemented .NET.”

    Short answer: because it’s crap, and Apple doesn’t do crap.


  70. John C. Randolph says:

    The yellow box wasn’t shelved to placate Microsoft, it was shelved because what makes sense for Apple and what made sense for NeXT are very different things. NeXT was staying alive selling a development environment. Apple makes computers. Apple has nothing to gain from making life easier for Windows developers.

    I do expect to see more Apple products come out for Windows, following Safari and iTunes. To really be a contender, iWork will have to ship on Windows, just like AppleWorks and FileMaker before it.

    There’s no reason why Apple should leave *either* of Microsoft’s monopolies alone, given the fact that Microsoft today is utterly incompetent at software development, as the Longhorn disaster proves.


  71. John C. Randolph says:

    “Apple’s insanely profitable, and it’s all because of the iPod”

    No, the iPod is making something less than half of the profit for Apple, and the Mac business is growing by leaps and bounds (as is the iPhone).


  72. hi
    good luck

  73. Anonymous says:

    Windows is definitly better than MAC OSX. Microsoft work to make your life easier while Apple does completely the opposite!!

  74. junior devil says:

    I know how-

    1) because we belong
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    i sniff baboons wrists after breakfast every Wednesday silently.

  75. Anon says:

    open source will beat microsoft before mac ever will

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