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Steve Jobs wanted Sony VAIOs to run Mac's operating system

Joseph Volpe, @jrvolpe
February 5, 2014
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If Steve Jobs had gotten his way, that VAIO in your lap could've been running OS X, Apple's operating system. It sounds like fiction, but consider the source: former Sony president Kunitake Ando. The revelation, which stems from an interview Ando gave to Japanese journalist Nobuyuki Hayashi in 2011, highlights the close relationship Jobs reportedly shared with Sony's co-founder Akio Morita -- a relationship that led Jobs to make an exception to Apple's walled off ecosystem. And according to Ando, it was on a 2001 golf trip in Hawaii that Jobs decided to surprise Sony executives with a version of Mac OS X running on a VAIO, four years before the Intel transition was made public.

As we all now know, that Apple/Sony partnership wasn't meant to be. For Sony, the proposal was simply a case of bad timing, as it ran counter to not only the success the VAIO line was experiencing at the time, but also the wishes of its engineering team. After having spent so much time optimizing VAIO for Windows, Ando says Sony's engineering team saw OS X on VAIO as a diversion of resources and were "opposed [to] asking 'if it is worth it'." It was because of these two factors that Sony never pursued the prospect of Mac-compatible VAIOs any further.

While we'll never know the impact Mac-compatible VAIOs would've had on Sony's bottomline today, the news does come at an odd time for the struggling Japanese tech giant. Recently, its VAIO PC division's been surrounded by rumors of a possible sale; rumors Sony isn't exactly dismissing as inaccurate. And with Sony now looking to home entertainment and gaming as two key areas for growth, that potential sale seems right in line with the company's current strategy.

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