Ventureless Capital

Analysis and thoughts on the business behind the tech industry (w/ some Microsoft spin)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mac OS X on Playstation 3 might work

This Engadget posting:

Apple logo appears on PlayStation 3 site

... was rather interesting. Well at least until the reality check update explained the mix up.

Regardless, let's entertain the idea of OS X on Playstation 3... Consumers would win at the very least. I've certainly been thinking about getting a Mac Mini to attach to the 42" HDTV. I imagine it's technically feasible.

Food for thought:
  1. What could you charge for an OS X kit for PS3? I vote $249 with a Sony/Apple Front Row remote (dropping to $199 at some point).
  2. Does Sony still eat the full COGS for the PS or does Apple share the burden?
  3. What's the software licensing story? Does Sony get royalties for "PS3 X" software ($20+ a pop or maybe even % of retail)? Will you need to buy two copies of iLife... one for your Macbook and one for your PS3?
  4. What's the hardware/peripheral licensing story?
Good for Sony:
  1. It explains the ludicrously bold statements by Ken and Kaz: "ahh... OS X = 4th dimension!"
  2. It justifies the $499/599 price point (Mac Mini's start at $599)
  3. Big extra points in the "Xbox360 differentiation" category, particularly in the North American and EMEA markets where Xbox most competitive.
  4. Potentially a nice ARPU bump for PS 3 (think iWork + iLife + GarageBand Remix = 3 more royalties per unit)
Bad for Sony:
  1. Furthers iPod/iTunes dominance (Sony should throw in the pride towel, but I bet iPod still leaves a bitter taste with the old school execs back in Japan)
  2. Kills their PS3 music service story (overrated business potential as far as I'm concerned judging by the likes of Napster... so maybe not so bad after all)
Good for Apple:
  1. If they happen to be concerned about Vista, Media Center or Xbox360... it would definitely put a damper on Mr. Bach. Sidenote: according to ZDNet "60% of PCs sold through retail stores now run Media Center OS."
  2. Provides more sockets for their services. Another sidenote: part of Apple's growing Capex looks to be in data centers: is there more than iTunes and "iVideo" in store?
Bad for Apple:
  1. Cannibalize sales of Mac mini and iMac... unclear how much those products contribute to the ~$3.5 billion in overall desktop revenue booked in '05. (iPod was in the $4.5 billion range) Though... OS X on PS3 margins could be significantly higher than a Mac mini.
Looks like OS X on PS3 wins 6 to 3!

Better yet, imagine the potential of a Sony Computer Entertainment/Apple merger... combining the Playstation and iPod brands. PlaystationPods would certainly round out the iPod offering (just slap 12GB of that Samsung NAND memory on a PSP).

How would that work out for the rest of Sony? Not sure, I think I'll have brood on that topic a little more and leave it for a future post.

Oh well. I guess the current rumor is that we'll be seeing Linux + some Sony shell on PS3. Works for me, I like the PSP shell.

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