Apple uses Windows to make Macs

Apple uses Windows to make Macs
This would not be so interesting if we were not on the heels of Apple’s big (and some overblown) announcements at WWDC this past week, but public relations being what it is, social media being what it is, and image being what it is, Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent tweet extoling the virtues of American manufacturing does have a fly in the ointment.

Apple started making some of its Mac computers in Texas as part of a strategy for reorienting some jobs and business operations to the United States.

As Apple already had sizeable operations in Austin, Texas, expanding those activities to include manufacturing, along with Texas’ favorable business climate, was not likely an overly difficult endeavor.  For now, and the foreseeable future, Apple's US manufacturing will be centered around assembling certain lines of Mac computers.  There is no real expectation or indication that we will see iPhones or iPads made in Texas.

For a company with the scope of products and services it has, one might think Apple would have much of its own resources available to control the manufacturing process, soup-to-nuts. Despite its digs at Microsoft during the Keynote address at WWDC, even Apple is not fully out of the shadow of the company that rules the workspace.

In Tim Cook’s tweet about visiting Apple’s Austin, he shared a picture that was taken along the assembly line of Mac Pro. The people that man the line have iMacs that provide information along the process and what do they happen to be running, but what appear to be the Windows 7 operating system.

We have seen similar images from Apple’s contract manufacturers like Foxconn, but that was in Asia, and Foxconn does more than make Apple stuff. This is Apple, making Apple gear, using Windows.

Are we really surprised? No. For all their any given faults, there just some things you cannot do on some machines running a particular environment, be it Windows, OS X, Linux, Ubuntu, et al. Could the PR person, or Twitter handler, for Tim Cook have chosen another angle to take the picture? Well, yes.  How might Microsoft feel?  Free publicity and some sense of vindication would seem to be rational.

That said, we hope that Apple’s venture to start making stuff in the US, having moved such operations offshore decades ago, is successful enough that it can be scaled to allow the manufacture of even more of Apple’s products. It will not be an easy feat. Others have tried, and failed, closing up shop within very short periods of time. When offshore labor costs and regulations amount to literally pennies on the dollar in cost comparison, it will be quite the accomplishment to see Apple pull this initiative off.

sources: Tim Cook (Twitter) via Redmond Pie


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