Our good friend Adam Engst of TidBITS explores an interesting idea for the future of the Mac:
Instead, Apple could take FileMaker Inc. as a model. FileMaker, which emerged from the ashes of Claris, is a wholly owned subsidiary, but since the needs of the database development market differ significantly from those of Apple’s other markets, it has presumably made sense to give FileMaker more autonomy than other apps. Even if FileMaker’s independence is a historical accident — I don’t know what sets it apart from Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro, which Apple has kept in-house — the point remains: Apple could give the Mac division its head rather than tying it to the iOS wagon.
Spinning off the Mac has some merits, and though FileMaker provides a pattern for Apple to follow, it’s never struck me as the most Apple-like company, culture-wise. (And FileMaker is even more niche-based than the Mac.) As it stands right now, the Mac is still a core part of Apple’s business, even if it doesn’t seem to get as much attention as the flashy new iOS devices. Maybe if Cupertino decides it wants to move more significantly away from making computers, this would be a happier alternative than killing the line off entirely or licensing/selling it to a totally separate company. But I don’t think we’re quite there yet.