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These days, the very thought of finding Mac OS X on a machine that wasn't designed by the folks in Cupertino seems a bit like heresy. But according to an interview with former Sony president Kunitake Ando, reports Japanese journalist Noboyuki Hayashi (via AppleInsider), that almost wasn't the case. Indeed, if Steve Jobs (of all people) had has his way back in 2001, Sony's Vaio would have also run Mac OS.
That knowledge comes as a surprise because Jobs himself was notoriously against having Mac OS on other systems, to the point that he shut down the Mac Clone program upon his return to the company he founded. But Jobs loved the Vaio, so the interview goes, so much that he once greeted Sony executives vacationing in Hawaii with a Vaio running Mac OS.
According to Hayashi, the operating system that executives saw that day was likely an early Intel-compatible version of OS X, which wouldn't bring about Apple's shift away from PowerPC chips until 2005. Jobs was willing to make an exception to one of his core rules for the then-luxurious Vaio, and Sony executives were prepared to listen.
Jobs visited Sony so frequently, in fact, that it's thought that he's the reason why Sony started putting GPS chips in its cameras and (eventually) ditched discs for the PlayStation Portable (PSP). On the flip side, Jobs may have been inspired by Sony's SonyStyle shops while developing the retail Apple Store experience.
Why didn't it work out? Quite simply, Apple at the time wasn't the technological juggernaut it is today, and the Vaio team had already finished optimizing the sleek machine for Windows. And that was that. In Hayashi's words, "most of the Vaio team opposed asking 'if it is worth it.'"
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.