There was a time when the most luxurious laptops around weren’t MacBooks. They were Sony Vaios, and up[on his return to Apple in 1997, Steve Jobs so admired the design and engineering of the Vaio line-up that he wanted to make an exception and license OS X to Sony for use on their laptops. And it almost happened.
According to ex-Sony president Kunitake Ando, Jobs approached Sony about selling a Vaio laptop with OS X pre-installed in 2001 during a Sony executive retreat in Hawaii in 2001.
“Steve Jobs and another Apple executive were waiting for us at the end of the golf course holding Vaio running Mac OS,” Ando said. But the Vaio team was opposed to the move, since the laptop was optimized for Windows, while at the time, OS X was just an also-ran. Now, of course, things are very different, with PC laptop sales decreasing at an alarming rate compared to Mac sales.
Jobs wasn’t just impressed with Sony’s laptops. He also loved the CyberShot camera, so much so that he may have inspired Sony to create the first camera with built-in GPS, saying “if this thing had a built-in GPS, I can record everything that happens [in] my life.” Ando revealed that “this idea of built-in GPS for camera originated from Jobs.”
Ando also says that Sony inspired Steve Jobs to launch his own line of Apple Stores. Sony was already in the retail space with its line of worldwide SonyStyle stores, and Steve wanted something similar, saying this is “exactly what we need.”
Steve didn’t love everything about Sony, though. He thought the PlayStation Portable — which used UMD optical discs to store games and movies — was a joke. “Discs are so out-of-date,” he said, with characteristic frankness.