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Apple Allows Windows on Its Machines


Staff member
Apple Allows Windows on Its Machines


Turning a decades-long rivalry on its head, Apple Computer introduced software today that it says will easily allow users to install Microsoft's Windows XP operating system on Apple's newest computers.

The software, Boot Camp, is available as a free download on Apple's Web site and will be part of the next version of Apple's operating system, Leopard. It works on Apple's three lines of computer that run on Intel chips — the Mac mini, the iMac and the MacBook Pro.

Apple's move is a recognition of the growing interest among some users in running Windows on Macintosh computers now that they are using Intel processors, which power the majority of Windows-based personal computers. Many technology enthusiasts have already been sharing software and tricks on the Internet to allow Mac users to add Windows to their new machines, although those approaches involve a far more complicated installation than Apple's new software does.

Apple said it did not intend to support Windows for customers who install Boot Camp and run Windows XP on their machines. Still, the company said it was providing the software because it recognized a sizeable demand — and opportunity.

"We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement.

Investors seemed to think the strategy would help Apple expand its share of the personal computer market beyond the 3 percent to 5 percent level where it has stood at for many years.

Wall Street was enthusiastic about Apple's move. Shares of Apple jumped $6.04, or 9.9 percent, to close at $67.21 this afternoon in Nasdaq trading. Shares of Microsoft rose 10 10 cents, to $27.74.

After years of stagnant or declining computer sales, Apple has seen a notable rise in its desktops and laptops in recent years as more consumers have purchased its iPod music player and bought songs through its online iTunes music store.

Though Apple's shift to Intel's chips from those made by I.B.M. and a former division of Motorola has been considered risky from a technical and business standpoint, the move could help the company capitalize further on the so-far modest gains it has made in the computer business.

Many personal computer users have been reluctant to switch to Apple, because they cannot use software that is written to run exclusively on the Windows operating system, said Charles Wolf, a longtime technology industry analyst at Needham & Company. By making it easy for users to run Windows software on its machine, Apple has taken away "one of the most significant barriers to switching," he said.

(Until now, users who wanted to run Windows applications on a Macintosh have had to run emulation software that tend to slow down computers and have other glitches.)

Apple "can say the Mac is better till they're blue in the face, but they've got to respond to people's concerns about switching, no matter how irrational," said Scott Heiferman, an Apple user and the chief executive and co-founder of Meetup.com, the Internet site that helps groups form and organize. "I bet some people will switch, because of the safety that this news provides, but they'll end up not rebooting to Windows very often."

The key test will be whether computer buyers will be willing to spend more money to buy an Apple computer to run the same software they can run on cheaper Windows-based machines from manufacturers like Dell and Hewlett-Packard. While prices for Apple computers have become more competitive in recent years, they remain more expensive than the cheapest Windows machines, which are often less powerful than Apple's basic models.

Mr. Wolf calculates that Apple's biggest market share gains will be among users at home, who are more likely to be swayed by Apple's design and media features, than among corporate and government customers, who will likely to stick with the cheaper hardware and software configurations they are used to.

The shift could mean an increase in sales for Apple over time, especially after Leopard becomes the standard Mac operating system late this year or early in 2007. But the company's gains do not have to mean big losses for other hardware makers, Mr. Wolf said, because they will only lose a small fraction of their market share.

"You are starting out with a market share of 2 or 3 percent and maybe going to a market share of 6 or 7," he said. "Apple is not going to take over the world."

Still the announcement was not universally cheered by Apple users. Some loyal Macintosh users are worried that software developers like Adobe, which makes the popular Photoshop software, will have less incentive to develop versions of their applications for Apple's operating system if Macintosh computers can run Windows operating system.

"I think it's good to have choice, it's better for the consumer," said Alexandros Roussos, a student at University of Paris and a founder and editor of the MacCulture.com network, a Macintosh enthusiast and rumor Web site. "But I'll feel sad if developers go away from the platform." "I love the Mac platform, I just hope I won't have to boot Windows even for Photoshop in a few years," he added.

Other Apple users were not as deeply moved, noting that software developers not affiliated with the company have already shown that Windows can run on the new Macintosh computers.

Running Apple's operating system on hardware from a rival company would be more revolutionary, said Raines Cohen, a database developer based in Berkeley, Calif. Mr. Cohen, who is a former reporter at MacWeek, a trade paper, said people are starting to experiment with that idea, though he has not yet seen a working prototype.

"My understanding is there is no significant technical obstacle and people have claimed to hack it," he said. "It's more of a market challenge to Apple."

Users who download and install Boot Camp must buy a copy of Windows XP software, which starts at $141.98 for the home edition. The Boot Camp software serves as an intermediary that creates an installation disk (users will need to provide a blank compact disk for this step) that lets the Windows software operate the Apple hardware, including its networking, audio and graphics devices and controls. Certain other features like a remote control for Apple's media software will not work with Windows software.

Once the installation is complete, users can select which operating system, Apple or Windows, they want to use each time they start the computer.

John Markoff contributed reporting for this article.
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room
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TRIBE Member
Also read somewhere that Apple is working on an API to let mac binaries run on Windows machines - seems like they are trying to make it easy for people to move over from PCs to Macs.

Let them run windows, and their windows apps on Macs
Start buying mac software, that can run on windows
then eventually a full move over to OSX/etc.


dig this

TRIBE Member
gsnuff said:
woot! 2nd generation macbook here I come.


i'm with ya... i know they're on "REV D" already, but i think i can wait till they make it official w/ a speed bump.... I'm guessing it'll happen in May.
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TRIBE Member
Wonderful, and all, but dual core intels are still not nearly as fast as dual-core Athlons. And anyone who bothers to do 10 minutes of research knows it.

So I give this a big fat meh!


TRIBE Member
oddmyth said:
can you get dual core athlons in a 1 inch thick very slickly engineered laptop?


My friend.
With the right tools, one can accomplish anything.

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TRIBE Member
this is totally cool but I'm going to wait for grabbing a macbook until adobe releases a native version of photoshop instead of going through rosetta conversion. currently the older g4's run it faster...
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