Respectful Insolence

So now it’s all becoming clear what a major part of the reason for Apple to change over to Intel chips was. Yesterday, Apple released software that will allow the new Intel Macs to run Windows XP:

SAN JOSE, Calif. – To broaden its appeal in a Windows-dominated world, Apple Computer Inc. unveiled software Wednesday to help owners of its new Intel-based Macs run not only its own operating system but also Microsoft Corp.’s rival software.

Apple’s shares surged as Wall Street bet the move would help Apple grow its current worldwide personal computer market share beyond the current range of 3 percent to 4 percent by attracting more business and home users.

“It makes the Mac the most versatile computer on the market,” said Tim Bajarin, a tech industry consultant at Creative Strategies.

Apple’s new “Boot Camp” software, a “beta” test version available as a free download, lets computer users with a Windows XP installation disk load it on the Mac. Users could then switch between the two operating systems — using only one at a time — by rebooting, a process that could take a few minutes.

Users would have to get their own copy of Windows XP — the home edition retails for $199.

Apple shares rose nearly 10 percent on the news, raising its market capitalization to $57.04 billion — an increase of more than $5.1 billion.


Too cool.

This is a brilliant move. Even as dedicated a Mac-phile as I still occasionally have no option but to use Windows for a few things. For example, due to the short-sightedness and Windows-centricity of the hospital that I work at, I can’t electronically sign my clinic notes without using a Windows machine, nor can I remotely access radiology images from home using the hospital’s system. Virtual PC doesn’t work for the applications that I need for these purposes. Besides, Virtual PC is an emulator and it runs slow. It’s OK for word processing and other such applications, but not so good for anything else.

This has the potential to change everything.

Comments

  1. #1 Roman Werpachowski
    April 6, 2006

    This has the potential to change everything.

    … and turn Apple into just one more PC maker who additionally has the whim to churn out his own OS. They’ll get crushed by Dell and others in a few years.

    Apple is dead.

  2. #2 Orac
    April 6, 2006

    They’ve been burying Apple for two decades now. It’s still here and going strong.

  3. #3 skblllzzzz
    April 6, 2006

    This Apple-is-dead thing seems to have become a religion. No proof available, but repeat the Mantra of Death ad infinitum and hope it becomes truth.

  4. #4 Mark Paris
    April 6, 2006

    I agree that it’s brilliant. I prefer the Mac OS, but I, too, have to use some Windows applications where I work. This is likely to force me (at least that’s going to be my story) to buy a new MB Pro to replace the faithful GHz Tibook. My only quibble is that I wish it were possible to keep both operating systems booted at the same time so I could hot switch between the two.

  5. #5 Abel PharmBoy
    April 6, 2006

    Adapting a quote from someone famous, reports of Apple’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

    Orac knows of this PharmBoy’s frustration with Windows, a switch I made from Mac OS several years ago at the behest of a Windows-centric postdoc. My Windows start-up is so slow, I can gauge it on a geologic time scale and I lack the computer savvy to figure out how to fix this.

    If I can go with a new Apple laptop and still interact with Windows apps at my institution, I’m gonna be moving back.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, O Learned One.

  6. #6 Mark Paris
    April 6, 2006

    Latest reports indicate that Win on a Mac runs fast with no real compatibility issues. Some drivers are still lacking — like bluetooth — but it appears to provide a real path for dual booting.

  7. #7 arationalbeing
    April 6, 2006

    Apple has been able to run windows for years using Virtual PC. Ho-hum.

    What would be really cool is If I could put the Mac OS on a windows box. But Apple allowed other hardward vendors to use their OS and they lost a lot of hardware sales (from their their best customers printing/publishing) to power computing.

    So as long as apple insists on owning both the hardware and software platform, they’ll never be much more than a 5% share company.

  8. #8 Mark Paris
    April 6, 2006

    Apple has a business model. They make money with it. Dell has a business model. They make money with it. I prefer the Mac OS and Apple computers, so I buy Apple computers. Others don’t, so they don’t buy Apple computers. I think everyone is happy here.

  9. #9 DouglasG
    April 6, 2006

    The line between Intel based machines and Motorola based machines has been blurring for a great number of years. When Apple dumped SCSI and adopted IDE was the beginning. What this will likely lead to is Dell offering the option of Windows or MacOS. When this happens, Apple will likely leave the PC business. They will become a software company which they should have done a LONG time ago. They’ll probably still make iPods and other computer add-ons since there is money in that. But, there is not a lot of money (and hasn’t been for a long time) in making personal computers.

  10. #10 skblllzzzz
    April 6, 2006

    “there is not a lot of money (and hasn’t been for a long time) in making personal computers.”

    AFAIK Apple makes most of its money (on the computer side) by selling machines with a consistent profit margin between 25% to 30%. Not likely they will leave a business like that.

  11. #11 Spotted Quoll
    April 6, 2006

    ‘Apple is dead! Apple is dead!’

    Again?

    Not.

    Long live Apple.

    Here are my predictions, RW: Within about two years Microsoft will release a Unix based OS that looks and feels remarkably like Mac OS X. And Apple will still be here making great and sometimes revolutionary IT products, and lots of money.

  12. #12 Tara Mobley
    April 6, 2006

    Let’s see if I remember the quote right.
    “They’ve had ‘Going Out of Business” signs in their windows so long they’ve gotten all yellow and curly.” – Neal Stephenson, “In The Beginning…was the Command Line” Yes, he was talking about Apple.

    I don’t think Apple will be disappearing any time soon.

  13. #13 Barry
    April 6, 2006

    “Here are my predictions, RW: Within about two years Microsoft will release a Unix based OS that looks and feels remarkably like Mac OS X. And Apple will still be here making great and sometimes revolutionary IT products, and lots of money.”

    Nah. Microsoft’s only edge is installed user base. If they forced any significant migration to a radically different OS, that’d open up the floodgates. They’d probably have lots of customers, but not the command that they do now.

  14. #14 Greg P
    April 6, 2006

    Uh, excuse me, but this has been possible for years now with Linux and Windows — it’s called dual-booting. And it shouldn’t be surprising that the Windows works OK because it IS Windows.
    In other words, you make a partition that has a full-fledged Windows that you can run, or run the other partition that has OSX, which is also a full-fledged OSX. You just then tell your system which partition to boot from.
    What this also means is that someone can now easily also dual-boot OSX and Linux (if you can’t already, someone will soon figure it out), or maybe triple-boot OSX-Linux-Windows.

  15. #15 Graculus
    April 6, 2006

    This Apple-is-dead thing seems to have become a religion. No proof available, but repeat the Mantra of Death ad infinitum and hope it becomes truth.

    Somewhat like Apple’s market dominance “Real Soon Now”?

  16. #16 Kev
    April 7, 2006

    Dual boot is good but this is better :o)

  17. #17 Spotted Quoll
    April 7, 2006

    Barry: April 6, 2006 05:00 PM

    Fair points, but if MS don’t fix the ongoing and systemic security (and stability?) problems in Windows, then their future is less than certain anyway. They can’t keep patching like they have been doing. The only way they can fix these problems properly is to rebuild the system from the ground up, and if they are going to do that then using a Unix base is a very attractive option.

    Hence my prediction.

  18. #18 Kev
    April 7, 2006

    Not a chance Spotted Quoll :o)

    IE have recently been overhauling that ancient behmoth, Internet Explorer and as I’m a web developer I’ve been keeping a creful eye on the process – it was rumoured that they might just use the open source Mozilla rendering engine but no – they opted for their own rendering engine again. The new browser (which I’ve been testing for a week or two) will b better than IE6 but not as good as if they’d gone Open Source – they just won’t do it.

  19. #19 Spotted Quoll
    April 7, 2006

    You might be right, Kev. :-)

    Basing it on open source would probably reduce Microsoft’s market share, but it might also improve the quality of their products, and extend their company lifetime.

    The other option is that they do a serious rebuild job on the existing basic system and apps, as you say they are doing with IE. This is mainly a question of the money they are prepared to spend, because I am sure MS are not short of the brainpower to do it.

    Even though I am no MS fan, I am happy to concede that Gates and MS have played a big part in bringing cheap, usable, and relatively powerful computing to the world. I just think they could do a lot better if they wanted.

  20. #20 PlanetaryGear
    April 9, 2006

    Dont worry, this isn’t going to cause any problems for Apple, and despite what Cringly says recently, Apple wont be selling OSX for regular PC hardware. That guy has been really making some silly claims lately ;)

    It costs them almost nothing to do this, it’s a little firmware, a nice visual partition editor and a collection of drivers specific for the hardware in the Mac.

    It will serve as a bridge for people that are switching, they can get a mac and take their time upgrading their apps, or if they have a single app that is keeping them from switching they can now do it anyway.

    People dont switch quickly to the Mac because of virus and trojan problems because that heat gets turned up slowly over time, they dont realize that more and more and more and more of their time gets wasted each day just to keep them running at all before they have gotten around to doing any work at all. But they will. I always think it’s funny when we compare an OS that MS might ship a year or 2 from now against an OS that Apple has been shipping for the last year and they say that the one they dont have yet is probably better or good enough and will definitely have better security. When every example in the timeline up until now has proved them wrong. Guess we need some of that religion in the skeptics circle! And they have the gaul to call mac users a cult ;)

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