Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Apple-Intel Link and Boot camp: Choosing the OS on a Mac

Lots of eyebrows were raised when Apple announced in June 2005 that it will use Intel chips. Today (April 5, 2006) Apple announced Boot Camp (which caught a lot of Apple Watchers off guard):

CUPERTINO, California—April 5, 2006—Apple® today introduced Boot Camp, public beta software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP. Available as a download beginning today, Boot Camp allows users with a Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to install Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac®, and once installation is complete, users can restart their computer to run either Mac OS® X or Windows XP. Boot Camp will be a feature in “Leopard,” Apple’s next major release of Mac OS X, that will be previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in August.

“Apple has no desire or plan to sell or support Windows, but many customers have expressed their interest to run Windows on Apple’s superior hardware now that we use Intel processors,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch.”
Shaw Wu, an analyst commented that this could be major game changer:
We believe this is a big deal and potentially could be a significant game changer," Wu worte. The analyst said a key reason why Apple has not gotten more "switchers" is likely due to a lack of strong Windows compatibility, but now with Intel processors and chipsets, they are able to offer full compatibility with Windows XP on Mac.
"Additionally, with support for both EFI and BIOS for booting, Microsoft Vista will also be supported on a Mac," Wu added. "We view this as an incremental negative for HP, DELL and other PC makers as Apple will be able to garner additional PC market share."

What I found interestign was: (1) Apple has no desire sell or support Windows.. (2) this boot camp feature will be incorporated into the next release. So, Apple is serious about making its hardware accessible for those running Windows.

As Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal remarked on his column:

You can't run both operating systems at the same time. Switching between the two requires you to restart the Mac; the operating system you're not using is shut down. That makes switching a little slow, but it also means that each operating system runs like a separate computer, with full control of the hardware. This allows Windows to run at full speed and protects your Mac files from the effects of Windows viruses.

With Boot Camp, you could choose to run a Mac solely as a Windows machine, with good results. But Apple doesn't expect many people to do this. Instead, it assumes Boot Camp users will still use the Mac operating system and Mac software 90% of the time, switching into Windows mode only to run a few Windows programs. Some customers may never use Windows on their Macs, and just see Boot Camp as a sort of insurance policy that allows them to switch to the Mac without fear that they'd lose future access to Windows programs.

First Apple made itunes work on Mac and PC. Then, it switched to Intel chips. and Now, it offers Boot Camp and lets the consumer choose which OS to run. Macbookpro may become attractive for many users, I think--especially those that never considered giving up their Windows operating system. Well.. as long as viruses do not multiply or worm their way from the Windows to the OSX partition!

Apple shares surged about 10% on this news.

The big question is: Will Bob Scoble of Microsoft buy a Macbookpro?

The bigger question is: Will Apple let third-party hardware vendors such as Dell, HP, Sony to offer both Windows and OSX or will it keep that closed?

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