Jobs and Co. Do Windows

Discussion
Apr 06, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Who’d a thunk it? Windows users will now be able to run their programs on Macintosh computers.


Apple Computer, which has long positioned itself as the anti-Microsoft, rolled out a new public beta software program known as Boot Camp that allows consumers to load the Windows XP operating system on their Intel-based Macs.


Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, said in a released statement, “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. We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch.


Ted Schadler, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, spoke to The Boston Globe and called Apple’s announcement, “a huge departure.”


Still, Mr. Schadler points out, even with this new development, Apple is focused on their core business. “It’s tied to their business model: Apple is a hardware company,” he said.


Apple’s new Intel-based computers will continue to run Apple’s OS X but will now enable users to load Windows XP and choose which of the operating systems they prefer to use. Boot Camp will be available in its public beta form until 2007. A final version will be included in Apple’s upcoming 10.5 (Leopard) OS release.


Boot Camp is seen by many as Apple’s move to get more consumers to switch first to its computers and then its operating system. Walt Mossberg, personal technology columnist with The Wall Street Journal, gave the public beta a strong endorsement. “I’ve been testing Windows on a new iMac for several days and except for a couple of trifling annoyances, it runs perfectly, just like a stand-alone Windows PC. I was able to install Boot Camp and Windows XP Pro on the Mac in under an hour. After that, I installed 15 Windows programs, most unavailable in Mac versions, and all ran properly.”


Apple, which currently holds about five percent of the personal computer market, is looking to expand that share with its news Intel-based Macs and MacBook Pro laptops.


“Not being able to run Windows programs has created a hurdle for them in trying to attract Windows users who might want to move to a Mac,” said Nitin Guptal, media and entertainment analyst for Yankee Group. “The popularity of the iPod has brought people into the Apple stores, and they see these really nice looking computers. But it’s too much of a jump for them because they have to learn a whole new operating system.”


In the short run, at least, Apple opening up their computers to Windows XP should benefit Microsoft with added sales of its OS.


Kevin Kutz, director of Microsoft’s Windows Client division, said, ‘Windows is a great operating system. We’re pleased that Apple customers are excited about running it, and that Apple is responding to meet the demand.” 


Moderator’s Comment: What will Boot Camp mean for Apple’s share of the personal computer market?
George Anderson – Moderator

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9 Comments on "Jobs and Co. Do Windows"


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Ryan Mathews
Guest
14 years 10 months ago

It certainly can’t hurt Apple’s appeal to Windows users, but what does it do for all those Apple purists? My guess is not much. What does it profit a company to gain a few fence straddlers if it loses its core target market?

Ben Ball
Guest
14 years 10 months ago

And the key question is, “Will Apple’s core user feel betrayed at their loss of ‘exclusivity’?” Perhaps. But not enough to overwhelm the number of Windows users who will now be tempted to see what this “Mac Cool” thing is really all about. And in the end, Apple is all about selling more hardware, right? BUT — this substantially increases the burden on Apple to truly differentiate its HARDWARE. Otherwise, it suddenly falls into the same commodity camp as Compaq and Dell….Hmmmmmm. How good are your hardware designers, Steve?

Bernie Slome
Guest
Bernie Slome
14 years 10 months ago
WOW! With this question I feel as if I am in a time machine. Years ago, when I was in the computer industry, the thought process was that if Apple would only run software designed for the PC (that’s how computers running Windows/DOS software were referred to), they would be the dominant computer system. Apples were favored by anyone doing any kind of desktop publishing, by anyone who wanted a computer that was more stable, I could go on and on. The biggest drawback was that there were just not as many software programs for the Mac or, in the old days, Apple computers. There were many attempts to create software and hardware that would allow for PC software to run on Macs, but not very successfully. While this will probably spur Mac purchases, the big question is – what will happen when Microsoft comes out next year with Vista? Will the Macs be able to run Vista? That’s a question I would ask before buying a new Mac. If it won’t, then this has… Read more »
Herb Sorensen
Guest
14 years 10 months ago
This looks like the first major “direct to the consumer” benefit of the antitrust legal action against Microsoft. When IBM tried a dual boot OS/2-Windows system, Microsoft killed it by delaying IBM’s access to crucial Windows upgrades as punishment. However, the world has dangerously changed for Microsoft, just as it did for IBM a decade earlier, with their own antitrust troubles. However, there is/was a cultural difference to how IBM and Microsoft responded to their situations. IBM, as an institution, became more risk averse in challenging their competition and the legal authorities. The company might have gotten beaten into the ground if Gerstner had not transformed the company into a service business, earning their real profits on selling consulting and support services, with hardware and software simply being the entry for their minions. Microsoft has taken a more aggressive approach, continuing to push their adversaries, legal and business, to somewhere near the limit. With the growth of Apple as a significant market for, for example, Microsoft Word, we are now going to see Apple positioned… Read more »
Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 10 months ago

I agree with Jeff Weitzman. I remember the dual operating system days of yore and there was minimal impact. My impression: “Once someone buys a Mac, they never go back.” News stories about the ever-escalating millions of code lines in Windows releases just reinforce the sad image: Microsoft products aren’t reliable, invite viruses, so they require excessive support. When it owned its market, GM was the most profitable manufacturer in the world. It made unreliable products and tried to fill every market niche. It took 2 generations, but it was beaten by competitors who made sure they were superior, one niche at a time. Mies van der Rohe said, “Less is more.” All Microsoft needs to do is release a bullet-proof reliable product that’s easy to use. No additional features are needed. And the threat from Linux and Apple will be minimized. Yes, both systems have tiny market shares. Once upon a time, so did Toyopet.

Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
14 years 10 months ago
Speaking as one who is typing this on a MacBook Pro that is now capable of booting into Windows XP via Boot Camp, let me say that you will hear a lot of talk about this for the next week, and very little of it will be on the mark. 1) This is not the first time Macs have booted Windows. Apple made an Intel card for Macs back in the early 90’s that even shipped with Windows. So hell is not freezing over. Mac users will not suddenly start running Windows all the time. Buying a Mac in the first place is practically an act of faith–we are not unfamiliar with the Windows experience; we have rejected it. Vista is unlikely to change that and, yes, Apple will be able to make Vista run on Macs. 2) Apple is not selling Windows computers–it is not suddenly a commodity computer. It is the only way to run Mac OS X (legally at least) and that is what you buy one for. Sure, a few people… Read more »
Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
14 years 10 months ago
George, thanks for the slow one right down the middle. There is no doubt that the ability to run Windows will help Apple PC sales. With all the buzz around the iPod, they will have a great opportunity to make an impression on consumers. Just as importantly, they will have taken down the last obstacle to their entry into the corporate environment. I don’t how the networking piece works, so I don’t know if they will “play nicely on the LAN” but, assuming they do, many companies will now consider the Apple hardware as an alternative. Many of the popular Windows Applications such as Word and Excel already had OS X versions, it was the more esoteric applications like Access and Publisher, along with the full blown version of Outlook that were popular in the corporate environment but not available on OS X that are now executable on the new Mac using Boot Camp. The challenge is that the machine must operate in an “either/or” mode so I don’t know if all the corporate requirements… Read more »
Mark Barnhouse
Guest
Mark Barnhouse
14 years 10 months ago
Several of the Mac and PC boards I looked at yesterday pointed out that every Mac user, despite their love of OS X, sometimes MUST run a Windows-based program of some kind, for work or personal use. What Boot Camp does is two things: 1.) it allows traditional Mac users to keep just one computer, instead of having to own two; 2.) it makes high-end products from other manufacturers suddenly a lot less compelling–Intel Macs can now run the inferior Windows XP (and, I’d bet, Vista, within six months of its eventual release, if not right at release) if absolutely necessary, but they can’t run the superior OS X. But since this is a RETAIL board, I also have to say: Apple will have to accelerate their store openings. Already, the two open in the Denver area are unpleasantly busy every time I go into them, and even with two more opening here in the next several months, that won’t change. That level of business is primarily due to the iPod, of course, but as… Read more »
Tim Duthie
Guest
Tim Duthie
14 years 10 months ago

I think this is a great move for Apple. The computer division has struggled for the last number of years and the popularity of the iPod has given resurgence to the Apple brand.

There is a risk that the Apple “purists” will feel jaded by this move, but where else are they going to go? Their beloved Apple will still run the Mac OS they so dearly love. The Apple brand will be strengthened if the use of the Mac OS increases. If usage increases, the likelihood that the Mac will live on increases.

After the “purists” get over it, is there really a downside?

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