"MacOS and WinXP, live together in perfect harmony?"

Posted by: Peter Burrows on June 6, 2005

Paul McCartney couldn’t have been thinking about the Mac OS and Windows when he penned the first line of his much-parodied “Ebony & Ivory”. In the very remote chance he was, he would have had little reason for optimism that those two operating systems would ever be able to get along, side by side in the same PC.

Well, guess what: A year from now, when Apple introduces its first Intel-based Macs, there’s no reason it couldn’t happen.

In an interview today, Steve Jobs confirmed that while Apple has no plans to support or distribute Windows on its Macs, it wouldn't do anything to prevent customers from loading Windows. In other words, customers could load Windows and Windows-compatible apps to run "side by side" on the same machine with the Mac OS.

Who knows how such a dual-OS machine would perform, but it certainly raises some interesting possibilities. All those Mac bigots in corporate graphics departments would be able to tell the penny-pinchers in procurement that such a machine gave them the best of both worlds. Parents who need to buy the kids a Mac for school would still be able to use it to run their PC programs upon getting home from the office. "If you're a consumer that needs Windows for work but wants a Mac, it could be pretty compelling," says JupiterResearch analyst Michael Gartenberg.

No word yet on whether Microsoft would support Windows on such a box. But on the face of it, why not--if it would help Microsoft sell to the 3% of the PC market it doesn't already dominate? And if Microsoft doesn't do it, I bet some third party will.

Reader Comments

Toby

June 6, 2005 11:28 PM

Remember Toad Computers? Windows / GEM / MAC all in the same box, all running at the same time. Side by side.

John P

June 7, 2005 11:04 AM

a superstitious religious hypocrite? ME? Irrational? Show me a single individual as devoted to the Windows platform as most mac "bigots" as you call them and I will ask you how you coached them. BL - there are fundamental reasons why the mac "faithful" are what they are. I use both (modern) PC's and mac's and have never been more convinced of this.

McKoder

June 9, 2005 7:50 AM

I think Apple's strategy is to co-opt the PC. Let us say you have both Mac OS X and Windows XP running on the same box, and you want to buy a copy of Quicken. You now have a choice. You can run the Windows version of Quicken or the Mac version, and either version can run on your computer. Which version are you going to buy? Of course you'll buy the Mac version because Mac OS X is so much better! Over time people who run both Windows and Mac OS X will migrate all their software to Mac OS X and they will use Windows less and less.

What a great strategy! Apple has realized that people can't switch from Windows to Mac in one day, it has to be done over time, and in the overlapping time, few people can afford to buy two computers. The ability to buy only one new box and run old Windows apps plus new Mac apps on the new box is a winning strategy.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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