05 April 2006

How big is "Bootcamp"?

I was thinking as I returned from a lunchtime gym session how quiet it's been on the Apple front lately. Open the laptop up, refresh my RSS subscriptions and lo and behold this pops up!

Suddenly, Apple have legitimised what hackers where trying to do (and raising prize money to do) just a few weeks ago. In a way, of course, it's no surprise at all. What I think is important is how they've gone about this - including stating that it will be a component of 10.5 going forward.

Personally speaking it's not the solution I'm looking for. While I would like the opportunity to run a couple of Windows apps, I would ideally want to do this without resorting to rebooting and the whole effort of running and maintaining a second OS (heh, even one is difficult enough to keep current and functional!)

But I'm not sure Apple is after that market at all. Rather it now offers huge appeal to users who have waivered about switching. The decision is essentially de-risked. Try Mac OS X. If you don't like it, it doesn't matter. Or use Windows when at work, and Mac OS X when at home. Or, person 1 uses the machine for Windows and person 2 uses it for Mac OS X. The decision comes down purely to the value you put on Mac hardware next to the competition plus the "insurance" cost of buying a copy of Windows XP.

I'm not sure at this point it represents a threat to Microsoft, though there are things Apple could do if this is successful that would heap pressure on them. It must be more worrying for the higher end PC manufacturers - I'm thinking Lenovo, Dell, HP, Sony for instance who now have a serious bit of extra competition.

There'll be a few conspiracy theories around no doubt - those who believe it's a step towards the end of Mac OS X. But it's not at all. It's a step which cleverly allows Apple to let a much bigger audience see what they've seen with the iPod - namely that vertical integration of hardware and software can offer a much better package.

The stock is already up almost 7% today on this news alone. So, Wall Street certainly gets it!

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