By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Apple’s mixed blessing

Please pardon the lack of recent entries — there have been too many other things on my plate. As Mark Twain would have said, it’s better not to blog and be thought stupid than to blog and remove all doubt.

So nothing too heavy this morning, except to note that Apple announced yesterday that its new, Intel-based Macs will semi-support Windows, letting users boot up either OS X or WinXP.

Such a machine would obviously solve the multimedia problem I was whining about a couple of weeks ago. But I wonder. Even though Apple claims it’s not going to give Microsoft its unconditional love, doesn’t the mere existence of a Windows option reduce the incentive for software companies to write Mac versions of their products?

“You don’t need a Mac version — just run Windows” is not the sort of advice I want to hear.

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  1. Anonymous

    Dan, no. I think what it does is create an opportunity for non-Mac users to discover how nice Macs are, and how much better OSX is. Any Windows head who buys one of these is bound to get the courage up to experiment with the Mac OS side. And that will be how Macs took over the world.

  2. MeTheSheeple

    A 1.83ghz Intel Core Duo Mac laptop, with 80gb hard drive, 512mb memory, 15.4-inch screen and a snazzy DVD drive costs $2, offers a nearly identical Toshiba laptop, albeit with a lesser video card, for under $1,400.Anon 9:44, do you really think someone’s going to pay an extra $600, plus a $200 license for XP Pro, plus the hassle of installing a second OS and repartioning, “to get up the courage” to try the built-in operating system? I don’t think Apple’s going to lure many shoppers on such an expensive whimsy. This may make it more palatable for people that might buy Macs anyway, but your theory just doesn’t seem to hold water.Heck, lists 14 laptop computers for just the difference in price between those two propositions.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Sheeple: I suspect you’re right. I would think the Windows option is attractive mainly to people like me — Mac users with an occasional need for Windows. We’re at a delicate moment, though. I don’t believe Microsoft has announced definite plans to do a Universal update of Office for Mac in order to take advantage of the new Intel-based machines. If Bill were to say, well, Mac users can just buy the Windows version, that would not be good news.

  4. Anonymous

    MeTheSheeple [Anon. 9:44 here] – Believe it or not, my answer to your question is, “Yes, more or less.”For one thing, most current Windows users will already have their XP installation disc, so it won’t cost anything to install the Windows platform.And current Macs running OSX have shown they can switch easily between OSX and other operating systems. You can easily reboot my Mac and select OS9 on it if you have an application that only works in OS9, no problem.I think Windows users will be very happy with the speed and reliability of Macs and will be tempted to use OSX instead of XP because it’s impervious to viruses, very tough to hack, and way cool. And the graphics and iPhoto and iMovie, not to mention more specialized graphics programs, blow Windows away.

  5. MeTheSheeple

    Microsoft says it plans to release updates every two or three years, though warns the switch to Intel may lengthen the time. So, at least at this point, Microsoft’s still playing ball. Of course, they sort of did drop Internet Explorer when it became inconvenient.I’m going to try the X11 branch on Mrs.Sheeple’s iBook. NeoOffice is just a disaster, and now far out of date. I’m not certain how much Unix I want to introduce my wife to.Anon944, realize XP requires activision, so you may not be able to install it on two computers. Many computers (my Acer laptop included) do not come with an installable copy of XP. And even if someone doesn’t have to pay for the extra OS, they’re still paying nearly 50 percent extra for the Mac hardware.You’re also obviously running an older Mac, and haven’t been terribly in touch with changes. Witness this Apple press release which notes that, for the last three years, new Macs cannot boot into OS 9.Windows users are free to switch to Macs if they have motivation to do so. I don’t see why someone would pay another $600ish to explore something they don’t already know much about.

  6. Anonymous

    It’s true, my Mac running OSX but with OS9 included is at least 3 years old. I was just making the point, maybe it’s obvious, that it’s no big deal to have 2 OS’s on the same machine, and evidently some people used that feature as they transitioned from OS9 users to (very happy) OSX users.So maybe the same thing happens to Windows users if they can bring their XP security blanket with them.

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