Intel’s built-in virtualization tech could be one way to run Windows on Intel-based Apple Macs

“Apple won’t stand in the way of people who want to run Windows on its forthcoming Intel-processor Macs. But whether or not users will be able to run Windows directly on the machines is still a mystery,” John G. Spooner writes for eWeek. “Apple Computer Inc. last week announced plans to begin selling computers based on Intel Corp. processors by June 2006.”

Spooner writes, “While Apple developers initially looked upon Apple’s choice to move to Intel processors with mixed feelings, the ability of the new Macs to also run Windows—a practice long since adopted by some Mac users who run virtualization software such as Microsoft Virtual PC—may be the fulcrum for the company to gain some new customers, ranging from computer enthusiasts to businesses.”

“So far Apple hasn’t discouraged the idea of running Windows on its forthcoming Intel gear. Meanwhile, Microsoft, sources familiar with the company’s plans said, is considering how and whether to support Windows on the forthcoming Apple hardware as well,” Spooner writes. “Although it has no plans to license its OS X to other PC makers, such as Dell Inc., Apple will not prevent Windows and applications that run on the operating system from working on its future Intel-based Macs, company executives said.”

“Even if full hardware support isn’t offered, there’s a fallback position for more enterprising Mactel owners. Virtualization technology built into Intel chips—desktop Pentium 4 chips will sport built-in virtualization this year and the Pentium Ms will gain it next—will allow the machines to be partitioned to run numerous different types of software at the same time. Thus, there is no reason the machines couldn’t run Windows or Linux and all of the associated applications on top of Mac OS X,” Spooner reports. “‘In theory, you could run Windows on top of Mac OS, which is how it works on Mac today with Virtual PC,’ said Dean McCarron, analyst with Mercury Research. ‘The difference is, with hardware virtualization, you’d be running at almost full speed. By and large you’d end up with a full-speed virtual system.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Let’s face it, Windows-only users have no idea what they’re missing and most are not inclined to do a several hundred dollar “test” to see if they really like Mac OS X… Imagine if they could feel “safe” in buying a Mac that can run their Windows that also happens to let them run Mac OS X. And we all know what happens once someone really gives Mac OS X a try — Windows quickly falls by the wayside. – SteveJack, June 10, 2005

Related MacDailyNews articles:
If Intel-based Macs can run Mac OS X and Windows, buying a Mac will be a no-brainer – June 15, 2005
Apple could use Trusted Platform Module chip to keep Mac OS X off non-Macs – June 14, 2005
Intel-based Macs running both Mac OS X and Windows will be good for Apple – June 10, 2005
Why buy a Dell when Apple ‘Macintel’ computers will run both Mac OS X and Windows? – June 08, 2005
Microsoft and Dell must have a lot of bricks lying around today – June 07, 2005


  1. yes, it is looking better, just as I told some of you on day one.

    As things stand, the only way you could be against it is if Apple does not hold hardware standards up where they need to be.

    And bigger yet, the only was I could be against it is if, deep down, I believed the OSX could not really compete against Windows.

    We know it can, why are some of you scared?

  2. This is step two in gaining marketshare. Step one was to build an OS and surrounding apps (iLife) that blows the doors off of Windows. Step 3 will be licensing OS X. The war has begun. The troops are marching. Microsoft better start working their asses off.

  3. The coup de grace would be for Apple to actually build an Office-killer. Now THAT would be a trick. I doubt anyone could do it, but you can never count Apple out…

  4. Virtualization looks to be exciting technology. It will lower the psychological barrier to entry for millions of potential Switchers, who know will have a Mac that can run all their familiar Windows app at full speed. But I’m sure once they begin using OS X, they will leave Windows behind very, very quickly.

    Still, Apple needs to play the cards right. The danger with virtualization is that developers will wrongly think they no longer need to develop apps for OS X since “Macs can run Windows anyway.”

    This gets especially dangerous if virutalization technology would allow apps to run in their own app spaces, without needing to run in a separate Windows “box” like VirtualPC. For example, you can run X11 UNIX apps in OS X in “rootless” mode, meaning you don’t need a separate window that displays the X11 desktop and environment for your apps.

    It would be relatively trivial to have Excel, for example, launch with its XP-style windows, menus, and palettes and the user never has to interface with Windows itself. At that point, developers could reason there’s no need to produce a OS X native version of their apps.

    Apple needs to make sure that developers get the Universal Binary religion. Developers need to understand that developing in OS X is leaps and bounds more productive, and that OS X native apps will perform much, much better than Windows native apps. And customers have to keep buying Mac versions and keep demanding developers continue to produce robust Mac versions.

  5. theloniousMac: I couldn’t agree louder.

    I have been scratching my head wondering why anyone finds this to be such an attractive scenario. “Two for the price of one” blah, blah, blah.

    Less than a tenth of one percent of all breathing humanoids who can pronounce “Apple” give a damn.

    This “feature” wouldn’t grow marketshare, it would reduce it. Furthermore, it makes as much sense for Apple as the idea of Pepsi offering Diet Coke.

    Please, can we ignore the dimwits who publish articles fawning over this stupidity? Thank you in advance.

  6. Knowing Steve Jobs (that sounds presumptuous, doesn’t it?), I doubt he’ll even let Intel put their logo on his machines, much less run their little soundbite over is commercials.

  7. “Intel inside. Fine. Just, please, don’t force Apple to play that stupid dink-doo-doo-dink theme in tv commercials. I hate that.”

    What bloody commercials??

  8. I HAVE to run some windows only apps sometimes. I am psyched this is probably gonna be possible and am hoping I can use it as leverage to get my company to foot the bill for a new laptop – this will still be a long shot but one with much more of a chance of success because of the move to intel.

  9. How can virtualisation possibly be a bad thing? There are times when in order to get something done one has no choice but to run Windows. It may not be all that often but it doesn’t change the fact that the situation occurs.

    For example there is no Mac OS option for getting maps into a Garmin GPS as Garmin choses not to produce a native app. Would I complain if all of a sudden I could run Garmin’s Windows-only app on my MacTel without having to invest in VPC (which doesn’t do the job for some GPS units)? Of course not.

    The banks we deal with out here in the boonies want us to submit employee direct pay files that are generated using bank-supplied software that only runs under DOS. Fixed asset management software for Mac OS X sucks but MYOB’s app only runs under Windows. Would I like to get rid of the sole PC in the corner of the office that is used to run obscure Windows-only apps?

    What blows me away is how a bunch of negative twats (theolonius mac and informed) seem to have decided what the “rest of us” want and need to do.

    There have been solutions to the need to run Windows on a Mac almost from the beginning. I can remember a box that we used to sell from a company called Dayna which latched on to the side of a 512K or Plus which provided an x86 processor and a 5.25″ drive.

    Apple themselves used to put cards into certain Performa models and bundled Windows with the units for gods sake. And then of course there was SoftWindows and VPC.

    So if it happens great. Consider it a bonus. And stop whinging.

    Magic word “trying” as in just trying to get my job done.

  10. Question, if the new machines allow you to run windows apps at almost the same speed as if they were on OSX, what makes developers want to write for the Mac platform? Will all future software be written solely for PC’s and we’ll have to port it in?

    Also, isn’t Longshot supposed to require all new software? Several years ago I read that it would be built completely different from Windows, be more secure, and would not utilize or run any of the pre Longhorn software. Does anyone know if that is still true?

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