CNET: Apple’s Boot Camp is a smart gimmick

“With only a 2.3 percent share of the U.S. PC market last year, however, the switch campaign has a long way to go. It’s all well and good to be part of a self-styled elite, but Steve Jobs can’t be satisfied with those numbers,” Charles Cooper writes for CNET.

MacDailyNews Note: According to IDC, Apple Mac’s 2005 U.S. market share was 4% on 32% growth year over year, not the “2.3 percent” stated by Cooper.

Cooper continues, “Doubtless many people still refuse to buy the Mac because of a reluctance to give up certain prized applications that run only on Windows. So it was this week that Apple took matters into its own hands with the introduction of Boot Camp, a Windows utility that lets users of Intel-powered Macs run Windows. The download, which is free and, so far, glitch-free, ignited a veritable media scrum. For good reason. On the surface, it’s a can’t-lose proposition.”

“Apple’s not endorsing Windows. It’s endorsing the idea of Windows running on a machine that it sells. Most of the securities analysts who follow the company immediately upped their price projections. The stock gained 10 percent in the next couple of frenzied trading sessions. As far as the Apple faithful posting on the online chat boards were concerned, Boot Camp was a stroke of genius. Period,” Cooper writes. “Apple’s not endorsing Windows. It’s endorsing the idea of Windows running on a machine that it sells. But dare I say this aloud? Boot Camp is a gimmick. A smart gimmick but a gimmick nonetheless. Boot Camp functions as a security blanket for PC users who would wet their beds without their favorite Windows application. With one download, Apple removed any lingering barriers holding back the potential universe of switchers.”

“With all due respect to Messrs. Gates, Ballmer and Allchin, Windows makes very few hearts (outside the environs of Redmond, Wash.) go pitter-pat. Folks are not clamoring for Windows; they’re clamoring to run Windows applications. Do you think that once they get their hands on a Mac, people won’t be the least bit curious to experiment with the Macintosh operating system to see what all the fuss is about? Apple hopes so. The company won’t put it so bluntly, but it has zero interest in getting people to use Windows on a Mac. (No accident that Apple’s not going to support Windows on the Mac.) They want the voyeurs to take a peek at Mac OS and be seduced by all its charms,” Cooper writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Well, duh, Chuck. That bit of common knowledge hardly warranted the breathless writing and the “Dare I say this aloud? Boot Camp is a gimmick” headline. We – and many others – been saying it all along: Boot Camp lets potential switchers take their “Windows insecurity blanket” along with them where, after a bit of side-by-side testing, Mac OS X will win their hearts and minds. It ain’t rocket science, but we certainly believe that it’s going to work for Apple, big time. We’ve seen what happens when you take a Windows-only person and expose them to Mac OS X for a couple of weeks. “Once you go Mac, you’ll never go back” isn’t just a cute saying, it’s the truth.

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Related articles:
Apple trying to steal customers from Windows with Boot Camp by letting people try superior Mac OS X – April 09, 2006
Macs that run Windows will calm potential switchers’ irrational fears – April 06, 2006


  1. “With all due respect to Messrs. Gates, Ballmer and Allchin, Windows makes very few hearts (outside the environs of Redmond, Wash.) go pitter-pat.”

    Never has a truer statement ever been uttered or written in the history of the computer age…

  2. Boot Camp is nice, but aside from a few hardware and I/O-intensive games, I don’t much like the idea of running Windows on Mac outside a virtual environment.

    Sure Windows malware can’t access/overwrite data on the HFS+ partition directly, but wouldn’t that partition show up all the same in a Windows disk utility program? And if so, what’s to keep some future malware from deliberately targeting and corrupting that partition?

  3. Despite MDN’s sentiments…

    Apple’s plan is not common knowledge to most Windows users… I’ve already read more than a handful of Boot Camp pieces that are missing the point completley, most articles see this as nothing more than Apple gradually shifitng towards a Windows solution…

    I am happy that CNet has not missed the point and has clarified Apple’s position. Although, I would call Apple’s move as a “gimmick.” I would call it a strategic plan with an alterior motive..

  4. Apple may very well move towards holding the operating system functions completely on hardware memory. That would allow fast toggling between multiple operating systems. You heard it here first.

  5. CNET = CFUD

    Its not a gimmick. A gimmick implies that it doesn’t have any merit.
    In a way, attitudes like this do a favor to Apple because it creates a mindset where the competition doesn’t take Apple seriously.

    By the time they figure out what hit them it will be too late.

  6. I’m not so sure it’s going to be OS X that gets them. Don’t get me wrong, OS X is the shining jewel in Apple’s rich treasure vault, but folks who are used to Windows will still largely be intimidated by this strange new environment. To truly understand that OS X is superior, you need to spend time in it, and most people just don’t play around with the OS itself, they play with apps IN the OS. That’s where Apple’s true Trojan Horse comes into play: iLife. People will want to play around with iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto and GarageBand, and in doing so, they will slowly realize that the Mac OS hasn’t crashed, or that they haven’t been interrupted by the OS to answer some stupid question about updating icons on the desktop every 10 seconds. Now more than ever, I think Apple needs to go on the offensive and start advertising iLife on TV. Get those new Windows using Mac owners to boot to OS X and see how sweet life can really be.

  7. ndelc,

    I don’t believe that Windows users are gonna buy a Mac just to run Windows in a nice case.. If a current Dell owner purchases a Mac, it’s because they are interested in learning about OSX. If they’ve never tried a Mac before, they may be intimidated at first, but they will learn quickly enough… If they weren’t interested in OSX, they’d just buy another Dell..

    Boot Camp is just an added incentive.

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