Apple implementing Windows API directly in Mac OS X Leopard? (Windows apps on Mac without Windows)

“Quite simply, a monolithic kernel like the one used in Linux or most of the other Open Source Unix clones is inherently two to three times faster for integer calculations than the Mach microkernel presently used in OS X 10.4. That’s why the world hasn’t embraced xServes, for example, because for simple web or database service they are slower and serve fewer users. Apple has evidently reached the point where they need to trade claimed performance, — typically based on floating-point operations that aren’t a part of much web or database service — for real performance,” Robert X. Cringely writes for “I think it safe to say that whatever Apple’s overall strategy, we’re likely to see a new kernel in OS X 10.5, though the look and feel and underlying functionality shouldn’t change at all. Those who think the kernel change will have to wait for 10.6 forget that Apple has had parallel versions of OS X in development for years, so who’s to say they haven’t had a monolithic-kernel version running in the lab since 10.3?”

“Apple will most likely offer more than one way to satisfy Big Business’s desire to run Windows or at least Windows applications. I think Apple is sincere, for example, in their interest in allowing Apple hardware to boot straight into Vista,” Cringely writes. “Another option for Apple would be full OS virtualization like I championed last week. I’m sure it will be available, though maybe not from Apple, since there are plenty of third party applications ready to fight for that business. These applications, probably even more than running straight Vista on Apple hardware, could use the extra oomph of a faster kernel.”

“Now for the interesting part: I believe that Apple will offer Windows Vista as an option for those big customers who demand it, but I also believe that Apple will offer in OS X 10.5 the ability to run native Windows XP applications with no copy of XP installed on the machine at all. This will be accomplished not by using compatibility middleware like Wine, but rather by Apple implementing the Windows API directly in OS X 10.5,” Cringely writes. “The wonder is, of course, that Apple could even dare to do such a thing? Oh they can dare. Not only that, this is one dare Apple can probably get away with.”

“I’m told Apple has long had this running in the Cupertino lab — Intel Macs running OS X while mixing Apple and XP applications. This is not a guess or a rumor, this something that has been demonstrated and observed by people who have since reported to me,” Cringely writes. “Think of the implications. A souped-up OS X kernel with native Windows API support and the prospect of mixing and matching Windows and Mac applications would be, for many users, the best of both worlds. There would be no copy of Windows XP to buy, no large overhead of emulation or compatibility middleware, no chance for Microsoft to accidentally screw things up, substantially better security, and no need to even take a chance on Windows Vista.”

Much more in the full article, including how Apple can legally do such a thing, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sketchtrain” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: No copy of Windows XP to buy and no need to even take a chance on Windows Vista means no money for Microsoft. As we have always said, even as many short-sightedly threw in the towel, the war is not over. And, yes, we shall prevail. For the naysayers we trot out our favorite example once again: In 1929, Ford held just over 61% of the U.S. market for automobiles. GM’s market share stood at just 12%. Ford was thought to be invincible, with GM regarded as a niche auto maker. But, in 1936, just seven years later, Ford held 22% of the market for new automobiles while General Motors held a 43% share. No company is invincible. Not even Microsoft.

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Related article:
Apple ready to take back market share; may debut Windows virtualization in Mac OS X Leopard – April 21, 2006
Dude, you got a Dell? What are you, stupid? Only Apple Macs run both Mac OS X and Windows! – April 05, 2006
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005


  1. People fear this because of OS/2, but I hope it is real. I installed darwine on my intel notebook, and it shows promise, but has a ways to go.

    I would be more excited to see Yellow Box (Cocoa for Windows) as it would allow me to switch to my preferred mac development system to develop our Windows applications (sadly I work at a Windows centric company).

    This is all intertwined, give the world that is tied to the boat anchor that is windows a way to move to the mac without having to start over.

  2. What about the vast majority of Mac users who are using G3/G4/G5? What reason will there be to purchase Leopard? I personally don’t see this kind of a move until the majority of Mac users have switched to Intel. Then again…

  3. The Apple/Mac we love now would not be the same if their market share was over 50% maybe even over 25%. Look at any company that dominates their market and you will see complacentcy and lack of drive. For example, would you rather have a GM car or a Mercedes. While GM has a huge market share Mercedes has maybe 3 or 4. If Apple gets too big it’s over. Yes it needs to grow but not in terms of complete market domination.

  4. i dont think OS/2 is any kind of comparison, os x is an established OS and already has support so isnt relying totally on windows apps. wouldnt apple have to get some kind of permission from microsoft to use windows api? – i dont really know about all that just curious if microsoft would somehow sue big-time over this.

  5. I sure hope MDN uses all the extra ad revenues to implement comment editing capabilities here. I would like to fix my typos I find after posting, like the one above. Doh!

    Hey Spark-Eat It

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