Apple ready to take back market share; may debut Windows virtualization in Mac OS X Leopard

“Needham & Co analyst Charles Wolf is maintaining a ‘Hold’ rating on Apple stock – but has hopes that Mac sales will surge once the entire range move to Intel,” Jonny Evans reports for Macworld UK. “He expects the full product transition to complete by the first quarter of 2007. And he thinks that Boot Camp will be integral to future success. ‘Mac shipments could surge on the strength of the ability of Macs to run Windows applications,’ he wrote.”

“Apple’s secret market share weapon – Boot Camp – could be integral to the company’s future fortunes: ‘The driver of the sales upside will be the ability of the Mac to run Windows applications either through dual-booting or virtualisation,’ the analyst explained,” Evans reports. “Wolf adds that he thinks Apple will extend Windows support in its future Leopard OS by adding a virtualisation engine that lets Mac users run Windows at the same time as OS X. At present users can only choose to boot into Mac or Windows operating systems. ‘In our opinion, we believe there is a reasonable chance that Apple itself will build virtualisation into Leopard, the next version of Mac OS X, which should ship soon after MacWorld San Francisco in January 2007,’ he explained.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple themselves are dropping a big hint about the future of Windows apps on Macs. On their Boot Camp webpage, Apple states, “Apple will include technology in the next major release of Mac OS X, Leopard, that lets you install and run the Windows XP operating system on your Mac. Called Boot Camp (for now), you can download a public beta today.” Note the “(for now)” part. Having the ability to run “Windows as the new Classic,” as John Gruber describes it, along with the ability to cut and paste between OSes, it a much better solution than the choice at bootup offered by the beta Boot Camp. The only big question in our minds is whether Apple can manage to cut Microsoft out of the equation with something like a solid, working Darwine (Windows apps on a Mac without Windows) or if they’ll cozy up to Microsoft and use Windows. Just this morning, Robert X. Cringely says Apple is implementing Windows API directly in Mac OS X Leopard and they already have it running in their labs.

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Related MacDailyNews article:
Apple implementing Windows API directly in Mac OS X Leopard? (Windows apps on Mac without Windows) – 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


  1. I want to run a Windows-only CAD program that I already own (Chief Architect) but I’m holding off buying a full copy of Windows. I’m hoping Apple will figure out a way to let me install this application without needing to have Windows. Just not sure if I can hold out until ’07.

  2. I hope they DON’T use something like WINE.. unless Apple can offer 100% compatibility (or near as) then switchers won’t have the security of knowing their old Windows apps will just work. WINE is dodgy at best, and only works with a few apps, and constantly needs updating.

    The FUD spread would be unbelievable if Apple used a WINE approach. I hope Apple just provide a way to work with Microsoft to enable virtualisation built-in to 10.5 in the same way that Parallels works now, but perhaps in an even more elegant fashion.

    Don’t fight users’ needs, work with them. That means enabling a clean Windows installation on intel Macs and allowing users to install their apps seamlessly, reliably, and without any undue hassle or thought.

  3. Steve,

    “Who gives a s***?” Only people with enough disposable income to actually invest it in their futures. Methinks you’re a hand-to-mouth, where’s my next six-pack kind of guy, right? Return to your trailer and make sure that propane tank valve is screwed on real tight.

  4. I’ve been wondering if Leopard might be able to do virtualization _as well as_ dual boot for Windoze, maybe from the same/single partition on the HD. That way, if you one needs GPU acceleration, you boot into Windoze, and for all else you can use Windoze in virtualization mode.

    How about that; Totally nuts or a workable idea?

  5. Apple is rightly being cautious regarding the compatibility of Windows apps in order to avoid destroying Mac developers. Dual boot (Boot Camp) seems to be a good balance–those who MUST use Windows for an occasional app can do so, but most Mac users will not want the bother of rebooting, nor will they want to spend the $$ to buy their own copy of Windows. Honestly, no sane developer would waste the money to develop an OS X native app if Mac users could run Windows apps seamlessly with no additional expense. Seriously, any CEO that spent money developing OS X apps would be fired by his board, and rightly so. Apple must step carefully here.

  6. I personally would be very, very surprised if Apple included any kind of support for running Windows concurrently on OS X. I cannot think of anything that would destroy the market for native OS X applications faster. Why would Adobe bother the *large* task of rewriting photoshop for OS X when their existing Windows product would run adequately under this Windows XP virtualized environment? This would kill all major application support outside Apple. [This would be similar to what happened to OS/2 applications support about 12 years ago (yes, there were other factors).] Unless Apple is planning on getting out of the software side of things entirely and becoming just another Windows OEM who happens to sell iPods, this would make no sense at all. I cannot see Apple going any further than providing BootCamp and leaving the virtualization support to 3rd party vendors.

  7. Hope and Faith I think you need to give Apple a little room to maneuver here. At present the only chips that Apple use are the latest and pretty expensive ones from Intel which affect the mini (and potentially the ibook which probably accounts for the delay) more than the other machines. However the chip prices of those Apple uses are already about to come down and give Apple more leeway on cost and selling price. After all most of those its competes with are older less efficient chips. By the end of this year we will have a far better idea of relative prices between Apple products and PC equivalents on a more even footing. After all Apple can’t take a hit on profit margins for their present products by offsetting it against profits on older machines with older Intel chips as the PC boys can so even the comparison with like for like products still isnt exactly an accurate reflection.

  8. But they still won’t get sales out of the low end sub-$500 box market.

    I was disappointed with the price increase for the Intel Mac mini. The old $499 price point was very attractive. The market they are missing is Mom & POP, and more importantly, Grandmom & Grandpop. The older user needs a computer that works, so they can send e-mail (especially pcitures!), surf a little Web, and do a few otehr simple tasks.

    I used to recommend the mini to acquaintances of mine in that demographic. With the price hike I find it harder to do. Apple needs to produce a stripped Mac mini – no Bluetooth, no WiFi. These are features these folks do not need. Maybe add back the modem – these folks use cheap $10/month dialup, not expensive $50/month highspeed.

    While i agree with Apple’s philosophy about making the best, there is an engineering elegance to making the best on a budget.

  9. For those around in the 1980s:
    MS provided conversion tools, menu-compatilbility and macros to and from the market dominators Lotus 123 and WordPerfect. The original MS ‘Access’ (before the database) was a terminal dial-up tool to mainframes.Then, once Word, Excel and PC networks became dominant, the converters back to Lotus 123 and WordPerfect were dropped or not updated and Access dropped due to a ‘lack of demand’.

    Similarly in the 2000s Apple may try the same technique:
    Provide Windows compatibility through boot camp and visualisation, provide tools to compile Mac and Win apps on the Mac box. Get everyone to convert to the Mac since it fits in so well. Then later make it so much easier to just stay in the Mac environment.

  10. To Anonymous who said: “iSteve you need to install Darwine today.

    Um, maybe, but that’s a website that cannot even currently serve up its news. Why take the chance. As John suggested, maybe iSteve ought to pry $200 loose for his Chief Architect work rather than jeopardize his entire system being a beta tester for Darwine.

    Right now, the Darwine site says this: “The Darwine project intends to port and develop WINE as well as other supporting tools that will allow Darwin and Mac OS X users to run Windows Applications, and to provide a Win32 API compatibility at application source code level.”

    I added the bold to the operative word there: “intends.” Would you put your production security in the hands of someone who “intends” to get it working? Not me. Separately, Cringely is saying Apple is going to do exactly this, and has in fact already done it. While I have mixed feelings about the impact of such a move on OS X software development, I suspect it could be an outrageously good thing for AAPL.

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