Apple’s Boot Camp and the Myth of Mac Software Availability

“Since its beginnings, the Mac has been discounted—saddled with the claim that there’s a lack of native software when compared to the X86 PC platform,” David Morgenstern writes for eWeek. “Now, Apple and a growing number of virtualization vendors are pitching Windows compatibility solutions to the Mac masses. The rub? Most Mac users won’t need any of these Windows programs.”

“Still, the choices for running Windows on the Mac keep expanding. Apple and virtualization vendors keep refining their different approaches,” Morgenstern writes. “On Sept. 20, Parallels released RC Build 1898 of its Desktop for Mac v2.2 virtualization software. According to the company, the update includes performance optimizations; compatibility with the forthcoming OS X v10.5, called ‘Leopard,’ and Windows Vista; and support for a wider range of USB devices.David Morgenstern writes for eWeek.”

Morgenstern writes, “Apple and virtualization vendors are busy marching forward with improved support for running Windows XP and Vista on Intel Macs. But are there really so few native solutions that Mac users must resort to Windows? Or is something else going on? …When I researched a rather vertical niche segment the other day, I found that the Mac software field isn’t such a wasteland. Instead, there were plenty of choices for free and commercial software. The real problem came down to the difficulty in finding the Mac versions.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple does need to do a better job helping users find Mac applications. The best they have to offer isn’t as useful as it should be, as Morgenstern points out. See Apple’s “Macintosh products Guide” here.

Related MacDailyNews article:
Will developers stop writing Mac applications if Apple ‘Macintel’ computers can run Windows? – June 08, 2005


  1. Perfect timing for this article — just got hit with a diagnosis of the Big D (diabetes) and was wondering about tracking software; just downloaded the free Logbook and a 7-day trial of the Calorie King software…

    I mentioned yesterday that one of my local Apple Stores had relegated the Mac software to a small corner in the back of the store; when one can go to Fry’s and see row after row of PC software, it’s easy to think that you can’t do anything on a Mac, so you’d better stick with a PC.

  2. Stories like this point out how important it is that Mac regularly point out that Macs can now run more software than PCs. It’s an undeniable fact now that they can run everything a Windows PC can run plus all Mac software!

  3. Not a bad article. Mac users DON”T WANT TO RUN WINDOWS and his comments are on the money. We do it because in some instances we don’t have choice. There is no mac equivalent for Exchange (he is right again). There are still many industries that have 0 interest in the Mac (right again). That is in my opinion the #1 reason why Windows rules the world. MS is super aggresive with developers. I’d love to see Apple donate assistance/money to some companies to develop Mac versions of their produts (Real state listings, Autocad come to mind)

    It is also a fact that sometimes it is VERY hard to find out about availability of some mac apps. Try software that comes with a device, real state, biz planning, to name a few.

    I’d like to see Apple improve its search capabilities to faciliate finding apps on its site.

  4. Finding Mac software is difficult… Right! I just took a peek at Amazon, that tiny little internet reseller that a few people have undoubtedly heard of. In the Mac software section, there are 620 items listed in the “Business and Office Management” category alone. There are 877 items in the “Graphics” section and 840 items in “Education and Reference.” What do people want?

    As anyone knows who has tried it, shopping at Amazon (and many other online retailers) has many advantages to shopping in local stores. Selection is one benefit; product information (including customer reviews) is another big one. In most local stores, nobody knows nothing even if you can find what you’re looking for.

    Hard to find? I don’t think so.

  5. “Stories like this point out how important it is that Mac regularly point out that Macs can now run more software than PCs. It’s an undeniable fact now that they can run everything a Windows PC can run plus all Mac software!”

    You’re right, really there’s only one piece of Apple software you need – Boot Camp.

  6. I only meant to point out that Macs users can now claim correctly that Macs can run more software than PCs. I would never actually use PC software for anything of any importance, but it’s good to be able to make the claim, if only from a marketing perspective.

  7. “Mac OS X 10.5 better run all of Windows software natively or else.”

    When will this idea be shot and put out of its misery? There are a lot of bad reasons for “native Windows support” in OS X. Number one, the Mac has yet to be exploited by a virus or trojan in its 5 years of commercial existence. Native Windows support will suddenly make the Mac vulnerable to attacks by Windows virus, of which there are more than 114,000.

    This ALONE should be enough of a reason to kill “native Windows support.”

    Secondly, supporting Windows natively undermines Mac developers. Adobe really would have no reason to put out a Mac version of Photoshop if Windows Photoshop runs perfectly well out of the box. Anybody who thinks otherwise is smoking something strong.

    How does one explain Boot Camp then? Because Boot Camp makes it convenient to run Windows on a Mac, but users still have to jump through some hoops to do it, including paying for a bona fide version of Windows. Boot Camp is merely intended to eliminate the barrier of entry into the Mac world, and has just enough inconvenience that people will just start using OS X exclusively after a period of time.

    Finally, native Windows support means that Apple will then have to invest a huge amount of resources making sure Windows compatability is always there. Every time Microsoft releases new critical updates, Apple will have to test OS X to make sure native Windows support isn’t broken. The idea that Apple would hitch its fortunes to Microsoft’s OS proficiency is absolutely ridiculous.

    Please, someone shoot this idea in the head for good and put it out of its misery.

  8. Most of the software I like runs on the Mac or is Mac only (iLife, FinalCut, DVD Studio Pro, etc…). I also like the Mac environment over Windows.

    That being said, there are a couple of programs that are Windows only that I use from time to time on my MacBook Pro. One of them is a game for which there is no OS X equal (GTA San Andreas multi-player). One of them is Adobe Audition. And while there are OS X audio editing apps, I prefer Adobe Audition and it’s worth booting into Windows to use it.

    I would also boot into Windows if I had software that I didn’t want to pay for to just switch from Windows to Mac.

    Furthermore, I develop media for which I want to test cross-browser and cross-platform…Parallels works great for that.

    If you have an Intel Mac, there’s very little downside to installing Windows on it if there is software you want to run on it for any of these reasons.

    For what it’s worth, my MacBook Pro is by far the best Windows PC I’ve ever owned. It’s amazing how few problems I’ve had in Windows XP or Vista as compared to others with PCs in my office.

  9. “I only meant to point out that Macs users can now claim correctly that Macs can run more software than PCs. “

    Architecturally the Mac is the same as a PC, so that makes sense. For that matter standard PCs can run Mac OS X as hackers have shown.

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