Apple does 64-bit right, Microsoft… not so much

“Microsoft is requiring… device manufacturers to develop 64-bit drivers if they want their devices to work with the 64-bit edition of Windows Vista, in an effort to ensure that device drivers are written to proper standards. But hardware vendors and application developers haven’t wanted to take the time and effort to develop new software for an operating system that very few people use. As a result, 64-bit Windows software is hard to find, although Microsoft says the situation is improving,” Tom Krazit and Ina Fried report for CNET News. “Apple, however, thinks it has found a quicker and easier road to bring its mainstream users into the 64-bit era.”

MacDailyNews Take: Thinks? Knows, is more like it – anyone can easily understand that Apple has done 64-bit right, while Microsoft has kludged it all up again as usual.

Krazit and Fried continue, “When Mac OS X Leopard comes around later this year, hardware makers will be able to use the 32-bit drivers they’ve already developed and qualified along with 64-bit applications built for Leopard.”

“In its simplest sense, 64-bit hardware allows a system to take advantage of more than 4GB of memory, the theoretical addressing limit of 32-bit systems. There are other performance advantages, but that’s the main one,” Krazit and Fried report.

“Microsoft released a 64-bit edition of Windows XP in 2005, but few people use it,” Krazit and Fried report. “Even the next version of Windows, scheduled for the end of the decade, will arrive in both 64-bit and 32-bit editions, suggesting that Microsoft isn’t prepared to fully commit to a 64-bit world this decade.”

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft – we say again, Microsoft – has scheduled the next version of WIndows for the end of the decade, so when will it actually ship? We’ll have put people on Mars before they cajole enough of their employees to stop staring out the windows, slap some more lipstick on their current pig, come up with some insipid name, and design a new box with which to rip-off their sufferers yet again (if they have any left). Seriously, from the looks of it, Microsoft spent more effort on — and put more thought into — the Vista ad campaign than they did on Vista itself.

Krazit and Fried continue, “But in October, Apple plans to ship only one version of Leopard that can run both 64-bit and 32-bit applications. Apple thinks this will entice Mac OS developers to create 64-bit applications because every Mac shipping after October–and Core 2 Duo systems that upgrade to Leopard–will be able to run 64-bit applications.”

Krazit and Fried report that Apple “will first emphasize 64-bit applications for its base of users in the graphic design world, who buy systems such as the Mac Pro workstation to run applications with large data sets, Croll said. That system can already be configured with up to 16GB of memory, and will probably serve as Apple’s test bed for 64-bit applications.”

More in the full article here.

Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard, due in October, will deliver 64-bit power in one, universal operating system. Find out more here.


  1. Once again, Windows fails where others succeed. It’s not just Apple that successfully managed the 32 to 64 bit transition. More than five years ago I was supporting Sun servers running Solaris. Like Apple, it would run both 32-bit and 64-bit software. Nor did I need a “special” release of Solaris x86 to install it on my Shuttle running the AMD/64 CPU.

    Whether it’s the need for backward compatibility inherent in Windows architecture, the “Microsoft Way” that enforces these design compromises, or rank incompetence, MS once again shows us how NOT to do things.

  2. So what will many do? Buy Windows 64bit, get screwed, wait for drivers that won’t appear, then reinstall XP and badmouth Apple for being a stupid waste of money.


  3. I found this one and had to share it here.

    These guys couldn’t be worse. If it wasn’t for that one moment in history when Bill said to the IBM fools “but we have to be able to sell DOS to others as well.”, what would the worlds tech be like?

    MW=low.. as in the MS set of standards.

  4. One of the problems with windows 64bit is that they are trying to use it to break away from some of the legacy junk that they’ve dragged with them all the way from dos. That’s why they are making it completely separate from the 32bit versions which still has all the legacy junk. I think it’s their strategy for improving their security by getting rid of their legacy security holes, if they just tried to do a complete break they would get to many complaints, so they are trying to hide it in the ‘upgrade’ to 64bit computing.

    In other words it’s a problem created more by their unsecurity business policies then the difference between 32bit and 64bit computing.

  5. FTA:
    “The variety and diversity of devices and the quantity of developers that Windows supports is probably several orders of magnitude greater than the limited number of developers that Apple supports,” Goffe said. “The problem they are trying to solve is a much smaller problem.”

    That is one more reason why Apple would be crazy to license OS X. to run on PC hardware.

  6. Will G5s see the benefits?

    64-bit and all, but PowerPC.

    Are all these Universal Binary apps going to be Intel-specific or will the 64-bit goodness trickle down to the former kings of the 64-bit roost?

  7. “The variety and diversity of devices and the quantity of developers that Windows supports is probably several orders of magnitude greater than the limited number of developers that Apple supports,”

    That doesn’t really matter does it? Apple’s <italics>operating system</italics> is fully 64 bit capable, and has been 32 bit clean since, what, OS 8? And Microsoft is pushing the 64 bit driver development off to manufacturers, but not providing an actual, current 64 bit OS to run it on because they insist on this fractious marketing plan with a dozen different Windows for whatever mood that strikes them.

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