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Will Intel Macs run Windows? - Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
The answer is No. And Yes. And It Doesn't Really Matter. Here's why

Part 3: It doesn't really matter if Intel Macs will run Windows.

The prospect of running Windows on a new breed of Macs with an Intel processor was the subject of excited debate even before Apple's official announcement last summer. The anticipation wasn't without merit. There is plenty of software written for Microsoft's Windows that is unlikely to ever be ported to the Mac. PC games, niche hardware products, and specialized inhouse software tools are easy examples.

Part one and two looked and why Intel Macs can't currently run Windows, and why they most certainly will at some point (likely sooner than later). However, asking if the new Macs can run Windows simply poses the wrong question.

A better question is: since never in the history of computers has dual booting been a popular and practical business model, why spend extensive efforts to empower users to shut down and restart their Mac twice as often?

Clearly, there is a market for enabling Intel Macs to run software designed for PCs. In particular, there is that huge PC gaming industry to be tapped. There are also a range of business applications that serve minor but entrenched markets where the costs of developing a Mac port are probably prohibitive (such as AutoCAD). However, the best solution to accessing these software libraries does not come from restarting into a different OS.

With Virtual Machines like these, who needs Dual Booting?
Can you even imagine a business scenario where shutting down your Mac to boot up Windows makes any sense? It didn't more than a decade ago, when NeXT and Sun both tried to break into Microsoft's Windows monopoly by selling versions of their NeXTSTEP and Solaris operating systems for Intel hardware. Nor did it work for IBM's OS/2, which would have happily played second fiddle if only anyone would (please!) try booting it. BeOS gave the Windows PC market a shot as well, with the same result.

And today, dual booting is doing nothing to enable growth for Linux as a desktop system, despite being a freely available alternative. In fact, the ease of dual booting Linux with Windows actually destroys any market for Linux desktop software, since that market segment can be expected to boot Windows and use Windows applications instead.

What does make sense is running multiple platforms' applications together. After NeXTSTEP/i386 failed as a stand alone operating system product, NeXT stayed alive by selling their frameworks on top of Windows NT. Sun's Java platform aspires, somewhat successfully, to run everywhere. Mac OS X already runs Classic Mac OS and UNIX X11 applications in virtual machine environments, and can even run Windows under emulation. Here is a business model that really works!

Continued: C:\Windows\Run.


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