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Will Intel Macs run Windows? - 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, page 2.

Running Windows applications under Linux is far more useful than dual booting. The WINE project has even gotten Windows software to run on Linux without actually requiring a Windows install. CodeWeavers announced starting their port of WINE to Intel Macs running Mac OS X last year.

The Darwine project has been working to get WINE on Macs even before the move to Intel was announced. Products like these will be the most obvious solution for users who need to run Windows software, but don't want to deal with supporting two operating systems.

But what about companies who might want to buy Macs to use as Windows PCs? This is actually something without much precedence; it's like the Mac clones in reverse. There is a casual market for Mac hardware for use with Linux, particularly in laptops and Xserves, but Apple still markets its hardware and software as a tightly integrated package.

Further, while Apple does a great job of marketing to consumers with their online presence and new retail stores, the company isn't even trying to reach the general office market. As suggested in part two, Apple best bet is focusing on its core market of consumers and education, and continuing their progress in the prosumer (higher end audio/video/film production), biotech/science, and creative/print publishing markets.

Still it begs the question: if Macs can run windows acceptably with comparable performance to other PCs, might some businesses choose to standardize on Apple hardware and then possibly migrate to Mac OS X? While that's a dreamy possibility, Apple has far more low hanging 'switcher' fruit attached to their iPod sales. I can see Apple supporting efforts toward such an effort, but certainly not leading it.

Image Again, consider the comparable "our hardware, your operating system" situation that Palm got itself into recently, when they released the Treo 700 as a successor to the Treo 650. The 700 sports new hardware improvements, but now runs Windows Mobile rather than Palm's own OS. Despite mixed reviews that faulted Windows Mobile, the move gives the general perception that Palm isn't confident that the Palm OS is worth using.

In a world without walls, who needs Windows?
The most ideal scenario for Apple, and for Mac users who both value a consistent interface and need to occasionally run Windows applications, is one where third parties provide support to run Windows applications and games in a virtualized environment.

Fortunately, the open source community had already done much of the work toward making this possible. Between freely available open source software projects like WINE, and commercialized versions such as CodeWeavers', users who buy Intel based Macs should soon have plenty of options for running alternative software titles designed to run under Windows, without even needing to buy (or install and maintain) Windows.

So there you have it: a question we can answer with both a "no" and a "yes", but which may best answered by a shrug, because soon it won't really matter at all.

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