12:35 PM

Mac Resellers Extend XP Preinstalls To New Mac Portable

Several resellers have started taking orders for Apple Computer's new 17-inch MacBook Pro, with Windows XP preinstalled for as little as $55 extra.

Several resellers started taking orders late Monday for Apple Computer Inc.'s new 17-inch MacBook Pro with Windows XP pre-installed for as little as $55 extra, following moves last week to offer buyers a dual-boot notebook out of the box.

Apple announced the 6.8-pound portable Monday, and said the $2,799 computer will ship next week.

In a check of several Macintosh reseller sites late Monday, TechWeb found numerous package deals that included Windows XP Home or Professional pre-loaded, or options that let buyers add the second OS to the MacBook Pro. and, for instance, tout a price of $2,849 with Windows XP Home, $2,899 with XP Professional; a MacBook Pro with just Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) costs $2,794 at OnSale, $2,644 at MacMall (with $150 mail-in rebate).

The resellers rely on Apple's Boot Camp dual-boot setup application to pre-install Windows XP in a second partition on the MacBook Pro's hard disk drive.

Apple has flatly stated that it doesn't intend to pre-install Windows, but seems to have no objection to its resellers doing just that. The rejection, analysts have said, comes from a combination of Apple not wanting to shill Windows, a competitor in the operating system space, and not wanting the responsibility of supporting Windows, as it would need to do if it became a Windows OEM.

In other MacBook related news, Apple dropped the 17-inch PowerPC-based PowerBook from its online store on Monday, leaving only the $1,499 12-inch PowerBook from the original G4 lineup.

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