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April 14, 2006
2 Min Read
Apple Computer's recent forays into Windows compatibility and Intel hardware architecture raise some interesting questions about the strategic direction of the company.
This could simply be what Apple says it is: By supporting Intel hardware, Apple might simply be looking for price/performance that the PowerPC architecture no longer provides. And the introduction of Windows Boot Camp, which lets Intel-based Macs boot Windows, could simply be a way to win market share by recruiting Windows users to try the Mac, allowing those users to switch without losing compatibility with Windows software.
But does Apple have ambitions beyond that?Is Apple looking to win back its place on the corporate desktop? For a long time, Macs have been the platform of choice for many designers, software developers, the education market, and consumers, but Microsoft has owned the corporate desktop. Could Apple be trying to take some of Microsoft's territory? Analyst Tim Bajarin, of consultancy Creative Strategies, said Apple could be looking to increase its market share from 5%--where it's been holding steady for a long time--to 9% or 10%.
Apple recently upgraded its desktop management software, which will make Macs more attractive to corporate IT managers.
If Apple is looking at Boot Camp as a major driver for grabbing market share, then Apple's got problems. Apple Boot Camp is great software, but it has limitations. Apple is classifying the software as beta, which means it's not supporting it. Users need to install the software themselves, which will be beyond the capabilities of many business users, and they'll need to pony up a couple hundred bucks for a new copy of Windows above the price of the Mac itself. Boot Camp is not for everyone.
Running Windows on the Mac opens the Mac to Windows threats, which slashes one of the biggest bragging points that Mac enthusiasts have for their platform: its greater security relative to Windows.
Users on a Mac discussion board griped about many problems with Boot Camp, including failure to boot into the Mac OS after installing Boot Camp.
What next? Could Apple be planning to run Windows applications directly on the Mac OS, either using an emulator more sophisticated than current emulation technology or via virtualization?
What do you think? Does Apple have a hidden agenda in its recent switch to Intel and Windows support? If so, what is it?
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