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Windows On Macs: Money In Microsoft's Pocket

Apple has opened the door to the possibility of users dual-booting both the Mac OS, and its rival, Windows.
No current Microsoft 32-bit OS explicitly supports booting from EFI, though it's possible work-arounds could be created for, say, Windows XP, to boot from EFI, and thus be installable and bootable on an Intel-powered Mac. The first 32-bit Microsoft operating system scheduled to support EFI: Windows Vista, which is slated to ship later this year.

Assuming Vista, Wilcox thinks a dual-boot Mac -- rather than either a machine running some kind of emulation or virtualization software -- would be attractive to business. "It could be an efficient best-of-both-worlds," he said.

For Microsoft, every copy of Windows sold, no matter what the machine's labeling, is, well, another copy sold.

"If you run Windows on a Mac, it's another copy for Microsoft," Wilcox said. "Better yet, it's on a competitor's hardware. It would be like Microsoft taking it to Apple's home field."

Not that Microsoft doesn't do that already to Apple. Its Office for Mac suite, which now accounts for the vast bulk of Redmond's sales to the Mac crowd, got a boost this week when Microsoft promised it would keep developing for the Mac for at least five years.

"Microsoft is on the Mac because it makes money [there]," said Wilcox.