April 5, 2006 5:53 AM PDT
Apple: Windows on a Mac is here
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Still, Apple won't provide any technical support for the Boot Camp beta, and the company was quick to point out the potential pitfalls of running Windows. "Windows running on a Mac is like Windows running on a PC. That means it'll be subject to the same attacks that plague the Windows world," the company warned on its Web site. "So be sure to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft Windows security fixes."
Will my software work?
Intel-based Macs running Boot Camp will let people use some products that right now are available only for Windows-based PCs. Some examples:
|Microsoft Streets & Trips with GPS||Trip-planning tool|
|Picasa (from Google)||Photo-editing software|
|Norton Internet Security||Internet security software|
|Lavasoft's Ad-Aware||Spyware seeker|
|Square Enix's "Final Fantasy XI"||Video game|
|Valve's "Half-Life 2"||Video game|
Of course, there are also some applications that will only run on Macs. Examples include:
|Microsoft Entourage||E-mail and calendar package|
|GarageBand||Music-recording and -editing suite|
|Delicious Library||Book, music, DVD and video game cataloging software|
|FinalCut Pro||Video-editing suite|
The new software, coupled with the tremendous popularity that the iPod has brought to Apple, could bring more people over to the Apple side, some analysts said.
Paul Jackson, an analyst at Forrester Research, predicts that home users previously daunted by a fear of incompatibly with their work PC and a strong desire to hold on to Windows-based programs may now make the jump to Macs.
Apple's move is great for Microsoft, Jackson said, since it will mean extra sales of XP, but it's bad news for PC makers that previously didn't have to worry about competing for market share with Apple.
"Apple machines are excellently manufactured, and the performance is far superior," Jackson told CNET News.com. "But companies like Dell and HP never really had to worry about competing with Apple in the hardware market. Now you can go in, look at those gorgeous Mac Minis and MacBook (Pros) and view them as a normal PC. You can run XP and never touch OS X, if you don't want to."
And, according to Jackson, Macs seem to do XP well.
"From what we know of the hackers' success last week at the XP-on-Mac contest, once you get XP to run on the Intel Mac, the performance is actually quite good. We will have to actually wait and see the results of more official benchmark testing, but so far, that's what it looks like."
Jackson also noted that Apple's move is an indication of what industry insiders have argued all along.
"By doing this, Apple has made a tacit acknowledgement of what many have already said, which basically is: If you're serious about home computing or small-enterprise computing, you need Windows. There's no way around it," Jackson said.
And, according to Wall Street, this is good news for Apple stock.
Company shares jumped several percentage points in early-morning trading, as analysts had mostly positive things to say about the big announcement.
"In short, we believe this news, more than any news in recent memory, provides a critical boost to Apple's ability to gain share in the PC market," a JPMorgan Chase analyst report said.Deutche Bank issued a "buy" for Apple stock on a prediction of share gains.
Goldman Sachs, however, was not as impressed.
"Given the newness of Intel-based Macs, we would not expect any meaningful impact on Mac sales or earnings in the near or intermediate term," Goldman Sachs in its analyst report of Apple's move. "However, this is another step in Apple's efforts to expand its total addressable market to include a more mainstream audience."
Goldman Sachs also noted that the situation could be a "slight negative for Microsoft" because it does not think that increased Windows sales would have much of an impact on Microsoft's overall percent of the market--but that a migration to Apple computers could.
News.com's Mike Ricciuti contributed to this report.
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