Boot Camp – Problem Teenager or Prodigal Son?

So everyone is talking about it and I am sure I don’t need to explain what it is, if you really don’t know then clicky, clicky, clicky and just keep clicking until you read about it.

So instead of being another blog post explaining it what it is, I am going to write about how it might affect Apple and Microsoft. On an old blog post I made a couple of years ago, I wished that Apple made PC’s that ran Windows (see, I wasn’t ready to switch just then) because the hardware was great quality and as it says when you open any Apple product box, it is designed rather than not. So I guess I finally got my wish, but it is the best of both worlds because I don’t have to choose one or the other operating system.

For Apple
There is no doubt in my mind that this will be really good for Apple. Will it kill OS X? Hell No. If there is one thing I have learned about the Mac community over the last days and weeks, it is that you (we?) are passionate about the hardware but passionate bordering on fanatical about the software! Will it sell more Intel Mac’s? Hell Yes.

For Microsoft
Will more people switch from Windows because of this? Sure. Will it be the end of Windows? Hell No. My prediction is that the worst of it for Microsoft will be that those who were considering a switch will make the plunge and buy some Apple hardware, but we know that Microsoft are not afraid of people running Windows on anything they can get it running on. However the majority of those people will still need an XP/Vista license and don’t forget that the hardware isn’t cheap and so if and when it does happen, it will happen gradually.

What I also think is really interesting about this is that Apple must have been working on this for a significant portion of the time that the OnMac competition was happening. I am not suggesting they helped because that would be conspiracy central and I don’t go there :) But they must have been working on it in parallel.

It’s certainly an interesting development and a positive move for Apple.


23 responses to “Boot Camp – Problem Teenager or Prodigal Son?

  1. I agree with what you say.. Apple is going to sell a lot more Intel iMacs now. I wrote a piece about Boot Camp on my blog as well. Check it out at

    and let me know what you think

  2. Yes. “We” not “you”. Your becoming one of us :)

  3. When I switched (oh no, not another switcher story) in 2002, the truth was, I only bought the Mac to run Final Cut Pro. (That’s really how you’re supposed to buy a computer anyway: Pick the correct software and buy the hardware to support it – the software isn’t the OS, it’s the applications.)

    At that time I’d been using (and making a living) working with PCs since IBM PCs had 8088 processors.

    Knowing from years of experience how how finicky video editing systems are, I knew it was foolish to consider using the system for anything else, so I kept my PC, and I arrange extra desk space for my new Mac.

    Being the curious type, though, I played around with the other stuff, mail, iLife, etc. In two weeks, my PC was on the secondary desk space, in 4 weeks, it had been turned off, permanently.

    All that and it didn’t cause grief with the video editing.

    Obviously not everyone can cut the cord to their old Windows programs, but I can’t help feeling this is Apple’s attempt at the old-fashioned salesman’s “puppy dog close.” If they can just get you to take it home and try it, they’re going to get some solid converts.

    (In the interest of disclosure, I do keep a PC laptop provided by work for those cases where I have to deal with work Windows apps that cannot run on the Mac.)

  4. (Note: I just finished doin’ Bootcamp on my MacBook Pro. Runs wonderful. Loaded CivIV like a charm. Am now testing Oblivion… just to see.)

    My one fear is that some software developers will stop developing for the OS X. I don’t see this as a huge problem with most of the software I use (Adobe, etc.) but it very well my kill the game market for OS X. I mean, is there any reaon for them to do it now? Yes, this is not a big deal, but it still makes me sad.

    Oh, Apple stock ended up almost 10% today.

  5. Now the next logical step would be to add virtualization technology right into OS X. This would essentially be a Virtual PC implementation but running at native Intel speeds. I’m a software developer (currently using Java), who plays games on PS2, so I have no use for dual booting, but to be able to run some select Windows software from within OS X (TOAD, Quicken, Groove, etc.) would be HUGE for me (and a lot of other people who don’t need to dual boot). Between boot camp and virtualization software, Apple has made switching from Windows more compelling than ever. Very exciting.

    BTW when I found your blog today, I immediately wanted to tell you about my own switch blog, but I was hoping to do it privately since my blog is currently in a state of disrepair: I lost all my images and broke some links when I converted from Movable Type to WordPress, and I haven’t updated it in ages. Nevertheless, you may find a thing or two of use (especially how to make your home/end keys work like they did on Windows ( )

    Anyway, I look forward to following and contributing to this blog. Best of luck with the switch. I think you’ll be glad you did.

  6. Update (I am not trying to hijack your blog):
    Bootcamp working great so far. And Oblivion seems to be working very very well, with all effects on, with what looks like good frame rates. I have only played a few minutes, and am not outside with long draws and lots of foliage, but so farit seems blazing!

  7. Simply saying that Apple was working on Boot Camp in parallel to the OnMac competetion doesn’t paint quite a fair picture.

    The OnMac competetion had the complex task of simulating a BIOS on an EFI system that didn’t have legacy support. Apple didn’t have that obstacle to overcome. Simply said, Boot Camp doesn’t allow you to run Windows on your Mac. Boot Camp merely helps you partition your hard disk and provide you a few drivers. The thing that lets Windows (and Linux btw, assuming your kernel has the modules) is the Firmware update released today that adds legacy BIOS support into the EFI. If Apple had done this in the first release of Intel Macs there wouldn’t have even been a competetion because even a moron in a hurry can do it.

  8. ok — i did it. after years of grumbling about windows, drooling over macs, and making all sort of excuses, i finally opened my wallet and bought a mac. (i’ve literally been thinking about doing this since the tangerine iMac)

    it’s the 20″ intel iMac. bought it tonight and should be here any day.

    for the record, it was the support for dual booting OS X and XP that did it for me: (a) i need a windows machine for software development purposes; (b) uncertainly of the availability of mac alternatives to some of favorite windows utilities (ex. dvdshrink, nero, call of duty ;)

    looks like i’m a mac guy now! anyone want to buy a Sony VAIO desktop PC?


  9. tvd2: Enjoy. I have the 20″ and it’s an incredible machine.

    macnewbie: Welcome to the fold. Things are great here. If you’re not a UNIX fiend (you don’t seem to be, judging from your other posts, but I might have missed something), I’d recommend poking around in Services, Automator, and Applescript. They provide a good deal of the benefits of BASH-scripting and other relatively esoteric UNIX activities, but without the fuss. For instance, if you’ve gotten into iTunes yet (it took me a while), check out Doug’s Applescripts — they handle just about every scenario you can imagine.

    Make your bible, as it has countless workarounds, productivity hints, and so forth. That’s my “desert island” website for Mac stuff.

    Finally, don’t be afraid to use the Apple-provided solutions (ie, Address Book, iPhoto, Mail). They’re all very solid applications, in my opinion. My gripe is Quicktime’s extortion for full-screen video (and exporting, et cetera), but in the vast scheme of things it’s fairly minor.


  10. It isn’t that windows can be run on a mac, the story is that soon Apple will have adjusted it’s software to run on all desktops, Apple’s software has then a larger potential for growth than Windows. Do you get it

  11. By the way, Macnewbie, I don’t think that you answer your title’s question, do you ?
    So what do you mean with this metaphor ?

  12. Considering that Apple will not support Windows on Mac, Microsoft may actually have some issues supporting it as well. MS will need to get a couple of those Intel Macs for them to support it properly – specially when enterprises start getting Apple hardware and running Windows on them.

    Do I see another MS blogger getting fired by providing photos of those new Apple Intel Macs being delivered to Redmond? :D

  13. A lot of people (read: every comment at Engadget, Slashdot, Digg) don’t understand even Economics 101. Dovark was never right, Apple are not _supporting_ Windows. Just allowing it. Second, this doesn’t affect OSX and Apple software one jot. Name an integrated suite for Windows as good as iLife? Zip, nadda, gooseegg. Not to mention, ever single mac user is not going to install Windows – why do people comment that developers will not bother with OSX software “because the user can boot windows”. These people’s view of the market seems to extend no further than themselves.

    Personally, I bought a Macbook solely so I could make the switch too and be rid of windows; but still boot it for all my legacy code and files. Boot camp turning up is just a sweet bonus as it solves the Driver issues and makes the process much easier.

  14. I don’t believe this hurts either side. I’d quess that MS has seen a boost (if tiny) in sales of WindowsXP in just the last 24 hours. The only way MS loses is if once more people get a taste of Mac OS X, they may get hooked. But that will be a long run issue. For now, more people are going to use both.

    The new firmware works great, and BootCamp was a breeze. Well, the actual loading of windows was a bit of a pain but still.

  15. @Matt
    “Yes. “We” not “you”. Your becoming one of us :)”
    Totally, I now miss my mac at work on a Windows PC.

  16. PBenz
    “the next logical step would be to add virtualization technology”

    Absolutely, and if the rumors are to be believed then this is on the roadmap for 10.5+. For my home PC which is where I have switched, this isnt so much of an issue but for me (and many others in a corporate situation) there is so much software (Groove is a great example, we use that) that is just never going to be ported across to Mac but that is essential to use.

    Dual booting isnt a practical solution for me, unless the purpose of the dual boot is to execute a single task, for example a game. Otherwise you need to also have duplicates of e-mail, IM, etc etc… All those other background tasks that our day to day desktop consists of now.

  17. @SixSider:
    “I don’t believe this hurts either side.”

    “I don’t think that you answer your title’s question, do you?”

    Absolutely right SixSider, and I think that this is the reason Nicolas :) I don’t believe that this is a technically significant move and so this is neither an overly good or bad thing for either company. Hence the lack of conclusion (although I should have concluded that there was no conclusion better :).

    However, the marketing/branding/social/whatever you want to call it significance of Apple admitting that Microsoft exists (ok ok thats harsh, I know :) is big though.

  18. @rom:
    “Do I see another MS blogger getting fired by providing photos of those new Apple Intel Macs being delivered to Redmond? :D”

    Microsoft has lots of Mac’s. They write software for mac (, which would be reeeaally hard to do without Mac’s to do it on :)

    As I remember it, the issue with that photo was not the crate of Mac’s but the photo of part of the company campus. Most large companies are the same I guess, I worked for IBM at one point and it was stated that very clearly you should not take any photographs on campus. A friend of mine works for a company that has banned cameraphones as well (although I believe that to be too harsh :)

  19. It is a win-win for both sides, espeically us switchers. I just hope Apple keeps p with the driver support, and release more drivers that support all aspects of the hardware.

  20. One would assume that if Apple didn’t have to take the time to fully test, brand, and launch Boot Camp formally that they would have won the contest easily.

  21. It’s interesting how most of the mainstream press, bloggers, etc. are painting this in the old M$ vs Apple. Bootcamp is GREAT for both of them. More so for Apple, but it’s more boxes to sell windows licenses on, so there’s a net positive sum for M$ as well.

    The people that should be $#itting bricks are Dell, HP, Compaq, etc.

    While Apple hardware is overpriced…

    (sidenote: I finally made a switch and replaced an old IBM laptop that was our kitchen PC with a 20″ iMac. Upgraded memory, etc. and ended up spending around $2,000. For most applications I’ve tried, my, at the time VERY top of the line windows PC, from 4 years ago, is faster, and my more modern AMD based system with SATA, etc. is WAY faster in perceived speed)

    …it is ELEGANT and STABLE. It just works. And yes that seems to be worth the 20% to 30% premium paid for the iMac over a similar performing (not spec’d) windows box.

    So, now for the premium I get nicely designed hardware, solid stability that comes from a homogeneous hardware environment, AND I can run Windows and OS X!

    Dell has GOT to be crapping their pants!

    I’m not sure why more of the mainstream coverage is missing that point.

  22. OK – it’s pretty obvious that is has turned into a real love affair and the the majority of Mac users are thrilled with the prospect of running Windows on their Intel-based Macs. Let me throw in my 2 cents. I’ve owned 15 PC-compatible systems and 16 Macs (from a Mac Plus to a PowerMac G4) over the years and I think they’re both excellent platforms. Of course Windows is a poor substitute for the MacOS – it has been even before OS X and isn’t as stable and secure as OS X is now. But I get sick of hearing about how “elegant” it is and how “it just works”. Windows works most of the time as well.

    If you’re not constantly installing new applications on your system and trying out the latest and greatest apps or utilities, it’s pretty easy to maintain a Windows-based system. There are many users who haven’t experienced any issues with their machines.

    Since Apple controls the hardware AND the operating system it’s pretty easy to maintain the stability of your OS, especially if you force your userbase to upgrade to newer processors and hardware in order to utilize the current OS. There are people who are running Windows XP on machines that aren’t really designed to optimize the experience – Apple can control that by eliminating whole classes of machines. Microsoft can’t control the hardware and has to provide backwards compatability for tons of old hardware. Apple generally knows what kind of hardware is in each machine and can optimize their OS for those machines.

    And I don’t think that the Windows-specific hardware manufacturers have to worry about people dropping their machines for Macs – since neither Microsoft or Apple are really supporting running Windows on a Mac, anyone who chooses to do so is on their own. I was at my local MicroCenter and while they were demoing Windows XP on a iMac they indicated that they weren’t going to support it either. So if you’re a newbie it may make the Intel-based Macs a option but pricing is still going to be the main issue.