RealTime IT News

Apple Opens Windows 'Boot Camp'

Apple raised a few eyebrows with its news that enthusiasts can now use Microsoft Windows on Intel-based Mac computers.

Beta software dubbed "Boot Camp" gives Apple fans a choice between Mac OS X or Windows XP.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said last month that 50 percent of the Mac line has transitioned to Intel processors. The switch began in January, and Jobs expects all Apple products to be Intel-based by the end of this year.

Although the finished version of Boot Camp will be available in Apple's upcoming Mac OS X 10.5, Mac owners with Intel-based Apple computers for a limited time can download the beta software and install Windows XP.

Apple hopes the ability to run both Apple and Microsoft operating systems will convince Windows users.

"We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product Marketing, said in a statement.

The announcement emphasized Microsoft remains a competitor. "Apple has no desire or plan to sell or support Windows," Schiller said. However, "Many customers have expressed their interest to run Windows on Apple's superior hardware," according to Schiller.

Microsoft currently maintains a huge lead over Apple in use by enterprises, as well as marketshare. Boot Camp "has the potential to make massive inroads" into the SMB sector and fund a renewed drive by Apple into the enterprise market," according to Rob Enderle, principal with the Enderle Group.

"Think of this as a massive market test. If hugely successful, it could lead to a redefinition of the company into a firm that is a lot closer to a traditional PC company but more on the bleeding edge of technology," Enderle told internetnews.com.

Users' responses were mixed. They ranged from comparing the announcement to the Earth exploding to curiosity as to why people are so excited about it.

Earlier this month, two hackers won a $13,854 prize by discovering a way to modify Windows XP to run on Intel Macs.