Ditch OS X For Windows? No. Run OS X *AND* Windows Side-by-Side? They Already Do.

by M. David Peterson

Related link: http://www.oreillynet.com/mac/blog/2006/02/will_apple_adopt_windows_no_my.html

Will Apple Adopt Windows? -- NO! (My Response to Dvorak) - O'Reilly Mac DevCenter Blog

What about you? Would you buy Apple hardware that runs Windows? Would you feel at all betrayed if OS X development were just abandoned? Could any idea be more absurd?

At the moment there is a *VERY* slick product in Virtual PC for Macintosh in which enables you to run Windows on top of OS X via an x86 emulator. But this isn't just Windows running in a separate memory space and instead Windows *VERY* well integrated into the Macintosh environment. (e.g. Drag & Drop, Copy/Paste, etc.. between environments, + quite a bit more).

There's a problem however...


Virtualization is one thing... Some pretty smart folks @ MS, VMWare, University of Cambridge (XEN), and elsewhere have found ways to virtualize several separate OS instances on the same machine with very little overhead and a very similar overall performance profile to that of only one OS instance on the same hardware.

But emulation?

That's a *WHOLE* separate beast all2getha'.

But as already established, virtulization technologies that MS already owns can run several OS instances, no matter what they happen to be, on Intel architecture. I run virtual instances of Linux all the time on my WinXPPro DevBox, and while there is a little bit of slowdown, its nothing to get stressed over as its *barely* even noticeable.

So what's keeping MS from revvin' up the virtualization engine, and selling 10-20 million extra copies of Vista?

Well, at the moment, probably the fact that Vista hasn't been released.

But, my guess anyway, is that this is pretty much about it.

"NO WAY IN HELL!" you say?

Let's dig a little deeper shall we...

From the January 10th PressPass interview with Roz Ho, general manager for the Macintosh Business Unit, we discover the following:

Q. What have you announced at Macworld 2006?

A. This year, we made announcements in three areas. First, we continue focusing on improvements prioritized by our customers, specifically for Entourage 2004, which will include Sync Services integration, support for Spotlight search and enhanced Smart Card technology. These updates are the next step in our work with customers to provide deeper support of Mac platform technologies. Additionally, in March we’ll deliver an update to Messenger for Mac 5.0 that introduces encrypted file transfer and makes Messenger smarter about where to send a message if a user is logged in on more than one machine. We also outlined our plans at the show to build converters that will read the new Microsoft Office Open XML Format. Finally, we announced a new agreement with Apple. Our news overall emphasizes our dedication to building leading-edge products for the Mac platform.

"Ok. But is that it?"


Q. Tell me more about the new agreement. What does this signify for your relationship with Apple?

A. We’re taking our already strong relationship to the next level by formalizing our commitment to develop Office for Mac for both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. We’ll keep working with Apple, just as we have for more than 20 years, to meet the needs of all Mac customers. The commitment agreement officially reinforces our existing plans.

"Hmmm... still need more."


Q. What else is on the horizon for the Mac BU?

A. As I’ve mentioned, we’re continuing to develop our core three products that Mac users depend on. We’ll keep supporting them and delivering new features and improvements.

Compatibility is a top customer concern, and the work that we are doing with the new XML file formats, layout engines and graphics handling will drive improved file compatibility. Customers know they’ll have more than the ability to open and share data, they know they can trust the data will appear the way it was intended.

Finally, we’ll keep working with Apple to identify new technologies that will benefit our customers. We’ll continue to collaborate closely with other Microsoft teams to develop new and creative ways to deliver answers to common productivity problems. The future is bright for the Mac BU, and we’re focused on bringing world-class productivity software to the Mac.

"Alright, this is all fine and dandy," you say, "but this doesn't provide anything other than speculation as to what it is MS and Apple might have going on behind the scenes. Where's the meat?"

I'm glad you asked. ;)

From the recent release of the macIntel Q & A:

Q. I have an Intel-based Mac, and want to purchase Office 2004. Which version should I get?

A. Your best choices are the Standard version or the Student and Teacher version (if you meet the eligibility qualifications). Because the Professional version includes Virtual PC, and Virtual PC does not run on Intel-based Macs, you cannot take advantage of that extra value in the Professional version on an Intel-based Mac.

"So you mean folks that purchase a copy of Office 2004 Professional get a copy of Virtual PC for Mac to go with it already?"


"Then that would mean that with the new Intel architecture coupled with existing MS-owned virtualization software, a new and improved version of Virtual PC for Mac could be re-bound and re-gagged to the new version of Office for Mac and, taking things even a bit further, could even become all but transparent to the Mac environment, in essence making the two operating systems...

"Oh my goodness..."


[UPDATE: Something similar to this scenario would certainly bring a little more sense to the recent announcement that MS would no longer provide a version of Windows Media Player for Macintosh. Why keep your resources in a project that is no longer necessary, and instead spend them on making a bright and shiny new version of Media Player for MacVista. [UPDATE.UPDATE: Don't like the sound of MacVista? How 'bout OS:X.V (or OSXV or OS X.v or ...)? Like it or not, at the current release rate of OS updates, somewhere between 2012 and 2014 they're going to hit OS X version 9 (OS 10.9) and be forced to choose between OS XI or something alltogether new and sexy. Maybe its just me, but next to 'X', 'V' is about as sexy as you get in the Latin alphabet. I guess they could go with OS X.Next, which would be cool *AND* sexy and would kinda' lend well to a bit of revenge on the part of Steve Jobs, but seeking revenge on the company you now once again dominate? Doesn't really seem like his style, but then again I know about this >< much about Steve Jobs and Mac in general. So there ya' have it. ;) ]]

Given that MS already distributes Virtual PC for Mac with Office Professional for Mac, it seems the only thing keeping current and future MacTel hardware owners who use Office Professional from also running Vista would be issues with licensing. So the question then is "will MS and Apple find a way to make the licensing issue a non-issue, distributing a Mac-enhanced version of Vista with the purchase of a license for the next version of Office Professional for Mac"? If they don't "would you purchase a copy of Vista to gain, if nothing else, the extra benefits offered up by the 1000's of extra peripheral hardware devices you can now run, that you couldn't before?"


2006-04-22 13:08:39
Your writing still annoys me, or rather annoyz mEEEE!AAAAZz'...
I was interested in the article intially but they I found that it is written by something akin to that of an eleven year old attempting to be noticed.
M. David Peterson
2006-04-22 15:32:18
It still annoys you? Have we met, and have you shared this opinion with me before to justify the usage of the word 'still'?