30 Jan 2007

Windows comes to the Mac & Mac OS comes to PCs

And I for one am going to give it a try!


At MacWorld, a little company called Parallels won awards for the latest version of its hit product, which enables you to run both operating systems at the same time on a Macintosh. It’s a major breakthrough. While the last version of Parallels allowed you to run both operating systems at once, it still required you to switch back and forth between the two. Now, however, Parallels’ Coherence product, which the company says will ship by mid-February, lets you keep multiple windows open on your desktop, just as you normally would, running a variety of applications. Except now you can switch between windows running Windows and Mac applications just as if they were all Mac.

This is the fruit of recent major advances on x86-based computers in the technique called virtualization, a technique for isolating aspects of computing performance – sometimes hardware and sometimes software – so multiple functions can be underway simultaneously, while reducing the risk they will interfere with one another.

When Apple switched a year ago to using the same standard x86 processors that other PC companies use, it opened the door to all this progress on virtualization. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has always been adamant about controlling the hardware on which his software operates, but because of Apple’s switch to x86 his ability to maintain that control is now diminishing.

…Both companies’ products specifically aimed at the Mac will remain self-consciously crippled in order to satisfy Apple’s demands that users not be encouraged to put Mac OS on a non-Apple machine. But pressures seem to be building in a way that Apple and Jobs will increasingly have a hard time controlling.

Greene says one reason VMware’s Mac product is delayed is that it was so time-consuming to get Apple’s cooperation and blessing. “We were trying to do it the way they wanted to, but in hindsight we should have just gone ahead,” she says. “I wonder what Steve Jobs is going to do, because there is so much pressure to run Mac OS on non-Macs. There’s no technical reason not to do it. He’s so proprietary about everything, yet it could be a very strategic move for him to make.” Beloussov, for his part, agrees.

In June 2005 I broke the news that Michael Dell wanted to ship Mac OS on Dell machines. Last week in an e-mail he confirmed to me that his thinking hasn’t changed. “We would offer MacOS,” he wrote, “if customers wanted it and Apple would license it on reasonable terms…It’s Apple’s decision.”


  • nathan
    January 30, 2007 Reply

    I’ll be interested to see if OS X becomes another virus ridden, buggy, freeze up, bsod platform in this new world.

    I think they have a point, keep the hardware and the software integrated, and the Dells and Gateways of the world are out to make a buck for the bang, not to ensure superior quality, really…

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