Apple Software Adds Windows to Mac

In a stunning move, Apple on Wednesday officially sanctioned the running of the Windows XP operating system on Intel-based Macs through the release of a software package. Called Boot Camp, the 86MB beta product provides a dual-boot sequence and the drivers necessary to run Windows.

"Apple has no desire or plan to sell or support Windows, but many customers have expressed their interest to run Windows on Apple's superior hardware now that we use Intel processors," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

"We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch."

Rumors that Apple may have been considering native support of Windows began to circulate after the company joined Windows benchmarking group BAPco last week. Several insiders speculated that the move foreshadowed the release of Windows drivers and confirmation that virtualization would appear in the next version of Mac OS X, code-named "Leopard."

The technologies within Boot Camp would be included in that release, Apple confirmed in a statement.

Boot Camp provides an official solution for what hackers managed to accomplish in March, with one major difference: it does not destroy the existing Mac OS X data to install Windows. Users must provide their own Windows XP SP2 Home or Professional CD, and have at least 10GB of free disk space. Apple has included drivers, most importantly for the ATI video chipsets used within the Intel Macs.

Some features, such as Bluetooth Wireless keyboards and mice from Apple and the built-in remote control, will not work in Windows. The MacBook Pro's iSight camera and ambient light sensor will also not function.

"This is a win-win for Apple and Microsoft," Creative Strategies analysts Tim Bajarin said. "Apple should clearly be able to attract more "switchers" and on-the fence buyers to the Mac platform while Microsoft gets to sell full versions of Windows XP to Mac users."

"The obvious benefactor would be MacBook Pro, which could appeal to people interested in the sleek laptop but needing to run Windows," added Jupiter Research senior analyst Joe Wilcox.

"For example, JupiterResearch surveys show pretty good uptake of Mac OS X on the desktop, mainly as a Unix replacement. Those same businesses, many of which already have rights to Windows licenses through their enterprise agreements, could install Windows XP on Intel-based Macs. For that exec long lusting for an Apple laptop, Windows XP could make the difference."

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