Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 6th Jun 2005 22:01 UTC
Editorial Today's confirmation that Apple is going x86 makes today a historic day in the industry. It may mean that Microsoft might see a few percent decline of their market share the next few years, but what about Linux? If Linux were to lose an equal amount of share it would alter its spread to the desktop, a spread that has been very positive so far.
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The unaddressed issue...
by Jonathan Thompson on Tue 7th Jun 2005 00:40 UTC

Is that as much as Apple wants to sell the whole experience, it's possible that Apple may in fact come out ahead, perhaps while helping Microsoft, by creating an Intel-based platform that can also boot Windows. While Apple may not keep as many copies of OS X running on the IntelMacs, it stands a good chance of doing so, even with Windows also installed on the system. What's important to remember is that even above and beyond Apple selling a total experience, is that most of what they sell is hardware. Thus, they may actually come out ahead, even if people install Windows on the IntelMacs, because they will at least have sold Mac hardware to someone that might not otherwise have bought a Mac, due to not running Windows.

And to Steve who said Microsoft wouldn't modify the kernel of Windows to run on an IntelMac, it appears there's a limited understanding of the NT system design: Windows NT from version 3.1 to XP (all versions of NT, even if a different name) have at a very low level something called HAL, for Hardware Abstraction Layer. This makes it fairly trivial for Microsoft to port to a different platform, like they have in the past. It's useful to remember that NT has had versions for the Dec Alpha, the PPC, as well as the MIPS (3000 or 4000 platform, I can't remember) in the past, as well as always being available for the Intel IBM PC Compatible architecture.

I would argue that Microsoft would actually WANT to provide Windows for the new IntelMac platform, because Apple has a tendency to provide a more controlled system architecture than the wild implementations of PC compatible systems in terms of such things as handling of interrupts, DMA, sound hardware, etc. and if a million dedicated Mac users have the option of also running Windows on their IntelMacs, that's serious enough money for them to make the effort. After all, Microsoft doesn't need some of the fancier details of a system ROM to make Windows run, though it'd be nice, perhaps. That would provide Apple with a hardware sale and an automatic sale of the Complete Apple Experience along with OSX, while also allowing Microsoft the option of selling Windows and the associated software. If the IntelMac hardware is very well behaved and always has great drivers, developing for it as a developer (Microsoft creating a version of Windows to run on it) is so much easier, and the user benefits from a predictable system as well. If people know they can run Windows on a nice IntelMac and also try out the unfamiliar-to-them-but-reputedly-nice-Mac OSX, Apple may win more mindshare as well over a longer period of time. Apple is very much aware that software drives hardware sales, and this could benefit them greatly as well.

Now, will that actually happen? Time will tell!