Apple spies growth through Windows

Among the many achievements Apple has notched up in its 30 years, it can include popularising the usage of the personal computer, the development of the graphical user interface (GUI) and making it possible to buy James Blunt songs online. Of course, some of these achievements may have been more welcomed than others...

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By  Peter Branton Published  April 16, 2006

|~|Getty-Apple-comment-5726131.jpg|~|Apple’s Boot Camp will let Mac users run Windows XP OS on their machines.|~|We have to extend rather belated birthday greetings this week: Apple Computer celebrated the big 30 last month, an event we didn’t have space to cover in our last issue. Among the many achievements the company has notched up in that time, it can include popularising the usage of the personal computer, the development of the graphical user interface (GUI) and making it possible to buy James Blunt songs online. Of course, some of these achievements may have been more welcomed than others... Any comment on Apple today has to acknowledge the success of the iPod and its iTunes service (even if the company’s iStore is not available in the Middle East yet) in restoring the company’s fortunes, but the PC industry’s debt to Apple is still deep. Although the firm didn’t actually invent either the PC or the GUI, it can lay claim to having been the first firm to offer commercially viable versions of either. The company had already scored a success with the Apple II before the Macintosh made its debut in 1984: the first mainstream machine to feature a GUI. A certain William Gates III is believed to have been among its admirers... While Apple can be credited with a lot of good ideas in the PC arena, it hasn’t done so well in recent years. While it was the largest PC maker in the world in 1990 with 10% of the market, by the end of last year that was down to just 2.3%. However, that has to be balanced against the company’s struggles in the 1990s, when the rise of Windows meant its days seemed numbered. And while music players have been the company’s biggest success in the past few years, it is still attracting attention in the PC arena — thanks mainly, it has to be said, to its embracing of the Wintel alliance many of its users see it as an alternative option to. Last year’s decision to go with Intel for its chips was a controversial one for Apple, however its recent announcement that it will allow users to boot Windows on their Macs has attracted a lot of attention. The Boot Camp software program means it is possible to run Windows XP on the Mac in a dual boot environment with the Mac OS X. Right now, Boot Camp’s usefullness seems a little limited: every time a user wants to switch from one OS to the other, they will have to stop what they are doing and re-boot, which would be too time-consuming for easy use. There have also been some early reports of technical problems installing Boot Camp, and it doesn’t seem to be a project that the average household user would want to attempt on his or her own. However, while Boot Camp may not sell that many machines for Apple, it is interesting as a potential marker for the firm’s plans for the future. It shows that Apple is serious about running Windows, so we believe it is very much watch this space. ||**||

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