Thanks to the Boot Camp software released by Apple, Windows users can switch to the Mac and bring their OS along for the ride with OS X.
The Apple Boot Camp software has been available in public beta, pending its incorporation into the next version of Mac OS X. Boot Camp allows users to install Windows XP and run it natively on Intel-based Macs.
That sound you heard was the ka-ching of cash registers ringing in Cupertino. Windows to thank for helping out Apple? Apparently so, according to a report from Forbes.
“Judging from consumer interest, it is reasonable to believe that Boot Camp will play a significant role in Apple gaining market share over the next twelve months,” the firm said in a statement to clients, the article noted.
This is where it gets a little strange.
Analysts from Piper Jaffray have cited their survey on PC purchasers. Of 42 shoppers who plan to purchase a PC soon, 8.3 percent plan to buy a Mac instead of a PC due to the availability of the Boot Camp software.
That works out to three people, out of 42. If that percentage were to hold true for the entire market, it would more than double Apple’s market share in the US, currently around 3.6 percent.
The desire to keep Windows XP available on a new platform revolves around applications. Although there are many common applications on Windows that the Mac can match, in the home market there is one category that they cannot touch – the gaming market.
Hardcore gamers aren’t likely to part with carefully tweaked machines running Windows XP on top of overclocked AMD chips and the latest video cards installed. A less serious gaming fan could make that change and not miss a Windows-only platform too much.
Windows users would get a best of both worlds experience. They would have access to a Mac platform that is well-suited to creating and distributing digital media, like video, that has become so popular through sites like YouTube and Google Video.
For applications requiring a Windows-or-nothing platform, users can switch over to XP via Boot Camp, and likely run what they need. A great example of this would be the software-as-a-service (SaaS) available from Salesforce through its AppExchange program.
Software that may not run under a browser in Mac could do so in IE on the XP side. If SaaS does take off as Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has evangelized, maybe it will be Mac hardware that provides some impetus for more users to embrace it.