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Virtualization to drive Apple marketshare?

updated 06:50 pm EST, Fri February 10, 2006

Apple\'s secret weapon

Apple may be holding a secret weapon to double its market share in the desktop computing market, which would make the initial difficulties of switching to Intel chips pay off down the line. According a ZDnet blog, Apple's exclusive ability to deploy Mac OS X on the x86 platform will put the company in a unique position should it decide to move toward virtualization. Apple may choose to take the paravirtualization route by implementing a thin layer of software called a "Hypervisor," which would allow users to install multiple operating systems such as Mac OS X for Intel, Linux, Windows, or BSD directly onto the raw hardware, according to the ZDNet blog. Many hurdles still remain, however, before Apple can take the plunge. "Intel would have to release new Core Duo CPUs that have VT support which is likely in the near future," the blogger adds. Apple may also need to implement a BIOS compatibility layer for EFI to support Windows installations that require conventional BIOS. "If Steve Jobs plays his cards right and delivers true paravirtualization, Apple may indeed double its market share."




by MacNN Staff

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  1. SmileyDude

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    VT Support

    "Intel would have to release new Core Duo CPUs that have VT support which is likely in the near future."

    VT support is already confirmed to be there on the currently shipping chips. In fact, you can take a look at this from a 20" iMac (just pulled this out myself using dmesg):

    CPU identification: Genuine Intel(R) CPU 1500 @ 2.00GHz CPU features: FPU VME DE PSE TSC MSR PAE MCE CX8 APIC SEP MTRR PGE MCA CMOV PAT CLFSH DS ACPI MMX FXSR SSE SSE2 SS HTT TM SSE3 MON VMX EST TM2 TPR

    The VMX feature is the VT support. If you don't believe me, go to www.intel.com, and search for VMX. You'll find a whole slew of pages talking about the virtualization features.

  1. pottymouth

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    so?

    But how will this affect marketshare? I can't imagine how Joe Consumer could possibly care about this.

  1. machappy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    what would you buy

    a pc with xp? or a mac with OSX and XP? apple is doing something radical here. they have the potential to sell so much hardware its scary.

  1. ecrelin

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    blather…

    Joe consumer and IT pro would only entertain desktop virtualization for short term transitions and very very specialized situations. 95% or better will boot the machine and use it with one OS. All apple needs to do is what it has failed at so far, make the OS a peer level AD file services client and have Mail, Addressbook and iCal be peer level clients for Exchange services. There are so very few needs for a specific OS these days and they are shrinking daily. Servers may like virtualization now but it is usually for more of the same OS server services, rarely multiple OSs and with the advent of HP (hi perf) computing platforms that may wane as well. Apple needs to have windoids put their hands on OS X and it will become the default favorite, that is the only real benefit, that and the perception that it is "enterprise ready" are what Apple needs to increase marketshare. Oh maybe quicktime with Windows Media Codecs for criminy's sake.

  1. OtisWild

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Servers, rootless windows

    This is not too interesting outside of servers IMHO, though perhaps with virtualization you could have the equivalent of Classic, but for Win32 apps.

    I still think Apple supplying porting APIs/ABIs for stuff like DirectX and .NET would be a super win, make it easy for developers to add support for OS X by cross-compiling.

  1. ClevelandAdv

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    This article is correct

    I have had the opportunity to speak to several IT departments at schools (colleges) and businesses. They are very much looking forward to buying these machines. Apple is going to make huge gains in marketshare, if you don't think so...you are clueless about the reality of the marketplace.

  1. misterdna

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Article Makes Sense to Me

    "But how will this affect marketshare? I can't imagine how Joe Consumer could possibly care about this."

    I'm not as technically knowledgeable as some of you, but I do know several people who are very interested in switching to a Mac. The only thing holding them back is they can't lose access to one or two Windows-only programs. A system with the described capability would definitely make a difference to them.

    "Joe consumer and IT pro would only entertain desktop virtualization for short term transitions and very very specialized situations."

    Aren't most transitions intended to be short term??? This would be the perfect way for nervous "switchers" to transition to owning a Mac without risk -- if they don't like the Mac experience, they would still have a solid Windows-compatible machine. Plus, I understand that iMovie & iDVD (etc.) are much easier for the neophyte user than comparable Windows offerings, so the appeal of having access to these free Apple programs might be enough reason for some Windows users to buy one of these machines.

  1. moodymonster

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    future OS X

    Apple need to kick OS X to levels no one can imagine so when someone gets a Mac cause they can run Windows on it, they get totally blown away by OS X. Even moreso.

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    no sense

    I'm not as technically knowledgeable as some of you, but I do know several people who are very interested in switching to a Mac. The only thing holding them back is they can't lose access to one or two Windows-only programs. A system with the described capability would definitely make a difference to them.

    Yeah, but if you can run windows on the mac, there's also the imaginable point where these new macs are used to just run windows. And that's not a useful marketshare for apple.

    But you can't get users to run x11 apps in OS X. What makes you think people will want to be switching between entire OS'es. Most computer users have enough trouble trying to keep themselves above water in one OS.

    Plus, I understand that iMovie & iDVD (etc.) are much easier for the neophyte user than comparable Windows offerings, so the appeal of having access to these free Apple programs might be enough reason for some Windows users to buy one of these machines.

    Well, since you've apparently never run the other programs, its hard to really make a judgement (of course, trying to get an honest opinion of the comparable MS apps on a Mac board would be impossible). But those MS apps are free as well, and MS has offered updates to them free of charge (iLife is only free the first year. All updates, its repurchase time!)

    But, seriously, I know everyone likes to think its true, but the number of people who actually waste - I mean spend - their time composing movies and creating DVDs is extremely small to the entire audience.

    Oh, and knowing a couple of guys who want to switch does not a doubling of marketshare make (not even with apple's miniscule marketshare! Thank you, thank you! I'm here all night! Don't forget to tip your waitress!)

    BTW, virtualization isn't about dual-booting. Its about running multiple OS'es concurrently. and there's more to it then just having a CPU that can handle it. (Well, not concurrently, as I don't believe they're both running at the same time, I think its more like one sleeps while the other works, although on a dual-core machine, you might get two working at once).

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    One more thing

    While this whole virtualzation might sound great and all, keep one thing in mind. If it becomes relatively easy to run other OSes, and consequently programs written for other OSes, why in the world would a company continue to make Mac OS X versions of software?

    You could argue silly reasons, but one thing would be true. Windows programs could run on Macs and windows. Porting to the Mac would then get a company what? Nothing much, except, perhaps, a better user experience? The current crop of Mac software already pales to the options on the windows platform, and it seems to get smaller every day (esp. in the area of general productivity apps). Its bad enough when we only have one real option for many categories of applications (unless you're some of those 'open source GNU software rules' geeks, but then what would you be doing with a Mac anyway), this could lead to even those single apps to disappear.

    Oh, and virtualization would mean that if you install windows, you are just as susceptible as before to all its problems you were trying to get rid of (and who knows, maybe it would allow macs themselves to get infected from virtualized windows viruses).

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