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Microsoft's Virtualization Stance Eying Apple? 238

Posted by Zonk
from the shifty-glances dept.
Pisces writes "Over the past several days, Microsoft has flip-flopped on virtualization in Vista, with one ascribing the change in policy to concerns over DRM. A piece at Ars Technica raises another, more likely possibility: fear of Apple. Apple is technically an OEM, and could offer copies of Vista at a discounted price. 'All of this paints a picture in which Apple could use OEM pricing to offer Windows for its Macs at greatly reduced prices and running in a VM. The latter is absolutely crucial; telling users that they need to reboot into their Windows OS isn't nearly as sexy as, say, Coherence in Parallels. If you've never seen Coherence, it's quite amazing. You don't need to run Windows apps in a VM window of Vista. Instead, the apps appear to run in OS X itself, and the environment is (mostly) hidden away. VMWare also has similar technology, dubbed Unity.' Is Microsoft terrified of a world where Windows can be virtualized and forced to take a back seat to Mac OS X or Linux?"
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Microsoft's Virtualization Stance Eying Apple?

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  • ...with people using the lower-priced versions of Vista in virtualization environments they don't understand - on any platform - and then expecting support in such environments.

    Obviously, there is nothing technical preventing a person from using any version of Vista in virtualization, and nothing at all, including the license, preventing usage of any version of Vista in Boot Camp.

    I can't see a scenario where Apple would be interested in becoming a Windows OEM, supporting Windows, etc. Apple is more content
    • by smitty97 (995791) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @09:00AM (#19648919)

      I think Microsoft is more concerned.....with people using the lower-priced versions of Vista in virtualization environments they don't understand - on any platform - and then expecting support in such environments.
      OEM versions of Windows don't get Microsoft support, they get the OEM's.
      • OEM versions of Windows don't get Microsoft support, they get the OEM's.

        I'm aware of that, thanks.

        But this isn't only about OEM versions of Windows.

        Retail Home variants of Vista also aren't licensed for virtualization. Where do you think that support comes from? (Whether it's from Microsoft "contractors", it's still Microsoft).

        And Apple (in my opinion) doesn't want to become a Windows OEM in any way, shape, or form.

        So the issue is really why virtualization isn't even supported on retail versions of Vista Ho
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by hummassa (157160)

          Retail Home variants of Vista also aren't licensed for virtualization. Where do you think that support comes from?
          In my experience, nowhere. I don't have the recollection of ONE SINGLE PERSON that tried the support number for Home variants of MS OSs that succeeded in having their questions answered.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tsm_sf (545316)
            I was just about to make this point myself. Microsoft isn't concerned about supporting their OS now, why are they suddenly concerned about supporting virtualized versions?

            How hard would it be for the indian support rep to add 'virtual' to their instructions? "Have you restarted your virtual computer?" "I'd like you please to reinstall your virtual operating system now."
        • by arminw (717974) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @12:19PM (#19651907)
          .....Retail Home variants of Vista also aren't licensed for virtualization......

          Who cares about what's licensed or not. Do you really think that 99.999% of buyers of a VISTA box will care or even look at what their box or dialog presents about agreeing to this or that? They will just install it if it will install. Unless MS can come up with a technical block that will prevent the program from working correctly in a VM, they can print the Harvard Law Library on their boxes for all the difference it would make. MS or anyone's licensing terms don't mean squat in the real world that everyone except lawyers inhabit, especially to consumers. If I were running a big business, I might pay just a tiny bit of attention to such "licenses".
    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @09:01AM (#19648933) Homepage
      Apple sells hardware.

      Why would they mind if people could easily run their (legacy?) Windows apps on a Mac?

      If I could get my Windows apps running on a Mac for little more than the cost of the Mac alone, it'll bring me one step closer to dropping Wintel altogether; migration just got easier.
      • it'll bring me one step closer to dropping Wintel altogether;
        Is going Aptel that big of a jump, you still using Intel Processors. It will just be a different OS.
        • by misleb (129952) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @01:08PM (#19652731)

          Is going Aptel that big of a jump, you still using Intel Processors. It will just be a different OS.


          Yeah, it kind of is. A Mac, even with the intel processor, doesn't feel like a PC at all. I used PCs for the last 20 years and finally got around to buying a Mac (Mac Book Pro) and the overall difference is significant. No more fussing with video drivers. No more butt ugly BIOS POST screens and BIOS config screens with options that almost nobody uses. I can boot off just about anything. Can put my computer in "target firewire" mode so it can act as an external hard drive to another computer. And many other things that, while sometimes possible with PCs, just work with a Mac. And the OS is integrated with the hardware features like neither Windows nor Linux could never quite manage.

          It all comes at a price of fewer choices, of course. But after 20 years of PC "choices," I'm ready to settle down on something that just works elegantly and seamlessly. Macs are just SO MUCH more pleasant to work with.

          -matthew
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mini me (132455)

        Apple sells hardware.

        But people only buy that hardware because of Apple's software. So, while I'm sure they are making money from the hardware, it's the software that is the real money maker.
        • by HTH NE1 (675604)

          But people only buy that hardware because of Apple's software. So, while I'm sure they are making money from the hardware, it's the software that is the real money maker.

          But lately it hasn't been sales of the operating system that's been the real money maker. Their software income is coming from applications like Final Cut Studio, not Mac OS X.

          Apple hasn't sold hardware that runs their separately packaged operating system software for a long time now. The box versions of Tiger are PPC only. The only way

          • You missed the point. The hardware is the package. The software is what sells a Macintosh.
          • by MBGMorden (803437)
            Um, that's probably because all Intel Mac's already came with OS X Tiger. They don't want you running it on just anything Intel based (not that you CAN'T do that thanks to the work of some pretty clever hackers - I'm running 10.4.8 on a $250 "generic pc" myself), so there is absolutely no need to sell it separately right now. When Leopard comes out, they will need to have an upgrade option for Intel Mac owners whose machine came with Tiger, so they will then sell it boxed again.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      One interesting item of note is that at many sites with Microsoft Volume Licensing Agreements, such as our own, Windows XP Pro and Windows Vista Enterprise are available essentially for free (just the cost of the media) for all departmentally-owned computers - including usage in virtualization, and including usage on Intel-based Macs.

      Even under the volume licensing agreement, each separate copy of Windows that gets installed still does have to be accounted for, and paid for... just because you're not the on
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        "...and I can't seem to get it thru the thick heads of our junior staff here that despite the fact that we have an MS enterprise licensing agreement in place, that it doesn't mean that they can go about willy-nilly installing various MS software anywhere and everywhere they please. It still must be done in a strict accounting and inventory managed way, and each piece of MS software installed onto a pile of hardware must be justified by proper business authorization, and approved by a manager with budget aut
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Gilmoure (18428)
        Same here. Our licensing deal with MS allows for upgrades and installs on systems that shipped with Windows originally. This leaves out Macs and any boxes that shipped with Linux installed. If they want to install Windows on these machines, they have to shell out for a new license.

        Even with the new license and Parallels fees (around $180 a machine), and higher costs of Macs, we're having an upsurge in Mac purchases. Other cool thing about Parallels is that it allows any X-86 OS, except OS X, to run with out
    • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @09:18AM (#19649129) Homepage Journal
      If so, it would be the first time they've been so concerned with support costs, which they effectively externalize to third parties and IT departments. Historically, they've always been ready to deploy products with inherent support and security complexities if that product meets their strategic needs.

      At the risk of pointing out the obvious, MS is an unique position in the software industry. They can make TCO arguments based, not on the supportability of their products, but on the customers' sunk costs.

      That said, I think Windows running on a VM is probably stabler and less costly to support than Windows running on real hardware.

      At first blush, features like Parallel's Coherence would seem to be bad for the Mac platform and good for the Windows platform. Not only is there another windows license sold, licenses of Windows based software gain at the expense of Mac based programs.

      This is where DRM comes in, I think.

      Microsoft understands the value of owning the platform. Virtual Windows on Macs helps them in their traditional businesses, but it undermines their desire to gain control over digital entertainment in the same way they control office automation. Control of de facto DRM standards would be yet another proverbial "license to print money".

      People using Macs with cheap copies of virtualized Windows literally side by side with Mac apps is not good for this plan. They will never be a huge market, but they could be influential.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vitriol+Angst (458300)
        @hey!

        Great point about DRM. I agree that is why Microsoft is so embracing DRM ... because then they have a captive market. That HDTV works great, and those 300 videos you downloaded still play for sure, with MS-DRM!

        And Apple is offering DRM-free music for a little more money.

        The Window of opportunity is closing. But Apple, Amazon, WalMart and many other companies are offering video downloads. Will people go for a platform, that allows them to keep and manage content and perhaps look at other people's conten
    • Apple is more content with knowing that users in supported enterprise/academic/government environments can get Macs and use nifty technologies like Parallels, VMware, Boot Camp, etc., but isn't interested in getting into the Windows game itself.

      This is about ending the Windoze game. Apple is offering a safety blanket so that people can user Apple and other applications without fear of not being able to work with dreaded M$ enslaved coworkers. Their users, in turn, will do what they can to interact in s

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      Obviously, there is nothing technical preventing a person from using any version of Vista in virtualization
      Well, other than the people making the virtualization software recognize the versions of Vista that have license terms against virtualization and blocking them from running so as not to get sued by Microsoft for enabling others to violate Microsoft's license agreement.

      Last I checked, Parallels didn't support virtualizing all versions of Vista.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by surfingmarmot (858550)

      "...with people using the lower-priced versions of Vista in virtualization environments they don't understand - on any platform - and then expecting support in such environments."

      Microsoft doesn't support end users. Ever. Have you ever tried to get support from Microsoft other than the Knowledge Base? No, Microsoft is no worried about support costs--that isn't a material part of their business model. what they are worried, even paranoid about, is losing control--losing the linkage between Exchange and Out

    • I can't see a scenario where Apple would be interested in becoming a Windows OEM, supporting Windows, etc.

      Nor can I see a scenario where Microsoft would be FORCED to do business with Apple as a Windows OEM. Microsoft doesn't need to forbid EVERYBODY from virtualizing Vista to keep Apple away.
    • ...with people using the lower-priced versions of Vista in virtualization environments they don't understand - on any platform - and then expecting support in such environments.


      The only problem with that is people don't call Microsoft for support: they call dell, ow whoever sold them the PC. This is supposed to be one of the more annoying aspects of running a call center.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Also, Apple doesn't really want to make it too easy for people to run Windows and Windows apps - just when they really need to.

      I don't think Apple gives a shit. If you bought their hardware, they're happy. The OS X platform is Apple's way of being able to deliver value such as iLife that they don't trust Microsoft to deliver on their own (and they haven't), but if you're still willing to buy Apple hardware even though you're using Windows on it, Apple wants you as a customer.

  • Is Microsoft terrified of a world where Windows can be virtualized and forced to take a back seat to Mac OS X or Linux?"

    This is the "half-empty" view. The "half-full" full is that Microsoft welcomes such virtualization in the sense that it's product will be on more computers than ever before and may even have the *gasp* opposite effect of what people think... That is, maybe someone switches back to Windows after running it in a virtual machine. Even at discounted OEM prices, it is still generating revenue that otherwise would not have been there.

    • by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @08:55AM (#19648879) Homepage Journal
      Initially I thought the exact them thing. But consider the consequences over time. With "hidden" virtualization Microsoft doesn't get to control the desktop. They lose one avenue to promote their brand. They don't get to push new products onto customers' desktops. They may lose control over the user's interface to the web (since Macs have a native browser). And if more people buy Macs more developers will make native applications to replace some of the virtualized ones, so over time the virtualized Windows may become almost irrelevant.

      Microsoft has always been interested in control. They believe in the long run it sells the most software licenses.
      • by westlake (615356) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @09:36AM (#19649355)
        But consider the consequences over time. With "hidden" virtualization Microsoft doesn't get to control the desktop. They lose one avenue to promote their brand. They don't get to push new products onto customers' desktops. They may lose control over the user's interface to the web

        All this assumes that users - and support teams - are jumping for joy at the chance to maintain multiple operating systems, software libraries, and skill sets. To anyone but a Geek this can seem sadomasochistic.

        God help them if virtualization does not remain transparent.

        • All this assumes that users - and support teams - are jumping for joy at the chance to maintain multiple operating systems, software libraries, and skill sets. To anyone but a Geek this can seem sadomasochistic.

          And you assume that corporate decisions about which desktop operating system to use are governed only by support costs. Unfortunately for lovers of the concept of simplicity through monotony, in some situations, it actually makes sense to operate non MS desktop operating systems and the benefits of doing so outweigh the extra costs of maintaining multiple skill sets. Hidden virtualization might even increase the popularity of non-MS desktop operating systems to the point where they become serious competito

      • by apt142 (574425)
        I was thinking the same thing as well. What would be the best way to get a user off of a Windows machine and on to a Mac (or Linux)? As an earlier post pointed out, just knowing that a user can switch back to windows if they needed to, gives the person the courage to make that leap. Now, imagine they don't even have to worry about that.

        Sure, they'll be capable of using and probably still hooked on their favorite windows programs. But, if you're an OS vendor (or advocate) you just won more than half
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Vitriol+Angst (458300)
        I agree that virtualization is the killer strategic App for Apple.

        Yes, some coders will just develop for Windows.

        But once people become accustomed to the Mac interface,.. the hurdle of transition is over. Perhaps that is the reason Apple has adopted the iTunes interface into parts of the finder in their Leopard OS. To sync with the iPhone -- you use iTunes. So the customer is already becoming acquainted with the Mac interface on Windows. The Safari browser, I'd expect, will probably be bundled with iTunes i
    • This is the "half-empty" view. The "half-full" full is that Microsoft welcomes such virtualization in the sense that it's product will be on more computers than ever before ...

      Personally, I'll wager that the "half-empty" view is more correct. Microsoft's history can be described as one defined by a need for complete dominance and control, even where it was inappropriate, unneeded or counter productive. The possibility that, according to the article, they'll be playing "second fiddle", is more apt to send
    • by Kadin2048 (468275) *
      That is, maybe someone switches back to Windows after running it in a virtual machine.

      God, that was funny.

      Wait -- you weren't joking, were you.

  • by stubear (130454)
    "Is Microsoft terrified of a world where Windows can be virtualized and forced to take a back seat to Mac OS X or Linux?" ...afraid of a world where anyone can obtain a copy of OSX and run it on a white box system instead of the "blessed" Jobsian hardware. Microsoft doesn't want users to virtualize Windows on other operating systems and Apple doesn't want users to run copies of OSX on white box systems. Stalemate.
  • by MontyApollo (849862) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @08:53AM (#19648857)
    Microsoft makes even more money if Apple puts Vista on every computer. It's an untapped market. Seems like it would be good for Microsoft.
    • by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @09:05AM (#19648973)
      Seems like it would be good for Microsoft.

      In the short term. In the longer term, it could be very bad indeed.

      Microsoft's power, and profits, come from the fact that they have a stranglehold on the market. They really can't afford to let anyone get too much traction in their own market - as soon as they loose the stranglehold things could turn very ugly very quickly for Microsoft, because it will mean they won't be able to dictate price to the market, the market will dictate to them and that will mean plunging profits.
      • Or, as others pointed out, Apple developers may decide to use Windows as their native platform since their apps will run seemlessly on both Macs and Windows, a much bigger market.

        Then people start mainly running Windows apps. And then people maybe see no need to use the Mac OS as the middle man...

        Not necessarily, but it could happen.
        • by pubjames (468013)
          Not necessarily, but it could happen.

          Not whilst Steve Jobs is around.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Or, as others pointed out, Apple developers may decide to use Windows as their native platform since their apps will run seemlessly on both Macs and Windows, a much bigger market.

          That's assuming most Apple users will be buying Windows and some solution to make it integrate well. I don't think that is a reasonable assumption. Most of the people running Windows in an emulator are doing so because they are migrating away from Windows, or because they just need one or two apps. A few developers might drop support for the Mac, but they'd also lose that market share rapidly to someone whose software will run natively and will use all the features of OS X. The situation would be differen

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by everphilski (877346)
      An untapped market of what, ~5% of computer users?

      The market segment is abysmally small. It just isn't worth it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pubjames (468013)
        An untapped market of what, ~5% of computer users?

        that's right, five percent of the top end of a huge market, any business would be dumb to go after that...
      • 5% of $10 Billion (or whatever it is) is still pretty good money when the only work you have to do is sign a contract with Apple to load Windows on every computer.
    • by boxlight (928484) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @09:49AM (#19649503)
      Microsoft makes even more money if Apple puts Vista on every computer. It's an untapped market. Seems like it would be good for Microsoft.

      In the short term sounds good for Microsoft. But in the long term, no.

      Here's the scenario that Microsoft is afraid of: Computer user buys a Mac with Mac OS X and Windows. Yes, Microsoft got paid for the copy of Windows. But the user is now living in a Mac OS X world, logging into Mac OS X, using Mac's browser, Mac's Mail.app, iLife and so on. Windows has been delegated to the status of virtual machine, there only to support the running of Microsoft Project and the few other Windows only apps.

      Over time, the user is focused more on the OS X software updates, the new OS X features, and the new OS X applications. Windows has become less important -- almost irrelevant, certainly out-of-mind for him.

      Five years later, time to buy a new computer. He gets a new Mac. Doesn't even think about getting Windows this time -- or just decides to continue to use the old five year old copy of Windows from his previous Mac. Windows, for him, has become a legacy product.

      Bill Gates has *always* said that Windows can be obsolete in five years.

      boxlight
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MontyApollo (849862)
        >>or just decides to continue to use the old five year old copy of Windows from his previous Mac

        OEM versions of Windows generally cannot be legally transferred to a different computer.

        The issue in the long run will be how much the user is using Windows-only software. The situation probably won't change unless more Mac software pops up to replace the key apps. I can't see it happening in a few years, especially for games. If the user actually noticed he was using much more Windows apps than Mac apps, t
  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @08:53AM (#19648859) Journal
    Apple can do that with XP right now, and simply continue to do so until XP's EOL. It's not like Vista is being adopted widespread, and --more importantly-- it isn't as if 3rd-party Windows' Developer mindshare is falling all over itself to take advantage of Vista-specific features.

    That, and, umm, wouldn't such a move sort of alienate the Developer mindshare for OSX? I guess I don't grok the incentive to help nudge Win32/64 developers to download Xcode and go to town if they see that they can continue to use Visual Studio .NET and just hum along in building apps that compile once but run on both platforms.

    Apple (or rather, the friendly folks who make Parallels) could use that as a stop-gap (a couple-years' long one) to get behind pushing WINE, CrossOver, Cedega, etc etc... if indeed that's where they're wanting to go.

    I like the angle, it has appeal, but it seems more damaging in the long run than to simply work on increasing marketshare among customers to the point where Windows-only dev shops are forced to take a good hard look at coding for OSX for competitive edge and survival reasons.

    Besides... if Apple really wanted to give incentives, they could/should push for building tools that make cross-compiling hella easier, with maybe an IDE that can replace VS .NET on Windows entirely, say, with a modified Xcode that --oh by the way-- has a handy and nearly automatic suite of tools to make compiling OSX apps easier for the dev who uses it.

    /P

    • OS/2's great Windows 3.1 (and Win 32s) support was one of the reasons it died. There was little incentive for developers at the time to write native OS/2 applications. Of course, shoddy marketing by IBM was the main culprit, but Win-OS/2 was considered to be a big reason that no real killer apps were made for OS/2.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        OS/2's great Windows 3.1 (and Win 32s) support was one of the reasons it died.

        My experience with it (in versions 2.1 and 3.0) was that it was SHIT. Running simple applications, in some cases even those which came with Windows, would make it crash and the whole thing would blow up at once and take out all of your windows apps.

        OS/2 died because it was too expensive, because it had too-high system requirements, and because it had an interface that is horribly unintuitive if you are used to mac and/or window

  • by TheGreatHegemon (956058) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @08:56AM (#19648881)
    I don't know how many times this has been said, but Microsoft is a software vendor, not a hardware one. If they get to sell to Apple users too, then they make more profit. Who cares if Apple sells Vista OEM? The reason Microsoft HAS oems is because they still do make a profit off it. More importantly, this would nearly eliminate reasons for developing software for mac altogether for third party developers - they'll get practically the same penetration if they code just for windows and have Mac users just use Parallels.

    I am of the honest opinion that the day Mac starts bundling Vista, or selling it OEM, etc. is the day that Microsoft breaks open bottles of wines and drinks to success.
  • My thoughts exactly [slashdot.org]

    Well, not exactly...
  • Haha (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jswigart (1004637) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @08:58AM (#19648903)
    If anyone is terrified at virtualization, it's Apple. They are the only OS that you can't run in a VM without resorting to 3rd party hacks that may or may not work with your hardware. I had been trying to install OSX in VMware off and on for several years now, to have a place to compile mac versions of some projects I'm working on. Unfortunately I haven't had much luck. The most recent attempt was able to boot up OSX and run it very well, but unfortunately completely missing network support and other such means of communicating back to the host OS, and creating and mounting ISO images of my source tree to compile stuff on it just isn't an option. Were apple to embrace such support, VMWare and similar programs could support it natively. They won't though, because they fear exactly what this article claims MS fears. If you can run Apple software on your non Apple hardware, you have no use for Apple. Only for MS, virtualization isn't as devastating to their business, because they are a software company, and can still sell software, while Apple needs to sell you artificially proprietary hardware, and even though their software is very good, they rely on having you locked in to their hardware.
  • Their stance is eying them eh? If that's true then I think the entire house of cards will come down like a row of dominoes... Checkmate.

    obFuturama...

  • That's the first decent explanation I've seen of why MS would be against use of Windows in a VM. Running Windows apps "natively" under OSX would be a real win for Apple.
  • by awb131 (159522) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @09:09AM (#19649007)
    There are a couple of major problems with this analysis:

    > Apple is technically an OEM, and could offer copies of Vista at a discounted price.

    Microsoft, in the past and at present, has used OEM contracts as their major tool for consolidating their hold on the industry. Their OEM agreements have contained such provisions as "if you want preferred pricing, you can't sell computers that run any other operating system." Only for very, very large computer makers such as Dell and HP -- where Microsoft wants to be because there's huge volume -- do they relax these demands. The likelihood of Microsoft offering Apple an OEM contract is extremely low if MS thought it would be a threat.

    Anyway, it's the business market, not the Joe Pirate market, that MS is concerned about.

    > Instead, the apps appear to run in OS X itself, and the environment is (mostly) hidden away.

    Except for, you know, the general crappiness of the apps. :)

    I think what MS fears is what a lot of people already know: the main thing that keeps Apple out of the business market is that there's always one or two apps you need that only run under Windows, or some web site you need to access that only works properly with IE. OSX is more reliable, easier to support, and once you've learned the tools it's somewhat easier to manage configuration over a bunch of machines than Windows. If I could use a Macbook every day and run IE and a couple of other specialty apps alongside my OSX apps, my business' next hardware purchases would be from Apple and not from HP as they have been in the past. We already have no intention of upgrading to Vista until it becomes necessary due to dropped patch support for XP. If this situation arises, Microsoft has lost their monopoly power over the PC OEM's, and the tower crumbles.

    Granted, this is more true for notebooks and dekstops than for servers and other infrastructure. But if I was managing a fleet of Macs for my employees, I'd start switching things over from Windows Server to OSX Server, too.
    • OSX is more reliable, easier to support...and run IE and a couple of other specialty apps alongside my OSX apps

      A system that is running OS X and Windows apps is more difficult to secure and administer than a system just running Windows. Running Windows either through a VM or directly on the metal gives you all of the security and administration disadvantages of running Windows! A Mac requires its own, albeit smaller, administrative duties but bringing them into the equation causes more overhead, not less.
    • Microsoft, in the past and at present, has used OEM contracts as their major tool for consolidating their hold on the industry. Their OEM agreements have contained such provisions as "if you want preferred pricing, you can't sell computers that run any other operating system." Only for very, very large computer makers such as Dell and HP -- where Microsoft wants to be because there's huge volume -- do they relax these demands. The likelihood of Microsoft offering Apple an OEM contract is extremely low if M

  • Apple is technically an OEM, and could offer copies of Vista at a discounted price.
    Somehow I don't think Microsoft would mind if every Apple shipped with an OEM copy of Windows. The vast majority of Windows licenses are of the OEM variety (ie, the "discounted" variety) and yet somehow Microsoft seems to scrape by. I think MS would actually really delight in pointing out that Apple machines are only worth buying if you also buy a copy of Windows.
  • Couldn't apple still offer a cheaper business edition? I imagine they'd get a discount on that too. They may have to take a bit of a loss or no gain, but that wouldn't be a first in a competition.
  • Microsoft has good reasons to be nervous. I used to keep a Windows PC (or two) around for the odd (pun intended :-) consulting jobs that required some Windows only software. I have Parallels running right now because I need to run Ruby+Watir+IE for a customer task.

    Microsoft still gets to sell Windows licenses, but they could get marginalized in the tech-elite market. That said, most of my non-computer savvy friends are happy enough to buy a cheap Windows PC to browse the web and do email.
  • I was under the impression that Vista was a resource hog as it is, wouldn't a virtualized Vista require more resources & in turn a beefier computer to run virtualized as opposed to how it's traditionally run ?
  • Virtualization, particularly when the virtualization is not terribly obvious, is a great threat to MS. I have a Windows box sitting in the corner to do those things for which Linux software does not exist. I fire it up after Patch Tuesday and then once in a while to run whatever it is I need. If I could have VMs (hardware is too limnited) then the same box would support my primary environment and Windows as a rarely used secondary. Not a pleasant place for MS to be when on other fronts they are wringing

    • by illumin8 (148082)

      I have a Windows box sitting in the corner to do those things for which Linux software does not exist. I fire it up after Patch Tuesday and then once in a while to run whatever it is I need.
      How sad is that? Is the killer app for a Windows box now Windows Update? Oh don't forget about my new favorite software package, Windows Genuine Advantage... har har...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is Microsoft terrified of a world where Windows can be virtualized and forced to take a back seat to Mac OS X or Linux?"

    Is a tapeworm terrified of a world where people welcome worms into their guts rather than exterminating them?

    C'mon, if a zaibatsu were capable of being "terrified" (that's a pretty weird concept anyway) it wouldn't be terrified of having its products sold to an audience that would not otherwise buy them. And that's the case here, it's Microsoft penetrating the Mac/linux/BSD software market through virtualization, not the other way 'round.

  • Yes? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vulva R. Thompson, P (1060828) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @09:19AM (#19649139)
    Is Microsoft terrified of a world where Windows can be virtualized and forced to take a back seat to Mac OS X or Linux?

    Yes, imho.

    And it's interesting that the press release http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/fusion ap.html [vmware.com] is officially touting DirectX 8.1 which has been experimental forever.

    A seamless "Unity for Ubuntu" and DirectX 9.0c would be the final pieces of the puzzle for a lot of folks. It doesn't help the cause for pushing development of native Linux apps. But it would certainly increase the installed base of non-Windows OSes and that's a solid baby step.
  • Apple isn't successful because they're copying or somehow making the transition to a Mac easier.

    The summary describes a kind of "me too" marketing that Apple just doesn't do. Furthermore, consumers just don't work that way.

    The way corporations Apple's size work is they wait long enough for a new segment to have many smaller vendors and enough market research to verify the dollar-size of a market. Then they build a simpler device in the same segment and charge more for it because they have to pay for all t
  • Hey at least you can run Windows on a Mac. Try to run OSX on anything else but Apple hardware and see if you don't get really popular with some male prisoners FAST.

    I love how Apple turns around and uses this as a feature point "Only a Mac can run Windows, Linux and OSX! It is truly a miracle!"....
  • Given Apple's strict prohibition against virtualizing OS X, it seems hard for Apple fans to complain if Microsoft is doing the same to Apple.

    However, as someone who is using virtualization software, I have to say, I doubt they have anything to fear. Virtualization software is non-trivial to set up, has spotty hardware support, has performance hits (particularly for I/O), uses lots of memory, and results in inconsistent UIs and unpleasant window management. I doubt that Microsoft is seriously worried about
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by stewbacca (1033764)

      I doubt that Microsoft is seriously worried about virtualization on OS X.

      So you have a more plausible explanation for the bizarre EULA flip-flopping? I do, but it is in ADDITION to their OS X worries...with virtualization users are able to bypass the DRM that keeps Vista proprietary. In other words, MS is trying to be like Apple, by making a closed architecture (and hoping it improves the functionality of their machines, like a Mac), but is failing, because they have a poor track record of successfully c

  • Apple is technically an OEM, and could offer copies of Vista at a discounted price. 'All of this paints a picture in which Apple could use OEM pricing to offer Windows for its Macs at greatly reduced prices and running in a VM.

    First, the regular OEM price isn't a "greatly reduced price" - its the de-facto going rate for Windows (exactly what price the big boys, Dell, HP etc. pay - and what "Important considerations" they offer in return is another question).

    Secondly, the current OEM license already has s

    • First, the regular OEM price isn't a "greatly reduced price" - its the de-facto going rate for Windows (exactly what price the big boys, Dell, HP etc. pay - and what "Important considerations" they offer in return is another question).

      OEM has EVERYTHING to do with it. In my business (education technology), we can't seriously consider the choice of switching to Macs and run WinOS because we'd have to buy an XP or Vista license for every Mac. Since Macs don't ship with OEM versions of Windows, it is a no

  • For those wondering, like I was, what this Coherence thing was about (since the submitter or editors decided not to include a link), here ya go: Parallels Coherence [parallels.com]. It basically lets Parallels run without having to use the Windows desktop so windows Apps appear to be more like Mac apps. Kinda slick.
  • Ummm, even if you are an original equipment manufacturer wouldn't you need to sign a contract with Microsoft to sell Windows??? While there may be restrictions on what MS can do because the government has declared them a monopoly but it would seem pretty odd if MS couldn't chose not to sell Windows to someone if they wanted to.
  • by LKM (227954)
    Apple is not going to do that. My guess is that Microsoft figured out that lots of people run Windows in VMs, and that many of these are the people who may actually pay for software, so they are trying to get as much money from them as possible.
  • Is Microsoft terrified of a world where Windows can be virtualized and forced to take a back seat to Mac OS X or Linux?

    Isn't the back seat where you sit in a Limo, where we get taken where we want to go?

    Gee, how bad could it be to sell more product through a yet another avenue?

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