Apple unveils software to allow new Intel Macs to run Windows XP

So now it’s all becoming clear what a major part of the reason for Apple to change over to Intel chips was. Yesterday, Apple released software that will allow the new Intel Macs to run Windows XP:

SAN JOSE, Calif. – To broaden its appeal in a Windows-dominated world, Apple Computer Inc. unveiled software Wednesday to help owners of its new Intel-based Macs run not only its own operating system but also Microsoft Corp.’s rival software.

Apple’s shares surged as Wall Street bet the move would help Apple grow its current worldwide personal computer market share beyond the current range of 3 percent to 4 percent by attracting more business and home users.

“It makes the Mac the most versatile computer on the market,” said Tim Bajarin, a tech industry consultant at Creative Strategies.

Apple’s new “Boot Camp” software, a “beta” test version available as a free download, lets computer users with a Windows XP installation disk load it on the Mac. Users could then switch between the two operating systems — using only one at a time — by rebooting, a process that could take a few minutes.

Users would have to get their own copy of Windows XP — the home edition retails for $199.

Apple shares rose nearly 10 percent on the news, raising its market capitalization to $57.04 billion — an increase of more than $5.1 billion.

Too cool.

This is a brilliant move. Even as dedicated a Mac-phile as I still occasionally have no option but to use Windows for a few things. For example, due to the short-sightedness and Windows-centricity of the hospital that I work at, I can’t electronically sign my clinic notes without using a Windows machine, nor can I remotely access radiology images from home using the hospital’s system. Virtual PC doesn’t work for the applications that I need for these purposes. Besides, Virtual PC is an emulator and it runs slow. It’s OK for word processing and other such applications, but not so good for anything else.

This has the potential to change everything.