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OSX's "Safety Net"

09/20/08 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Link: http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/09/17/mac-virtualization-software-sales-skyrocket

For a lot of people, changing operating systems is a significant step. You lose all of your applications, most of your data and a large amount of proficiency (and time!) while you relearn the basics. It's mostly true even within generations of the same operating system (like Windows 3.1 to '95 to '98 to ME to XP to Vista.)

When I moved to the Mac, it was due to a few issues. First, I was frustrated with Microsoft's licensing for Windows. I run multiple machines and buying non-transferrable $200 OEM licenses for each one was getting quite pricey. Secondly, I'd had a chance to play with OSX on a 12" Titanium Powerbook and had liked both parts. Third, BootCamp. Fourth, my current desktop was futzing out and needed to be replaced, preferably with a decently specced and priced laptop.

The third item was really the clincher as far as the choice of laptop was concerned. I didn't want to abandon all the Windows apps I'd paid for and liked so the ability to continue to use them was a big selling point. While I did like OSX based on my brief use, that was with it not being my primary operating system and I wasn't certain the good feeling would last; I had liked BeOS when that was current but it never managed to displace the host Windows system. BootCamp was in essence going to become my default way of using the Mac with OSX being booted into as a diversion and as a way of learning how to support family members who used Macintoshes already. The important thing to note was that OSX was going to be the backup OS on the laptop, not the primary. I wasn't worried about trying OSX on for size as the Windows support acted as my safety net for when it didn't work out.

It didn't really turn out that way. I liked OSX and soon after I bought the computer, the massive discounted software bundles like MacUpdate, MacZOT and MacHeist began, leading me to develop a decent collection of useful applications native to OSX. Those, plus the excellent integration of the native Apple software and the presence of cross-platform programs like SplashWallet and the Palm Desktop, meant I stuck to OSX and really didn't use Windows much any more at home.

If Apple hadn't released BootCamp, I probably wouldn't have migrated; the comfort level just wouldn't have been there. This brings me back to the Ars Technica report linked above:

That's an interesting thought, but perhaps it's not so much wanting to experiment with Windows as an insurance policy for Mac OS X—Windows as a last resort, if you will.

I think they have it exactly right. The Windows support is perceived as essential, even if it's never used. Apple got that with BootCamp. Hosted virtual machines like Parallels and Fusion simply make it an even easier sell.

(MacSurfer link)


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