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Apple Watch: The Empire Strikes Back
Monday, 2003 November 10 - 5:04 pm
Ho hum, Microsoft is releasing a new version of software acquired from Connectix: Virtual PC. Nothing sinister about that, right? Or perhaps...

I read an opinion piece on a Mac-oriented Web site that Apple should bundle a super-fast copy of Virtual PC on every Mac that it sells. And for we greedy consumers, that does sound like a great idea. But it doesn't take long to realize that if Apple were to do that, there would be virtually zero incentive for any developers to create Apple-specific software. And that would make Apple into exactly what it can't afford to be: irrelevant.

So with that thought in mind, it gives me a slight chill to imagine a vastly improved Virtual PC for Mac, priced as a loss leader, worming its way into every Mac on the planet... carrying Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer along with it. It's much easier for Microsoft to do this than to port Windows to Apple hardware, and it wouldn't require any blessings from Apple. It would sneakily give Microsoft 99% of the desktop market.

That last 1%, by the way, might also be conquered if Microsoft released Virtual PC for Linux. It doesn't take a great stretch to see that coming too.

And no, Apple cannot fight back by taking the opposite strategy, by releasing Virtual Mac for the PC. Because if all that great Mac software ran well on PCs, it would render the Mac hardware irrelevant.

Apple's strength is in its vertical monopoly, its tight integration of hardware and software. It must maintain that strength through software that runs better on the Mac than on the PC. So while Apple doesn't mind having Virtual PC out there to help switchers through a transition, they would probably prefer that it never gets to run too well.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

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