MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
And I'm Michele Norris.
Here's something a lot of Macintosh computer users never thought they'd hear.
The familiar sound of the Windows operating system. Today, Apple Computer released software that will allow Macs to run that program. People who buy the newest Macintosh computers can run Apple's operating system, called OSX, and they could also run Windows and Windows-based programs.
Leo LaPorte hosts the podcast called This Week in Tech. We asked him how this new Apple software called Boot Camp might change the lives of Mac users.
(SOUNDBITE OF WINDOWS XP STARTUP MUSIC)
LEO LAPORTE: Well, it'll only change your life if there are Windows programs you have to run. There are Mac purists, who say, oh, my gosh, this is heresy. Who would ever want to run Windows on a Macintosh? But if you have to run Windows programs or you want to run Windows programs, this is great.
NORRIS: Now, right now, people have already been able to share software, and there are some tricks on the Internet that allow you to get around this barrier in the system. How does this differ, this Boot Camp software that's being produced and provided by Apple?
LAPORTE: Yeah, hackers have figured out how to do this, in fact, it was a big deal a couple of weeks ago when they announced it. I think Apple must have had this kind of under the covers all along and finally said, maybe we better tell people what we can do. They do it better. First of all, it's Apple, and it's Apple's hardware, so they know how to make things like the network cards and the video cards work right. They've also done some really nice little things to make it easier for users to install Windows. For instance, when you run this Boot Camp program, it automatically makes space on your hard drive for Windows, it moves things around. It also allows you to uninstall Windows if you want to change your mind, and those are things that the hacker version didn't do.
NORRIS: The rivalry between Apple and Microsoft is legendary. How big a deal was this in the computer world?
LAPORTE: It's a funny rivalry because while, yeah, they have gone to court over various things in the past, at the same time, Microsoft makes the number one program for OSX, which is Microsoft Office, and is really very supportive of Macintosh in a lot of ways. I don't think Microsoft minds this at all. I think it's very good for them. It means they'll sell more copies of Windows, and it's also good for Apple. It means Apple will sell more Macintosh hardware. There's a lot of Windows users who would like to run both Windows and OSX, so it's really a win for everyone.
NORRIS: And Apple says it doesn't intend to support Windows, so I'm trying to understand why they would do something like this.
LAPORTE: That's the last thing Apple wants to do. They'll support, I'm sure, installing this program and getting it to work and so forth, but if somebody calls up and says, hey, I'm running Windows and I've got a virus, that's the last thing Apple wants to help.
NORRIS: And Windows, by the way, is known for its security flaws. Will running it on a Mac make it somewhat safer or will the Macs be just as vulnerable to these problems?
LAPORTE: No. Once you're running Windows, it's exactly the same as running Windows on any other computer. You have the same issues with viruses and spyware. That doesn't change at all.
NORRIS: What kind of user does Mac have in mind with this?
LAPORTE: Well, I think there's a big market for this. There's, first of all, the business market, which has been hesitant to go to Macintosh because there haven't been a lot of business programs running on OSX. Now, they can run the entire universe of applications, both Mac and Windows. There's also a lot of home users who don't want to have two computers, and yet want to run both kinds of programs, so, for them, this is great.
A lot of gamers want this. One of the big differences between Macintosh and Windows is there are a lot more games on the Windows platform. Well, now, you can buy a Mac and use a Mac for everything else and when it's time to play some games, you can boot into Windows.
NORRIS: Single action or the start of something new, start of something bigger?
LAPORTE: Oh, no. I think this is just the beginning. Really, users don't want to even think about what operating system they're using. They don't care. They just want to do stuff with their computer. They want to run programs. Why should you have to decide whether you're running Mac or Windows and figure that out before you buy a program? You shouldn't have to, so this is the beginning of what is inevitable, which is the operating system taking a backseat to the programs we run. That's the way it really should be.
NORRIS: Thanks, Leo.
LAPORTE: You're welcome.
NORRIS: Leo LaPorte produces and hosts the podcast This Week in Tech.
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