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The Real Reason Behind Apple's Boot Camp

Damien Barrett

I think I've realized the real reason why Apple has released Boot Camp, and why it'll be part of Leopard when it's released. As C.K. suggests, it's a move to be more competitive in the desktop PC market, but it's more than that. Apple's marketshare in some of their traditional strongholds (like Education) has been slipping for some time, and Boot Camp is nothing short of an all-out frontal assault to reverse that trend. Here's how it works in most schools and large organizations:

- most universities still have both PC's and Macs. Of course, some have moved entirely to Dells, but the majority still have both.
- the computers in schools and large organizations tend to be refreshed every 3-4 years as part of a refresh program. This is hardwired to the IT budget; it's scheduled to happen.
- computer labs and classrooms are designated either a Mac classroom or a Windows classroom, by necessity.

Imagine a school budget that simply replaces all the computers campus-wide with new Intel Macs that can run anything we throw at them. Need to run Windows? Image the iMac with the WinXP image. Need to run Mac OS X? Image the iMac with the Tiger (or Leopard) image. Need to run either (because it's a dual-purpose classroom)? Install both and teach the lab assistants and instructors how switch between the environments. It might even be scheduled to reboot the classroom between classes so it's transparent to the end-user.

Now imagine that you're a sysadmin and you could tell your boss that you could outfit a classroom or a lab with one model computer that could run either your Mac image or your Windows image, or even both of the images? Suddenly your rooms are dual-use rooms. The AutoCAD kids can simple boot the computer to Windows to turn their software and two hours later, the Graphic Design students can boot the computers to Mac OS X to run their design applications!

Boot Camp is a bombshell change in the PC desktop marketplace. Suddenly, there will be options available to us sysadmins that we've never had before. This development is going to allow an organization to achieve the holy grail in computer workstation management--complete standardization on one model computer (e.g. the new Intel iMac). I'm so excited about this possibility that my workchair is spinning. Certainly, I'm not alone.

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