Vista Won't Yet Help Windows Apps Run On Mactels - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

Vista Won't Yet Help Windows Apps Run On Mactels

A feature that could help Mac users run Windows software will ship with the 64-bit version of Vista, Microsoft confirmed, at some unidentified point in the future.

Microsoft Corp. on Friday confirmed that upcoming Vista wouldn't contain technology that would have made it easier to run Windows applications on Apple Computer Inc.'s Intel Macs, a major hurdle in getting PC users to switch.

Vista, which is scheduled to ship this year, was expected to use Intel Corp.'s new EFI, or Extensible Firmware Interface, specification for starting a PC before the operating system takes over. Windows XP uses the archaic firmware BIOS that's 20 years old.

The Intel Macs, unveiled in January, use EFI. A recent report from investment banker Needham & Co. LLC said that supporting EFI in Vista would make it easier to eventually run applications built for the OS to also run on Mactels.

But on Friday, Microsoft confirmed in an email statement that it wouldn't support EFI in Vista until the OS ships on 64-bit machines. Windows XP and Intel Macs on home computers are 32-bit systems.

"At this time Windows will not support native EFI boot until these systems have 64-bit capable processors," the company said.

Microsoft did not offer a timetable.

Earlier this week, a Microsoft development manager reportedly made the disclosure at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

In a report released this week, Needham said Apple could increase its market share among home computer users by 4.1 percent, or 1 million Mactel shipments, just from PC users who would switch to the Intel Mac, if it could run Windows applications without any degradation in performance.

Many PC users do not switch because doing so would require them to buy all new software, which would be expensive. In addition, many software makers do not sell Mac versions of their Windows products.

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