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The giant awakens

Apple has been flaunting the advantages of Mac over Windows for quite a while now, be it using the “get a mac” ad campaign or via their cheeky (if not totally irresponsible) comments that Windows security is partly to blame for the virus that shipped with a few fifth generation iPods. Not to mention their prominent WWDC banner advertising Leopard with several juicy slogans like “Introducing Vista 2.0”, and “Hasta la vista, Vista”.

So far, we’ve not seen much in the way of retaliation from Microsoft. And it comes from the expected direction – leveraging their monopoly.

The Mac is clearly attracting a lot of interest right now, with it’s US market share jumping to 6.1%, and all the publicity. And if there’s one thing thats really tempting the Windows crowd, its the lure of Parallels – the virtual machine for Intel Macs that can run Windows seamlessly from within OS X. It’s the dream application for anyone who wants to break away from Windows, but annoyingly needs one or two pieces of software that keep them stuck. Windows runs on Parallels at native speeds allowing you to run any piece of software (except those with intense 3-D requirements) very easily.

Enter the new Vista EULA for the Home editions – both Premium and Basic. Only Business and Ultimate editions will be legally permitted as guest operating systems in any virtualized environment – and of course these two cost far more than their lesser bretheren. This move is clearly the strict schoolmaster’s equivalent of a rap on the knuckles with a wooden ruler for the wayward student. In other words – pointed straight at Windows users who’re considering a switch to the Mac. They probably won’t be able to do anything about Boot Camp, though – which allows you to dual-boot Mac OS X and Windows on an Intel Mac – but it’s a start.

Way to go, Microsoft. Don’t innovate, don’t compete on features or even marketing dollars; just use the good ol’ monopoly. After all, it’s proven to work.

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