Microsoft hikes the cost of putting Vista on a Mac: consumer editions not allowed on virtual machines

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vistalogo.gifThe war between Microsoft and Apple continues, as Microsoft bans consumer (ie cheaper) versions of its Vista operating system being used on a Mac.

Thanks to the licensing agreement for the consumer editions of Vista, they cannot be run on a machine that runs a virtualisation engine – and that’s the only way Mac users can get the WIndows OS onto their system. Update: OK, it isn’t the only way – there’s Boot Camp – but it’s the only way to get it to run side-by-side with OS X without rebooting every time you need to switch operating system.

Microsoft say it’s because ‘virtualisation is a fairly new technology’, one that is ‘not yet mature enough from a security perspective for broad consumer adoption’.

After having a little chuckle about Microsoft using the word ‘security , the cynic in me thinks that it’s more to do with money-making, possibly combined with a few sour grapes.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said of the two companies, “they co-operate at some level. But at a deeper level they’re more competitive with each other.” Not even at a deeper level, if you ask me.

Sure, you can get some fairly shabby versions of Microsoft’s Windows software on a Mac, but many Mac users will readily admit that they wouldn’t put Microsoft’s software onto their machines out of choice.

Of course, for switchers from PC to Mac, the Vista regulation may be more of an issue. There’s no reason why the Intel Macs shouldn’t run Vista admirably well, but they’re going to need to pay for the privilege, as only the business editions are allowed to be run using virtual PC software.

It’s not clear whether there is an in-built check on the home editions of Vista to see what type of machine/engine it has been installed on. Not that we’re advocating breaking license agreements, but it could just be words on Microsoft’s part…

Andy Merrett

One thought on “Microsoft hikes the cost of putting Vista on a Mac: consumer editions not allowed on virtual machines

  • “they cannot be run on a machine that runs a virtualisation engine – and that’s the only way Mac users can get the WIndows OS onto their system”

    Wrong.

    Actually, there’s something called Bootcamp by Apple which doesnt use virtualisation. I have vista running on my Mac Pro using Bootcamp.

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