As the once mighty Windows XP crumbles to below 50% of its market hold as of July, Apple has started to latch on to the Windows 7 bandwagon. The Cupertino computer giant is now requiring users of its Boot Camp utility for its Mac OS X Lion to switch to the new Windows 7, according to an online support document released by Apple last Monday.
Boot Camp is a software utility that enables Mac OS X users to run Windows in another OS partition. The new Mac OS X 10.7 or Lion comes standard with Boot Camp 4 where the partition can only run Windows 7. Not even Windows Vista is supported, much less XP. According to the support document, Boot Camp 4 supports only “An authentic, single, full-installation, 32-bit or 64-bit Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate disc.”
However, Mac Lion users upgrading to Lion OS or migrating from an older Mac OS to a new machine running Lion can still retain the older Boot Camp 3 so they can still run XP or Vista on another partition. But they cannot upgrade to Boot Camp 4. The same document points this out clearly.
Users on Lion who want to run Vista or XP can run virtualization software instead of Boot Camp 4. Software products for this purpose include Parallels Desktop for Mac costing $80, VMware Fusion also costing as much and free software VirtualBox.
Apple did not bother explaining why it is not supporting the older platforms for its latest Boot Camp version but it plainly conforms to rival Microsoft’s product positioning that Windows 7 is the way to go. This is typical of the Redmont software giant to pull down its own products when a new one supercedes it. That includes cutting off support which gradually being done and making its price less appealing.
Even if Lion still supported Vista or XP on its Boot Camp 4, the 10-year old Windows operating system now has a heftier price tag than on the newer Windows 7. Amazon lists the XP Home version for $240. That’s $50 more than its direct counterpart in the newer Windows 7 Home Premium.