"MacOS and WinXP, live together in perfect harmony?"

Paul McCartney couldn't have been thinking about the Mac OS and Windows when he penned the first line of his much-parodied
Peter Burrows

Paul McCartney couldn't have been thinking about the Mac OS and Windows when he penned the first line of his much-parodied "Ebony & Ivory". In the very remote chance he was, he would have had little reason for optimism that those two operating systems would ever be able to get along, side by side in the same PC.

Well, guess what: A year from now, when Apple introduces its first Intel-based Macs, there's no reason it couldn't happen.

In an interview today, Steve Jobs confirmed that while Apple has no plans to support or distribute Windows on its Macs, it wouldn't do anything to prevent customers from loading Windows. In other words, customers could load Windows and Windows-compatible apps to run "side by side" on the same machine with the Mac OS.

Who knows how such a dual-OS machine would perform, but it certainly raises some interesting possibilities. All those Mac bigots in corporate graphics departments would be able to tell the penny-pinchers in procurement that such a machine gave them the best of both worlds. Parents who need to buy the kids a Mac for school would still be able to use it to run their PC programs upon getting home from the office. "If you're a consumer that needs Windows for work but wants a Mac, it could be pretty compelling," says JupiterResearch analyst Michael Gartenberg.

No word yet on whether Microsoft would support Windows on such a box. But on the face of it, why not--if it would help Microsoft sell to the 3% of the PC market it doesn't already dominate? And if Microsoft doesn't do it, I bet some third party will.

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