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Apple's Boot Camp: Boycotts and Crashes

Posted by iMark - 2006-04-13

Only one week has passed since Apple made its historic announcement that newly developed software called Boot Camp would enable Intel-based Mac computers to run Windows XP. But the initial wave of glee that greeted the revelation has evolved into a distinctly underwhelmed and skeptical attitude among Apple fans and media outlets.
The almost bitter tone runs in stark contrast to industry experts being aflutter with the news of the dual-OS functionality that would be the right of every Intel-based Mac. Touted as a bold and revolutionary move, the hardware maker's stock price shot up more than 10 percent and Apple watchers predicted a two-fold increase in Mac sales over the next few years.

At the same time, experts said the new technology was sure to cause beads of sweat to form on the furrowed brows of executives at major PC manufacturers such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Gateway.

Roughly seven days later, the tone of the talk has shifted from positive to punitive, with online communities of Mac lovers banding together and taking a pledge not to boot Windows on their machines. In addition, several reports have emerged that there are serious problems installing Windows on Macs.

Crashes and No Apple Help

On Apple.com's discussion boards, Mac owners have reported that Boot Camp is causing major problems after they partition their hard drives and install Windows. Among the chief complaints they have is that, once installed, they are unable to boot Mac OS X.

And they are of course receiving no help from Apple, which said at the time of the Boot Camp release that it would not support the software.

"I installed Windows with no problem and then the drivers," explained a Mac user from Chicago in a post on Apple's discussion forum. "It all worked fine until I wanted to start up OS X. I went to the Apple store and asked for help ... [and was told] 'We don't support Boot Camp!'"

Apparently, the problem has not reached epidemic proportions as of yet, but the ones currently installing the software and identifying issues with it are the Mac elites, those who have a great deal of knowledge about all things Mac -- and computers in general.

A cursory look at the posts on Apple's forum has revealed that, in many instances, these aficionados are having to create their own rather complex fixes to the problems they are encountering, which might be a good indication that the software is not ready for prime time when it comes to the average computer user.

We Don't Do Windows

Despite predictions by computer experts that Mac users would take Boot Camp in stride, one commentator on the Apple Matters Web site has not taken the news that well. According to Hadley Stern, Mac users define themselves as being no fans of Windows: "We are not Windows users. Adamantly NOT."

Stern, therefore, has created a "No Windows-Booting Pledge" and asked all readers to take the pledge of allegiance to the Mac platform. So far, the responses to this pledge have been mixed, but several posters have eagerly signed on.

The ambivalence about Boot Camp also was reflected in two posts on the CNet and ZDNet blogs from Charlie Cooper and David Berlind. In his post, titled "Dare I say this aloud? Boot Camp's a gimmick," Cooper argued that while it might be smart, Boot Camp "functions as a security blanket for PC users who would wet their beds without their favorite Windows application."

Berlind, on the other hand, wrote that buying a Mac to run Windows instead of buying a PC that was designed to run Windows is "just plain dumb." He recommended that users who want to run Windows go online and spend less than what they would spend on a comparable Mac system.

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