What’s in a software license agreement? Is it a license to lease, own, or disregard?
Or, all of the above?
Microsoft’s new EULA, the End User License Agreements for Windows Vista, could open a can of worms for Mac users who may want to run Windows on their shiny new Intel Macs.
The first question is, “Can I run Windows on my new Mac?” The answer is yes, and there’s a number of ways.
Apple provides a beta application called Boot Camp which lets you dual boot new Intel Macs; run OS X or boot into Windows.
Parallels offers a way to run Windows inside Mac OS X, so there’s no need to reboot at all.
Other applications promise to allow Mac users the ability to run Windows software without installing Windows.
The second question is, “Does Microsoft want Mac users to run Windows on their Macs?”
Our first response might be a simple, “Sure. I’d have to buy Windows at retail, so Microsoft makes even more money on Mac users.”
However, Microsoft recently displayed the License Terms for Windows Vista and the options and language are bewildering.
Apple sells two versions of Mac OS X. The vanilla version that comes with every new Mac and is available in a boxed edition. There’s also the OS X Server edition.
Microsoft sells a lengthy list, a bewildering array of products, each with their own EULA, end user license agreement.
After reviewing the EULA’s for Windows Vista, a flurry of online speculation indicates that Microsoft may not allow the Basic and Home versions of Windows Vista to run on Macs.
Some phrases in the EULA make perfect sense. For example, some interpret the EULA this way:
That scenario might prevent you from installing a copy of Vista on your PC at home, and then installing the same copy on your Mac.
Other phrases indicate that you may have to buy a more expensive version of Windows Vista to run on your Mac. For example:
Apple’s Boot Camp avoids the “virtualization” of Parallels and other solutions to running Windows on a Mac.
Mac discussion groups have sliced and diced the issue twenty-eleven ways without a solution.
Some readers on MacSlash have taken the view that Microsoft will prohibit the low end version of Windows Vista from running on Macs via Parallels and other virtualization solutions.
A more detailed look at the licensing issues has shown up on SlashDot, with hundreds of comments.
Clarification from Microsoft (or, in the alternative, from Apple) would benefit those in the Mac community who plan to run Vista on their Macs.
From what I can read of the four EULA’s for Vista, Apple’s Boot Camp option appears to be the least restrictive, as the Mac is treated as any PC.
However, the Parallels virtualization option is attractive for Mac users who do not want to stop their work in Mac OS X, boot into Windows, then back to OS X again.
It’s there that the questions about licensing issue arise.
Does Microsoft want Mac users to run Windows
? I think they do, but I’m convinced the numbers who do so will be small.
The danger to Microsoft is that Windows users continue to switch to Macs, then stop running Windows.
Clearly, Microsoft wants to maximize their Windows revenue, limit free usage of Windows in a virtualization area and grow revenue there.
Should Apple license Windows and place a copy on each Mac sold, giving users the choice of purchasing Windows from Apple?
Another good question to ask Mac users is a simple, “Do you plan to run Microsoft Windows on your new Intel Mac, and why?”
What’s the price tag for Windows Vista Ultimate? A whopping $399. The Home Basic version of Vista is $299 compared to Mac OS X Tiger at $129.