After years of delays and billions of dollars in development and marketing efforts, it would seem that Microsoft would want anyone who possibly can to buy its new Windows Vista operating system. Yet Microsoft is making it hard for Macintosh owners and other potentially influential customers to adopt the software.
Microsoft says the blockade is necessary for security reasons.
The situation involves a technology known as virtualization. Essentially, it lets one computer mimic multiple machines, even ones with different operating systems. It does this by running multiple applications at the same time, but in separate realms of the computer.
Virtualization has long been used in corporate data centers as a way to increase server efficiency or to test programs in a walled-off portion of a machine. The technology also has been available for home users, but often at the expense of the computer's performance.
But now that Macintosh computers from Apple use Intel chips, just like Windows-based PCs, virtualization programs let Mac users easily switch back and forth between Apple's Mac OS X operating system and Windows. That could appeal to Mac enthusiasts who want access to programs that only work on Windows, including some games.