While Boot Camp may be enough to bring some Windows users to the Mac, price, software availability, entrenched pro-Windows sentiment and price challenge significant Apple marketshare gains, Macworld UK online readers believe.
In a recent poll, we asked readers what they thought would drive Windows user to switch to the Mac. Over a third of the 1,992 readers who voted in the poll thought that being able to run Windows on a Mac would be critical to convincing switchers to go Mac (753 votes, 38 per cent).
Great products and Intel shift drive switchers
Readers also believe that Apple's 'great products' would drive the switch, with 321 voters (16 per cent) of voters opting for this choice. The move to Intel is seen as a driver for change by 8 per cent of respondents (162 votes).
The prevalence of Windows viruses is also driving users to seek an alternative platform, according to 15 per cent of voters (304 votes).
Apple's new switch ad campaign was only seen as motivation by 2 per cent of voters (49 people). The late arrival of the next version of Windows, Vista, is seen as llikely to drive switchers by 81 voters (4 per cent). The iPod and Apple's retail stores are together seen as important by 9 per cent of the group, 178 votes.
For 144 voters, (7 per cent) 'nothing' will drive a Windows to Mac migration.
Price and upgrades challenge gains
"Price is important. It's what makes the iBook replacement so important, even more so than the prohibitively-priced MacBook Pro," a reader reflects.
Price is clearly an issue for a novice computer user scouring the shelves at Dixons: "A PC laptop is £499 and a G4 PowerBook is well over £1,000. I know it's not comparing 'Apples with Apples' (sorry about that) but that's how many PC buyers think."
Windows users are also used to being able to buy cheap systems which they can then upgrade by adding new components, such as video cards. This isn't part of Apple's product strategy, and for many potential switchers the inability to soup-up their systems may prevent them moving to Mac.
"I fear the desktop market could be harder to crack, especially for users who want to run the latest games and need to be able to update graphics cards, which eliminates the iMac," a reader wrote.
The Windows ecosystem is huge and diverse, some reflected. "It will need different things to convince different users," they opined.
IT advisors threaten new Mac wave
Incumbent technical crews at larger businesses are famous for rejecting Apple's platforms. These people have years of training and experience in Windows, and are perhaps threatened by the notion of their firms going Mac.
"They have a considerable vested interest in maintaining Microsoft as the status quo," a reader wrote. "They will do or say anything, true or not, to protect their self-interests. However, what this means is that should the tide turn and companies start ditching Windows in favour of Apple or Linux, the technicians will switch sides and Microsoft could find itself without support. We saw this happen to IBM."
Peer pressure may also drive a change: "People will get a Mac when they see their friends getting a Mac, just as they got a PC when their friends did," a reader observed. "Word of mouth is the biggest factor in triggering switching, just as word of mouth was the biggest factor that triggered the iPod revolution."
Some readers are concerned that through its move to Intel processors, Apple is no longer so different from its competitors: "I know Apple is different, but it's no longer different enough to be interesting and it is moving closer and closer to Windows," one reader wrote.
Other readers countered that Apple's machines are powerful, easy-to-use, have iLife installed and that the key difference between the platforms is the operating system itself.
"Unless Windows Vista proves itself to be as stable, virus-free and secure as OS X, then Apple has a unique selling point."
Does Apple still 'Think Different'?
Another summed up: "A Mac might not be different enough from a hardware point of view, but PCs don't run OS X. They do however, run 114,000 viruses very, very well indeed."
Some readers warn that if Apple sells too much hardware on the basis of it being able to run Windows, it may inadvertently cannibalise its OS X software developers.
"If too many people buy Macs to run Windows, this could adversely affect development of all software (not just gaming) for Mac OS X. Eventually Macs may even be selling with Windows pre-loaded just because enough Windows-users demand it."
Apple closes Windows
But viruses and Windows many other inefficiencies could be the best encouragement to a new generation of Mac users, one reader observed.
"The best thing for the long-term future of Mac OS X is if most switchers are motivated by sheer disillusionment with Windows, want to abandon Windows altogether and are switching because they believe OS X to be a much better alternative."
Most readers agreed that the move to Intel and the release of Boot Camp comprise the "bravest shift in direction" Apple has taken.
"I think it will be key to placing Apple in one of the strongest market positions its ever had," a reader wrote.