Why Microsoft Cannot Run OSX BUT Apple Can Run Microsoft Windows

Simple answer – Microsoft are predominantly and historically a software manufacturer, whilst Apple are both a hardware and software manufacturer.


Apple OSX is propriety software, which is copyrighted (and probably trademarked and patented) by Apple. Apple only support it for use on their own hardware. They simply don’t want the expense and headache of running their operating system on other hardware.

Microsoft Windows on the other hand is designed to run on any hardware, made by *any* manufacturer that meets their hardware requirements. Originally Intel X86 processors, but with time other manufacturers have produced “compatible” processors, companies such as VIA, AMD and IBM.

Add to this, that historically Microsoft Windows was designed to run on computers with Intel processors, the X86 family, and Apple used to use Motorolla processors such as 68000, and later PowerPC processors in all their hardware. So, historically – incompatible hardware platforms between Apple and Microsoft. Apple switched to Intel around 2006, and only then was there the possibility of running Microsoft Windows on Apple hardware.

Running Microsoft Windows on Apple hardware these days I understand is easy.

Anything is possible (with Charisma) – so it’s not strictly true that Apple OSX won’t run on NON-Apple hardware. “Hackers” who are operating outside of Apple’s rules for OSX have been able to run OSX natively on non-Apple hardware. The name for this is a “Hackintosh”. Apple does not approve nor support doing this, and they could potentially sue you for using OSX in this way. However, in practice, they don’t care, as it’s a very small minority who actually want to do this.

Other “hackers” have been able to port OSX into virtual machines (VirtualBox and VMWare) that will run on non-Apple hardware, under Windows or Linux.

Lastly, Microsoft do manufacture hardware, but are unlikely to limit Microsoft Windows to proprietary hardware, more likely the opposite. Whilst, in the same sentence – Apple are likely to continue limit their own OSX to their own proprietary hardware.

Linux is of course the black sheep of this family …


Don Charisma

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Comments are often welcomed, provided you can string a legible, relevant and polite sentence together. In other cases probably best shared with your therapist, or kept to yourself.


14 thoughts on “Why Microsoft Cannot Run OSX BUT Apple Can Run Microsoft Windows

  1. Hi Don,
    Nice… great summary of the situation as it stands now… Though I might add that it’s all still evolving… Yes, Linux is growing, but things are moving rapidly in other directions too!

  2. I work at a graduate school of business and our professors are constantly running into issues with statistical and other high-end packages that run Windows-Only. So, there’s truly a need for emulating Windows on a Mac for them. The market being what it is, I can’t think of one software package that is Mac only that is in high demand save for Final Cut Pro which is the best in it’s price category. So when you look at this from a market prospective…this has all played out quite logically. Thx for the article, Don! B$

    1. You’re welcome Brian 🙂

      Apple have concentrated on quality, for affluent people, basically … whereas Microsoft have concentrated on everybody else !

      Apple have a stronghold in USA, and with professionals like designers. Microsoft have a stronghold in business because of MS Office. Many not so affluent professionals choose Microsoft over Apple due to the substantially cheaper hardware.

      Add to that that Linux is coming of age now, and it’s a three horse race really, history will tell who “wins”.

      And yes it’s very logical digging into the history, and understanding the different types of customers.



    1. LOL, agreed, but depends on perspective really … I can see the sense in liking Apple stuff, but not wanting to pay the exorbitant price tag for the hardware … in the other direction, ability to run OSX and Windows on the same machine, only helps sell Apple hardware !

      Personally, I’m leaning more towards Linux of late and continue to do so …

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