So lately the Apple Fanboys have been talking about this software called Parallels which can emulate Windows inside of Mac OS X. However is this really good or bad for Apple? In the short term I would say yes, but in terms of long term success Microsoft will be hands down winner.
How So? you might ask well this is why. Apple will start to take market share and sell more and more hardware because they are mainly a hardware company. I would still see the PC having the majority of the market share but slipping faster. And who is making money from both Micro$oft. They will have all the sales of the Windows based PC's and the Windows copies being bought to run on parallels. I dont think that they will have to worry too much about piracy because the average pc and average mac user (especially) doesnt know how to do it.
So this is where Apple's starts to loose their money. While Microsoft is focusing more and more on improving ways to make their operating system cross system compatible (they have been working on virtualization and with other companies like xen source) and he Linux desktop becomes more and more user friendly the industry will pressure Apple to make their operating system more available they could go two ways. They could either keep on not making a legal way to run their operating system on other systems (which right now Windows and Linux are technically not linked to any specific hardware system) or they will make a better and legal virtualization software that runs OS w/e due to industry pressure and they will loose out. Apple is a hardware company and if you no longer need a mac to run mac software than people will no longer pay the price for a fancy case (because really there is no difference between what is in a new mac and a new PC nowadays). Sure they will be still be making money but they will loose market share fast and with competitors in terms of portable audio the iPod will not be as big of a crutch. If they stay the way they are I would expect a bigger shit to PC's and Macs running Linux and in that case we all win. Also the only way to run an Apple OS on a PC would be illegaly and so Piracy (which is a huge for Apple if you steal from them you burn) would become an even bigger priority causing them to pay less attention to the quality of their software.
Parallels doesnt really show that Apple is a good company partly because it isnt their product and because it more shows how Microsoft is a better company. Think about it Apple's operating system has always been limited to a specific machine while Windows is legally available on both systems and Microsoft works to make the product work on that system. Another thing to bring up is what exactly is the difference between a Mac and a PC after Apple announced that they would go all Intel? I say it really just comes down to case design. They now say that a Mac Pro cost just as much as a comparably equipped Dell. Well for one this was true for about one sec after they announced it. The Dell has a more expensive graphics card, more ram, and a faster processor for less money which doesnt sound comparably equipped to me. Dell and other PC manufacturers have been able to consistently drop prices over time while Apple's prices stay at the relatively same price. The affordable mac is a dream that seems like it will never be realized.
As for why Apple doesnt already offer a way to virtualize OS X? I have no idea. Products have been available to illegaly do this for awhile both on windows and Linux (before parallels btw). I dont want these products to be mentioned because more publicity means more flac from Apple (im not saying they dont already know). So apple basically needs to revamp their business model and make a long-term plan. Sony is another company who I think needs to do this, but thats another blog.