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Readers will know how this column deprecates Macbaiting. But two things caught my eye last week. One was the emergence of several Mac viruses. The other was eminent commentator John Dvorak's speculation about the possibility of Apple abandoning its Free-BSDbased operating system and taking up Windows.

He argues at http: // www. pcmag. com/article2 /0,1895,1927885,00. asp that now Macs are based on Intel chips and iPods have made everybody at Apple very rich, the company 'can afford to drop expensive [operating system] development and just make jazzy, high-margin Windows computers to finally get beyond that 5 per cent market share and compete directly with Dell, HP and the stodgy Chinese makers.' No, it can never happen thus. Heh.

And, to nudge distraught Apple devotees a few inches closer to the edge, there is this virus thing. I have spoken to true believers who find the idea of a Mac virus inconceivable. This has to be a matter of blind faith, for I have heard no convincing technical reason for such total immunity. More convincing is the idea that virus writers like to make a big impact. You don't do that targeting a 5 per cent machine. But now Apple is going Intel, somebody has.

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