Apple: Windows on a Mac is here

Apple Computer said on Wednesday that it has released a public beta version of Boot Camp, software that enables Microsoft Windows XP to run natively on Intel-based Macs.

The software, which will be included in Mac OS X 10.5, called Leopard, is available for download now. Apple will also preview Boot Camp in August at its Worldwide Developers Conference, the company said.

Because the move will allow a Mac to boot up with either Windows XP or Mac OS X, it could bring more people over to the Apple side.

“Apple has no desire or plan to sell or support Windows, but many customers have expressed their interest to run Windows on Apple’s superior hardware, now that we use Intel processors,” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement. “We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch.”

Apple didn’t specifically mention plans to support running Vista, the long-delayed update to the Windows operating system now expected early next year.

Microsoft wouldn’t comment on whether the Apple software will work with Vista. The company issued a statement Wednesday afternoon: “We