That's all it takes for Apple to crush your dreams: Fifty little words. In fact, it's only one word--technically a hyphenated compound of two words--that spoils the flavor of the soup.
"Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, unless you have purchased a Family Pack or Upgrade license for the Apple Software, you are granted a limited non-exclusive license to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-branded computer at a time." (emphasis mine)
Don't get the pitchforks and torches out just yet, faithful Maximum PC readers. We're all geeks here. There's nothing wrong about wanting to do a little experimentation. You can say it just as easily as I can: Some parts of OS X are simply superior to what you might find in any Windows-based environment.
Keynote versus Powerpoint? Give me a break. Final Cut Pro versus Premiere? We might be able to argue on that one, but I've had enough video exporting disasters to make me want to try out a new editor. Snow Leopard versus Windows 7? Strap on the gloves--that's a 12-round slobberknocker.
The point is ultimately moot, however, because Apple won't allow its operating system to exist on any platform but its own. It's not like there's much of a technological gap to leap: If the industrious (albeit illegal) third-party hackers can get OS X to work in a Windows-based virtual environment, I bet the smart minds over in the engineering department at One Infinite Loop can figure it out in short order.
To Apple, the thought of its flagship operating system on anything but a white, shiny box is tantamount to sacrilege. While this dedication to a one-platform, one-operating-system pair might protect Apple's bottom line, it only hurts you, the geek, in the long run. But why is this the case? Why can't we have the best of both worlds on the Windows side of the fence if Apple enthusiasts can get our operating system with no strings attached?
An Apple a Day (in an Apple-branded mouth)
It doesn't take 50 words to answer this question. You just need one: marketing. To Apple, flying its software flag on anything but an Apple-branded device just isn't going to fly. Not only is it a different experience than vanilla OSX--you're running the software in a small, compartmentalized window that might very well suffer performance losses depending on your system's prowess--but you're also using a semi-different set of hardware that doesn't really emulate the actual Apple experience. That might not be a big deal to you and I, as us Windows folk are used to a variety of input devices and conventions for accessing our PCs. For Apple, that's not good enough.
Even though it means absolutely nothing from a business standpoint, it is a little unfair that Apple users get the best of both worlds--OS X and a virtualized Windows operating system, should they so choose. It's tempting to point to Microsoft and make some snide comment about it actually being the good guy in this situation. Still, it's great to see a company that doesn't fear the proliferation of its operating system regardless of underlying platform.
Will Apple change its ways? The company has been more open to allowing OS X Server virtualization, but don't expect that to suddenly open the floodgates to the client version of OS X on a Windows-based machine. That's not going to happen--no way, no how. Apple defines the experience. More than that, just consider the market. Right now, you can either:
Buy an Apple product, get OSX and the ability to virtualize Windows
Buy a Windows-based product, get... Windows.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see which option gives you more choice. Given that Apple is making great strides in the enterprise environment with its products, why would it want to give up this competitive advantage? The minute it allows a virtual OS X to work on a Windows machine, it's just given up a compelling reason for a business to buy new Apple computers instead of using or upgrading preexisting Windows desktops.
Of course, Apple could do this too: Fix up a Virtual OS X software for Windows and price-gouge the crap out of it. And Steve Ballmer could chill out at keynote speeches. If you want OS X on your Windows machine, the closest you're going to get is when you use Internet Explorer to click the "buy" button on a new system at the Apple store.
Three words: What a bummer.
David Murphy (@ Acererak) is a technology journalist and former Maximum PC editor. He writes weekly columns about the wide world of open-source as well as weekly roundups of awesome, freebie software. Befriend him on Twitter, especially if you have an awesome app or game you're dying to recommend!