(FORTUNE Magazine) - Apple surprised everyone recently by delivering Intel-based Mac computers six months ahead of schedule. The shift, after a decade of Macs based on IBM and Freescale (ne Motorola) processors, raises the possibility of Macintoshes running the Microsoft Windows operating system, either instead of or along with Apple's Mac OS X. Despite increased risks of security holes, viruses, and other familiar Windows vulnerabilities, some Mac users want to run Windows programs from time to time (there are more games available for Windows, for example). But because of the way Apple implemented the Intel chips, you can't just boot up the Mac with Windows XP. Furthermore, the current version of Virtual PC for Mac, a Microsoft program that allows Windows to run in a window inside Mac OS X, does not work with the initial batch of Intel-based machines. Microsoft says it is working with Apple to find a solution, but stopped short of promising an Intel-based version of Virtual PC. Meanwhile, Apple says it will not stand in the way of any third-party software developers who figure out a way to have Windows and Windows applications run natively on the Macintel computers. Intel Inside Apple: Can peace in the Middle East be far behind?