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Why doesn't Apple support MacOS 9/Classic on Intel-based Macs?
Only those within the upper echelon of the organization know for certain. However, it is important to remember that Apple is a publicly traded company. One can speculate that Apple management decided that it would be more profitable to abandon a percentage of long-term users who continue to be reliant on pre-MacOS X software than it would be to port the MacOS 9/Classic environment to run on Intel-based Macs. Given the architecture change, it would be a substantial undertaking.
In January 2006, the well-respected MacInTouch estimated that approximately 15 million Mac users still ran "Classic" applications. Even if there are only half that number of users reliant on MacOS 9/Classic today, that is still a sizeable number. A quick read of the Classic page of a Reader Report from the same website shows that many Mac users are not exactly pleased. Likewise, there are several stifled postings from Apple's own messageboards with users expressing their frustration.
Most users who require MacOS 9/Classic commonly need it to access legacy applications and older files. Judging from the linked postings and comments, as well as e-mail received, this seems to hit education and publishing the hardest, two long-term Apple strongholds. Some applications never were ported to MacOS X and although documents sometimes can be converted to newer formats, such conversion often is imperfect, and it frequently is easiest to create new documents in current formats and keep archived documents in older ones.
For all its numerous flaws, the Windows operating system has provided a great deal of backwards compatibility, and Windows XP remains able to run most older software, whether the application originally was written for Windows 98 or even MS-DOS, so it is not surprising that long-term Mac users are disappointed by Apple's decision.
Those who remain dependent on MacOS 9/Classic software would be best served by continuing to use an existing PowerPC-based Mac or upgrading to a newer one. Site sponsor Operator Headgap Systems specializes in heavily upgraded Macs capable of running both MacOS X and MacOS 9 applications. Site sponsor PowerMax also sells a variety of used systems capable of running both operating systems.