Daniel Eran Dilger
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InformationWeek says Windows 7 is … Windows XP Classic

 Wp-Content Uploads 2008 11 200811051458

Daniel Eran Dilger

pundit Mitch Wagner has decided that Windows 7 is bad news for Apple because he’s willing to assume, based on optimistic comments made about the early alpha of the new softare, that Microsoft will solve all of its problems with Vista, “the way the Coca-Cola Company did with New Coke.”

Apparently Wagner fails to recall that the Coca-Cola Company solved its New Coke problem by canceling the product and going back to the old Coke. Does Wagner really imagine that Microsoft will battle Apple with Windows XP Classic, or does he just have no idea what he’s talking about?
Microsoft’s best success at selling Windows currently does involve recycling the now seven year old XP into an OS it can sell on devices such as the netbook. That product category hasn’t yet taken off, but it does appear that Microsoft has been able to successfully kill Linux on the low end mini-laptops through its bundling agreement muscle with PC OEMs.

Dell and other PC makers are also giddily listing “Windows XP Downgrade!” as a feature on their new laptop and desktop systems, because they know that Windows Vista is not a bullet point that sells their hardware.

Despite all the sugary optimism among pundits that Microsoft might wring another few years out of Windows XP Classic, the real problem Microsoft faces is not that its old operating system can’t be rebadged, but that OEM PC makers are not interested in paying the company the Windows Tax just so they can sell their hardware.

Microsoft Is Stealing Apple’s Mojo – Microsoft Blog – InformationWeek

Pay More, Get Less!

Microsoft has raised its tax with Vista and then charged extra for its XP downgrade, a brilliant strategy that should work for at least another few months of easy revenues. Problem is, big PC makers from HP to Dell to Acer to Sony are all investigating Linux or their own software that can be used in place of Windows. Once Microsoft loses their business, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to ever get it back.

PC makers are desperately jealous of Apple, which not only doesn’t pay Microsoft the Windows Tax, but also is so strongly differentiated by its unique software that it can charge sustainable prices for its products in a market that has PC rivals diving into a shallow margin of water with no hope of floating.

The real problem with Vista wasn’t really a technical deficiency or bad marketing that can be addressed by re-warming it with some enhancements, cutting some of Vista’s egregious frivolity, and rebranding the result as Windows 7. The real problem with Vista is that nobody wants to pay Microsoft’s Windows Tax. Not even a hypothetical, brilliantly flawless new version of Windows can solve that problem.

Non Failure is a Bad Assumption.

While the failure of Vista has certainly benefitted Apple, it will take more than a non-failure of Windows 7 in 2010 to slow the rapid growth of the Mac platform. Microsoft would also need to dismantle Apple’s retail stores while slashing and simplifying its own OEM and retail pricing so that consumers aren’t outraged and boggled by a dozen different versions of an overpriced, under-delivered layer of generic software that aspires to be everything for everyone, something that is an impossibly tall order even for a company that is competently managed.

Windows Vista, 7, and Singularity: The New Copland, Gershwin
Microsoft’s Zune, Vista, and Windows Mobile 7 Strategy vs the iPhone

So far, Microsoft has demonstrated it can’t even manage an ad campaign. Is the breathless anticipation from Windows Enthusiasts really some reliable guide in determining the likelihood that Microsoft will deliver anything new and different in Windows 7, which itself is really only a moderate re-polishing of Vista? When have they ever been correct in the past? They certainly did not offer any insight ahead of Vista, only a similar bunch of cheerleading for Microsoft talking points.

Microsoft’s $300 million ad campaign tumbles with new PC ads
Windows 95 and Vista: Why 2007 Won’t Be Like 1995

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  • patriot

    How much is the Windows tax nowadays?

  • gus2000

    I think Microsoft has demonstrated through Project Mojave that their drag-queen operating system can look like a classy fashion model under sufficiently dim lighting. I expect Win7 will be no different.

    “Vista : The Diet-Coke of Evil.”

  • casadapinga

    In other words MS can go f*** themselves. Oh my bad, they are already doing that

  • harrywolf

    A friend of mine has a Toshiba laptop with Win XP on it. Unfortunately for her, it has recently started to run at a snails pace, taking about a minute to respond to each click of the mouse!

    I attempted to fix it by going to the Help menu and looking for instructions on defragmenting the drive (all I could think of from my long-ago DOS and Win days).

    The Help menus dont work and in common with all things Microsoft, the words on the screen are ALWAYS doublespeak or just random rubbish.

    Security was a word used in almost every help context, even when going to a topic called ‘Troubleshooting’ or ‘performance problems’.

    Microsoft got away with crap in the past, but people expect improvements over time, and Microsoft is incapable of producing intelligent text, let alone a reasonable OS.

    I will admit to being shocked at how BAD Windows still is.
    How CAN these guys remain in business?

    It seems odd that in a world of 6 billion people, only ONE company can make a good OS.
    You would imagine that by now, someone would have made Linux palatable to the general public, but no.

    Steve Jobs must be looking at licensing the Mac OS again – the temptation to destroy Windows almost overnight must be strong……

  • Jengis

    Microsoft’s ‘help’ isn’t really very useful. For me it takes forever to load and then searching for advice gives completely irrelevant results, your best bet to trouble shoot problems is to use google.

  • http://systematicabstraction.wordpress.com KA

    The real problem with Vista is that nobody wants to pay Microsoft’s Windows Tax. Not even a hypothetical, brilliantly flawless new version of Windows can solve that problem.

    I don’t understand. People don’t often realise how much Windows costs unless they buy it themselves. I always thought the biggest problem with Vista was that it was many times slower than anything else on the market, that it was incompatible with pretty much everything at first, and that those two things combined with others to produce an OS that was so badly received initially that there was nothing to be done to make people like it anymore.

    What exactly do you mean?

  • peter.s

    The biggest enemy of Apples success ist not Microsoft, it is Apple himself. Some more of Apples very bad hardware decisions and they will stop their homerun despite of Microsoft weakness.
    Apple prays for standards and openess in the software area, but with hardware they try to install new lock ins and will be late on new and important technologies.
    Display Port could be a beautiful thing, but the proprietary and crippled implementation of Apple will bring lot of troubles instead of being the technology leader. Who will buy the new 24 Display only for use with a part of new MacBook family, without support for a standard Displayport connector. And will the new MacBooks ever support a standard Display Port or HDMI adapter with audio?
    What´s about new Grafik cards for the next MacPros? Will they also support only Apple Displays 0r will other display manufactors support the audio function via USB?
    The new Nvidia Chipset bring real grafic performance improvement, but Apple will be late with support for USB3, Wireless USB, Wimax …
    And whats about professional Displays? Apple spend lot of money for a new Aluminium enclosesure, but save money on their display technology. What´s about a mate option or a better antiglare glossy screen, a RGB Backlight with enhenced colors?
    Apple is big enough to offer more hardware differensation, otherwise they limit their market despite the “best OS”.

  • lightstriker

    Apple is its own worst enemy but not the way Peter thinks. I can understand why apple make so many mistakes in the last 6 months. First the MobileMe mess, the SDK controversy now the Air is delay because of tech problems and some other i cant remember.

    When has Apple been late with new impementation of new technology? Apple made usb, firewire and SCSI popular. Display Port is new technology standard, not proprietary. Danial already explain this somewhere. Apples is the first to adapt it. It just switch to LCD tech with the new Books and 24 inch Displays.

  • hodari

    It is strange whenever I read that Apple makes the best OS, the best hardware etc. Common sense dictates that if the mac os x is the best OS why is the rest of the world (the majority) using windows? According to Daniel, Microsoft has even failed at the commercials of its products so one would assume that the corollary is true and that Apple has succeeded in that venture. However, the results differ, because the majority of consumers are still using windows! The Enterprise is so tightly entrenched in windows that nothing else has been to able to topple it. Even IBM and SUN have conceded that it is not the best nor is it “Free” that causes people or companies to switch – think about it!.

    If mac osx is the best OS out there every one or at least the majority should be using it. It is a fact that at one the Japanese built the most reliable vehicles compares to American manufactures – Guess what, the consumers switched!. This does not seem to be the case for Apple mac os. Consumers now are well educated, compared to say 10 years ago. Apple must be doing an appalling job with their commercials in convincing the consumers to switch or the platform or most probably consumers and company have evaluated the alternatives and realized it is just not worth switching!.

    If indeed the mac os platform was the best – Microsoft and its DOS/OS2/Windows platform would not have succeeded unless we are all idiots and just follow things blindly. I do not think that is the case. Majority of the applications the likes of VISICALC, WORDSTAR, DBASE etc were initially written for Digital CPM OS and were successfully running on Apple II series of computers. The mac os platform was born yet majority of people did not switch from CPM to mac os. However, when DOS was born, the majority of people switched from CPM to DOS and the software vendors ported the key and important applications over. We need to ponder and think hard why it happened!.

    I am testing BETA windows 7 right now. Microsoft is attempting to improve the Vista experience. In fact I have been using VISTA for the last six month – I think it is brilliant!. It is running on my 1GH TZ laptop with 2G RAM with no problems what so ever. The new windows 7 OS can boot in under 15 seconds with network connectivity!. There is more to come. Do not assume that Microsoft and its partners are in a long slumber!.

    When people talk about taxes I believe the Apple tax is more prominent – the 99$ to connect online – yet apple zealots refuse to acknowledge it is a form tax – they are in a state of denial. I guess one does not mind paying for a service provided it works and its good value for money.

    At least office live works! And it works well and we are all looking forward to the new bizspark launch. Check it out here

  • Joel

    To harrywolf “You would imagine that by now, someone would have made Linux palatable to the general public, but no.”

    Go and take a look at the new release of Ubuntu, 07.10. Its slightly more polished than previously, still slowly inching its way to a better OS than Xp and even Vista… If you have a Mac then you can try out the Live Disk using VMWare.

    And another good thing is that it improves slightly every 6 months or so. So if you don’t like what you see, then wait until April and give it another go. Its a slight itch in Microsofts side, and along with the other Linux Distributions (since there is no one “Linux”) giving a more and more credible alternative.

    And Windows 7…? It seems to be a nice skin on top of Vista, with Microsoft just waiting until everyone upgrades their hardware and makes it capable to run Vista.

  • Joel

    “I am testing BETA windows 7 right now.” I find that unlikely, given that all has been released are pre-beta M builds. And then there’s problem with basing your assumptions on pre-released software. I remember the betas of Cairo (Win 95) being “brilliant”…

  • Nick Barron

    hodari thanks for the laughs I like a good pick me up in the morning.

    Best does not always win. If you have not worked that out yet then I suggest you go back to nursery, firewire, vhs prevailing etc etc could list hundreds more.

  • http://appleseed-as.blogspot.com/ appleseed.as

    @ hodari …
    Numbers/size do not always denote quality and/or win.

    300 Spartans? David (vs Goliath)? Microsoft’s cash (vs Apple’s)? Microsoft’s Zune (vs iPod). Microsoft’s XBOX (vs Wii). Intel P4 3 GHz vs Intel C2D 2 GHz, etc. anyone?


    Quote from there:
    “DOS computers, made by I.B.M., Compaq, Tandy and about a million other companies, are by far the most popular, with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans will note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans, and that numbers alone do not connote a higher life form.”

    hodari and the others stating that numbers=quality and/or win you simply fail. BIG time.


  • greendave

    Hey, come on, let’s here some support for PC’s new OS – the only way to get Apple’s prices down is for them to actually have some realistic competition. Also, MS seem to have some ideas in their copy of the Dock that would make it useful – such as rollover the browser to be presented with hi-res shots of each open page and click-through selection. Would be nice to have a dock that was more than just a launcher. So yeh, go MS. (PS I would never actually buy the crappy product)

  • WebManWalking

    Hey hodari, go deltree c: yourself.

    (Speaking to you in the words of your best understanding.)

  • http://appleseed-as.blogspot.com/ appleseed.as

    @greendave and all the people that actually believe that the Windows 7 taskbar is anything of improvement compared to other solutions out there, especially the ones for Leopard. Live previews of sites? Big freaking deal. Opera. OmniWeb. Safari & Firefox (/w plugins/extensions). Even IE iirc.

    What I would love to see is the problem of having 300 tabs in that taskbar. I know for a fact that the only browser that has that covered is OmniWeb (mostly).

    Peaking? Laughable! Wake me up when they will even touch Linux “Exposé clones” or the real deal from Mac OS.

    Gadgets? Developer mode from Mac OS or third party solutions, thank you very much.

    Also, try to cheer about this Mac OS Dock Windows 7 puny clone when you will actually use it with anything more than a couple dozen apps running and/or being there ready to launch.

    As for the “drag the windows on top of the screen to maximize them” call me when that future will be faster/easier to use than simply double clicking on the title bar. Or the “drag couple windows on left/right to have them be side to side” is faster/easier than right clicking on taskbar then “Tile” them up >> http://lifehacker.com/software/windows/windows-tip-tile-two-windows-with-just-two-clicks-229612.php

    Jump lists? You mean like the ones that I have from my Recent Stack >> http://lifehacker.com/software/mac-os-x-leopard/add-a-stack-of-recent-things-to-your-dock-325493.php Or when I right click anything on the Dock? Or when I use something like QuickSilver?

    Is Windows 7 really THAT good compare to XP/Vista? Still, I’m roflmao. And they call us, the Mac people, a cult? This and that? Microsoft PDC people and their supporters should really take a good look in the mirror.

    Ok. Perhaps, Windows 7 will be the best Windows ever. Perhaps. That surely doesn’t make it something to boast about ESPECIALLY coming from the company which has supposedly the biggest, baddest, best programmers in the world with billions of dollars to spend until the end of time.

  • Rich

    I’m probably a rare breed on this website in that I happily use both OS X (on my MBP) and Vista (on my desktop PC).

    I’ve got to be fair to Microsoft and say that Vista isn’t a bad product now that SP1 has been released and all of my driver problems have been resolved. It’s not as pretty as OS X but it generally gets the job done. It was unusable on release but they’ve done a good job since then. Dare I say it, in my experience Vista SP1 is more stable than OS 10.5.

    What annoys me is that I spent a good deal of money buying Vista assuming that Microsoft would support it for many years to come. Saying “Hey, we can’t fix Vista, you’ll have to upgrade to Windows 7 next year instead” is pretty poor.

  • brett_x

    Wasn’t the “New Coke” a smoke and mirrors tactic intended to fail so that they could re-introduce CocaCola Classic with high fructose corn syrup rather than sugar?

  • hodari

    Joel – do not assume that I am using Pre-BETA M!

    I hear you all out loud!. The bottom line is that 90% of the world desktops still run windows – there must be some solid reasons why “consumers” and “enterprise” still run windows and not the mac.

  • http://systematicabstraction.wordpress.com KA


    Yes. Consumers are *not* better educated. Some people I know still think that you Macs are completely incompatible with Windows. Most think they aren’t very compatible. When I told someone recently that I own a mac they said, “What? But you can’t do anything on a Mac!”

    I’m pretty sure some people I know still think of the Mac like this.

  • Hawk

    May remind that all MS BETA’s were stable and really good until LAUNCH, when they add so much other crap in the background to kill the OS. I tested vista and thought it was pretty good in the last few steps of BETA and RC’s, but once it released… OMFG… I think they give one for Beta/RC and another completely different for retail.

    Also, reminder that MS stole.. oops sorry, reverse engineered IBM and MAC for their “windows”. And still steals, I mean borrows more from Apple, and others from MS.

    And “windows” is used by most of the world due to marketing that Billy Borg was good at many years ago. He was smart with the OEM/Exclusive type stuff way back when. but now a days, they can’t market themselves out of a paperbag.

    Being in the Tech field since 3.1 days, I have seen the rise and soon to be fall of MS. When asked by anyone who wants a new computer, I ask what they want to do and if it is the normal, Email, Internet and documents, I tell them go MAC. Why, cause I still see a MAC system over 6 years old running OSX and still being used. How many PC’s do you have over 6 years old running Vista??? Or even XP? My 4 year olds are having an issue with even XP… yea kind of runs, if you make dinner and eat while it is booting up.

  • http://Lyndell.NET/wordpress/ lyndell

    MobileMe and .Mac are unnecessary options. It’s convenient for a few things, but not necessary. I didn’t buy .Mac because it does too little.

    Computing has entrenchment that cars don’t have. You rip and replace the car, but people don’t like doing that with computers. Changing OSes is like changing the train track gauge, then buying a new fleet of rail cars.

  • GwMac

    Apple mistakenly thinks that we love their hardware as much as their software and OS. I have been using Apple computers since 1982, but make no mistake, I would much prefer to use OS X on many dozens of computers available that offer the features I want at an affordable price. By and large, Macs are extremely overpriced and under-featured. That is just a fact. Some much smaller companies than Apple offer over a dozen different laptop models for example in every size, shape, form, and price range. Apple by comparison only offers two. What is you want an affordable Apple laptop with a 15″ or 17″ screen but maybe integrated graphics and fewer pro feataures? Or a smaller Macbook Pro with firewire or a card reader?

    I love OS X, but I am not that big of a fan of their computers. Far too much emphasis on aesthetics and form over functionality for my taste. They are smart to not allow clones, because most people would probably switch in a heartbeat.

  • beanie

    Daniel wrote:
    “nobody wants to pay Microsoft’s Windows Tax.”

    What is exactly is this Windows tax? OEM PC manufacturers have an OEM price for Windows, which they sell to consumers. For example, ASUS sells both Linux and WindowsXP version of their netbooks. The WindowsXP version costs more.

    Daniel wrote:
    “XP into an OS it can sell on devices such as the netbook. That product category hasn’t yet taken off,”

    Acer shipped 2.4 million AspireOnes in the 3rd Quarter. ASUS is probably still the leader with their EEE PCs. ASUS said 70% are WindowsXP.

    Daniel wrote:
    “big PC makers from HP to Dell to Acer to Sony are all investigating Linux”

    So you are saying you would like to see Linux overtake Mac as the second most used consumer OS. ASUS said Linux is 30% of their netbooks. So is Apple going to enter the low-margin netbook category?

    Windows 7 is probably a “lean Vista” since it supports Vista drivers. The leap in PC system requirements from XP to Vista was too great so enterprises did not want to upgrade. I read Windows 7 will run confortably on a netbook with 512K memory and 11GB of hard drive space. So Microsoft addressed both netbooks and enterprises wanting less system requirements.

    [Go back to 2005 and you can read all about how great Vista was going to be.]

    Vista adoption is pretty good. According to NetApplications traffic measurement, Vista gains about 1% every month and XP decreases 0.5-1%. I think Vista is up to 19% MarketShare in October 2008.

  • lightstriker

    hodari, 90% of the world use windows because MS backstab apple and ibm and because Apple made a lot of busniess mistakes after they ousted Jobs. Danial wrote articles about it on this site.

  • Pingback: Boycott Novell » Partial Index: Summary of Bribed Sites, Journalists, and Bloggers (Vista 7)()

  • ssampier

    No, that’s not it. Your use of terminology is incorrect. The so called Windows tax is being required to pay for Windows when you don’t use it. If you use Windows, it’s not a tax. Vista is selling well on the consumer front, not so well on the corporate front. Companies don’t want to pay more for hardware, so they can get less performance on the software. If Windows 7 is faster and more efficient than Vista corps will use it; simple as that.

    [Nope, a “tax” is simply a fee collected by a government to socialize a public expense. The Windows Tax isn’t free to people who plan to use Windows, any more than gas tax is free to drivers who actually use the roads those taxes help pay for. Software costs are not “taxes” in general, they are real expenses. That’s why there is no real Apple tax, despite the pleadings of Windows Enthusiast pundits.

    The real problem (and the reason for using the word tax in relation to Windows) is that Microsoft has installed itself as a monopoly with powers over the entire PC world, and has the ability to tax transactions with fees for its software that are collected whether or not people use it, or want to use it. That reduces choice and competition in the market by erecting barriers to new competitors, resulting in the current layer of crap holding PCs back. Microsoft is charging taxes without representation.

    And Vista is not “selling well on the consumer front.” It is simply being forced upon consumers and still being rejected by the market, by consumers who want to roll back to XP, by OEMs who want to ship XP, and by developers who don’t want to make titles Vista exclusive because they know they won’t sell. Windows 7 can improve greatly over Vista (it is really only a minor update to Vista, internally Windows NT 6.1) and it still won’t solve the problem of the Windows Tax that is throttling interest in the PC just as Microsoft’s software held back smartphones, personal music players and other devices plagued with it.

    Making excuses for Microsoft doesn’t solve the problem either. Why anyone would turn the other cheek to a bumbling company churning out incompetent, unsalable products is beyond ridiculous.]