Daniel Eran Dilger in San Francisco
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Windows 7 vs. Mac OS X Snow Leopard: competitive origins

 Slvswin7-Part10-11

Prince McLean, AppleInsider
The tech media is working to pit Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7 release against Apple’s new Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, but the two products aren’t really direct competitors.

The operating system most users end up with will depend upon what hardware they choose to buy, not the specific feature details of the software that system happens to run. History reveals that the hardware decision isn’t going to be based primarily upon features.

Windows 7 vs. Mac OS X Snow Leopard: competitive origins
Windows 7 vs. Snow Leopard: Microsoft’s comeback plan
Windows 7 vs. Mac OS X Snow Leopard: Apple ups the ante
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The following presents a historical overview of the competition between Apple and Microsoft in the operating system market leading up to this year’s face off between Windows 7 and Snow Leopard. While modern Macs can now also run Windows, Apple is the only PC maker to refrain from actually licensing it from Microsoft as an OEM; in contrast, Apple’s Mac OS X only legally runs on the company’s own premium PCs. That has enabled Mac OS X to differentiate Apple’s hardware from other PC vendors using easy to demonstrate software features and tighter hardware integration, winning back some of the ground Apple lost during the decade of the 90s.

How Microsoft inherited Apple’s crown in the 90s

In the 90s, Microsoft and its entourage of Windows PC makers came to largely view Apple as nearly irrelevant, but once Mac OS X arrived and began to catch the attention of users with its slick and sophisticated graphics compositing, its malware-free computing experience, and its unique and consistent interface features, Microsoft was pressured by its licensees to catch up so they could offer a competitive product.

Mac OS X essentially reset the clock for Apple, turning back time to 1990, when the company commanded a greater than 10% share of the entire PC market and dominated nearly all graphical desktop computing. Back then, the remainder of the PC market was running DOS, making it fairly easy for Apple to distinguish its graphical, easy to use product. Windows 3.0, the first version to ever ship installed on a new PC, hadn’t yet arrived.

Perhaps things were too easy for Apple; rather than aggressively competing against DOS PCs, Apple used its technical superiority to extract higher prices for its machines. The problem was that Apple’s boutique market lacked a boutique outlet for sales. The company was forced to sell its Macintosh models next to cheaper DOS PCs in computer stores and general retailer such as Sears, where they sat at the mercy of retailers who had no incentive to sell Apple’s product, as they were making higher margins on the DOS PCs.

Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
Microsoft’s command-line DOS operating system.
As Mac sales remained flat, PC sales began to climb rapidly. Microsoft’s continuous, incremental updates to Windows also began to blur the line between the Mac experience and that of DOS PCs with its Windows shell installed. Additionally, while Microsoft was building Windows from a relatively clean slate, Apple’s Mac OS was tied up with early 80s legacy issues, including a simple cooperative multitasking model and a complete lack of modern operating system features such as protected memory, secure user accounts, and file permissions.
Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
Windows 3.0 was the third major release of Microsoft Windows, released on May 22nd 1990.
Rather than delivering a technology overhaul, Apple released a series of code names for software that never materialized as promised, including Taligent, Copland, and Gershwin. By the end of the 90s, Apple had lost its position as the leader in graphical desktop computing to the point where many observers had forgotten it ever had defined innovation in the industry. Fortunately, the company had a comeback plan thanks to its merger with NeXT and the homecoming of its CEO, Steve Jobs.
Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
A diagram of Copland’s runtime architecture based off of one from Apple.
The tables turn in the 2000s

At the beginning of the 2000s, Microsoft had just released Windows 2000 (aka Windows 5.0), a mature and stable revision of its new Windows NT operating system that was developed to replace the DOS Shell version of Windows it had sold as Windows 95/98/Me. Microsoft’s competition was all but gone, with Apple down to a roughly 2% share of the worldwide market for all PCs and servers, and IBM’s OS/2, NeXT, BeOS, and other desktop operating system competitors out of the picture entirely.

Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
Windows 95, released Aug 24, 1995 (left) and Windows 98, released Jun 25, 1998 (right).
The company’s worrisome monopoly trial was about to be set aside by the new Bush Administration, and Microsoft was close to releasing a fusion of Windows 2000 and its consumer hardware-friendly Windows 98 as Whistler. Beyond that release, the company laid out a roadmap including Longhorn and Blackcomb to guarantee that the company could remain at the forefront of desktop PC software innovation as long as it could continue to repress any legal actions challenging its rise to the top through exclusive contracts with OEMs that prevented competitors from entering the operating system market.
Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
Windows 2000 was released February 17, 2000 and targeted business desktops, notebook computers, and servers.
Microsoft was ultimately able to successfully pay off or scuttle any significant legal problems, but it was hit by a new challenge: a festering rash of high profile security flaws tied to its early 90s, pre-Internet legacy. Suddenly, the company was finding itself in the position of Apple a decade prior, with a complicated software roadmap riddled with potholes, a product that was facing increasing price competition (thanks to Linux and other free software), and new competition from Mac OS X that rivaled its position as the leader in desktop innovation.

Windows XP vs. Mac OS X

Microsoft’s Whistler, delivered as Windows XP, was internally Windows 5.1, a minor update to Windows 2000. However, with the security work Microsoft had to assume, XP would end up being the company’s primary OS throughout the decade. Even two years after the release of Windows Vista (6.0) in 2006, which sprang from Longhorn but took far longer to complete than planned, nearly 80% of Microsoft’s installed base remains on XP, and the company’s hardware partners continue to advertise their systems’ ability to revert back to XP as a feature.

Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
Released on Oct 25, 2001, XP was Microsoft’s first consumer OS built on the Windows NT kernel and architecture.
In contrast, Mac OS X 10.0 debuted along side XP but was then updated in a series of major reference releases, including the free 10.1 update in 2001, the mainstream 10.2 Jaguar in 2002, 10.3 Panther in late 2003, 10.4 Tiger in early 2005, 10.4 Tiger for Intel in 2006, and 10.5 Leopard in 2007. While Microsoft released some “service pack” updates for XP during that time, only XP SP2 contained any significant feature updates, mostly related to patching up its security issues. Each of reference releases to Mac OS X delivered major new features, applications, and services for Mac users, in addition to performance enhancements that made the new software run faster even on older machines. Apple has also released dozens of free “service pack” minor updates to its reference releases of Mac OS X.
Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
Mac OS X 10.0 “Cheetah,” released Mar 24, 2001 (left) and Mac OS X 10.1 “Puma,” released Sep 25, 2001 (right).
Another factor that changed the relationship between Windows PCs and Macs was Apple’s development of new retail stores, both free standing outlets owned by the company and “store within a store” locations run inside retail partners’ locations. These allowed Apple to showcase its differentiated machines isolated from Windows PCs that competed primarily on price, not on features and usability. The result was that Apple could now sell its machines’ features on their own merits, rather than just struggling to match prices with lowball PC makers.
Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
Mac OS X 10.2 “Jaguar,” released Aug 23, 2002 (left) and Mac OS X 10.3 “Panther,” released Oct 23, 2003 (right).
That retail strategy also shifted the pricing pressure of store brand and no-name PC makers against name brand manufacturers such as Dell and HP, forcing them to race to the bottom the the barrel in pricing, which subsequently resulted in poor product quality that further differentiated Apple’s products from those of the other PC makers. Apple’s retail stores are now allowing the company to experiment with new manufacturing techniques such as those used in the new unibody MacBooks, as well as higher end, environmentally friendly materials and customized silicon designs.
Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger,” released Apr 29, 2005 (left) and Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard,” released Oct 26, 2007 (right).
All of these integration enhancements fuse Mac OS X into the Mac hardware, making it increasingly less comparable to Windows as a retail product. Apple doesn’t advertise Mac OS X as an alternative to Windows, it pits the Mac against generic PCs in more general terms.

Vista vs. Mac OS X

In contrast, Microsoft has had to keep Windows a general purpose, one-size-fits-all product that it can license to every PC maker on earth apart from Apple. Microsoft’s business interests often fail to align with those of its licensees, resulting in skirmishes with its OEMs. These broke out particularly with the release of Windows Vista in 2006. For example, Acer was irritated by Microsoft’s price hike on Vista and its strategy to sell the OEMs a crippled Home Basic version that users would have to upgrade directly with Microsoft in order to get the same features they had with XP. Dell and HP pushed back when Microsoft tried to cancel XP and make Vista the only option.

Vista ended up a colossal failure due to the way it was sold by Microsoft, its problems with existing hardware, incompatibilities with software titles, and its poor performance relative to XP, despite offering new features and, in particular, strong new efforts to bolster Microsoft’s security reputation. Not even Microsoft’s most loyal pundits could defend the release of Vista after months of sales data proved beyond any doubt that consumers didn’t care about the new operating system’s features or its security advancements; they were only upset that their existing software and hardware ran worse under Vista than it did under XP, and that Vista cost more.

Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
Windows Vista was released Jan 30, 2007 to horrid reviews.
Those events set up circumstances that favored Apple’s strategies: all Apple has to do is deliver incremental improvements to Mac OS X and its already happy and expanding pool of Mac users will remain loyal customers, while Microsoft is tasked with rethinking Vista to make it palatable to OEM licensees, suitable for existing users, and yet also feature competitive enough to compare with Apple’s offerings. Additionally, Microsoft is running out of potential new customers as the PC market matures into a slow growth phase. Apple has lots of potential for growth, as it is now very profitable with less than 10% of the market, leaving it plenty of Windows users to woo over to its own platform.

Windows 7 vs Snow Leopard

With that background, the game is set for a rematch between Apple and Microsoft, with the Mac maker’s latest Snow Leopard due in the first half of the year and Windows 7 aggressively scheduled to arrive shortly afterward. The next segment will look at how Apple plans to reward loyal Mac users while tempting Windows users to switch with Snow Leopard, and how Microsoft plans to correct its mistakes with Vista to regain the upper hand with Windows 7.

Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
Windows 7 build 7000 was released publicly on January 7th, 2009.

26 comments

1 bed { 01.21.09 at 2:23 am }

I did a basic comparison of the two, see http://abednarz.net/wp/windows-7-vs-osx-leopard/

2 gus2000 { 01.21.09 at 3:49 am }

Microsoft might be able to compete against Snow Leopard, but they should probably catch up to Tiger first.

3 adampeterfong { 01.21.09 at 10:07 am }

To (slightly) excuse Microsoft’s XP-Vista gap, they also shipped XP64 in that period, which was a substantial rework, even if it didn’t particularly take off.

4 John E { 01.21.09 at 7:45 pm }

it’s sloppy writing and a major overstatement to call Vista a “colossal failure.” yes, its premature introduction was badly botched. and yes its pricing/version strategy is a market mistake. and yes its revamped UI is sometimes annoying (but prettier than XP). and yes the large majority of enterprise users decided it was not worth the trouble to upgrade to it. but its initial problems were cleaned up mostly, it sold tens of millions of copies anyway, and it did incorporate important technical advancements under the hood.

moreover, to be fair Win 7 is really Vista 2.0, and reportedly based on the beta it will deal with many of the remaining shortcomings. we’ll see … that will be the version of Vista that matters for the long term.

so you could accurately say Vista was mis-step, or a partial failure, or half-baked, or premature or incomplete or a lot of qualified assessments like that. but a colossal failure goes too far and weakens the rest of the analysis. and if the Win 7 version of Vista is a good one, people will forget about the first version that wasn’t so good.

reminds me of Panther 10.3 which, as i recall, had real stability problems that Tiger 10.4 then cleaned up – also opening the door to Intel. Panther was so-so, Tiger was very good by comparison. it’s true Panther wasn’t hyped like Vista (the “Wow”), and it didn’t take so many years to develop. so sure, rub MS face in the dirt about that. but think twice before throwing out overheated rhetoric.

5 danieleran { 01.21.09 at 8:52 pm }

Vista is a colossal failure. It destroyed Microsoft’s invincibility, cause its own hacks to question their faith, burned up billions of development costs with extremely disappointing sales, and failed to push the industry in the directions Microsoft had hoped, wasting an extremely precious 6 years of development time and (now) two years of lame duck OS where Apple has been able to steal the limelight, despite being a much smaller company with a small fraction of the installed base and market share.

That’s colossal failure. Unheard of in the history of Microsoft. Historical revisionists can complain that the product isn’t that bad and that SP2 should fix things, but that doesn’t even matter. You could use an Apple III too. You could drive an Edsel. You can listen to a Zune.

Panther and Tiger may have had lingering issues, but neither were failures by any measure of revenues, usability, user adoption, favorable mindshare for Apple, meeting engineering goals, and so on.

Talk about overheated rhetoric. This is all far to simple and obvious to argue about.

Windows 7 is Vista with some of the hair on its balls trimmed down a bit. People will not “forget” the failure of Vista anytime soon, just as users still have bad memories of Win 98 and ME. Stop sugarcoating turds.

6 The Mad Hatter { 01.21.09 at 10:24 pm }

John E

it sold tens of millions of copies anyway

Actually it sold very few copies. Check any store, and they have lots of dust covered Vista boxes. It’s quite likely that Apple sold more copies per capita of the Leopard upgrade, than Microsoft did of Vista.

Vista was delivered on a lot of computers. Those copies can’t be considered as sales, since if you bought a computer, you didn’t have much choice, it came with Vista.

7 John E { 01.22.09 at 1:36 am }

@ Hatter – an OEM sale is still a sale at wholesale price. you’re right, it’s not a valuable nor as credible as a retail sale – but then most existing PC’s didn’t have the specs to run Vista anyway so there was an inherent retail market constraint there even if Vista had been terrific. real world outcome is, nonetheless, some tens of millions of PC’s are running Vista this evening as we type. i’m not interested in quibbling about words, that is just the actual situation. and that total number will keep increasing steadily.

@ Dan – thanks for the reply, but no i can’t agree with that rhetoric. ranting is not analysis. a point you essentially make in there with purple prose is valid tho – that judged by expectations that MS itself and its promoters hyped – the “Wow,” an expected huge market impact in retail sales, something just plain super-duper – than yes Vista is a total failure in those particular regards. it achieved zero of those expectations. it has also been a substantial failure in the enterprise market, with only 25% reported penetration (this gets into server issues tho, more complicated than consumer stats).

but judged instead in other regards that are more important to me, as version 1.0 of a major Windows OS overhaul, an overhaul that i think we agree Win 7/Vista 2.0 is at least intended by MS to fully consummate, then it is a partial success. once it was cleaned up with its SP1, and SP2 coming soon, and third parties caught up with its specs and drivers, it became a credible consumer OS that most with proper equipment now use successfully. the worst is past.

now the Win 7/Vista 2.0 beta is getting a positive initial reaction. (just curious – have you checked it out?) will it live up to that goal? i dunno. i like to wait and see before reaching conclusions.

The consumer reaction to Win 7 will be one measure. but the really crucial one for MS is the enterprise market, its real bread and butter profit maker. will they finally update from XP? i dunno.

BTW, was thinking more about the analogous perceptions of the Mac OS X evolution. 10.1 had a lot of issues, and then 10.2 stabilized them (plus coincided with the introduction of iLife, a great leap forward in the package) and so was well liked. 10.3 Panther was buggy as i recall and not very popular, but then 10.4 Tiger was really good and a big hit. so you can look at this and see two pairings (10.1/10.2 and 10.3/10.4) where an initial version was flawed but the follow up was solid. Leopard, with full Unix, no more Classic, some 64 bit, full Intel and core graphics, Boot Camp and other major technical leaps is a whole new generation of the OS (it might have been 11.0) – well done and successful from the start – which apparently Snow Leopard (not even a totally different cat name) is intended to fully consummate with full 64 bit and much more (resulting in another pairing, 10.5/10.6). just food for thought.

8 cy_starkman { 01.22.09 at 6:32 am }

“With some of the hair on it’s balls trimmed down a bit”

That has to be the best flame on an MS product I’ve ever read. ROTFLMAO

I don’t even care if it’s really on the mark.

9 hodari { 01.22.09 at 12:12 pm }

John I agree with you… the article was just ranting not an analaysis at all. We have to give credit where it is due.

Microsoft OS is not writen for a specific set of hardware like the caes of Apple – they develop the hardware and the Software. Microsoft OS is expected to work flawlessly for a milion plus combination of PC with periperhals. The fact that Microsoft has so far been able to deliver such an OS is really commendable.

As far as the Eneterprise market is concerned, I can tell you that Saudi Aramco one of the largest Microsoft customer in Saudi Arabia with more than 50,000 Plus workstations and more than 100,000 servers are already working with the BETA of win 7 and they will upgrade!.

Since lately, I have been extensively involved in the MIddle East, Africa, Asia and India market, I can tell you the market is controlled by Microsoft. Even in the database arena where oracle used to be very strong, it is no longer the case – it loosing tract against MS SQL Server. CRM is next and so forth.

As for Apple in these areas – very little impact if at all.

10 appleseed.as { 01.22.09 at 4:21 pm }

@John E
and
@hodari…

Do lay offs of 5k people while blaming NetBooks and marketing expenses make Vista a colossal failure? I guess not. ANd you will be correct.

Cause its God like failure more like it.

As for your Windows 7 saviour, don’t get your hopes too high. Linux and OS X solutions will have many things to say in the next years as well. The same will be true for the whole Cloud movement which more than ever doesn’t care about Microsoft.

11 appleseed.as { 01.22.09 at 4:24 pm }

PS. I would give you tons of links to read about the failures of M$, Nokia and Sony but I guess by now they are all over the place. Its like reading Apple “news” back in mid-90s or even nowadays. You know. How Apple is doomed and all that.

12 The Mad Hatter { 01.22.09 at 5:11 pm }

@Hodari

Microsoft OS is not writen for a specific set of hardware like the caes of Apple – they develop the hardware and the Software. Microsoft OS is expected to work flawlessly for a milion plus combination of PC with periperhals. The fact that Microsoft has so far been able to deliver such an OS is really commendable.

Ah, so you regard wide hardware support as an important part of an operating system. That means that you should regards Linux as superior to Windows, as Linux has far wider hardware support. I installed Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 2 on my Acer laptop, and it recognized and setup everything properly, including the wireless card, something that Windows is totally incapable of.

As far as the Eneterprise market is concerned, I can tell you that Saudi Aramco one of the largest Microsoft customer in Saudi Arabia with more than 50,000 Plus workstations and more than 100,000 servers are already working with the BETA of win 7 and they will upgrade!.

Really? Can you produce documentation – a link to an article quoting them?

Since lately, I have been extensively involved in the MIddle East, Africa, Asia and India market, I can tell you the market is controlled by Microsoft. Even in the database arena where oracle used to be very strong, it is no longer the case – it loosing tract against MS SQL Server. CRM is next and so forth.

Really? Your grammar and spelling resemble those of a 9th grader, and no Microsoft manager would hire someone who’s linguistic skills are that bad (I have several friends who work for Microsoft). For that matter no Microsoft partner that I know would hire someone who spells like you do. As a result I doubt your statement.

As for Apple in these areas – very little impact if at all.

Of course Apple has little impact. Apple doesn’t target those areas for sales, so to expect them to have an impact would be ludicrous.

@John E.

@ Hatter – an OEM sale is still a sale at wholesale price. you’re right, it’s not a valuable nor as credible as a retail sale – but then most existing PC’s didn’t have the specs to run Vista anyway so there was an inherent retail market constraint there even if Vista had been terrific. real world outcome is, nonetheless, some tens of millions of PC’s are running Vista this evening as we type. i’m not interested in quibbling about words, that is just the actual situation. and that total number will keep increasing steadily.

You missed the point. Those weren’t sales of Vista, they were sales of computers, which came bundled with Vista. The computers probably would have sold if they were bundled with XP, or for that matter Windows 2000.

13 hodari { 01.23.09 at 12:57 am }

Mad Hatter – The discussion centered on mac os x vs. win7 and not Linux. It is quite possible that Linux is a superior OS compared to anything out there. However, that is completely irrelevant.

“I installed Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 2 on my Acer laptop, and it recognized and setup everything properly, including the wireless card, something that Windows is totally incapable of.”
I doubt your statement! In fact for the record, I doubt that you even know the difference between a USB and Fire wire port!

Produce documentation? Why to prove to a monkey like you?

Friends in Microsoft – Did I give you an impression that I work for Microsoft or Microsoft Partner? It seems you lack the ability to read and understand or you are just one of those Schizophrenia who hears voices.

It is not ludicrous to expect Apple to target those areas – on the contrary it shows a failure on the part of Apple to capture those markets for whatever reasons.

14 The Mad Hatter { 01.23.09 at 7:22 pm }

Hodari,

The discussion centered on mac os x vs. win7 and not Linux. It is quite possible that Linux is a superior OS compared to anything out there. However, that is completely irrelevant.

No, it’s not irrelevant, or you wouldn’t have brought it up.

“I installed Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 2 on my Acer laptop, and it recognized and setup everything properly, including the wireless card, something that Windows is totally incapable of.”
I doubt your statement! In fact for the record, I doubt that you even know the difference between a USB and Fire wire port!

I’ll have to get a video of it up on youtube then, to make you happy.

Produce documentation? Why to prove to a monkey like you?

Why not? You come here, make outrageous statements, and expect everyone to believe you? If you do, you are a fool. If you don’t expect everyone to believe you, but post here anyway, you are here only to create problems, and should expect to be challenged.

Friends in Microsoft – Did I give you an impression that I work for Microsoft or Microsoft Partner? It seems you lack the ability to read and understand or you are just one of those Schizophrenia who hears voices.

You said you are heavily involved in the market in Middle East, Africa, Asia, India (since India is in Asia, you have me wondering about your IQ level) and talk about how Microsoft controls that market. Since you seem to know so much about it, I rather assumed that you work in the computer market.

It is not ludicrous to expect Apple to target those areas – on the contrary it shows a failure on the part of Apple to capture those markets for whatever reasons.

As someone who does sales and marketing for a living, it does make sense. You target markets where:

a) Sales are likely
b) You have the staff to cover
c) You have the connections to enter
d) The customers can afford your product

If Apple has problems with any of the above, they wouldn’t hit those markets. I suspect that price is the issue, as Apple doesn’t have a cheap product line. Both China and India are low wage areas. I gave a girl a $5.00 tip in a restaurant in Shanghai (before I got the exchange straight the first time I was there) and you should have seen her eyes light up!

15 hodari { 01.24.09 at 1:44 pm }

Mad Hatter – it is COMPLETELY irrelevant – I did not bring up the subject of LINUX – I remained focus on the topic. On the contrary you did – probably trying to tell us how clever and nerdy you are.

You do not need to get a video on YouTube – I already know what your IQ Level is – so it will not prove anything. Do something constructive with your life.

I did not come on the blog and make outrageous statements. I aired my opinions which I am entitled to and the owner of the blog did not see the comments as unfit otherwise I am sure he would have deleted them. I am always ready to be challenged by intelligent people! I am not a fool and please refrain being personal on this blog – it does not reflect well about you.

Once again you read in between the lines or you are hearing voices. Yes I am involved heavily in the Middle East/Africa/Asia & India but not selling. I am not a sales man – I am a software engineer by profession and currently a CIO.

When people ask me where are you from? I do not tell them North America. I tell them Canada – in spite of the fact that Canada is part of North America – it is semantics my friend. India is in Asia or whatever.

It is good to see you are making a living in marketing and sales. The position you have taken is that of defending Apple where the defense is actually weak. Microsoft on the other end has made great strides around the globe and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. 5$ tip – very generous of you but has nothing to do with consumers who have the money to spent. It is an accepted fact that the wealth is not in North America or Europe. In fact the recent data shows that it is in Middle East, India and China but Apple has not been able to make a dent in these markets and in answering the good points you made:

1. Sales are likely – very much so… Apple is selling but not huge numbers

2. You have the staff to cover – yes but majority of people want Windows. They ask for Windows! In fact, I have checked out with a number of people who actually have bought a macbook or macbook pro and guess what OS are they running? Yes you bet – Windows!.

3. You have the connection to enter – I do not think Apple has this or if they do they certainly have not shown. In an Executive council meeting in Dubai, that I attended recently, Apple was not to be seen. Microsoft, IBM and SUN were there.

4. The customers can afford your product – absolutely. The wealth and money being spent in these regions is enormous.

16 The Mad Hatter { 01.24.09 at 8:33 pm }

Hodari,
You appear to be getting a little bit excited – let’s go back to your original post.

Microsoft OS is not writen for a specific set of hardware like the caes of Apple – they develop the hardware and the Software. Microsoft OS is expected to work flawlessly for a milion plus combination of PC with periperhals. The fact that Microsoft has so far been able to deliver such an OS is really commendable.

I disagree with this statement. Microsoft’s products have massive driver problems. If you want an OS that has excellent driver support, Linux has far better driver support. Apples doesn’t need that level of driver support, because OSX is designed to run on a limited range of hardware.

As to Apple’s sales outside of North America and Europe, most people in Asia and Africa earn far less than North Americans or Europeans, and you buy what you can afford.

And if you can’t afford it, you pirate the OS. I’ve been in enough stores while travelling where I could have bought copies of Windows and Office for less than a US dollar.

17 hodari { 01.25.09 at 4:32 am }

Mad Hatter – I disagree with you on the driver issue with respect to windows vs. Linux. You state “Microsoft’s products have massive driver problems.” I am sure that you are aware that MS undertook to redesign the device driver model for the betterment of the product. This obviously caused a major hiccup. There are times when a company has to take such decisions for “future proofing” the product and let go backwards compatability. However, for you to make a blanket statement that “it is massive” is wrong and I would just dismiss it. If there are specific cases, I am sure they can be addressed. As far as Linux is concerned it would be unfair for to me a make a comment. The last time I worked on Linux was with SUSE v 9 not that we did not have problems – oh yes we did but then which OS does not have problems.

With the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft introduced an improved architecture for device drivers. In Windows Vista, the Windows Driver Model has evolved to the Windows Driver Foundation. Composed out of a kernel mode driver framework and a user mode driver framework, it intends to address stability issues as well as simplicity and flexibility. In earlier Windows driver models, the complete device driver would run in kernel mode, which would bring your system down if something went wrong. Many blue screen errors and PC hang ups would be the result. Device drivers for most computer hardware are actually created by the hardware manufacturer. Since the operating system should not be so vulnerable to third party programming errors, isolating the drivers in user mode makes a lot of sense.

With respect to Windows Driver for VISTA we need to be clear that it is NOT Microsoft who supplies the driver – on the contrary it is the manufacturer of the peripheral who has that responsibility.

When Windows 95 was released, drivers were a real headache. Plug and Play technology was supposed to automate installation of device drivers, but it didn’t always work and was derided by some as “plug and pray.” Locating drivers was tough. There were no manufacturer websites to check, so you needed a driver disk from the manufacturer.

Fortunately, finding drivers isn’t the chore it once was. When Microsoft released Windows XP in 2001, it also introduced Windows Update, a website for finding and installing important software and driver updates. With Windows Vista, Microsoft has simplified the process of finding and installing drivers even more.

Windows Update is now a fully integrated part of Windows, and Microsoft has worked with hardware manufacturers to make sure plenty of new drivers are available. More than 31,000 updated drivers were ready when Windows Vista was completed—far more than the 12,000 that were available at the completion of Windows XP—and more are becoming available every day through Windows Update.

By the time Windows 7 will go gold; all the teething problems of VISTA Drivers issues will be history.

18 appleseed.as { 01.25.09 at 5:14 am }

@hodari

You can only hope about this and while Windows 7 may be better than Vista in supporting hardware you cannot possibly be assured about it. What Microsoft is spreading around is that IF your hardware is compatible with Vista then it will be with Windows 7. And supposedly we all know by now the drivers fiasco of Vista.

As for that new “technology” for driver support built in Vista and 7, pretty much ANY bad driver can STILL crash those OSes. I guess its too much for Microsoft people to separate the difference of being optimistic and being naive.

One cannot possibly believe for a second that ANY version of Windows has more drivers support than the Linux distros out there. Even if in some imaginable world that would be the case we are talking here about a commercial product like Microsoft’s solutions competing with FREE products made by some “rebel scums” out there. There is NO excuse about Microsoft NOT being able to AT LEAST top the Open Source solutions.

But here we are… Microsoft is trying to shove IE back to our computers. Their OSes back to our NetBooks and terminals. Their Zunes, XBOXes, etc. back into our entertainment. Excuse me for revealing the truth to you and others out there but Microsoft stopped being relevant 4-5 years ago. Its funny actually that more Windows people than ever want Apple’s OS into their lives. If you see Mac people using Windows more than their Mac OS on their Macs, you can surely must be able NOT to miss the abundance of people running Hackintosh solutions. I can safely say that there are more users running Hackintosh than Windows 7 betas as of now.

19 hodari { 01.25.09 at 1:13 pm }

appleseed.as – I am not hopeful, I am sure about that – let us leave it at that as time will tell us.

I agree that any piece of software that is written badly is going to cause a problem with the stability of the OS. A number of times, I have seen the spinning ball of death on my macbook and I wonder at times whether it is the QA team at Cupertino or some third party vendor?

I do not see the point you are trying to make with respect to the number of drivers being available for a specific OS. Does it matter? I do not think so. As to your point about FREE products – nothing is FREE in this world. Whoever makes you believe that Linux is free needs his or her head examined. If indeed Linux was free each and every enterprise should have switched by now from SOLARIS/Windows etc to Linux, but that is not the case. The cost of supporting Linux is enormous – numerous papers and calculations are out on the net that proves this point.

I am very pleased that Microsoft is shoving back IE8 to me, netbook, terminals, zunes, xbox etc as much as Apple has been trying to sell me a 500$ iphone, ipod etc and Sony shoving down my throat a PS3. I do not regret it and I do not think that Microsoft stopped being relevant 4 to 5 years ago. On the contrary Microsoft is more relevant today than it has ever been in its history.

As for people actually wanting Apple OS (really UNIX underpinning) to be relevant is farfetched!. This is wishful thinking and probably very much an American dream just like the way Telco’s were battling CDMA – unfortunately for them the European GSM took control of the world.

There may be more Hackintosh more than Win 7 BETAS – I am not sure. But the reality is that at the end of the day there are more windows users in the world at any point in time compared to Apple OS. So If I am developing a commercial product which OS do you think I will choose first to develop for ?

20 The Mad Hatter { 01.25.09 at 1:20 pm }

Hodari,

Mad Hatter – I disagree with you on the driver issue with respect to windows vs. Linux. You state “Microsoft’s products have massive driver problems.” I am sure that you are aware that MS undertook to redesign the device driver model for the betterment of the product. This obviously caused a major hiccup. There are times when a company has to take such decisions for “future proofing” the product and let go backwards compatability. However, for you to make a blanket statement that “it is massive” is wrong and I would just dismiss it. If there are specific cases, I am sure they can be addressed. As far as Linux is concerned it would be unfair for to me a make a comment. The last time I worked on Linux was with SUSE v 9 not that we did not have problems – oh yes we did but then which OS does not have problems.

My comment about driver issues was not about Vista, it was about XP/WIN2K. I cannot recall a single time that I’ve installed either without having to chase after drivers, even when I had the OEM install CD/DVDs. This includes computers built by Gateway, Acer, IBM (pre-Lenovo), HP, Compaq (Pre-HP), and E-Machines. I’ve also had the problem with White Boxes, but there you kind of expect it. I installed Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 2 on my Acer laptop, and everything including the webcam and wireless card were recognized. I like this level of hardware support, it’s nice, and saved me a lot of time chasing drivers.

With respect to Windows Driver for VISTA we need to be clear that it is NOT Microsoft who supplies the driver – on the contrary it is the manufacturer of the peripheral who has that responsibility.

With Linux it’s the kernel programmers who do most of the drivers. I think that this is an advantage, as the driver programmers have a good understanding of the kernel they are writing the driver for. This should result in an improved driver, and so far I’m delighted with the results.

Besides, Microsoft could have written migration tools, to modify either source or binary driver files to the Vista model. I gather that they didn’t do this, and I’m surprised that they didn’t, it’s such an obvious idea. They could have done this for the 9x to NT switch over as well.

When Windows 95 was released, drivers were a real headache. Plug and Play technology was supposed to automate installation of device drivers, but it didn’t always work and was derided by some as “plug and pray.” Locating drivers was tough. There were no manufacturer websites to check, so you needed a driver disk from the manufacturer.

Ah, yes, I remember those days well. Too well.

Fortunately, finding drivers isn’t the chore it once was. When Microsoft released Windows XP in 2001, it also introduced Windows Update, a website for finding and installing important software and driver updates. With Windows Vista, Microsoft has simplified the process of finding and installing drivers even more.

Actually I’ve found a lot of cases of drivers not being in Windows Update. And of course the other issue is that to use Windows Update you have to have an Internet connection….

By the time Windows 7 will go gold; all the teething problems of VISTA Drivers issues will be history.

That may be true, but what about Trojans, Virii, etc?

Let’s face it – Microsoft has pissed me off so badly, that the only reason I would ever run a Microsoft operating system again, is if it was the only operating system available. Since there is a wide range of choices that aren’t Microsoft, I’ll use them. The free software choices (Mandriva 2009 and Ubuntu 9.04) have excellent hardware support, extremely stable kernel, fantastic eye candy, reduced hardware requirements, a wide selection of great application software, and incredible security. What’s not to like?

And if I buy a Mac, I get OSX, which has all the advantages of the Free Software choices, but is somewhat limited as to the hardware it will run on. Hey, I’m willing to live with that, as the hardware that Apple supplies is better than what I’d get from Acer/HP/Lenovo etc. In fact I’m planing on buying a new Unibody MacBook shortly.

Appleseed:

Even if in some imaginable world that would be the case we are talking here about a commercial product like Microsoft’s solutions competing with FREE products made by some “rebel scums” out there. There is NO excuse about Microsoft NOT being able to AT LEAST top the Open Source solutions.

Actually there is an excuse for Microsoft not being able to top the Open Source solutions. It’s Steve Ballmer. He doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing, and is going to drag the company down with him. He should be fired. At least that’s my opinion.

21 appleseed.as { 01.25.09 at 1:33 pm }

@hodari
“So If I am developing a commercial product which OS do you think I will choose first to develop for ?”

Dunno? M$ DOS? Please keep your replies coming in this site. You are good for laughs (and irrelevant) just like Microsoft.

22 hodari { 01.25.09 at 2:01 pm }

Mad Hatter – It is great to have choices and I am pleased for you that you chose to stay with Linux.

I agree with you on the subject of Balmer. I think it is a disaster. However, the good news at least we have the likes of ray ozzie and steven sinosky…these are key people in the company at least from a technical directional point of view.

23 The Mad Hatter { 01.25.09 at 4:55 pm }

Hodari,
It doesn’t matter how good your technical people are, if the CEO is a boat anchor. Until Ballmer is removed, and replaced with someone with more talent (and hopefully better morals) Microsoft will under perform.

24 hodari { 01.26.09 at 1:20 am }

appleseed.as – I am glad at least I made you laugh! at the same time I feel sorry that I broke your ideal and wishful thinking. As the expression goes – you have been living in the ideal world and when reality hits, it is shattering!. I feel your pain for M$ DOS! and the success of Windows OS – The trick is getting computers to understand what I’m saying more than some people here.

25 appleseed.as { 01.26.09 at 3:43 am }

@hodari
We understand you. All of us here. Its just that you should not type anything in here. Just put your name and next to it http://www.microsoft.com. Simple as that. The rest you can keep it coming anyways. You are no different http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVMy0PFr8no

Loving every single word coming out of you two. Keep them coming :D

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