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Why Windows 7 is Microsoft’s next Zune

Windows 7 Zune

Daniel Eran Dilger

Every once and a while I get the opportunity to appear brilliantly prescient by pointing out something that is blatantly obvious but which has been so obscured by valiant marketing efforts that it makes me look like a grand wizard at detecting emperor nakedness just to say it. In this case, it’s that Windows 7 is becoming the next Zune.
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Consider the Zune.

Over the past couple years, while I enjoyed explaining why the Zune was set up for disastrous failure, I was even more entertained by the caustically religious response that it elicited from Windows Enthusiasts. I was accused of predicting things nobody could yet know and was assailed for being “biased,” as if the facts and rationale I presented to outline why I thought the Zune was doomed were all based on wishful thinking and a blind attraction to Apple.

It’s almost like having the 22% of inbred Americans who think Iraq was involved in the attack on the World Trade Center point their quivering finger at me and disdainfully accuse me of being against war, all because I’m biased toward presidential candidates who can speak articulately and intelligently.

The problem with the Zune wasn’t just that it was from Microsoft, but that it was a copycat product trying to be something Apple already had delivered, which of course does means that the problem was related to being from Microsoft, as that’s all the company knows how to do. Despite being congratulated at every opportunity for copying other’s successes in a half-assed and often more expensive way, Microsoft’s business plan isn’t all that cool.

It’s not impressive when Korean car makers clone portions of a BMW, or when the Chinese attempt to copy the iPhone using portions of Windows Mobile, or when WalMart releases a suitable clone of Adidas sportswear it can market for ten dollars to the kind of people who live in sweats and drink most of their calories two liters at a time.

Microsoft’s attempts to copy the iPod was a store-brand strategy, hardly genius. In further laziness, however, the company didn’t just set out to make a copycat iPod but started by building on top of a flawed product that had already failed in the market. The Zune was a Toshiba Gigabeat with slightly different plastics and navigation, where “different” should not be confused with “better.”

Imagine Microsoft trying to enter the SUV market by taking a Pontiac Aztec and adding new pin striping and perhaps flames, and its obvious why the Zune was doomed even before considering how terrible Microsoft is at developing consumer software (Songsmith?), how counterintuitively bad the company is at forging relationships with media companies (the Zune was abandoned by MTV’s PlaysForSure Urge store in the first year), and how terrifically incompetent the company is at conceptualizing and delivering consumer features (I already cited Songsmith, so I’ll just point out the train wreck that Zune “WiFi sharing” was).

pontiac ass-tech

Why Microsoft’s Zune is Still Failing

Why Windows 7 is another Zune.

But wait, you may ask, the Zune was an effort by Microsoft to travel well outside its core competency. Microsoft has never delivered consumer hardware products outside of its Microsoft-branded Logitech mice and keyboards (and if you are counting those as innovative or interesting products, please put down the invisible scissors you’re using to craft those exquisite invisible clothes for the Redmond emperor before you hurt yourself with them), the company has never been cool, and has never really successfully sold anything to anyone outside of OEM hardware makers and brainwashed IT drones.

Windows is an entirely different story, say Windows Enthusiasts. Microsoft has sold those two categories of customers–PC makers and IT drones–so much “Windows” that it can afford to blow out billions in hobbies that never go anywhere, from Windows CE devices and Windows Mobile to Microsoft TV to SPOT watches to the Surface and the Xbox, which isn’t a game console business so much as a multi-billion dollar bribe to prevent video game developers from using open and interoperable APIs.

What Microsoft is really good at is keeping generic PC OEMs and IT drones happy, right? That’s where the company makes its money, and back in 2006 when I was pointing out how badly Windows Vista would tank, the conventional wisdom pundits were laughing at me because there was No Chance the company would fail at selling Windows, because it doesn’t have to sell Windows, it merely forces the industry to pay for it as a tax on all new hardware.

Even if Vista were terrible, they insisted, companies would still roll it out and PC makers would still force it down the throats of consumers, just as they had for the last fifteen years since Windows 3.1 showed up offering them a way to insist that their generic PCs were just as good as a Macintosh. No amount of terrible Windows software, from 98 to ME, had ever prevented Microsoft from milking the tech industry dry and starving out competitors selling products that actually worked. How could things possibly ever change?

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Vista? Que?

In retrospect, Vista was the Zune. Rather than Microsoft doing what it had been doing all along to please the PC makers and IT drones (that is, releasing a rewarmed version of Windows every few years that did little more than keep the tech industry consumed with keeping up with the latest version), Microsoft looked at Apple and tried to copy it. But what makes Apple interesting and successful as a hardware and software integrator is not transferable to a software monopolist.

The straw that broke Vista’s back was Microsoft’s attempt to give Windows XP a graphics compositing engine just like Mac OS X’s, a technology which Apple had initially debuted in 2000. Microsoft delivered its own version six years later, but the problem was that that feature, which worked so well to breathe new life into the Mac and differentiate it as a platform, was an unwelcome albatross around the neck of generic PCs.

Generic PCs are sold to be cheap. When Microsoft ripped off the Macintosh look and feel and introduced the first version of Windows that PC users could actually use (which was in 1991, six years after the introduction of the Mac and nearly ten years after Microsoft gained access to Apple’s technology as a software partner, and not in the early 80s as historical revisionists in Wikipedia attempt to claim in order to shore up some credibility for the company), PC users never claimed that Windows was anything comparable to the Mac environment. Instead, they prided themselves with how cheap they’d acquired their generic PC, and only ever mumbled about Apple’s superior user environment in an embittered shrugging off of somewhat out of reach sour grapes.

When Mac development at Apple ran off the track in the late 80s and early 90s and the creative forces behind the Mac jumped to NeXT and Be, Inc and to other efforts that seemed more promising, Windows gained credibility solely from the fact that nobody was around to show how hopelessly behind and conservative Microsoft was. The one-party tech kingdom ended up a Soviet Union of sorts, where everyone hailed the supreme leaders who were really doing so little to accomplish anything. Compare PCWorld from the 90s with Pravda and you’ll find lots of similarities.

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NeXT strikes back.

When Mac OS X broke loose on the scene, Microsoft realized the danger of allowing a competitor to show up how little the company was doing in exchange for the massive profits it was syphoning off of the tech industry. Linux was already indicating how little Microsoft was adding in the enterprise software arena, but now Apple was proving the same thing to consumers, a market Linux didn’t have the unified leadership required to woo.

Vista was a desperate attempt by Microsoft to turn Windows into Mac OS X. In 2000, Windows was Windows 2000, aka NT 5. Microsoft had spent the 90s trying to deliver an alternative to Unix with the administrative ease of use of the Mac. In large part, it had succeeded with Windows 2000, but that accomplishment was embarrassed by the fact that a small group at NeXT had already delivered a superior product that did the same thing a full decade prior, albeit without losing any compatibility with Unix.

Bill Gates had used his position to hamstring NeXT and refused to develop for it, which had helped to hide the fact that all Microsoft had managed to do in the 80s was copy Apple’s Mac, poorly, and all it had managed to do in the 90s was copy NeXT, badly.

Now, all of a sudden, NeXT was back in the form of Mac OS X. Except this time it had two new features: an open foundation based on open source software (a heretical liberal cancer in the mindset of Microsoft’s hard liners) and an advanced compositing graphics engine that promised to do to desktop graphics what QuickDraw had done for the original GUI in the early 80s, what QuickTime did for video in the early 90s, and what NeXTSTEP did for object oriented development in the same period: embarrass Microsoft.

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Rise of the GPU.

Mac OS X’s Quartz graphics compositor wasn’t just a new feature. Apple was onto a very powerful new concept in computing: the offloading of desktop graphics to the GPU. The company realized that the CPU was no longer the engine that would define the power and usability of a computer. It was being eclipsed by the latent processing power of the GPU. Microsoft and Intel realized this too, to some extent.

In the late 90s, the team of tech monopolists tried frantically to figure out a way to get PC users, primarily running Office, to continue to buy increasingly faster PCs, but ran out of reasons for consumers to keep buying new PCs when their old one ran Word pretty decently already. Their solution was to build 3D visualizations into web pages, so that users would need a faster CPU to look at crap on the web designed entirely to make their CPU hot. This was the extent of their vision.

Microsoft also saw games as a reason for buyers to spend absurd amounts for PC hardware, but Microsoft doesn’t sell hardware, so all it could do was devise software to make games that only worked on Windows, further tying Windows to PCs sales. This wasn’t so much a strategy as a reaction, a ploy to shore up the moat surrounding its monopoly.

While Microsoft and Intel were in monopoly maintenance mode, a myopic condition that almost always results in a face planting stumble before long, Apple was assembling a GPU strategy that took everything painted on the screen and made it an OpenGL surface. The Mac OS X desktop was now a video game; individual windows could be slurped into the Dock with their contents being rendered live during the animation. Vector art could resize with liquid realism.

Ten Myths of Leopard: 1 Graphics Must Be Slow!

Microsoft tries to clone Mac OS X.

Microsoft wanted to stop the comparisons between Apple’s new Aqua-smooth operating system and its boxy Windows 2000, so it renamed the next NT 5.1 service pack Windows XP, in the hopes that consumers would confuse XP and OS X just as quickly as they might equate Mr. Pibb for Dr Pepper.

The problem was that Apple capitalized upon its core technologies to rapidly outpace Windows XP, which despite being a fairly decent operating system fitting the needs of PC makers and IT drones, could not fake the ability to render its graphics using a modern Open GL surface, but was instead tied to the simpler graphics model Apple had originally introduced in the early 80s, which Microsoft duplicated in the flattering imitation of Windows GDI.

In the last few years, Apple rapidly advanced its graphics compositing engine to take increasingly fuller advantage of the untapped power of GPUs. Similar efforts on Windows have been entirely limited to screen savers and video games. However, while this was a source of embarrassment to Microsoft, it did not represent much of a problem for Microsoft’s key customers, who are not consumers and end users, but rather PC makers and IT drones.

When Microsoft released its own graphics compositing engine in Windows Vista (NT 6), it hoped to wow consumers sufficiently enough to jack up the price of Vista significantly. However, the PC buyers of 2007 were largely the same cheapskate demographic of 1991 who prized cheapness over utility. Microsoft’s attempts to make Vista match the graphics savvy of Mac OS X were like WalMart trying to introduce its sweats-wearing customers to organic vegetables.

Pearls before PC users.

Like the proverbial swine who have pearls thrown at them, they reacted with umbrage and ferocity. They’d grown used to every version of Windows being slower, but Vista was much slower without any advantage apart from looking more like Mac OS X. If they wanted a nice looking computer, they’d have bought a Mac.

PC buyers wanted trough-cheap hardware with the least invasive annoyance of Microsoft possible. Instead, they got a more expensive operating system that demanded greater hardware resources, didn’t quite work with their existing software and peripherals, was significantly slower overall, pushed Microsoft into their faces to a greater extent, and attempted to extort Vista upgrade to unlock Ultimate features Apple was offering for free in Mac OS X.

When somebody asks for an iPod and you hand them a Zune, which has no cost advantage, no compatibility with either the iPod nor PlaysForSure, is slow and looks silly, they fail to see any reason to buy it. Connecting the dots between the Zune experience and Vista should not be necessary at this point.

Windows 7′s audience problem.

However, what some pundits are still missing is that Microsoft’s promise that Windows 7 is some flawless hyper-jump advancement over Vista is a typical Microsoft assurance, with all the utility of toilet paper. Apart from cleaning up an unpleasant mess, there’s not much else it’s suitable for. Recall that Microsoft has also promised that each version of Windows was its best operating system ever, even as each got slower as it dragged along the legacy required to please its customers, which again is not consumers but PC makers and IT drones.

Windows 7 does offer some real fixes for Vista, which it damn well should a full three years after that high-priced catastrophe was launched. The problem is that Microsoft’s customers, those same PC makers and IT drones, do not want another generation of Vista and its Mac OS X-envy imitation. They want a thin layer of supportable software that runs legacy Windows software. That’s not at all what Windows 7 is aiming to do.

PC makers are desperately trying to weather the storm of a brutally competitive market that is shrinking globally for the first time ever. They don’t want a fancy bunch of glitz that shows the power of GPUs, they want Windows XP as cheaply as possible so they can apply it to netbooks and sell something, anything, before they go out of business.

IT drones don’t want a layer of GPU sophistication, they want Windows XP as cheaply as possible so they can roll out centralized services in the pattern of mainframes and dumb terminals, the game they were playing when Microsoft waltzed in and sold them on PCs running DOS and then Windows as an alternative to the terminals they’d been using.

Netbooks killing off sickly Windows PC sales

Bad news: Windows 7 no faster than Vista.

The fact that Microsoft has borrowed its operating system strategy from Apple is also the reason why Windows 7 is no faster than Vista. Anecdotal excitement from Windows Enthusiasts aside, recent testing (by no less than PC World) has shown that Windows 7 does nothing to noticeably speed up PCs over the baseline performance of Vista. That’s a huge problem for PC makers and IT drones who have pushed back against Vista adoption in large measure because it was too slow.

It’s also a rude awakening to the dreamy illusion that Windows 7 would somehow enable Microsoft to sell a Vista-based operating system for netbooks that was wildly faster than Vista and therefore could bring the company greater revenues on netbooks compared to the Windows XP it had been dumping on netbook makers for next to nothing, just to prevent them from using Linux instead.

Never mind the reality that even if Windows 7 were spry and capable on netbooks, Microsoft wouldn’t be able to bleed significant software revenues from the ultra cheap hardware that is now commonly selling for $300 or less. The big problem is that Microsoft can’t speed up Windows 7 appreciably because it is Vista, and the reason Vista is so slow is not just because Microsoft didn’t have the time to worry about optimizing code in its 6 years of gestation, but centrally due to the fact the Microsoft was copying Apple to deliver a product that is not like the one Apple wanted to deliver.

Speed Test: Windows 7 May Not Be Much Faster Than Vista

Microsoft is no Apple.

Microsoft does not have Apple’s audience of sophisticated consumers, and it’s ridiculous that the company keeps trying to pretend that it does. Microsoft serves an installed base of cheapskates through a blackmailed array of PC hardware companies who are forbidden from selling alternative software by exclusive licensing contracts. It also services, at very high cost to companies, a large number of corporate cube-holders who have no voice in the technology decisions forced upon them by corporate IT drones.

Both markets are impossibly out of reach to Apple. That’s why Apple does not copy Microsoft’s development or marketing strategies; they simply wouldn’t work at Apple. But the converse is also true; Microsoft can’t be successful at its own business by copying Apple, because the two companies serve very different markets.

The Zune clone of the iPod was a good example of this and the results of trying. It’s like stealing answers from your classmate during a test, even though you know he’s taking an entirely different exam. Don’t plan on acing your test no matter how smart he is!

Microsoft’s consumer failure is only going to get worse.

The biggest problem for Microsoft, outside of the fact that it is getting ready to release another tepid Zune to follow up the original lead balloon Zune (and if you didn’t catch that metaphor, I’m talking about following up Vista with Windows 7), is that the PC cheapskates and IT drones are not as valuable as Microsoft seems to think they are. All the buzzword dropping around netbooks aside, the real value in PC hardware and consumer electronics is in delivering devices that work, which users will pay extra to obtain.

That’s a market Apple has locked up. Despite the efforts by Dell and HP and Acer to tiptoe past Microsoft’s Iron Curtain and investigate free market ventures using Linux, none are even close to delivering a well-integrated product similar to the Mac. All they can do is cater to cheapskates with unprofitable, low-end hardware that is so problematic and virus-vulnerable that those consumers will be forced to return and buy a new PC within a year and a half.

Having staked out a business that serves PC makers first, IT drones second, and consumers dead last, Microsoft is left only to advertise that its software arrives on cheap hardware that isn’t burdened with being cool or sexy like Apple’s. As a marketing strategy, that’s so blatantly moronic that it’s hard to imagine a Fortune 500 company could decide to do that.

This company delivered also Vista and the Zune, and all I’m pointing out is that the company is getting ready to do the exact same thing this year. Now will all those people who insisted that Microsoft would never stop making increasing amounts of automatic money regardless of how badly it performs please post an apology? Thanks!

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175 comments

1 Trade Jim News » Why Windows 7 is Microsoft’s next Zune { 05.09.09 at 1:38 am }

[...] Every once and a while I get the opportunity to appear brilliantly prescient by pointing out something that is blatantly obvious but which has been so obscured by valiant marketing efforts that it makes me look like a grand wizard at detecting emperor nakedness just to say it. In this case, it’s that [...] Go to Source [...]

2 Why Windows 7 is Microsoft’s next Zune » YoGoG.com { 05.09.09 at 1:40 am }

[...] Go to Source [...]

3 focusonandy { 05.09.09 at 1:52 am }

I have been waiting to hear your thoughts on Windows 7, and you didnt disappoint. Very interesting read. A well constructed and easy to understand arguement. I have a first hand view of the drones you refer with my university computer network. They have refused to leave Windows XP SP2 for Vista, and I really doubt we will upgrade to Windows 7 either.

4 hurtle { 05.09.09 at 1:58 am }

I’ve been a fan of your articles for a long time, but this time I had to register to express how I feel about this one. Thank you Daniel for continuing to tell it like it is. As someone who remembers the start of the computer era, I get annoyed with the revisionist version of events which paints microsoft as somehow equal to Apple.

Buying DOS for $50,000 and licensing it to IBM is the only “innovation” that microsoft has ever achieved and the basis of the gravy train that they’re still riding. I’d be fine with that if they at least acknowledged the debt they owe to Apple, it’s the mean spiritedness of it that rankles.

Apart from windows and office, everything else that they do fails, often spectacularly, why are their shareholders so forbearing of such relentless product failure?

Anyway, thanks again Daniel for a superb, well researched article, keep up the good work.

5 fatbarstard { 05.09.09 at 2:11 am }

Good article Dan. Who is the guy at the top of the article? One of the 22% you mention??

My view is that anyone with XP doesn’t care about Windows 7, while Vista users are desperate for anything to improve what they have. By the sounds of it Windows 7 won’t deliver anything.

I run XP on my MacBook Pro using Parallels because I need to access Windows software for work. Its rubbish compared to OS X but I won’t be changing it. I’ll hold out on XP for as long as I can!

6 deardeveloper { 05.09.09 at 2:49 am }

“…I’m biased toward presidential candidates who can speak articulately and intelligently.” – Daniel Eran Dilger

Either you meant Ron Paul or maybe the Teleprompter, because unless you’ve been under a rock, it’s pretty well known that our current president is about as inarticulate on his own as our last one was. Not being a hater, just stating the facts.

7 Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine | www.windows7vista.com { 05.09.09 at 3:00 am }

[...] rest is here: Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine Share and [...]

8 gus2000 { 05.09.09 at 3:08 am }

I agree with the article in principle, but the fact remains that Microsoft still holds a monopoly. New PCs will still ship with the latest Windows NT/XP/POS/etc. regardless of how awful it is. Microsoft will linger for many years after it is no longer capable of delivering a working (ish) product because Apple refuses to challenge them in the IT space, or in the el-cheapo space, or allow OSX licensing. That leaves a very wide field for Windows to dominate unabated. Even if they imploded Enron-style tomorrow, users would continue to cling to their XP for years.

Linux is there, but it’s still not good enough for casual users and is not ready for widespread acceptance. My feeling is that Apple is creeping up on IT, and will eventually have a Server+Workstation+PIM vertically-integrated model. I hope they pull it off soon, since I’m tired of XP at work and shudder at the thought of “upgrading”.

P.S. Pontiac Aztec? Oh, snap!

9 scotty321 { 05.09.09 at 3:10 am }

Dan, this may be your best article ever. I loved it so much that I wrote about it on my blog here:
http://scottworldblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/why-i-hate-microsoft.html

10 hurtle { 05.09.09 at 3:14 am }

@deardeveloper

“it’s pretty well known that our current president is about as inarticulate on his own as our last one was.”

This is a joke right? You should use smileys so there’s no confusion

11 stormj { 05.09.09 at 3:58 am }

Daniel,

I’ve been reading you for years and I appreciate you for your long memory. Your ability to put these things in context is what makes your writing so good, and, I believe so accurate.

I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with you before, at least this much. I tried on a few occasions to move to Vista on PC hardware and on VMs. I always reverted to XP. I’ve been using Windows 7 for the last few builds, and, as much as I hate to admit it, I don’t just like it better than XP, I just… like it.

Yes, it’s a mac clone. Yes, it’s what Vista should have been. Yes, it’s still not as good as Mac OS X. But, at least on my subjective experience it’s faster on my hardware even than XP. And, there are a couple of useful UI improvements that I wouldn’t doubt that Mac OS will copy one day. Being able to make two side by side windows so easily, for one. I’ve set a pretty low bar there, but, erm, it’s just not that bad.

XP just won’t be viable forever. It’s happened before—most people skilled Windows ME.

Here’s the real problem. I see Apple rotating into a leadership spot in the industry. It has been apparent for a while that that’s been going on. Microsoft has really taken it’s lumps. It can’t act like it’s the boss anymore, and Apple can’t act like it’s the scrappy upstart anymore. To do that is to buy in to the kind of ZDNet spin you always hate.

Apple runs the risk of its own complacency on the desktop. I’ve run Snow Leopard betas, and I think it opens up a bunch of exciting frontiers in terms of harnessing hardware capability, but Mac OS X is over 10 years old at this point, and the refreshes aren’t making quantum leaps anymore.

Windows 7 isn’t going to be a paradigm shifter like Windows 95, and it probably won’t be as ultimately successful as XP was, but it doesn’t suck, not like a Zune.

12 peter.s { 05.09.09 at 4:00 am }

The biggest problem for microsoft is their lack of a competitive mobile operating system. The netbook class will devide into two developing lines – one will go with Windows XP and will end up as cheap and limited notebook replacements with a bad user experience and the second will start over based on smartphone operating systems. Only the radical change could found a new platform with optimised software for a new category of devices.
And microsoft pushed the wrong system, because you will never be happy with a desktop system on a small device and Windows mobile 7 will come far too late.
But Microsoft have another problem, because their main focus in optimising Windows 7 were Netbooks instead of MultiCore/ Multithreading and compared to Snow Leopard they will get a big performance problem for true desktop applications.
So their market left is the legacy, but the best way here is to stay with Windows XP.

13 Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine | DONG'S BLOG { 05.09.09 at 4:05 am }

[...] Daniel Eran Dilger Every once and a while I get the opportunity to appear brilliantly prescient by pointing out something that is blatantly obvious but which. Original post: Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine [...]

14 enzos { 05.09.09 at 4:26 am }

Dan, you bastard! My guts are hurting.. from laughter!
A joy to read, and a sign that the art of invective is alive and kicking.
Cheers

15 macmo { 05.09.09 at 4:51 am }

@ stormj

“Apple runs the risk of its own complacency on the desktop. I’ve run Snow Leopard betas, and I think it opens up a bunch of exciting frontiers in terms of harnessing hardware capability, but Mac OS X is over 10 years old at this point, and the refreshes aren’t making quantum leaps anymore.”

But keep in mind the reports that the current SL developer builds appear to be stripping major UI changes, so we may just be surprised by such a “quantum leap”.

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/03/25/apple_close_to_unveiling_guarded_snow_leopard_ui_overhaul.html

16 Berend Schotanus { 05.09.09 at 6:23 am }

The issue that fascinates me is:
There is a huge amount of useful things you can do on a computer without an advanced graphical interface. I mean: just the usual array of office applications like wordprocessing, e-mail, spreadsheet, database… You would be able to do it on a 1984 Mac, on a Windows ’95 machine or even on a computer running XP. In 1984 these applications were innovative and only used by the happy few. In 1995 they were becoming mainstream. Today the rest of the world is trying to get access too.
Given the usefulness of these applications and the relative simplicity – it is all proven technology – users searching for this kind of functionality are perfectly right that they are aiming for the lowest price.
Even when this is a conservative market, a low-margin market, an uncool market, the size of this market is enormous. And because of the size, the cultural impact is enormous, a lot of applications run on a certain platform just because it follows the majority.
So what are the prospects of this market when it is apparently neglected by Microsoft, in its ill-fated attempts to copy Apple?

17 » Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 05.09.09 at 6:52 am }

[...] Here is the original:  Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine [...]

18 Chinese Shotgun » Blog Archive » Quote of the Day { 05.09.09 at 7:39 am }

[...] this geeky computer-related article on Roughly Drafted by Daniel Eran [...]

19 TenThousandThings { 05.09.09 at 8:41 am }

I think it’s hilarious they decided to name it Windows “7″ just when 10.7 is on the horizon — I guess the idea is 1=Win3.x; 2=Win95; 3=Win98; 4=Win2000; 5=WinXP; 6=WinVista. As DED points out, Microsoft is trying to recreate in 7 what they did when they created XP — get everyone to pay for an update instead of an upgrade. The problem is that while NT 5.0 (Windows 2000) was good and provided a solid foundation for NT 5.1 (Windows XP), NT 6.0 (Windows Vista) is not good and does not provide a solid foundation for NT 6.1 (Windows 7). It is true that pretty much every Vista user who can afford it will upgrade to 7 immediately. So initial sales will be strong and no doubt much-ballyhooed. But fixing the NT 6.x code is not going to address the fundamental problem here: “Having staked out a business that serves PC makers first, IT drones second, and consumers dead last, Microsoft is left only to advertise that its software arrives on cheap hardware that isn’t burdened with being cool or sexy like Apple’s.”

Let’s posit that there are some smart people at Microsoft. They’re laboring under the leadership of a man who thinks and acts like a used-car salesman, but they can still slip some good ideas past him by misleading him about their sophistication. The current “Laptop Hunters” campaign does exactly that — Ballmer thinks it is about the value of cheap hardware in a severe recession, but in fact it is all about forcing PC makers to offer more for less, the recession and its severity be damned. Microsoft needs that to happen because Windows NT 6.x needs the extra juice. It needs DDR3 RAM, it needs a discrete and powerful GPU. Otherwise, Microsoft is facing another Vista-type debacle.

The end result is going to be that there is going to be a leap in PC computing power. The people behind the ads saw it coming. This is good for Apple, because PCs will need to be comparable with Macs in order to run Windows 7 well. Microsoft’s current ads are misleading in terms of price comparisons and hide engineering problems like those Prince underlines in his articles about them. But it won’t be too long before the comparisons are fairer. The problem for Microsoft is that’s not going to be tomorrow, and the Great Recession isn’t helping. Apple has plenty of time to respond in kind to the sort of across-the-board hardware upgrades Microsoft is forcing down the throats of its core customers, the PC makers.

20 Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine | networking-the.info { 05.09.09 at 8:41 am }

[...] More here: Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine [...]

21 John Muir { 05.09.09 at 8:59 am }

@ TenThousandThings

The cheapo PC makers are competing amongst themselves, entirely on price. If they have the super lame Intel integrated graphics, they have a price advantage and to them it’s a simple win. Screw the user. If they’re dumb enough to buy a bottom end system with a hog of an OS, it’s their loss. These companies do not need to care. So long as it’s the cheapest option and “has the internet” (that little blue “e”) then it’s a computer, and that’s what the cheapskates want for their <<$300.

Why Vista was a failure has been covered well by Daniel, but I’ll just recap a crucial point: it didn’t look like XP – or “a computer” as most users considered that specific style – and it ran like trash. Users loathed both. Yet with XP being pulled ever further out of the market, that was their only choice besides the unthinkable options of ponying up for a real computer (whether a higher end PC or a Mac) or learning how to live with Linux.

The idea that Vista’s and 7′s fundamental inadequacy on the worst of cheapo hardware is going to force the industry ahead into better specs is, alas, fanciful. The Netbook craze is evidence that people don’t care nearly as much about performance and usability as they do the one thing everyone fundamentally understands: price.

Many people’s addiction to the cheapest computers the market can assemble, is going to continue to hurt them for years to come. But compare with smokers and fatty food junkies and alcoholism: people aren’t naturally logical things. If there’s a hook, many will cut themselves up real bad on it.

22 John Muir { 05.09.09 at 9:08 am }

@ Berend Schotanus

Way back on the original Mac, word processing and spreadsheets and the like were indeed pretty revolutionary stuff as they were suddenly intuitive and easy. Those who needed them could have them. The same eventually arrived on the PC many years later, after the Amiga and many other platforms failed thanks to the whole IBM/DOS thing.

The trouble is: although there are many, many people all over the world whose current and likely future computing needs are meagre, those needs are all online now. It may have a wealth of geeky charm, but taking a 1980′s Mac around to a non-technical person’s house and encouraging them to use it as their first computer in this day and age is an exercise in frustration. Computing has become connected. The Internet is what it’s all about for so very many. And the internet is quite demanding compared to WriteNow and Claris Works!

My pet theory is that the internet is now far more significant than the platforms which access it. This is why the iPhone has such potential: the internet in your pocket, wirelessly, and in time globally. Poor nations will be able to skip the costly home broadband and desktop phase entirely as their populations advance in the years ahead. It’s going to be mobiles which do this for most people. The iPhone is the technological leader, and Android and all the rest are eventually open to that potential.

Everyone who can read can use the web for practical matters and entertainment. But it takes a certain sort of user to be able to make an older system, largely confined to its own hard drive or disks, into something with potential they can use. It’s so the internet which is leading us now. Apple’s been onto that for years.

23 TenThousandThings { 05.09.09 at 9:33 am }

@John Muir

If you are right that my thinking is “fanciful” (nicely put, by the way), then Daniel is right that Windows 7 will be the next Zune.

I wasn’t thinking about anything that costs under $500. I was thinking of the ca. $700 price point and above, into Apple’s low-end territory. My sense is that’s where the pressure is being applied by Microsoft on the PC makers in these ads.

24 Tardis { 05.09.09 at 9:39 am }

Excellent article, Daniel, as always, but this time maybe even more so?

As you say yourself at the start, you make it all seem so easy, when the internet is full of butterfly commentators flitting this way and that and never getting at the truth. Could it be that your particular insight is the result of having built up a firm foundation of knowledge and understanding and then building on it step by step? Isn’t that why it all seems so easy? You have spent the time, made the strategic decisions and established a set of documentation/products/objects that you know work and that you can quickly roll out and modify to meet whatever objective comes along? Isn’t that why all the flutterers hate you? Any new question and they have to flut around, parroting press releases and repeating old wives’ tales, when you can build on the firm foundation you have already established?

If so, is there a parallel here? Apple (via NeXT) has built a series of solid foundations, based on strategic decisions, that have lead from personal computer to graphic interface to networks, internet and media. That hard work has made their recent success seem so easy that others, such as Microsoft, are jealous. Those foundations, for example, made the iPhone App Store possible, even though at the time, say, when Apple bought SoundJam, however much of a visionary Steve Jobs was, there was no iPhone, let alone iPhone Apps. In emulating the results, rather than the foundations, of Apple’s strategy, Microsoft has had to jettison several efforts that took a lot of skilled people a long time to produce.

But what I really want to know is, since I have Windows Vista running on my MacBook, how much will I have to pay to get Windows Seven? However bad it is, I already know it will be worth it.

25 John Muir { 05.09.09 at 9:45 am }

@ TenThousandThings

The respectable midrange is certainly where Microsoft wants attention to go. That’s because Netbooks are a big problem for them, as Daniel has written about at length. Netbook sales displace PCs, not premium Macs, yet Netbooks contribute so little in Windows licences. Microsoft would much rather have the average selling price of Windows machines rise back up again. Such a thing, though, would take winding back time.

26 Tardis { 05.09.09 at 10:04 am }

So how well will Windows Seven address the “compatibility issues” that bugged Vista? I was surprised to find that Vista couldn’t connect to our network when many XP machines (and the Mac, and Ubuntu) had no problems, and I had to use 3rd-party software to connect.

Getting the network printer to work with Vista also took a lot of effort.

Is there any reason to think Windows Seven will make this easier?

27 Tardis { 05.09.09 at 10:19 am }

Windows Vista isn’t so bad really ………..

Apart from the compatibility problems that I have either solved or given up on, there are really only two things that really, really annoy me when using Vista and make me want to go back to Windows XP, if I need to use Windows:

1. Every authorisation dialogue comes twice. I know I could probably disable this by turning off User Access or Genuine Advantage, but I don’t know which.

2. The screen goes black when you select something. Don’t know what, don’t know why and more importantly I don’t know whether the PC has crashed or not.

3. There was a third thing but it’s probably not so important.

28 move signals Blog » Blog Archive » Indexing Operating Performance { 05.09.09 at 10:25 am }

[...] Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine [...]

29 kerryb { 05.09.09 at 10:42 am }

“trough-cheap hardware” this bit is pure poetry.
Excellent article once again. I don’t think M$ apologist still believe that their company produces the best OS or anything else really. I think they consider themselves as being part of the biggest, baddest company in the world much like sports fans somehow think they have won something when their team wins a championship.

30 nat { 05.09.09 at 11:59 am }

Great. Article. Daniel!

I hadn’t even seen or heard about that PCWorld speed test. I love how Macworld reposts all the negative PCWorld and InfoWorld articles regarding Macs on their site while somehow leaving out such a damning test by PC World, an IDG affiliate.

I see two excuses from Windows Enthusiasts from this point on: 1) Well, Windows Vista was never that slow to begin with, or 2) it will be faster by launch this Fall (and definitely by SP1, just you wait!).

The most entertaining thing will be new users’ faces when they discover the Dock Taskbar, hahah. And what a time to release it: with overall PC sales retracting 7%, netbooks seeing a spike in popularity (systems on which Windows Vista is slow and where Win7 will only be able to handle three applications at a time), and Apple releasing Snow Leopard, potentially on highly subsidized MacBooks with MultiTouch trackpad displays.

This isn’t even factoring in the next iPhone, which could eat into potential netbook buyers.

31 nat { 05.09.09 at 12:12 pm }

Whoops, and by eat into potential netbook, I meant entice potential netbook buyers…or maybe eat into netbook sales. :D

32 qka { 05.09.09 at 12:20 pm }

Not to be too pedantic, but it was the Pontiac Aztek.

After, some folks get upset by Iphone, iphone, i-phone, etc.

33 The Mad Hatter { 05.09.09 at 12:20 pm }

Vista=Seven=Zune.

Yep, makes sense to me. Microsoft can’t deliver junk for much longer, the company is in bad shape already, it’s quite possible that Seven could kill it.

Unless they get rid of Ballmer, and hire someone who actually has a clue…

34 The Mad Hatter { 05.09.09 at 12:25 pm }

Nat,

Thanks for the warning, I didn’t realize that IPhones were that dangerous:
This isn’t even factoring in the next iPhone, which could eat into potential netbook buyers.
However I disagree with you a bit. I don’t see the IPhone doing that much damage, at least not while company’s like Rogers Communications are Apple’s partners. If you are Canadian, you’d have to be insane to buy and IPhone. Yes, Rogers is that bad, and until Apple realizes the damage Rogers is doing to it’s image and dumps them, the Touch and the possible Touch Tablet will be the main sellers. here.

35 John Muir { 05.09.09 at 12:29 pm }

It was slightly before my time, but Mac OS X 10.1 came along as the “now it’s fixed!” update from 10.0 some years ago. OS X was a huge undertaking, and Apple were taking risks left right and centre as OS 9 was beyond repair. Anyway, 10.1 was all about being the same as 10.0 but sped up and just “better”.

Anyone get the feeling that Windows 7 is 10.1 to Vista’s 10.0? Only Apple knew 10.0 needed fixing as soon as its release, and set about doing it; Microsoft meanwhile…

Don’t worry folks. Stick with OS 9 on your new low end and just plain old systems. Oh, XP rather!

36 Steve White { 05.09.09 at 12:30 pm }

A nice article that helps me understand what is motivating Microsoft.

But one complaint: stop trashing Walmart.

I’m a physician, and I shop at Walmart from time to time. Walmart is what Microsoft could only hope to be: a responsive large company that has found its niche, understands its fundamentals, delivers product that lots of customers will buy, and actually treats people (employees and customers both) pretty well. If Microsoft had that level of understanding in its corporate DNA it would never have produced Vista in the first place. There are plenty of companies in the U.S. that would do well to copy Walmart.

Now a comment: netbooks.

Doubtless people have seen the reports and websites in which an intrepid user buys a Dell mini-9 or similar netbook, removes the old OS, grafts Mac OS X onto it, and presto: a Mac netbook. And it works, and the intrepid user raves about how nice it is to have a small, very lightweight computer that runs an OS that doesn’t suck.

Now whether Apple would produce a netbook (unlikely), or a scaled version of the iPhone with a larger screen (something that is a cross between the current iPhone and the Kindle DX, let’s call it the iPhone-DX for lack of a better name) I don’t know, but it does illustrate that, having gotten the fundamentals right, Apple is in the position to do what Microsoft can’t do very well at all: if Apple chooses, it can invade the low-end space to bring value to the customer and profits to itself.

So far it hasn’t done that. Steve Jobs knows that margins and profits are his first priority. That’s how he’s always run whatever company he’s run. He doesn’t see the margins there in a netbook, but profits might be there in an iPhone-DX. Whichever route he takes, it’s interesting how Mac OS X and its related technologies can scale to that and Vista/W7 can’t.

37 LMC { 05.09.09 at 12:44 pm }

Excellent as usual Daniel.
If I were in charge in Redmond I would propose splitting up Windows.
Business XP & Home Win 7. Refine the crap out of XP. Secure it and trim out every single piece of bloat-ware fat, until it’s a lean mean operating machine that businesses could tailor exactly to their needs.
It won’t be fun or shiny or slick, but rather utilitarian and most importantly able to call upon years and years of legacy apps.

Enter Win Home 7 – a brand new OS built upon Unix (you know just like apple did) or some other stable core OS. Legacy apps be damned. Nothing left to pull it down WH7 could be free to soar and be the new future of computing. Net books, cell phones and laptops all enabled by a killer application developers kit. Eventually WH7 will become so good and stable it will become a viable alternative to Business XP because CEO’s will be bringing their much more user friendly home laptops to work and telling the IT guys, ” Just make it work for me.”
Thats how you can copy Mac OSX. But with a 9 year lead MS has a long row to hoe.

38 chrisxcr { 05.09.09 at 1:14 pm }

Daniel,

I know this is drifting off topic a bit but something you said has me confused.

Did you really mean to imply that just 22% of inbred Americans believe that Iraq was involved in the attack on the World Trade Center or did you mean the inbred 22% of Americans have that belief? I’m not sure about how to go about checking your statistics but if it’s the former that seems like a lower number than I have experienced. If it’s the latter that sounds more plausible given the recent Washington Post poll that 21% of Americans now identify themselves as Republicans.

Maybe deardeveloper can supply us with more accurate statistics based on the numbers of fellow tea baggers at the recent Republican Tea Parties.

39 Phildikian { 05.09.09 at 1:27 pm }

Great article Dan (as always a fresh piece of reality for a Saturday morning). I think your analysis and analogies are spot on.

@Steve White:
I’m sure a lot of credentialed people shop Walmart, but it doesn’t change who they are as a company: They exploit legal and illegal workers, skirt around paying employee’s benefits by making a lot of them work part-time and they copy higher-end products (having them manufactured overseas) and sell them at bargain prices. Contrary to your belief, they are a company that a lot of American companies are copying – unfortunately. We don’t need anymore Walmarts. We need companies who will treat and pay their employees reasonably (so they don’t need to be on welfare while they’re working).

Now back to Dan:
With Microsoft in such a pitiful state I think you would have to add Businessweek to your list of Cold-War-Era Microsoft propaganda shills. I read an article recently of the top 50 performing companies in America and am horrified to see Microsoft hailed as #8. They have some brief mention about how despite facing tough competitors – they have a history of rising to the occasion and being innovative…. do they read the crap they write? It is sad to see but reflective of a much bigger problem with the media – they are in an “auto-pilot” mode where they just make crap up with zero thought attached.

It’s nice to read your analysis for a change. Thanks for the hard work Dan.

40 Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine | Problems Resolved { 05.09.09 at 1:34 pm }

[...] Go here to see the original: Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine [...]

41 The Mad Hatter { 05.09.09 at 1:38 pm }

PhilDikian:

With Microsoft in such a pitiful state I think you would have to add Businessweek to your list of Cold-War-Era Microsoft propaganda shills. I read an article recently of the top 50 performing companies in America and am horrified to see Microsoft hailed as #8. They have some brief mention about how despite facing tough competitors – they have a history of rising to the occasion and being innovative…. do they read the crap they write? It is sad to see but reflective of a much bigger problem with the media – they are in an “auto-pilot” mode where they just make crap up with zero thought attached.

Do you have a link for this? I’d like to read it.

42 The Mad Hatter { 05.09.09 at 1:39 pm }

PhilDikian:

With Microsoft in such a pitiful state I think you would have to add Businessweek to your list of Cold-War-Era Microsoft propaganda shills. I read an article recently of the top 50 performing companies in America and am horrified to see Microsoft hailed as #8. They have some brief mention about how despite facing tough competitors – they have a history of rising to the occasion and being innovative…. do they read the crap they write? It is sad to see but reflective of a much bigger problem with the media – they are in an “auto-pilot” mode where they just make crap up with zero thought attached.

Do you have a link for this? I’d like to read it.

43 nat { 05.09.09 at 1:54 pm }

@The Mad Hatter,

While I empathize with Canadians, that’s a pretty isolated problem. Most of the carriers selling iPhones around the world appear to be good enough for most people, even here in the US where AT&T’s 3G coverage isn’t as widespread as Verizon’s. While perhaps the iPhone won’t seriously cut into netbook sales, subsidized MacBooks could and a number of signs are pointing in that direction, from that Mac 3G WWAN job posting, to Snow Leopard purportedly having built-in support for 3G WWAN antennas. Apple could still sell them unsubsidized for those who don’t want a lower upfront cost with monthly fees.

44 stormj { 05.09.09 at 2:40 pm }

@macman

I’m not sure that even if true the rumored “Chrome” interface on Snow Leopard is the kind of quantum leap I’m talking about. I’m not even sure what such a thing would be.

Maybe a fully integrated multitouch and a cheap usb multitouch pad so that it will work on old hardware, or even on Windows.

Anyway, that was more of a point for 2015, not today.

As for Windows 7, it’s far from a quantum leap. There are one or two things I like about it. Most of the things that make it the very-just “ok” that it is are ripped from Mac. But I’m willing to run it, and I’m willing to ditch XP for my few remaining Windows apps that I have to have.

I’m just disagreeing that it’s a Zune. I think it will be popular.

However, I don’t think it goes far enough to put Windows on a course into the future. It’s guts are old and outdated (the registry must die) and it isn’t keeping pace with modern development in hardware enough. Does Windows 7 even support EFI? if it does, can it use it? Where is the advanced file system?

Windows 7 isn’t the Zune, but the future of Windows is Zunish.

45 Michael { 05.09.09 at 4:10 pm }

to make matters worse, microsoft decided it would drop xp compatibility for those apps needing it altogether unless you bought some expensive hardware AND probably have to pay for some ultimate edition to get that feature…

http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2009/05/r2e-microsoft-intel-goof-up-windows-7s-xp-mode.ars

sounds like old microsoft again… and here I thought windows 7 was actually going to be good, based on the raves. Now I know better :) And hearing how horrible the Windows development cycle is makes me shudder… the very fact that microsoft uses UI elements inconsistently means that there is no official UI standard… everyone is expected to produce apps for Windows, but they don’t look very nice and aren’t very intuitive BECAUSE developers don’t have the proper tools to create a great interface (when have you seen an ugly mac application?) Btw, Ars Technica is super useful for learning about these sort of things ;)

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2008/04/what-microsoft-could-learn-from-apple.ars
http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2008/05/microsoft-learn-from-apple-II.ars
http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2008/06/microsoft-learn-from-apple-III.ars

and then there’s… UAC, the deserved poster boy for the majority of criticism hurled at Vista, after the performance issue…

http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2009/03/opinion-ms-should-kill-win7-uac.ars

@stormj
Windows 7 doesn’t support EFI, and as a result few manufacturers (besides Apple) are willing to invest the necessary resources to make it work with the BIOS that Windows expects. Even Linux hasn’t adopted EFI, since they too largely depend on PC vendors’ support.

46 nat { 05.09.09 at 4:11 pm }

@stormj,

The way Snow Leopard promises to efficiently handle media playback with QuickTime X (a la the iPhone), to harness Macs’ latent GPUs with OpenCL, to take advantage of multiple CPU cores with Grand Central, to support 32bit and 64bit apps in a 64bit environment that goes to the core (rather than splintering development between a 32bit and 64bit version), all seem pretty quantum leapish to me and that’s just on the software side.

On the hardware side, Apple could replace those glass, MultiTouch trackpads with glass, MultiTouch displays as Daniel predicted last year, enabling practical, direct touch manipulation of things pulled down into the trackpad-display in addition to the gestures already built into Leopard (and any coming in SL). They haven’t even made use of PA Semi yet!

We have no idea what they’re planning for the UI, but it is unlikely to follow Windows Vista/7′s example of putting a glitzy veneer on poorly designed software.

47 TenThousandThings { 05.09.09 at 4:12 pm }

@John Muir (28)

10.1 was free upgrade from 10.0, and it was really just the finished version of 10.0. In many ways, 10.0 was a a paid beta — I’m pretty sure it never shipped as the primary OS on any Mac — full Unicode and international language support, for example, wasn’t even complete in 10.0.

A better analogy to Vista-7 might be the 10.0/1 to 10.2 upgrade. That’s not to negate Daniel’s basic observation in this article though, that “… Microsoft was copying Apple to deliver a product that is not like the one Apple wanted to deliver.”

The XP = OS 9 analogy is not bad, since both descended from a long line of earlier systems, if Apple had spent 6 years tweaking and adding stuff to OS 9.

48 Michael { 05.09.09 at 4:29 pm }

hey i just thought of a new mac/pc ad by apple, the UAC security guy shows up again, except that the PC guy has a microsoft app able to fool around without UAC prompting, as well as MALWARE able to fool around without UAC prompting. now that’s windows 7 behavior ;)

49 GwMac { 05.09.09 at 5:23 pm }

I would be interested in a follow up article where you point out actual specifics of what you do not like about Windows 7. I will agree with you that 7 is basically nothing more than Vista rehashed in a lot of ways. I don’t really see the comparison with Zune though since it has never sold very well and has a minor market share whereas Windows 7 will probably surpass OS X in the number of licenses sold within a very short time. Windows 7 does not really have to be better or even as good as OS X, it only has to be “good enough” for Joe Schmoe. By all indications it appears that it will achieve that through a combination of false advertising, paid media shills, and mostly just by the fact that it will come pre-loaded on practically every PC.

This will not be a repeat of Windows 95 with people waiting in lines at midnight, but there is enough pent up frustration with Vista and people looking to upgrade their old computers with XP that it will very likely be a success.

Benchmarks aside, I installed the RC1 on my Mac Pro and Netbook and it feels much snappier than Vista whether it actually is or not. I also like the look and feel of it and think they have done a pretty good job, at least for Microsoft. There is probably enough there to keep the Windows fanbois happy. One thing I really wish OS X would allow is more flexibility with settings for the GUI and theme like Vista. In this regard Apple is far to restrictive and draconian for my taste. Would it really be that hard to add more choices besides graphite and aqua in the appearance pane for example?

All things being equal I don’t think Windows 7 or Snow Leopard will change the market share very much at all. The only way the numbers will change is if Apple does something very radical like drastically reducing their prices, introducing a very cheap netbook, or licensing OS X to other PC makers. None of which is likely to happen and for good reason. One idea that might work well though is if Apple at least licensed a copy of OS X to run through Virtualbox, VMware, or another virtualization program. There are a hell of a lot of people that are just too scared to spend several thousand dollars for a new computer on an unknown OS but might be willing to at least take a test drive for a virtual Mac. Even better if it included a free 30 day trial. Once people actually get to play around with OS X they would be far more willing to buy a real Mac when the time comes. Just a thought.

50 nat { 05.09.09 at 6:44 pm }

Once people actually get to play around with OS X they would be far more willing to buy a real Mac when the time comes. Just a thought.

They can already do that at Apple Retail Stores and authorized Apple retailers like Best Buy or local Mac retailers. Most people interested in switching to Mac OS X are disgruntled Windows users, i.e., casual computer users who wouldn’t know the first thing about virtual environments (and sorry, but aren’t the programs you listed only available for the Mac?).

Windows 6.0 (Vista) was the Zune in retrospect according to Daniel, so why would Windows 6.1 (Win7) not be an operating system analog to the Zune? It’s not that Vista/7 is horrendous, it’s that it’s mediocre, especially considering the resources at Microsoft’s disposal.

The main difference between the Zune and Windows is that the former isn’t automatically sold with every new PC like the latter is.

51 John E { 05.09.09 at 7:24 pm }

way too much snark in this article for my taste. too bad, because its points are very insightful, but few except Mac fans will read through it all because of that.

yes, MS has never been a good consumer products company. Explorer, Media Center, and Halo (the reason for XBox popularity) were all essentially created by another outfit MS then bought up and branded. when it tries on its own, like the Zune, the product is a klunker.

and yes, Windows has never really been a consumer product. the OEM’s sell the actual product, PC’s of all descriptions, which they package and price like various brands of dish soap. for the enterprise market, yes, the IT’s do call the shots. and their #1 priority is protecting their own jobs/billable hours, which a exceptionally complicated thing like Windows ensures.

so when MS attempted to market Vista as a consumer product (“the Wow!”), it really flopped. consumers want something (1) really useful (2) simple and (3) enjoyable – in that order – and Vista provided no improvement over XP for any of those, except a bit of eye candy as a fake (3). its one real improvement – better security – was still too little and too late on that issue to matter.

and yes, MS keeps trying to copy Apple OS X features as if that were the secret to a good consumer product – more features! reportedly Win 7 goes even farther than Vista did in copying Tiger, now slavishly copying Leopard. and maybe the consumer will like this, i dunno. we’ll have to wait and see.

i think the lesson for Apple is to ignore Windows 7 altogether as MS thrashes around trying to be something it is not, and keep focused instead on continually improving (1), (2), and (3) above for its own products as it has been doing the last few years. so when Snow Leopard comes out, that will be my criteria for whether it is an improvement over Leopard. we’ll have to wait and see.

but the one thing Apple can’t do is stand pat.

52 GwMac { 05.09.09 at 7:31 pm }

Playing around with a Mac in a crowded Apple store in those few cities that even have an Apple store is hardly the same as getting quality time in the privacy of your own home to really get the feel for OS X. I live in a metro area of 500,000 people for example with not even one store with any Macs on display and I am sure there are many other cities out there like mine.

Virtualbox and Wmware are certainly available for Windows along with several others. The beauty of my idea is that it would not cannibalize Mac sales. Think of it as a sample. Hell, I would even go so far as to suggest they include a coupon in the box for $100 off the price of a real Mac if they choose to buy one. My point is that Apple had a real chance to push our market share up to closer to 20% with the Vista fiasco and that window of opportunity is closing fast. Windows 7 is not nearly as bad as Dan would like you to believe, I know because I have used it. Apple cares far more about margins and profits than expanding the user base which is fine. I just wish they could figure out a way to do both and I do not see that happening anytime soon. Windows 7 will be good enough to keep the billions of minions firmly in Redmond’s grasp.

53 John Muir { 05.09.09 at 7:40 pm }

@JohnE

Well, as someone said above, this one’s a polemic. I’m with you on prefering a cooler headed tone as something with as much heat as this one just tends to play to the home fans and isn’t great for linking to a more general audience.

As for your points about Apple, I wouldn’t worry. It’s painfully clear to everyone these days who’s leading the way. Even all the iPhone work Apple is doing is feeding right back into the Mac. Sweet times!

54 slappy { 05.09.09 at 7:42 pm }

Tell me this. Why is Microsoft still allowed to copy the Mac OS to this day? Or are there just enough slight variations to let them get away with this? I read recently that Widgets patents has been approved for Apple. How does this affect Windows copy of Widgets that they call Gadgets.

55 stevebert { 05.09.09 at 7:58 pm }

“…Not being a hater, just stating the facts.”

Flame-bait. Not to mention complete drivel and totally off-topic. Waste other people’s time elsewhere, please.

Now for the article. As usual, flawless reasoning and well written. Micro$oft whines about the Mac “tax”, but in reality, their latest OS offerings are as repulsive to their cheap-skate users as income tax is to libertarians or human decency is to Rush Limbaugh. The trend is not looking good for MS, though — the PC market is clamoring for even cheaper, minimalist net-book crap that can’t run Win7, or even Vista for that matter. MS’s user base will eventually put the company out of business, which is a shame because the dull mediocrity of Windows makes the Mac shine even brighter.

56 Twitted by mactweets { 05.09.09 at 8:39 pm }

[...] This post was Twitted by mactweets – Real-url.org [...]

57 beanie { 05.09.09 at 8:44 pm }

But ZuneHD looks like it is going to be a hit. So that means Win7 will be a hit also. ZuneHD probably will support 3D XNA games. Maybe even 3D Silverlight games, hopefully. Microsoft’s plan is to make a development platform that spans desktop, Zune, and mobile devices. If they pull it off, it would be a pretty compelling platform for developers.

Vista has 24% traffic and rising as measured by NetApplications. XP has 62% traffic and declining. XP share is declining even with netbooks.

58 Ludor { 05.09.09 at 8:50 pm }

Dan: Very good work. Love and (a bit drunk) admiration from northern Europe.

59 John Muir { 05.09.09 at 9:20 pm }

Thanks for the comic routine there Beanie.

If there’s something a handheld screen needs it’s HD. I mean, man, those pixels are just way too big right?

60 John Muir { 05.09.09 at 9:43 pm }

@GwMac

How about this:
- Windows 7 is launched with media fanfare
- ZDNet and Enderle dance a happy dance
- Enterprise drags its feet on upgrading, as always
- Ordinary Joe Public really doesn’t give a damn
- PC sales continue to struggle
- Snow Leopard and new Macs continue to sell pretty well
- The iPhone extends its reach

I think that’s all quite likely. Vista wasn’t just a bad OS. It was the end of an era. PCs have really sunk down to being cheap, cheap Internet appliances. The high end is ever increasingly dominated by Apple. And the future is this little thing called smartphones.

The whole notion that 7 will be a return to the glory days – as held by many clueless pundits – is just deranged. Ordinary people went through hell just to use the web. Not so much now. And in the future, it’ll seem like madness that these problems ever existed.

The whole thing about skating not to where the puck is now but to where it will be, that’s what this all about. We’re right in the middle of the biggest shift in how the Internet is accessed, worldwide. That’s why even Microsoft have realised this stuff matters and is why they are consumed in their mad scramble to come to terms with it.

61 bartfat { 05.09.09 at 9:59 pm }

@GwMac

Actually, there are ways for modifying OS X looks and feel, even for Leopard, it’s just that most people won’t bother ;)

http://www.appletell.com/apple/comment/ultimate-leopard-tweaking-guide/

also, i think the reason why microsoft allows people to modify their look and feel of the OS is because the changes AREN’T applied systemwide to all the applications, just the menus, taskbars, and icons, so it either makes some parts of their OS look better (or worse). in macs, all the apps use the same interface, so the look is uniform (but apple wants it to look a certain way), so I suppose that’s their reasoning for not allowing you to modify the look and feel unless you resort to hacks ;)

62 bartfat { 05.09.09 at 10:04 pm }

hey daniel, great article btw, it got me thinking on the whole subject.. i posted an earlier comment (rather lengthy) and I’m wondering why it says I’m waiting for approval by a moderator..? all of what i posted seems factual…

63 chelgrian { 05.09.09 at 11:05 pm }

Leaving specific screw ups such as the utter mess Microsoft have made of the Windows Explorer in Vista aside one of the main reasons Vista feels so slow is exactly because of the Aero/Desktop Compositing Engine. The trouble is that when Aero is on most of the legacy GDI+ calls are unaccelerated. If you have a native WPF application then things are as snappy as QuartzExtreme is.

The trouble is there are ~15 years worth of GDI based applications out there that people expect just to work and even most WFP applications still have some GDI calls somewhere on their redraw path.

Daniel is being unfair though to Microsoft’s mouse business though, the Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 is the best gaming mouse *ever*. It’s so good that Microsoft actually started making it again (in a darker shade of gray) in response to people complaining about them discontinuing it. Now if only they would start making the Natural Keyboard Pro again…their current ergonomic keyboards are soggy, the wrong shape and feel like they’ve been through a cost cutting exercise.

64 StrictNon-Conformist { 05.09.09 at 11:31 pm }

Hi Daniel,

Don’t interpret this as being from a Windows fanatic, but rather someone that develops software on many different platforms for a living:

Using a benchmark of anything but a final release product will give different, and usually slower, performance than a final release product, because there’s these things:
1. Not all code optimizations are turned on in the compiler.
2. For all you know, they might decide to rewrite algorithms a bit in important places, since < 2% of the code tends to be run most of the time for what really matters.
3. Debug output to log files, and debug code with various extra checks that aren’t in final release code.

It wouldn’t be fair to take a current copy of Snow Leopard and state that that is how fast it will be for the final RTM product, either, for exactly the same reasons, and answers a lot for why the various beta firmware versions for the iPhone tend to be a bit poky compared to final release versions.

All that being said, I find it interesting that you did not even touch on the interesting tidbit that Microsoft is going to have a special virtualization mode for running Windows XP stuff within Windows 7, but there are special processor hardware requirements involved: Microsoft DOES listen to customers when they say they need certain things, as clearly they’ve decided that they’d rather take customers forward with a more updated OS without all the backwards legacy stuff in it (like Mac OS X has been doing, much to grumbling of many developers and customers that need upgrades of software to run on new revisions: either method has a price that’s exacted, but the more frequently you break things up a bit, the less cruft that’s left running all over, partially by Darwining out software that isn’t fixed for updated versions) and do a Classic sort of environment like Apple did with OS 9 apps.

Oh, I note you conflated prettiness with being utility: that’s not correct! Something can be pretty/attractive without being good utility, and something can be ugly as sin, but every good for utility, and in the best of both worlds, it’ll be pretty AND good utility. There’s one thing I commonly see in system apps that’s supported by OS X that is pretty, but not nearly as desirable for utility/practicality and user-friendliness: modal dialogs that are dropped down from the top of the active window smack in the middle, and are completely unmovable by the user, meaning that if there’s some data they want to view underneath, they now have two issues: it is a modal dialog, followed by it not even allowing them to move it somewhere else if it interferes with their workflow and view of what it may related to. Modal dialogs are definitely easier to develop with for developers, but often tend to be more of a hassle for users; at least for most Windows apps, as well as Windows itself (perhaps an exception with a system modal dialog used for getting passwords in Vista and later, which don’t really matter for what’s underneath) where there ARE modal dialogs, you can almost always move them out of your way to view something underneath: perhaps that’s not as “pretty” and “perfect” for symmetry as the fixed centered drop-down modal dialogs on OS X, but it is certainly more functional in most cases.

65 hylas { 05.10.09 at 1:31 am }

Daniel wrote:

“Pearls before PC users.

Like the proverbial swine who have pearls thrown at them, they reacted with umbrage and ferocity. They’d grown used to every version of Windows being slower, but Vista was much slower without any advantage apart from looking more like Mac OS X. If they wanted a nice looking computer, they’d have bought a Mac.”

Or one that didn’t sass back.
Your latest, Keith Olbermann moment … I swear I hear his voice to the facts you lay out as they reign down.
It’s hard to compete with truth, especially “factual truth”.

That 22% – funny, that – It’s also the number of people that identify themselves with the current Republican party.
Coincidence?

Never mind me – it’s my Quadrophenia kicking in again:
“The Real Me”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTwSKepkmdE

66 Twitted by JoshLeonard { 05.10.09 at 4:08 am }

[...] This post was Twitted by JoshLeonard – Real-url.org [...]

67 Robin Milhausen » Uptech Computer { 05.10.09 at 6:19 am }

[...] Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine [...]

68 Vista 7 is Free (as in Free Tobacco) for One Year | Boycott Novell { 05.10.09 at 6:32 am }

[...] has “disaster” written all over it and here is what Roughly Drafted has to say about Vista 7. Published [...]

69 Vista 7 is Free (as in Free Tobacco) for One Year | All about MICROSOFT { 05.10.09 at 6:41 am }

[...] has “disaster” written all over it and here is what Roughly Drafted has to say about Vista 7. Published [...]

70 Topics about Microsoft » Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 05.10.09 at 6:54 am }

[...] danieleran added an interesting post on Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune â [...]

71 Snadert { 05.10.09 at 7:06 am }

What adds to the fate of Win7 is the attitude of Redmond’s bullterrier Ballmer, who shows a great lack of compassion with his customers. I feel offended by his outbursts… ‘we have great software, it’s the customers who fail to see the magnitude of Vista’.

Microsoft is on a dead track right now and the only way to get Win7 down the throat of both private customers and companies is with brute force. Redmons has to get back on their tracks, at least several releases of their OS and return to Win2K, being NT in disguise and NT a copy of Digital Equipment’s VMS.

What people really want is a stable, fast and secure kernel with a customizable interface. Easy to deploy, small footprint and higly secure. No blatant Vista where it’s eyecandy looks like a My First Sony interface.

72 enduser { 05.10.09 at 7:10 am }

Dear StrictNon-Conformist,

I am an enduser who goes to work and use microsoft xp and office applications and few gaming @ home. I started with windows 95 came 98,ME,2000,XP and now vista. Funniest thing is one problem i still see in microsoft operating system from 95SP2 windows illegal operation( now xp & vista is different). windows hangs no idea why when i run softwares like skype or word sometimes it hangs. Don’t tell me i shouldn’t use that software or some crap which all windows tech guys gives whenever they have an issue.
I am really frustrated with the overall product. Everybody says windows is user friendly i dont agree, ( for that sake I dont agree the Mac os x or linux is user friendly but I can agree they are far better than microsoft ).
Please don’t give crap program logics when u cant deliver good operating system. There is no doubt all the products delivered by microsoft of crap. May be apple might also have crap product i don’t know exactly for sure.But given that I have worked on all windows versions and almost all end users software, I have to say only one thing… “It is a shit… and it clearly shows that your inability to design a good software”

73 TiberiusMonkey { 05.10.09 at 7:18 am }

Let me just say first, I’m a big fan of your blog and a massive Apple fan and own a number of their machines and devices. I also remember Microsoft of old and reached breaking point with them sometime ago.

But I have to say, you’re a little off mark with some of your comments this time around, for example my games machine is honestly getting better performance over XP since I installed 7 RC (installing the new Nvidia drivers helped, even if they are the same number that 7 installs on install). In populated areas in Age of Conan I was getting around 35fps I’m now getting around 45fps and a lot of times pushing up around 60+ in normal play (which to be fair I could have got in XP but it’s the populated part that counts). I’ve installed the 32 bit version on my house mates 5 year old machine and she loves it, her machine is feeling slicker and faster.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot wrong with Mircosoft, we still have way to many version choices and so on, I also resent when people argue about Microsoft security that I’m some how meant to cut Microsoft some slack because of their attempts with Vista and 7 when it’s taken them THIS long to make a reasonably secure OS.

My point being though, underestimating Windows 7 would be the worse thing Apple could do right now.

74 enzos { 05.10.09 at 9:27 am }

@John Muir #28 .. it might have been a technical dead-end but, all tricked out to the max, OS9 was great for me. I loved it! Actually sys 7.6.3 was a performance, stability and usability peak that 9.2 only just got back up to before it became “Classic”ed. OK, it crashed now and then but didn’t take files with it, didn’t bet viruses, etc., Appletalk networking was a cinch, and it ran Word 5.1 – perhaps (combined with the then-great Endnote and ChemOffice integrated via EGO for Word) the best thing – for me – Microstupid ever made. OSX is only now catching up on the ease of use front and MS Office is still getting over the HI disaster introduced with the execrable Word 6. End nostalgia (which isn’t what it used to be either!).

75 Rob Scott { 05.10.09 at 10:21 am }

John Muir { 05.09.09 at 9:43 pm } said it best! Thanks John.

Winbots never fail to mention the fact that Micro$oft stole Apples lunch (OS wars) while failing to mention many Apple runaways: iPod, iTunes, App Store and the iPhone. They at the same time purposely forget many failures from their naked empire. It would be nice from time to time that an eloquent writer like Daniel remind these cheap stakes about Micro$oft’s humongous failures.

Maybe when time permits Daniel will go thru these Micro$oft FAILURES one by one again:

1) Zune (what an abomination!)
2) XBox (+/- US$8 billion flushed down the toilet and they will soon spend billions of US dollars launching new hardware, only for Apple to steal their lunch in a year or two.)
3) Vista (what a pig, all those who bought Vista got ass-raped by Micro$haft)
4) MSN (horrendous)
5) WinMo (sucks donkey balls)
6) Live Search (what a joke, those losers cannot do anything innovative with search. I hope Google kicks their asses for the next 100 years.) and soon to be joined by
7) Vista 2.1 aka Windoze 7 (my company will not be downgrading to this resource hog)

I know Daniel has covered all these in the past and in this article. It would be nice thought if he were to revisit all of them again especially with all this Windoze 7 hype from Winbots and Micro$oft apologists, damn there are some even in this thread.

Re the article I agree with everything Daniel has written. I would also like to add that there in not much “innovation” left in the desktop OS (esp. from Micro$oft) but only maintenance. Once Apple is done with 64 bit, GPCPU and general parallel computing it will be years before we see another “breakthrough”.

The puck is in “post pc devices” and that is where Apple is playing and I dare say leading. Now, when is Apple launching that “mediapad”?!

76 counterproductive { 05.10.09 at 11:31 am }

@StrictNon-Conformist
“Using a benchmark of anything but a final release product will give different, and usually slower, performance than a final release product, because there’s these things: 1, 2, 3…”

How true. Thing is, it doesn’t really affect Daniel’s conclusions. From experience we know 2 or 3 other things in this regard:
1) if anything, OS X is faster upon release than in beta
2) if anything, Windows is slower upon release than in beta
3) MS is deceptive in that they demo their OS’s on totally new, high-end hardware that has been set up and fully optimized for the demo only and not real world applications (see “Mohave” experiment discussions).
4) Yes, you don’t know what you are going to end up getting performance-wise with Windows, because they will reserve some things for premium, ultimate versions or drop them altogether.
5) With Windows, you have to choose 64-bit or 32-bit going in.
6) New and old Macs alike tend to work better and faster on each new release of OS X. I have a Dual G4 PowerMac (about 7 years old), and a Dual G5 PowerMac (about 4 years old). Both on Leopard, both on 24/7, both being completely productive. You couldn’t pay me to take a new PC.

XP has been compared to Tiger, and Vista to Leopard. Is it really that close? Given my experience, above, I would say they are at least 6 years behind, not 2. When professional (Mac) people can consistently choose (I often get second-hand Macs on E-bay with no problems whatsoever, and not one monent spent on tech support or trouble-shooting) to use six year old Macs over new PCs, there is something very wrong on the other side of the fence.

77 counterproductive { 05.10.09 at 12:07 pm }

@bartfat
“Actually, there are ways for modifying OS X looks and feel, even for Leopard, it’s just that most people won’t bother ;)…”

Yeah, I don’t know why people bother, I think they are compensating for something. I mean, I am a creative; but I don’t want to personalize my Mac desktop. Who’s got the time, anyway; we’re too busy being productive and enjoying using our Macs for all sorts of projects. Doing stuff that shows our creativity and individuality to others. We don’t need a break from computer frustrations, or need to put lipstick on a poor choice of tool. I don’t hang fuzzy dice in front of my screen (though I would if I had to use a PC).

This is the irony, and it comes up all the time:
“Apple is so big-brother, they don’t let you do anything.”
I’m not whining, I feel empowered to put my imagination into my projects through great software and hardware. I feel that OS X is un-intrusive, just minimalistic enough yet attractive enough, and consistent, to let me enjoy my work, whatever it is. Yeah, Apple is so big-brother that they actually let me interact with all the technologies and standards and OpenSource projects and the full internet without interference.

“But MS is all about Choice”. “You can buy any computer you want, you can customize it, you can skin your apps, you can do this, you can do that.” Too bad you can’t work with it ;)

“Apple is closed and proprietary; MS works with everyone. Apple even has rules for apps ontheir iPhone.” Yeah, right. Why is it I get asked to open docs for PC users and save it in a format that other PC users can use; get asked to join a network so I can manipulate files for them, send stuff out, post stuff on the internet; get asked to do the presentations and communications because no-one can get the projector to work with their PC laptop; how come I get asked to redo all the docs going out of the organization because they look like crap and no-one can make a standard PDF” (the list goes on)?

It boggles the mind. Oh, but everyone else can sit there and customize their desktop and play solitaire. Whoopee.

78 John Muir { 05.10.09 at 12:30 pm }

@Counterproductive

Welcome to the illusion of choice.

If other hardware companies had their own operating systems – open source or proprietary or inbetween like Apple – there really would be choice. The huge distortion though is that they don’t. It’s an unbroken chain of Windows wherever you look, apart from a Linux fringe and of course the Mac.

Buying an HP or a Toshiba or an Acer isn’t like choosing between products in other industries. Cars are a tired analogy, so I won’t retread that old ground, but you get the idea. Besides for hardware spec, there is no difference between brands of PCs. They are Windows boxes.

Yet it somehow feels more like an open market to many people. An impression Microsoft is determined to maintain, as shown in every one of their adverts. Well, besides maybe the Seinfeld ones…

79 nat { 05.10.09 at 12:32 pm }

@GwMac,

Virtualbox and Wmware are certainly available for Windows along with several others. The beauty of my idea is that it would not cannibalize Mac sales.

No, but it could damage Mac OS X’s pristine image. How? Well, a lot of people have junky computers. Running OS X in a virtual environment in and of itself will be a hit performance, then you have to consider how well these virtual environments perform on the already slow Vista (or the old XP) running on a Walmart box.

If Apple could somehow account for all that, there’s still the major hang up of getting PC users to use Mac OS X in a virtual environment! Do the people who would be willing to go through the trouble of running OS X in a virtual environment need convincing? They’re probably already running a hackintosh. These aren’t the people Apple is trying to get. They represent a tiny minority. Apple wants the casual, somewhat affluent PC user who’s willing to pay more for quality. I think subsidizing the cost of MacBooks through the bundling of 3G WWAN antennas with service contracts from AT&T and/or Verizon, which could bring them down into the $500 range, would do a lot more for Apple’s market share.

Windows 7 is not nearly as bad as Dan would like you to believe, I know because I have used it. Apple cares far more about margins and profits than expanding the user base which is fine. I just wish they could figure out a way to do both and I do not see that happening anytime soon. Windows 7 will be good enough to keep the billions of minions firmly in Redmond’s grasp.

You seem to be under the (false) impression that Windows needs to be good in order to sell. In reality, Windows 7 will sell regardless because it will be tied to almost every PC sold outside of Macs and some netbooks running Linux (or Android).

Unfortunately for Microsoft, the PC market has been flattening out for years and now it’s retracting. Netbooks and, up until the economic downturn, Apple’s premium Macs, represent the only real growth. Microsoft will never get Apple to become a Windows licensee, so that leaves netbooks where Windows XP is hurting margins and where Windows 7 Starter Edition won’t be able to run more than three applications at a time, which looks pretty bad compared to XP and Linux/Android. Add in the possibility of subsidized MacBooks running Snow Leopard (with slick MultiTouch trackpad displays) and the significance of Microsoft’s dominance on the PC desktop deteriorates.

80 kimsnarf { 05.10.09 at 3:10 pm }

Daniel, you’re arguing that price is the only apparent advantage of a Windows computer. I’d argue that price is just a side effect of consumer choice, which is the real advantage here. Yes, choice. Before I’m accused of being a “winbot” let me explain my reasoning.

The words “Windows” and “choice” are historically not often uttered in the same sentence. Sure, Windows comes preinstalled on most PCs, but is Apple any different? Show me a Mac that does not come preinstalled with OS X. At least it’s possible to buy a PC without a prebundled OS, although still painfully rare.

The choice I’m talking about, though, is not primarily about which operating system to use, since both PCs and Macs by now can run all major operating systems (well, except OS X which is Mac exclusive). Rather the choice lies with 1) hardware configurations and 2) software features.

1) Hardware configurations.

Apple only provides a handful of Mac configurations each revision. For the user who just wants something that works, this is not an issue. However, for the more tech savvy user with a specific need, this offering is far from satisfactory. If the user can’t be shoehorned into one of the predefined categories, the user is simply out of luck. Also, the offerings are skillfully designed so that some truly desirable feature is often reserved for the most expensive product. This forces the user to pay for a lot more just to get that single feature – a feature with could easily have been added to less expensive models at an additional fee (e.g. firewire, discrete GPU, faster CPU, multitouch trackpad). In the rare cases where Apple does allow the user to tweak the configuration it’s frequently at exorbitant prices (e.g. RAM and harddrives). Consumers are not “cheapskate” for looking after their own best interests rather than Apple’s. Also, most users are not rich and therefore not interested in paying a premium to go beyond good enough. Choice of hardware and lower priced alternatives is a good thing. Having more than one hardware manufacturer to choose from (Apple) is crucial.

2) Software features.

Apple creates user-friendly and gorgeous interfaces. They’re very good at identifying the most useful features and leaving the rest out. However, again, for the more tech savvy user this frequently means losing out on some important feature just because it’s not mainstream and Apple decided it was not worthy of their time. Add to this the fact that Apple’s main applications are locked down to prevent customizability, extensions and clones. You’re supposed to be using them the Apple way. Also, good alternative applications are rare due to Apple’s dominance and iron grip. Microsoft is certainly not as good at design and usability, but they’re good enough and they typically provide more functionality to cater to a larger and more diverse user base. This is not only important to end users but also to administrators who need full control over their installed software. They know best how to implement their company’s policies, not Apple. It should therefore be their choice, not Apple’s. Microsoft gives them that choice.

Apple is historically no less of a monopolist than Microsoft. Today, I’d even argue they are worse. Remember, they control both hardware AND software. As long as Apple refuses to acknowledge that there are users and needs beyond their own limited vision of an ideal world, there will always be a huge market for alternative offerings. Apple caters only to a very specific group of users. The majority apparently does not identify with Apple’s vision of exclusive, elitist products of art that you’re not supposed to tamper with.

Microsoft is no saint but neither is Apple. They could each learn quite a bit from the other.

81 Netudo { 05.10.09 at 3:53 pm }

Stormj:
“Apple runs the risk of its own complacency on the desktop. I’ve run Snow Leopard betas, and I think it opens up a bunch of exciting frontiers in terms of harnessing hardware capability, but Mac OS X is over 10 years old at this point, and the refreshes aren’t making quantum leaps anymore.”

I think Apple will never sin again of self complacency.
Yes, OSX is almost 10 years old, and OSX Unix base is almos 30 years old now. This is not bad, on the contrary, well designed software ages like good wine. It keeps getting better and better. I think this is the case of OSX.

I think Apple got into an evolutionary death end with MacOS 9. It was a good OS, but the design of MacOS 9 didn’t allow to implement the features they needed.

Instead of writing a new OS from scratch and reinventing the wheel; Apple decided to use NeXT’s OS as a base for MacOSX. Over the years, they implemented many of the features they already had in MacOS 9.

I remember hearing that Microsoft was bragging about rewriting the IP stack from scratch in Vista or Longhorn. Why would anybody want to rewrite from zero one of the OS components that is best known and tested?

82 Netudo { 05.10.09 at 4:04 pm }

BTW. I tested the new Windows 7 RC. It feels just like Vista. Sure, it has many new features that make life easer. But to the untrained eye it looks like Vista, so the first impression is “It ‘s Vista”, and that is not good.

83 counterproductive { 05.10.09 at 7:02 pm }

@kimsnarf
I think you are buying into a lot of myths about the Mac. The same tired old stuff that the IT Drones in the article are forever trotting out.

Who are these “tech savvy” users? The ones in MS’ laptop advertisements? or, the IT Drones themselves? The only Tech Savvy PC users I know, are the ones who play games all night long and do tech support for the masses by day.

By contrast, almost every 9-yr old and 90-yr old who spends a bit of time on a Mac is suddenly, somehow, “tech savvy” to a degree that has got to be measurably above most PC users. How does that work out? How can computing experience be relatively painless to some informed users who have made a conscious choice to weigh up what they are really choosing for themselves? Where is the choice when everything is equally bad and unusable. That “illusion of choice” mentioned above rears its ugly head again right after John put it in its place.

Anyway, what are you talking about, no software choice on a Mac? Have you looked on the Mac OS X softaware page accessible right from the Apple menu on every Mac desktop? Thousands of useful titles, hardly any from Apple. Loads of new stuff every day.

And most Mac developers all write award-winning stuff (due in large part to Apple’s insistence on some continuity and consistency in UI guidelines developers should follow). I know, rules.

Have you seen Delicious Library, and things like that. Sometime, pick up the MacHeist package of shareware. They just did a package of about 1000 dollars worth for 39 dollars. Incredible programs! I am now regularly using half a dozen of them in my creative, web design, content management, standards testing, video and media creation workflow.

So, on LifeHacker you might get one Mac software recommendation against 4 or 5 PC ones. But what’s the point if in 30 minutes, your 9-yr old can put up a more favorable homemade interactive presentation and video DVD with interactive menu, against one that someone ends up paying a PC using company 500 dollars for simply because nobody could work out which of the inept 200-dollar programs to install, how to get it to play nice with their peripherals, and how to get a result that used some kind of standard media or file format and not an MS one, let alone a result that had any aesthetic quality at all or showed that the user knew what typography was or that graphics can be removed from their backgrounds, or what standards formats and industry standards are. Many still don’t know anything beyond .gif, .jpg, .doc and .avi exist. And wouldn’t be able to modernize their workflow with pdf etc. because MS intentionally makes it almost impossible.

So, your tech savvy PC user is really just someone who is hanging on for dear-life to his hard-won experience at being able to get his computer just to function and do some basic things that every granny can do on her Mac. If that is complacency from Apple, so be it. Most of us call it a dedication to excellence.

And, yes, there are good alternatives to old mainstays. Mac users even make great use of OpenSource — again, because Apple support and encourages open standards. Yet OpenSource is a hiss and a byword at MS, because MS and large PC developers who live on support contracts can’t compete. Things like Gimp will challenge even Adobe PS, which has become a little bloated in true MS fashion. Final Cut Pro of course challenges the old PC video powerhouse Avid at a fraction of the cost. Premiere is for amateurs. And just because every video card manufacturing company puts out some kind of editing software and bundles it with a camera or video card, it doesn’t mean that Mac users are looking for more choice. The first thing a Mac user does is throw the adware CD from a peripheral in the bin — because the three programs at his fingertips are 100 times better than the 10 or so a PC user might be able to come up with if he knows how to find them (read about the fiasco where Bill Gates himself couldn’t figure out how to download an MS video editing program because he had to wade through 10 pages of bureaucratic double-speak and install a bunch of utilities first, and STILL didn’t get what he needed). Then figure out how to get it to work; then try to get a half-way decent result. And then send the job out to a Mac house anyway, where they laugh all the way to the bank because they had their intern do the job on free software.

So your tech savvy user is really someone who knows how to use Torrent, or how to beat his PC into submission so that he can get some project underway after wrestling with awkward installs, driver issues, format clashes, and how to persevere through poor usability issues. Most people don’t bother, nor should they need to.

84 counterproductive { 05.10.09 at 7:37 pm }

Sorry to double-post. I wanted to add: I find I am using far more software titles than I ever have. Simply because Mac developers are writing lots of truly innovative and compelling and attractive and useful programs that fit into great workflows. (eg. good shareware and OpenSource tools mentioned last post). I don’t have to worry too much about learning curves and being overwhelmed at having too many tools, simply because most are so intuitive and clever. Must be great guidelines and SDKs and tools from Apple. I wouldn’t know — I’m not a programmer. But I am impressed. And yet there is a lot of uniqueness and differing approaches among the available software.

So, choice is an illusion, if the PC user is saying, “well, there ARE 100 programs I could use, I just have trouble finding one I like that I can use easily.” And a Mac user saying, “well, there are 40 available; 35 are pretty decent (I know because I checked them out when I had a few minutes last week); I might actually use 15 of them because these five would be great in these types of situations, these five work well in this workflow, and these five would be great for these other kinds of projects I often do; and I don’t mind the minimal learning curve of all 15 because, afterall, I like to remain ahead of the curve and like to be on top of what (that matters) is out there.

85 Neil Anderson { 05.11.09 at 1:07 am }

Congrats, Daniel. Another great article. I bow to your knowledge and insight.

86 kimsnarf { 05.11.09 at 2:11 am }

@counterproductive

I’m not buying into anything. Am I not entitled to my own opinion just because I’m a PC user? Does that mean I can’t think for myself? That’s the worst kind of propaganda coming from the Apple camp. Don’t go there.

1) You did not address my main concern with the Mac; lack of choice in hardware.

2) Like I just mentioned, you’re assuming that PC users are “drones”. You’re buying into prejudice and hatred. Do you realize how many people actually use PCs in the world? Are you willing to stand up and declare all of them incompetent sheep? Many PC users (and Windows users) are quite able to put their computers to good use and actually work with their platform by choice, not by default. I know many people who enjoy developing on Microsoft tools and love the SDKs and documentation. Same with Linux. I know many power users, including myself, who has no problems finding plenty of useful applications (including open source) for all their needs in Windows. Again, same with Linux. I also know many non-technical PC users who have tried OS X, didn’t like it, and prefer to stay with Windows. I’ve tried to advocate OS X to them as an easier alternative but they found it weird, unpersonal and unintuitive, and I can’t blame them. Granted, my experiences can’t be applied to the world at large, but these people’s choices are not illusions. It’s a huge lie that PC users are clueless and it just fuels their resentment for the Mac platform.

Your last sentence in post #70: “Most people don’t bother…”. So, in your world, most people use Macs? Judged by the statistics (regardless of interpretation) I guess your world is not the real world. ;)

87 Per { 05.11.09 at 3:01 am }

Hey Windows Enthusiasts, I hear you finally get to choose between wireless networks directly in the taskbar. Enjoy!

88 counterproductive { 05.11.09 at 4:32 am }

@kimsnarf
I am not buying into hatred and prejudice. Most of my clients are PC users and I help a lot of non-profits with special projects, mostly pro-bono. I can usually do something for them quicker and cheaper and with less hassle.

This is an online commenting forum, and I find the medium, ideal for hyperbole, embellishment, tongue-in-cheek debate, and downright venting (and it is obvious by most posts that most of us do). If you can’t take the heat…

Of course, speaking with a neighbour, friend, colleague, relative or client is a completely different thing.

“Most people don’t bother…”. Most people don’t/ can’t go through the hoops on the MS side to find the best tools to do the best job without undo hassle. On a Mac, you don’t have to go through nearly so much — as I said, a nine year-old in nine weeks will be as “tech-savvy” as a 49 nine-year old who has spent nine years gaining hard-won knowledge on a specific product with the attendant learning curve of each new version, each new peripheral and Windows OS, and all the hassle of keeping their computer functioning. I am in the real world, because Mac users have to use Windows from time to time. They have to help out colleagues, commiserate with them and say it doesn’t have to be this painful. We are there when friends and relatives and colleagues have to pick up the pieces and re-install their OS or reformat their harddrive or redo a project so that it can go out to a real-world printer with real-world typesetting and image and font preparation.

If “tech-savvy” has any real-world measure in which people can:
perform a variety of tasks beyond the specific one they are hired for; find answers and “produce results” simply, cheaply and professionally; feel confident in what they are doing and how it works below the surface; apply their knowledge and experience to another application or process because of consistency and intuitiveness; have a say in the management of their own system, strategy, workflow; evaluate what works and what doesn’t (and know what are real international standards and what are MS-imposed); think about work-flow concepts on the desktop that span an entire process on one machine; and becoming more an more efficient and productive in every area (not just faster at typing and macros) etc. etc…

If there is anything to this (and it really isn’t a myth to say so), and if the phrase “tech savyy”: then yes, unfortunately the vast majority of PC users (because the vast majority of computer users use MS) are, not as tech savvy as they could be in a fraction of the time with a fraction of the effort.

It’s not so much that all are sheep as that MS is guilty of ruthless monopoly, subterfuge, shilling, unethical conduct, holding back technology, etc. the list goes on. That is what Mac users get really upset about.

Are you really willing to stand up and declare that this apparent choice — more software (such as it is), more hardware manufacturers (all PC boxes with not an ounce of difference between them as they race to the bottom of cost before quality), colours and effects on the desktop, etc. — really amount to REAL choice? And that quality, ease-of-use, value-for-money, TCO, lack of viruses, barely any support required, does far more out of the box, etc. means nothing? When the people who scream this the loudest have never tried a Mac but are extremely prejudiced for MS (a very unworthy company) to some incredible degree, and guilty of perpetuating myths about Macs without the merest trial? I don’t think you really mean that.

I don’t doubt you are “productive”, I don’t doubt you can “get things done”; I don’t even doubt that there are millions of PC users being paid to do “something worthwhile” and even “necessary”. What we know is that it shouldn’t take the pain and hassle and expense that it does for less than the best results and a bunch of viruses and malware. What we know is that people are more productive and more happy when they have more satisfaction with their tools. You can say all day long how satisfied you are with your tools and with the vast array of “choices” available to you.

What it comes down to is no choice; it comes down to complete dependence on the crap that MS calls a real OS with WOW. And the sooner that people figure out there are alternatives outside the iron-curtain hegemony of MS, the better for them and their industries.

89 duckie { 05.11.09 at 5:29 am }

@kimsnarf

“Apple is historically no less of a monopolist than Microsoft”

SIGH – this total misconception of the meaning of the term ‘monopoly’ does you no credit sir. A monopoly can only be held in a market for a type of product or service where others may have been attempting to provide the same product or service. Apple can no more have a monopoly in Apple computers (which is what you are suggesting) than Heinz could have a monopoly in Heinz Tomato Ketchup. They could have one in tomato ketchup, but not THEIR OWN BRAND of it. Otherwise everybody who ever manufactures anything would be a monopolist. Think about it. Microsoft on the other hand does have a monopoly (as in a disproportionate market share) of the type of product or service known as a desktop computer operating system.

In any case the issue with monopolies is not the holding of the postion, it is the abuse of that position in terms of unfair business practices and I shall not bore the assembled here with a list of Microsoft’s record in that department. And I suspect that you too, kimsnarf, are all too familiar with their crimes since you thought to mention the monopoly issue in the first place.

By the way, I’m a PC user. But for some reason don’t feel the need to big up Microsoft, a company of extremely lax morals, just because I happen to use their product.

90 mailjohannes { 05.11.09 at 5:52 am }

“The big problem is that Microsoft can’t speed up Windows 7 appreciably because it is Vista, and the reason Vista is so slow is not just because Microsoft didn’t have the time to worry about optimizing code in its 6 years of gestation …”

I don’t think this is true. The claim is that Vista is slow due to its rendering engine. A speedy CPU and discrete GPU is needed to be able to use its glossy GUI layer.
But, Leopard runs fine on my 1.5GHz Mac with embedded GPU.
So, clearly it is possible to run a glossy GUI on a nowadays really slow computer.
I think that Microsoft didn’t implement the GPU offloading of its desktop rightly with Vista. It took Apple 7 or 8 years to implement it correctly for Mac OS X. So it is no surprise to me that Microsoft didn’t pull this off in only one attempt.
But this does leave a lot of room for improvements for Vista followups. It could even mean that Microsoft is successful in porting Vista+ to netbook pc’s and even phone sized computers with all its visual gloss.
I know for sure Apple can do this, so it all depends on how fast Microsoft’s programmers acquire the techniques and experience Apple has now (and is rapidly acquiring with its iPhone platform).

Another important difference for Windows 7 is that it will be released a few years later that Vista. This means that even if Windows 7 is as slow as Vista (which would really be a failure of Microsoft, as I have pointed out above), it will run on a lot more PC hardware, simply because the hardware is updated in the meantime.

Remember Windows Millennium Edition? A complete failure for Microsoft, but the next version worked out fine.
Microsoft has this experience already, so Vista, Windows 7 could be the same.

91 lowededwookie { 05.11.09 at 7:21 am }

While I agree with your article I do feel that thinking the whole deal being only between mac and pc is a very narrow minded perspective. What you assign to Next had already been done by the Amiga in the mid-eighties to early-nineties namely graphics being performed by the GPU instead of the CPU. In many respects Apple is playing catchup to the 80′s.

As for Windows 7 it’s alright but still miles behind XP let alone MacOS X.

92 adamk359 { 05.11.09 at 7:59 am }

I have read this article and I must say it is quite good…perhaps one of the best I’ve read in my short time on this site.

I will say this much, that Windows XP is not bad. It’s got many problems, but it works fairly well…and that’s why a lot of people have held onto it with a deathgrip.

Is XP bloatware? Yes. Is Vista bloatware? Immeasurably so. Is Windows 7? Just as much…which if it’s immeasurably so…then can’t be measured. I have installed the Windows 7 beta on two laptops…the very MacBook I am writing this on and an ancient (2002) HP Pavilion 5270ze. I installed 7 on my MacBook cause I was curious about the OS. I installed it on my HP to see if it even had a shot. Neither one has it anymore (though I might give the RC a try on my Mac to see if things have improved and MS listened to anyone testing the beta). The reasons? Mac: Not impressed at all. Though it was through virtualization as a Vista install under VirtualBox, but XP could boot up even faster than my Mac does (yeah I was shocked too) and I could be in and out in a split second if I only needed it for something quick. Win 7 took nearly twice as long to boot under virtualization than my Mac takes to boot into the desktop. This to me says that while Win 7 might boot faster than XP on actual hardware (rather than super-generic virtualized hardware), Win 7 is still loading a ton of crap. Bloat. HP: Win7 is supposed to slim the bloated code of Vista…it’s been touted to work on just about anything that runs XP…this is sadly not true. My HP has everything that a Netbook has…except that it has a 2.4GHz Pentium 4. Which, while old should still run circles around the fasted netbooks. If Win7 can’t do that on 512MB of RAM (even really old and slow RAM) and a 2.4GHz processor…what chance does it have on Netbooks? These computers are not computing powerhouses…they are not graphics powerhouses either…and neither is my old HP. This very HP runs XP as fast and as smoothly as my MacBook runs Leopard. This is why a lot of people stick with XP. It’s faster and less bloated.

I have been a Windows user since the mid 90s, but was a Mac user since the mid-to-late 80s. I was sad to stop using Macs, but my dad was the one to get us started in Windows. It was cheaper and allowed us more cheaper options (like building your own box)…but was by no means better. Win95 was Mac OS7 without the bombs. It still froze and required even more reboots than Mac OS7 ever did…but eventually Win98 solved a lot of that stuff (and yes I used WinME as well and that was like going right back to Win95…how was that supposed to be better than 98?). I used 2000 for a short period of time, but that was about the time I started college and I could get XP and a bunch of Adobe software with good student discounts. I was well aware that going into my field of graphic design, I should be using a Mac (I’ll get to that later)…but it wasn’t the affordable option…even with student discounts. I already had a decent machine that would run Windows and XP wasn’t too bad with the discount. I even got most of my work done just fine in XP. I hazard to say that I get along ok with XP. Do I use XP anymore? Rarely. In fact I don’t even have it on VirtualBox anymore…simply because if I really need it that badly on my Mac, I can install it in 20 minutes and be using it seconds after.

While at school, I realized very quickly, that a lot of my fellow classmates were getting Macs and touting that they were better…along with the “fact” that you couldn’t be a creative professional unless you had a Mac. Like I said, I got most of my work done on XP just fine. The actual reasons these people bought Macs was because they jumped on a bandwagon…a bandwagon of superficiality. They knew none of the actual reasons of why the Mac OS was better than Windows…other than it “just worked” and “looked cool”.

Here is one problem that I see with a lot of people switching: They don’t like the attitude and they don’t want to adopt it. We shouldn’t go around acting like Macs are better without fully knowing why. Many of us do know why…but many more do not.

I’ll start by using the Zune vs. iPod argument. A lot of people buy Zunes (or other similar products) because they don’t want to associate themselves with Apple products. I have a friend who is a diehard Apple-hater. She bought an iPod years ago and something went wrong with it and Apple put her through the rinse-cycle before they finally agreed to replace it (now Apple seems to be willing to replace stuff even outside of Applecare protection…but it all depends on what happened). She won’t go near Apple. Not even with a 100ft stick. Apple has changed a lot though (like I said, this was years ago). She doesn’t care. The damage is done.

However, my girlfriend has a Zune…an original 30GB limited edition Pink Zune. It’s a nice device…actually…but synching anything to it is a pain in the ass. She has officially stopped using it since she doesn’t like the Zune software and the Zune Marketplace. She now has a 1GB iPod Shuffle…a giant leap backwards? In terms of hardware and storage? Yes. No question. In terms of ease of use and simplicity? Absolutely not. It serves her purposes well and she doesn’t have to carry around a massive pink rectangle that she can’t imagine loading with enough songs to max it out. She clips a tiny pink rectangle onto her shirt or jeans and away she goes. She loves music but she’ll never have enough to fill that Zune with. Plus iTunes (at least on the Mac) is insanely easy to use (bloated? yeah…a bit unorganized…sure…but easy to use and more importantly easy to synch). She loves her shuffle and she doesn’t care why it’s better. It just is.

I, on the other hand have never really had an MP3 player. So when I finally went out and got my 8GB 2G iPod Touch…I bought a device that (aside from not having a radio tuner) is lightyears ahead of that old 30GB monster Zune. I can keep track of my life with the calendar, I can synch documents/files through WebDAV and use it as a simple document viewer/storage solution. I can put my portfolio on it when my MacBook is not handy through the photo viewer. I can run all sorts of really well made and interesting apps (and some not so nicely made interesting apps) on it and even view the web as anyone with a computer can (besides anything with Flash). I can even type emails on this thing almost as fast as I can type an email on my Mac. Oh yeah…and it plays music. Anyone that says that 8GB is not enough…then get the 16 or 32. Plus you can get a refurbished 16GB model for nearly the price of a brand new 8GB (which I am kicking myself now for not looking into, but I’m still thrilled with my purchase. I don’t have an extensive music library and most apps don’t ding the harddrive that badly…most are mere kilobytes. I love my iPod and I definitely know why its better.

For what I do with it…it’s a far better deal than buying a Zune with more storage space…which as far as I understand…only plays music.

Zune is failing cause MS doesn’t know how to combat iPod Touch sales (as well as other iPod models) that are still climbing. It’s apples to oranges…an iPod that plays music and does everything else vs. a dedicated MP3 player. How can MS compete?

Vista is already a failure cause it was brought to market too late and its release was rushed (considering it was already way too late to the game). Windows 7 is as most people say, “what Vista should have been”…but it’s still Vista. It’s still bloated. It’s still slower than XP.

To compare Vista/7 with the Zune is not very accurate. The two are failing on different levels. Zune = not innovative enough to matter. Vista/7 = Too slow and too bloated (even with code slimming) to keep Windows competitive with OS X…besides gaming. Windows 7 is touted as being the next greatest thing by the Windows elite and the OS that will stop the switchers…but sadly it’s a bunch of hackneyed, half-ass solutions being marketed as new technologies. OSX on the other hand really is using new technologies and Apple is taking their time developing them rather than rushing them to the stage. This is why MS is failing with Windows. They can’t keep up. They’re failing with the Zune cause they don’t know how to innovate. In theory, they could just make Windows Mobile OS to run on it…but Windows Mobile sucks. So there ya go.

Sorry if none of this makes sense…I’ve been up since 4am…so my post may end up being a hackneyed, half-assed post a la Windows 7.

93 Netudo { 05.11.09 at 9:02 am }

@adamk359
“Zune is failing cause MS doesn’t know how to combat iPod Touch sales (as well as other iPod models) that are still climbing. It’s apples to oranges…an iPod that plays music and does everything else vs. a dedicated MP3 player. How can MS compete?”

I disagree, Zune failed way before iPod Touch. It tried to compete against the iPod Classic (before it was Classic) I remember that the arguments used against the iPod were the social WiFi and the integrated FM receiver.

I live in México and the Zune sold so poorly here, that I only got to see two Zunes (in use) in my whole life. In contrast iPods of all kinds and iPhones are very common.

94 daGUY { 05.11.09 at 11:15 am }

@John Muir: “Anyone get the feeling that Windows 7 is 10.1 to Vista’s 10.0?”

I think that’s a great analogy. For all the bad press that Vista gets (some of it justified, some of it not), let’s not forget that OS X 10.0 received a ton of bad press as well. Just like Vista, OS X broke compatibility with existing software, and it was SLOW. I remember reading articles where people advised against upgrading because it would make your current computer much more sluggish (hm, sound familiar?).

The reason why 10.0 didn’t permanently tarnish OS X’s reputation, however, is that Apple followed it up very quickly with 10.1, which fixed all the major problems AND was free. And ever since, Apple has been updating/refining/enhancing OS X at a rapid pace – so quickly that developers actually asked them to slow down because they couldn’t keep up with the changes!

Windows 7 is just like 10.1 – it fixes all of Vista’s major issues and (from what I hear) speeds things up. However, it’s coming out around 3 years after Vista (rather than what, 9 months or something between 10.0 and 10.1?) and it definitely won’t be free either. So, it’ll be interesting to see how people respond to it.

95 hmciv { 05.11.09 at 11:31 am }

22% of Americans are inbred? Howwy Cwap!

96 adamk359 { 05.11.09 at 12:21 pm }

@Netudo

Of course it failed against the “classic” iPod, but they keep making Zunes anyway being the gluttons for punishment that they are. So long as they sit by and add nothing of any real interest or innovation, then they will continue to fail against the iPod touch which is seriously smearing Zune sales all over the place. Like I said, they can’t combat the rising numbers of people who are buying iPods…especially touches. So, what you say is correct…they failed against the classic iPod years ago, but now it’s the iPod touch that’s hammering in the final nail of it’s coffin.

97 adamk359 { 05.11.09 at 12:25 pm }

One last thing…I typed this and the last post on my iPod touch…try doing that on a Zune. Also I gotta say the mobile version of this site is pretty slick, but there was a lot of downward “flicking” just to get to the bottom to post. ; )

98 John E { 05.11.09 at 12:36 pm }

well, bashing and snarking MS and Windows is a lot of fun. but fact remains that Win 7 will be a noticeably improved version of Vista, and thus will be greeted with a lot of positive public response, even if it just removes a lot of Vista’s UI annoyances.

so what is really important this year is what Apple offers new in Snow Leopard, not what MS does. how really significant are SN’s new technologies for users? does it add noticeable speed to everyday use? does full Exchange support mean no one needs to buy MS Office anymore? will its MobileMe extension offer more practical “cloud” and remote functions? does it enable expanded integration with the iPhone (and the upcoming tablet)? is security improved?

in recent years, despite the denial of Win users, Tiger was clearly more advanced than XP, and then Leopard was clearly more advanced than Vista. Apple needs to keep setting the standard, always pushing ahead while MS always plays catch-up.

99 Netudo { 05.11.09 at 12:44 pm }

@adamk359

I thought they stopped making the Zune.
I once saw a de-motivational poster with the legend: “Quitters never win, winners never quit, and those who never win and never quit, are idiots”.

100 SaneInSF { 05.11.09 at 12:45 pm }

It’s too bad that you tend to leaven your informative articles with crass and derisive comments that detract from it. “[Live] in sweats and drink most of their calories two liters at a time?”

Inbred Americans?

It’s too bad your arrogance continues to give us San Franciscans a bad name. I’m also laughing at you being such a Obama-apologist. He’s as about as articulate as a rock without a teleprompter. 57 states? Cinco de Cuatro? WTF?

[While I can't recommend reading the Chron, I'd suggest you stop reading the Examiner. Also, anyone who calls themselves "sane in SF" has no room to talk about arrogance. Fox news might be compiling a list of things Obama has said for you to get riled up about (the latest: his using Grey Poupon mustard, made by Kraft but it has a French sounding name!!!) but he's not the figurehead moron that Bush was. Please - Dan ]

101 kimsnarf { 05.11.09 at 2:06 pm }

@counterproductive

I’m not particularly sensitive to heat. :) That’s why I keep coming back to this blog. Daniel (and the commenters) have some very interesting perspectives. Sometimes they tend to be extremely black and white, though. Like when he’s accusing PC users in general of being “cheapskate” because they don’t want to or can’t shell out for a Mac. Or when he’s referring to IT administrators as “drones” because they need to balance company policies with user needs – all on a tight budget. I’m trying to give the accused a voice here.

I’m not arguing against the Mac platform as being easy to learn, highly productive, creative and joyful to use. There are loads of credible user testimonials in support of this view. I’ve also studied many of the internals of OS X and I’m impressed. From reading this blog, though, one gets the impression that everything is perfect in Appleland. Clearly that is not the case. There are some very good reasons why everyone is not jumping on the bandwagon. These reasons need to be pointed out and addressed. (Hint: it’s not because people are stupid – these issues lie with Apple).

The seemingly minor differences in PC hardware you’re talking about are not just superficial. They’re important to cater to all the various needs and requirements of users. This huge selection means I’m able to find just the combination of features I want for a price I find sensible. I can pick and tweak until I’m satisfied. With Apple I have to limit myself to a couple of predefined user categories – for a price that always pushes well out of the comfortable range. The nicest software in the world is no good when people don’t have the hardware to run it.

Apple need to produce more distinct models (or give others a chance) and they need to allow consumers to tweak the configurations without forcing them to buy a more expensive model. They know this but they’re holding back. Their purposed idealism goes only as far as their ability to maximize their profits. They want high margins (exclusivity), not high volumes (far reach). But they still use the same sweatshops as everyone else to produce and build their components. Their higher margins are reserved only for themselves. Apple is no saint. Why should they deserve a premium?

@duckie

I did not use the term “monopoly”. I used the term “monopolist”. If you look that up in a dictionary, “sir”, you’ll see that it has multiple meanings. I’m referring to the one of having a monopolistic mindset. Apple has shown some clear tendencies in this direction throughout history and they still do. The goal of the board of directors of Apple isn’t likely to be very different from the one of Microsoft. Given the chance, Apple would (and surely still can) easily become a monopoly. With their perpetually low marketshare, though, they’ve been able to get away with a lot that would have crucified Microsoft. I’m not defending either company though. I think their main difference lies with their positions in the market, not their reasoning. They’re both comprised of ordinary people.

Notice that I said I’m a “PC user”, not a “PC enthusiast”. I haven’t been enthusiastic about a platform since the Amiga. These days I regard myself as an independent. :)

102 John Muir { 05.11.09 at 2:32 pm }

@kimsnarf

The trouble is: Apple and Microsoft are *indirect* rivals.

Apple is not in business to cater to every conceivable need of every IT shop, or even every consumer. Choosing to do so would mean such huge change at Cupertino that Apple wouldn’t be Apple any more.

I know why some PC users dislike Mac OS X: it’s because they have to buy a Mac. They look at the six model line Apple sells and feel completely out io their element. They are used to being able to express themselves in Byzantine hardware configuration, while always settling for Windows in the end. On the Mac platform there’s an entirely opposite focus.

One of the great traditions among highly technical (and prickly!) Mac users is to read John Siracusa’s epic and maniacally detailed reviews of every OS X release, over at Ars Technica. I enjoy those as much as exploring it for myself. He wrote up an interesting piece on the role of criticism in Apple and the industry last week. Such matters as the “Tabs on Top” Safari 4 beta really do receive intense debate on the Mac side. I dare say far much more so, and in subtler detail, than the huge wrenching changes to the Windows UI in recent years.

I think that many of us – and I certainly count myself – are more *software* geeks on the Mac side. While more are purely into hardware who use the PC.

Apple’s hardware is nice stuff. But Apple is a uniquely focussed company. There will never be a Mac for every use scanario and every specialist. Just as there will never a matching level of synergy between generic hardware and a universally intended OS. “It just works” is one of the hardest things to pull off in the industry.

Interesting that you mentioned the Amiga. That platform really was a direct rival to Apple. It will take hardware makers developing their own Linux distros and the like to reignite the kind if competition every other industry knows besides for home computers.

103 shadowmonk { 05.11.09 at 4:48 pm }

Ah, now I remember why I stopped reading this blog.

I’d enjoyed reading it for years now and was fine when political articles started to appear on the site. Unfortunately, shortly after the political articles appeared, most of the tech articles started spewing derogatory remarks towards those of us who both love Apple products and *gasp* are conservative.

I don’t know why I decided to visit by the site again today. I suppose I was curious as to what DED had to say about Win7. I was unpleasantly reminded three paragraphs in. There is nothing more tolerant than calling Republicans inbred Americans. I suppose I should be satisfied that we are at least still called Americans and that there was no mention of racism.

It’s great to see that intolerance by the intolerant liberals is alive and well. I know that it’s DED’s site and he can say whatever he wants. It’s just sad that he’s limiting his audience to just those who are liberal and Apple fans. I know that that I will no longer recommend this site to my friends who have questions about Apple. (Believe it or not, I have still been recommending the site, just mentioning to others to skim over the intolerant and belligerent political views. I am no longer going to recommend this site at all.)

[If you are confusing "Republicans" with "people who think Iraq had something to do with 9/11," then I'm glad you are offended and I laugh in your general direction.

Also, I don't think you grasp what "tolerance" is. It's not agreeing with people you don't agree, it's respecting somebody else's right to legally live as they choose to. When you begin kidnapping American citizens and torturing them and hold them for years without charges, or try to force fanatical religious views into law to oppress people who don't subscribe to your world view, there's no room for "tolerance" of these behaviors, because there's nothing legal about them. - Dan ]

104 SteveS { 05.11.09 at 5:03 pm }

Daniel, sometimes your posts are good, sometimes you lay it on so thick that you just end up coming off as a fanboy. This article is heavy on opinion, but short on facts. As a Mac fan, I want to like this article, but can’t.

For starters, why bring politics into this discussion? It servers no real purpose for the sake of comparisons and only serves to demonstrate your zealotry.

Why pretend UNIX compatibility was ever a design goal for Windows NT. It wasn’t, so it shouldn’t be judged unfairly for not being UNIX compatible.

Why pretend NeXT was UNIX compatible? NeXT like BSD, etc. are Unix like operating systems. They share many conventions and are possibly compatible at the shell level. However, having done low level interprocess communications in both systems, I can tell you that under the hood they are VERY different beasts and most certainly not compatible. It wasn’t until Leopard that OS X actually achieved UNIX compatibility and that’s basically through writing wrapper APIs that map to entirely different architectures.

Yes, Vista was a “turd” so to speak, but that’s not entirely unusual when changing vast amounts of your operating system. Do you have such a short memory regarding OS X 10.0, 10.1, etc.? These releases were painfully slow for OS 9 users. However, they offered the promise of a new foundation for future releases. Vista is no different. have you used Windows 7 yet? I’m guessing that you haven’t. It sounds more like your Windows 7 experience is limited to PC World articles. Try it, you’ll find that it’s pretty decent and it removes much of the negative stigma associated with Vista. More devices are compatible, etc. as well. I’m not suggesting it’s better than Leopard. It’s not. But it’s not as bad as you make it sound.

Also, why pretend you have a clue as to why major corporations have been avoiding Vista? From what you’ve written, you don’t. I’m an IT Manager for a large corporation and the reason we haven’t yet moved to Vista is simple. There is no need to and there are costs associated with a change of this nature. There are incompatibilities with third party and custom built applications. There are costs associated with upgrading these products and project costs associated with the testing, etc. However, Microsoft is currently only planning on making XP available through 2010. By 2011, new machines will have to be imaged with either Vista or Windows 7. Unless Microsoft moves the date out, companies will migrate at that time. The costs associated with moving to Linux or Mac OS X would be considerably more expensive. Companies are about keeping things running, not about using the latest and greatest.

Anyway, that’s just a sample. Sorry to call you out on some of this stuff, but your posts are heavy on unsubstantiated opinion and light on facts. Still, I usually find your perspective interesting when I’m looking for a completely Mac fanboy view of the world.

105 anonymous500r { 05.11.09 at 5:28 pm }

Oh, well. NT’s probably reached a dead end. Singularity anyone?

106 Thomas { 05.11.09 at 6:07 pm }

I’m at a publishing company (~600 employees, about 120 Macs) that still considers it a “termination offense” for someone to run Vista on their network. They’re scared shitless of it. As a sysadmin who tests publishing technologies, they’re OK with me having Leopard and Snow Leopard beta builds on the network, but they still only support Tiger, to date. IT dreads the day they finally have to give up XP. We can’t be unique in this regard.

107 John Muir { 05.11.09 at 6:53 pm }

Remember folks: it’s Daniel’s blog. Someone has to point this out again every time politics comes up.

Here’s a little something for the Obama haters courtesy of one of the sadly rare Europeans who didn’t unleash the hate on all America during the Bush years. Outside the US, Obama is bigger than Jesus. Throw in Allah and, heaven forbid, The Beatles too. Even the dyed in the wool anti- Americans have trouble disrespecting him. Unlike Bush and even Clinton, Bush I, or any president going back to Kennedy: he comes across as the real deal. A mind up to the task of leading the world, whether the rest of it likes it or not.

When Bush’s face appeared on TV beyond America and he’d start to speak, people really did just start laughing. (Not me, because I’m a politics junkie who loves thus stuff, but every friend and anyone else I ever noticed.) The guy was a true embarassment for his nation. Even replacing him with McCain would have been a great boost, but going as far as comparing him with Obama is like weighing up Herbert Hoover versus FDR. Ouch!

Oh and Daniel: could we iPhone users get a quick way to skip to the end of the page? Popular articles like this one stretch the swipe to its limit!

108 Netudo { 05.11.09 at 7:28 pm }

@SteveS

Large corporations are afraid of anything that is not “standard”. Nobody wants to take a decision that is against common knowledge.

Nobody gets nailed if he/she recommends Windows, Cisco or Oracle and it fails. Directors have heard about them, and will feel confortable backing up such decisions.

The trick in large corporations is to leave before things blowup. But if you recommend some thing like linux, unix, open source, macs, the next guy will blame on you if things go wrong.

109 Windows 7 is another Zune « Day and Age { 05.11.09 at 10:57 pm }

[...] article by Daniel Eran Dilger on how Windows 7 will likely end up in the same boat as the Zune and Windows [...]

110 enzos { 05.11.09 at 11:49 pm }

JohnM.. you connect it up to a keyboard and hit the END key. Too close to lunch to talk about politics… except to admit that Shrub’s loony toon “axis of evil speech” had me in stitches! And, as much as a want to like him, Obama comes across as a bit of a flimflam man.

111 John E { 05.12.09 at 3:32 am }

yup, it’s DED’s blog, and if he wants to rant and throw political stuff into his pieces, he has every right. i read it because it is still interesting and informative. i just tune out the extraneous political stuff. and the commenters have every right to tell him they think it is a mistake. any editor would chop it instantly.

but … one political point which DED has not made but which would be germane is that MS has been openly pro-Republican. their political contributions and lobbying are strongly weighted in that direction. make of that what you will. Apple, as usual, is more inscrutable and appears less politically involved (or maybe they just hide it better). being in California, the Valley has a general Democratic tilt, due in part to the fact that the GOP here is totally hard line right wing (or as Dan might say, batshit crazy).

that would be a good topic for a RDM piece.

112 SunnyGuy53 { 05.12.09 at 5:38 am }

@deardevoper
“‘…I’m biased toward presidential candidates who can speak articulately and intelligently.’ – Daniel Eran Dilger”

“Either you meant Ron Paul or maybe the Teleprompter, because unless you’ve been under a rock, it’s pretty well known that our current president is about as inarticulate on his own as our last one was. Not being a hater, just stating the facts.”

Perhaps the Current Occupant can only read Teleprompters
accurately and intelligently, as you say, but even so, that still
constitutes a major improvement over the last President.

Of course, it also helps that what the the Teleprompter has to say,
is accurate and intelligent now, as opposed to then. Wonder why
that is? … Those darns lib-ruls. Always trying to confuse matters
with logic.

Not being a hater — just stating the facts, also.

Another instant classic, for Daniel. Good job.

Sunny Guy

113 This Blog Now Returns to Normal (Such as it is); Out of My Mind for 12 May 2009 « Out Of My Mind { 05.12.09 at 5:54 am }

[...] Will Win7 be another Vista bomb after all? [...]

114 TenThousandThings { 05.12.09 at 8:23 am }

@shadowmonk
@SaneInSF

You are missing the point. People are very angry at what has been done to this country and its international standing in the name of the Republican party and so-called “conservatives” in general. Your movement is intellectually bankrupt — as a result, you come to progressives and liberals for a bailout, asking us to take you seriously now, after years of denigrating and making fun of everything about us, about what we believe is righteous and true.

Are you filled with outrage at Wanda Sykes today? Where were you when Limbaugh referred to Obama as “Osama” hundreds of times last year? Isn’t that a 9/11 reference of the worst sort? So it’s off limits now that we’re in power, but last year during the election it was fine? Hypocrites!

If you want currency from us, you’ll have to first admit that you’ve utterly failed to do what you say, to live up to your own ideals. Then we can talk about true libertarians and conservatives and their virtues. Until then, STFU.

115 SaneInSF { 05.12.09 at 10:45 am }

Hypocrites? What do they say about glass houses?

It goes both ways. You guys had no compunction with calling people derisive names (Chimp? Shrub?) and now any minute criticism of Obama, you guys go ballistic? How dare we?

If Bush made the same gaffs that Obama is doing today, you guys would be all over it as an example of his “lack of intelligence.”

I’m laughing at you guys. Such thin skins.

116 mailjohannes { 05.12.09 at 11:06 am }

@TenThousandThings, @SaneInSF and the rest of the political postings.

A long way from the US , in a place called Europe we couldn’t care less what president the US has. As long as he/she understands that the US doesn’t lead the world, can’t lead the world and that no one outside the US wants the US to lead the world.

The score so far: 0

117 lyndell { 05.12.09 at 12:12 pm }

Win7 free for a year sets the expectations low. After the year, how many will buy it instead of expecting Win8 for free?

118 TheMacAdvocate » God Bless Daniel Eran Dilger { 05.12.09 at 12:33 pm }

[...] Why Windows 7 is the Next Zune Categories: Uncategorized Tags: Microsoft, Windows 7 Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback [...]

119 TenThousandThings { 05.12.09 at 2:00 pm }

@Sane
> It goes both ways

I accept that. But your original post did not. You were all — well, “thin skin” sums it up. GBCW and all that. Now you come back and pretend like you weren’t acting like that. You’re the joke. Face up to your leadership’s galactic failures and then we’ll talk. Meanwhile, we’re busy cleaning up your mess.

The point was they’re all over Sykes for using 9/11 in a joke, when the butt of the joke and all of the so-called “news” sources you use to tint your world invoked it again and again in little and not-so-little jokes about Obama just a few months ago.

@mailjohannes

Daniel includes politics in his posts. Nobody mentioned Europe. Get over yourself.

120 kimsnarf { 05.12.09 at 2:13 pm }

@John Muir

Apple doesn’t need to cater to every possible user, but today they cater to far too few. The current lineup is sorely lacking for the PC users. They need at least a couple of more models to cover a broad enough user base.

For instance, they need something in between the two extremes of the Mac mini and the Mac Pro. Something without a built-in display. PC users already have good displays, thank you, and prefer to upgrade them separately. It’s just silly that Apple does not have a model for the biggest segment of the desktop market. Likewise, for the laptop segment they need a 13″ MacBook Pro. Something with a comparable quality display and firewire, upgraded along with the 15″ and the 17″ models. They also need an ultraportable that can be used for real, extended work. Something in between the MacBook and the MacBook Air. These three new models are the very least they need to provide to be able to cover the most common PC configurations. They also happen to be the ones I’m interested in personally. :)

They also need to lower their prices (and margins) on the two entry models; the MacBook and the Mac mini. Yes, that will hurt them financially in the short term, but they will also be recruiting a huge wave of new Apple enthusiasts. The rest of their lineup will still attract the more discerning users.

Further, within each model they need to let the user be able to pick each component themselves without restricting better components to more expensive models. This means at least CPU, RAM and harddrive. Possibly also GPU, keyboard, trackpad, screen and coating where applicable. If there is no technical or practical reason why a given component can’t be used in all models, then there should not be any artifical restrictions either. Give consumers choice, and don’t overcharge them for every single component!

If Apple permitted these changes they would be extending a truly helpful hand to the consumer PC user base. They would also still be Apple. No one would mistake them for a generic PC hardware maker.

I’m not proposing this as a complete solution, nor as the only solution, but it would be a big and necessary step in the right direction to spread the usage of Apple software, which is their main contribution to the world.

121 John Muir { 05.12.09 at 2:31 pm }

@kimsnarf

Reasonable comments. The “headless midrange Mac” concept has been around for more years than I’ve been on the platform and tends to be simply called the “xMac”. I used to be more vociferous in supporting it some years ago until the Intel Mac mini’s came out and I found I could stack together my own kit with one quite nicely, though obviously GPU wasn’t a sticking point for me. As for the ultra-portable: I’m posting from my 12″ PowerBook, now six years old and on the current OS. Mind, I stick onto it through money as much as fondness!

Even Daniel writes about ideas for new Mac models from time to time. The topic seems to be a favourite among the community, and the natural result of Apple’s supreme focus yielding a positively gaunt line-up ever since Steve returned.

However many new machines Apple were to turn out, though, the market as a whole needs countless more. This is one of the reasons why I don’t think Apple will achieve a majority share, or even desire to. It’s also why I’d truly like to see other OEMs take up the challenge and work on their own OS, so that there’s a wealth more choice for all of us, whatever our individual needs.

In a way, it’s chance that Apple even survived the Windows onslaught of the 1990′s to even exist as a trend-setting rival today. Commodore, Atari, Acorn, Digital, Be, IBM with OS/2 … so many failed, leaving Microsoft unopposed and complacent. That doesn’t mean no one else can come in and try though. Google’s experiments with Android are promising. But I am always skeptical that another misstep will be the end of Microsoft. Their reputation suffered, but Vista still earned profits on the same scale as Apple as a company. Just what will replace Windows eventually when Microsoft run out of steam and the worldwide userbase is ready to flee en masse remains an open question. My money’s on post-PC hardware, like the iPhone, but it’s just an informed guess.

Fortunately, I’ve no need to wait. The Mac’s here today.

122 mailjohannes { 05.12.09 at 2:45 pm }

@TenThousandThings

Exactly my point: get over yourself, skip the politics and talk about something interesting, like Apple.

123 Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine | Windows (7) Affinity { 05.12.09 at 4:53 pm }

[...] See original here: Why Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine [...]

124 kimsnarf { 05.12.09 at 4:57 pm }

@John Muir

I share your desire for more platforms competing in the computer space. What I ultimately want is a user friendly operating system that is not built on business requirements (Windows), expert knowledge (Linux) or protecting the users from themselves (OS X). Something slick, fast and bloat-free. Just like a modern day Amiga OS. ;) The onslaught of the 1990′s, which you’re referring to, left a huge gap in this space that has yet to be filled. Each of the three major platforms edge increasingly closer, but they bring a lot of old baggage – even with overhauls like in OS X and Win 7. Apple is closer than ever with their OS X, but unless they make some major policy changes soon they will again be overrun by the next Windows. Perhaps that is just the way they want it to be. We could all use another strong competitor in this space.

125 John Muir { 05.12.09 at 5:14 pm }

@kimsnarf

Somehow I doubt Windows will be running over much of anything, any more.

There’s a reason why Vista was such a lead balloon and why, certain people’s wishful thinking aside, 7 is unlikely to turn that tale around. It lies at the top of Microsoft and seems to flow through the whole company’s veins these days. They really don’t seem to know where they’re going. Their most obvious competitor is a lot more successful now than just a few years ago, and already has a long lead in handheld devices: the obvious next platform. Meanwhile the core Windows OEM market is obsessed with making machines so cheap that Microsoft have been forced to squeeze the price of Windows licences. Alarming!

Redmond needn’t worry about going out of business anytime soon. But there’s a lot to worry about just how much they’ve been outclassed by their once all-but-vanquished competitor, and how no one in their right mind looks to Microsoft any more for leadership and direction. That’s a big turn around over the last ten years.

I don’t doubt that there is talent and certainly a world of resources inside Microsoft to do something about all of this. But I do doubt the vision of an answer even exists at the top of the company, where it is required. Sounds a lot like the Apple of the mid 1990′s which flailed about, losing its lead, and ultimately almost heading out of business. Do they have any visionaries to call upon once Ballmer’s given the boot I wonder?

126 enzos { 05.12.09 at 8:43 pm }

> no one in their right mind looks to Microsoft any more for leadership and direction 24 hours and 7 days Most talked about
1.Microsoft’s Windows 7: how does it look

Sad to say for them but that’s the way it still is. (Even sadder for me that I can’t afford a new MacBook Pro like the ‘beautiful beast’ on my Kiwi colleague’s office desk.)

Cheers

127 enzos { 05.12.09 at 8:46 pm }

Bums! My deathless prose got mangled.. never mind. you get the picture. The example paper was today’s uk Guardian.

128 kimsnarf { 05.13.09 at 1:57 am }

@John Muir

Don’t underestimate the awakening Redmond giant. While sleeping they were dealt a mighty blow by this annoying, little terrorist with the fruity name. But they have not wasted any time reassembling their forces and have nearly completed their next Death Star. Meanwhile, Cupertino is satisfied with their recent victories and are holding back on the final blow. That will soon turn out to be a gross mistake. They are losing their window of opportunity.

I’ve been using Windows 7 for a while, and from a user perspective it’s a huge improvement over Vista. In Vista I could see what they were attempting, but in practice XP was better. Not so any longer. Win 7 is a true successor to XP and addresses all of the major issues people had with Vista. Also, it’s “free” for a year and the positive impressions are spreading like wildfire by word of mouth. With Apple satisfied by their minor disrupting activities,
Microsoft is quickly filling the opening left by themselves. By the end of the year, there will be no huge demand any longer for an alternative platform in the PC community. Back to status quo.

Microsoft does not have to be the first nor the best at anything. Look at history. They just have to sell the most. They have the required vehicle for that. The power balance has shifted somewhat but the game has not changed.

129 bartfat { 05.13.09 at 2:21 am }

@kimsnarf

Actually, Microsoft just needs to maintain their monopoly and hope people don’t switch to Linux or Android (if a netbook runs on that) or, of course, a Mac. Which is why Microsoft probably won’t go out of business anytime soon, BUT the road is set for other competitors to compete, vs. the 1990s where NO ONE, not apple, not NeXT was able to compete. So the power balance has shifted so that others can compete… so I don’t really get your point. It’s not so much that Apple wants to compete with Microsoft, it’s just that they would rather build great products, like BMW. They don’t try to take on the whole market, because they know that that’s not their strong suit. And frankly, if people choose to buy Microsoft on their merits, then so be it. For me, I’ll still use a Mac, b/c that’s what suits my needs best… and for the other 20 million in the US :) Anyway, it’s just a computer, if you feel that Microsoft is going to do wonders to the rest of the market, then great… just remember that you can’t complain about something you haven’t tried (aka Mac) :)

And don’t label me as a Mac fanboy, because I have used all types of OSes, from DOS to Windows 3.1 to Vista to Mac to Linux (SuSE and Ubuntu)… so I CAN nitpick their differences, as I have used them one time or another on a daily basis :)

130 enzos { 05.13.09 at 2:26 am }

That’s not a bad thing, Kim, Apple has plenty of resources (unlike the mid 1990s) and being the little guy keeps them on their toes.

131 kimsnarf { 05.13.09 at 2:45 am }

@bartfat

My point is that there should not be a monopoly. That kind of easily abusable power is no good for anyone. Apple and its enthusiasts may be happy living at the mercy of another, but that is kind of sad when they could have done so much more. The computer world consists mostly of PCs and they deserve another strong player. Apple has the chance to become that player if they want to and play their cards right.

By the way, I have used Macs. I just haven’t owned one. The Mac is not good enough for the PC community, as I have been trying to explain. A mindshift in Cupertino is needed in order to get there.

132 This Blog Now Returns to Normal (Such as it is); Out of My Mind for 12 May 2009 | kryptos cia { 05.13.09 at 7:31 am }

[...] Greenwald: When it comes to abusing jo&#117&#114&#110os — the real ones, not Big Media’s fakes — Iran has nothing to teach the good old U.S. of A&#46&#10&#87ill Win7 be another Vista bomb after all? [...]

133 luisd { 05.13.09 at 10:44 am }

@Kimsnarf

I don’t really understand what you are talking about. The window of opportunity you talk about may just as well be closed in the desktop market (although I doubt it, wait to see how W7 is delivered, and if it fulfils its promise, also wait and see what SL will deliver, and how it is received), but it is very open in the portable domain. There, the iPhone is thriving, we don’t know yet what will be announced in June and the notebook line-up from apple (as limited as you claim it is) is doing spectacularly well, despite of the economy. So I don’t see what exactly you mean by a mindshift being needed. Their business strategy is giving them great results, why should the take the risk to change it to something that may not work for them (even if it would make the PC community happy, but hey, the PC community has PC’s, and according to your posts they are happy with them! Apple only needs to cater for those in the PC community unhappy with their PC’s, which is obviously not your group)

134 kimsnarf { 05.13.09 at 5:19 pm }

@luisd

I didn’t expect a lot of agreement when posting my comments here at the lion’s den. :) But I wanted to see what kind of response my suggestions would get from an enthusiastic Mac community accustomed to lengthy discussion. I have not been disappointed. Hopefully I’ve been able to bring something of substance to the table as well.

Apple’s strategy has clearly been working so far, and they probably have a few aces up their sleeves should the situation start turning around. The question is whether Win 7 will start that ball rolling.

Let’s forget Vista for a moment. XP has reached the point which OS 9 held at the bitter end. Stale, outdated and with a user base increasingly envious of the competition. Win 7 is promising to be to XP what OS X was to OS 9. There has been a much needed shift of focus in Redmond to ensure that this new version will be popular and successful. Snow Leopard, on the other hand, will still “just” be OS X. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that hasn’t started an avalanch of switchers yet. Incremental updates of sufficient quality might do the trick in the long run. Who knows? But I’d be very surprised if Win 7 doesn’t bring Microsoft back in full force. Of course, most Mac users won’t mind one way or the other as long as their system continues to thrive. But doesn’t an increasingly stronger Apple make things more interesting?

Regarding the portable domain, I’ve stayed out of that here on purpose. Suffice to say that I think Apple has that domain nailed. My iPod Touch is my most frequently used device. It’s just a shame that iTunes for Windows leaves a lot to be desired. But that’s another discussion.

135 sharp_jiang { 05.13.09 at 7:38 pm }

nice article

136 bartfat { 05.13.09 at 7:58 pm }

@kimsnarf

Actually, most of us aren’t Mac fanboys, we just like to complain (ironically) about the products we use and even more about the competition. But yeah, you make a very good case for Microsoft to come back (assuming Windows 7 is as good as the hype). The problem is I just don’t see it living up the hype as much as Windows enthusiasts would like, based on Microsoft’s previous track record. And even if Microsoft comes back and supposing Windows 7 is the Microsoft version of OS X… well then, I welcome it, as it won’t be a steaming pile of crap like Vista was. And that’s better for the consumer as well. But we won’t know for sure what the reaction will be to Windows 7 until it’s released to the public as a finished product, so it’s anyone’s guess what the reaction will be. As for Snow Leopard, well, not many people outside the Mac circles will care.. and that’s fine too, because apple can’t convince just anyone to switch.

Only people who are actively seeking alternatives will choose the Mac, and only if they have the cash and sense of value/quality to buy it. And I admit, Macs have lots of flaws/defects that have been cropping up all over the place (maybe this is part of the reason why Apple is reluctant to sell more, b/c quality will go down), but the applications and OS behave like you expect and apple tends to do well in the customer service dept (even after warranty.. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve been helped by a Genius in the apple store for free). Likewise, Windows will continue to be used by many people, since it is bundled with most OEMs and alot of people just want a computer, they don’t usually do much research besides checking prices and maybe CPU specs. That’s about it, and it’s part of the reason why HP was able to survive even with a horrible record of reliability and forced Dell to lower their quality so they could compete on price. I’m not saying that everyone is dumb… but they could have reasons to keep windows or they’re simply too lazy to compare differences. Which is why this blog exists, because a person (Daniel) was upset at how much news focused on microsoft at one time (now it seems to be the opposite).

137 John E { 05.13.09 at 8:24 pm }

pretty much agree with kimsnarf. the Zune is a commercial flop (tho not quite the “colossal failure” Dan branded it once). Win 7 will be a commercial success, viewed positively by virtually all Windows users in comparison with Vista. Win 7 will not be “like the Zune” in that regard.

MS real problem is price erosion from all causes for its software, especially Office, its other key moneymaker. cheap alternatives to Office are becoming more common, including iWorks for Macs, that do the job and work fine with Exchange (a key new feature of Snow Leopard). Office’s bloated price is of course the huge “Microsoft Tax” that no on talks about. it accounts for a huge chunk of MS profits, and any price erosion here from new competition really hurts MS bottom line.

MS other real problem is the fast growing alternative of computer phones/pods. i don’t mean netbooks, which are still shrunken computers and hence still a pain in the butt to get working and keep working good. i mean the much more simple computer app OS like the iPhone and soon all its imitators. it is only a year or two from now that consumers will buy these INSTEAD of a laptop of any kind or size, because they will be able to perform every function they need and are much easier to use, plus offering some unique features. MS actually foresaw this long ago in the 90′s to their credit, and created Win CE, now Win Mobile, in response. but it screwed it up badly and let it drift technically, so now Win Mobile 6.x is just hopelessly inadequate. it will be interesting to see if Win 7 next year is a credible next gen mobile OS. if not, Win Mobile will meet the same fate as the Zune and become irrelevant. if future computer phones/pods start taking net sales away from desktop OS sales globally, as well they might, that will also really hurt MS’ profits.

so looking ahead in the next few years i see MS facing shrinking profit margins even while unit sales may increase. that’s the real problem they face.

meanwhile, over the next five years Apple just needs to nudge its desktop OS share up to perhaps 15% to equal MS in total sales revenue, and – thanks to its hardware focus – outpace MS in net profit.

138 indiana61 { 05.13.09 at 11:25 pm }

I love how we are all pretty much subjective when it comes to giving our opinions about what should or shouldn’t happen. Apple needs to do such and such, Microsoft should blah blah!
Bottom line Apple does not want to compete with MS in the OEM OS market. Apple just wants to continue to bring best of breed products to market. Now we can all get subjective about what “best of breed” means. Apple competes against HP, Acer, Dell, and generic PC manufacturers, who all just happen to offer (by force/lack of competition) MS Windows. Why do these manufacturers offer a pre installed OS? Because the absolute majority of PC users (not IT/Tech) are not tech savvy. The best they can do is use the power on/off button and just maybe plug the mouse into the right place. A lot of them think they are smart because they can quote Ghz and Mb’s but the reality is they do not have a clue. They go of to stores and say to sales people I want to be able to x and y, the salesmans thinking I can sell them an Acer ’cause they give me a $100.00 rebate for each sale this month. Customer ends up buying whatever salesman recommends, if the price is within their price range. This is the lesson to be learned from the recent MS ads (other than the fact the ads are scripted folks), the end user is basically a moron and does not really know what they are buying. Apple would be happy if HP did actually develop their own OS and not because it would affect MS sales but because finaklly they could have a direct competitor and maybe people would not focus on the MS/Apple competitors mythology.

139 indiana61 { 05.13.09 at 11:27 pm }

And christ I can ramble…

140 Почему Windows 7 — очередной Zune компании Microsoft | alexmak.net { 05.14.09 at 1:36 am }

[...] Оригинал [...]

141 sharp_jiang { 05.14.09 at 2:54 am }

wondering what would microsoft do in the coming days.

142 Twitted by ebaraitaru { 05.14.09 at 10:27 am }

[...] This post was Twitted by ebaraitaru – Real-url.org [...]

143 Why I hate Microsoft « ScottWorld Blog { 05.14.09 at 12:18 pm }

[...] Why Windows 7 is Microsoft’s next Zune [...]

144 Joel { 05.14.09 at 1:31 pm }

@John E “well, bashing and snarking MS and Windows is a lot of fun. but fact remains that Win 7 will be a noticeably improved version of Vista…”

No it won’t. It wil be as “noticeably improved” as Xp was over 2000. Ie, full of the same security holes and design compromises as last time, just with a nice coat of paint.

If Microsoft want to noticebly improve their O/s they need to start again from scratch, or, like Apple, adopt a firm basis from someone else.

145 bornonjuly4 { 05.14.09 at 8:19 pm }

I have been using Windows 7 Beta for last few months and have been pretty happy with it. Comparing Windows 7 to Zune is a stretch. I would love to come visit this blog a year after both Snow Leopard and Windows 7 have been released.

For everyone who defends OSX, I would like to ask one simple question. Why can’t it come up with a useful File Manager shell like Windows Explorer? Finder is a sorry excuse for a shell and sucks donkey balls.

Windows 3.1 had better File Manager.

146 bornonjuly4 { 05.14.09 at 8:35 pm }

Here is the Windows 7 Developer blog. The core development team updates various technical aspects of the OS and how they are fixing some of the issues from Vista.

http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/

147 Netudo { 05.15.09 at 11:25 am }

@Joel, Or giving XP a fancy GUI, a service pack and to sell it as Windows 8.

148 stefn { 05.15.09 at 12:16 pm }

As with some writers above, I review comments with this first filter: Does the writer realize that MS = enterprise and Apple = consumer market sector? If not, then it’s almost always an apples (of course) and oranges comparison, hardly worth a read.

Daniel, over the years, has done a great job of portraying the difference between the sectors: As Daniel has shown, with gobs of articles, MS cannot do both enterprise and the consumer sector. And Apple gave up on the enterprise sector years ago as a priority.

MS made its bones in the Wall Street/enterprise/OEM area, over which it maintains enormous control and “push” within its primary constituency of IT folks. It is the killed-the-king successor to IBM in this sense, and it continues IBM’s solid, big blue qualities.

Apple works Main Street, where it early learned to strut its multicolored fruit cart against lots of other vendors, relying on individual choice-makers, almost “hand selling” its wares with the “pull” of whatever style, substance, and solutions it created. Its competition in this area is more often Sony and Motorola than MS.

149 Mike V. { 05.16.09 at 2:38 am }

Yes, Microsoft is a suck company.

Yes, Wal-Mart is the dumpster of the world.

Yes, probably everything in your article is correct.

But do you have to be such a d-bag about it? I mean it’s kind of sad that you have all these guys cheering on your arrogance. So what if Microsoft products are used by people that consume their calories two liters at a time? Apple sells their products to people who consume their calories one tall, grande or venti at a time. And then they go on to eat something organic (ironically, w/o even knowing how lax their government regulations are becoming when it comes to what’s considered organic), I guess, to feel better about their $4 latte.

Throwing liberal politics into it is a poor choice, considering the widespread (and probably well-substantiated) opinion that the current vice president is nothing more than a cheerleading sock puppet of the RIAA.

People who shop in Wal-Mart are not there because they’re cheapskates. Nobody ‘wants’ to be shopping in a Wal-Mart. The people at that level, for the most part, are just trying to survive. I know because I started out there.

If you somehow associate ‘owning a Mac’ with sophistication and ‘owning a PC’ as a lack thereof, you’re sadly mistaken. I know people with seven and eight figure incomes that roll through life just happily with their Sony Vaio’s or what-have-you. And as for the Wal-Mart crowd, most probably don’t really use a computer enough to know the difference. I doubt if any of them would object to owning a Mac. But they don’t have the means. And it’s not that high of a priority.

I started out liking this blog. I loved the history of Apple and the way you told it. But this is kind of the last article for me. You can’t just talk down on a certain group of people just because of where they shop or what constitutes their diets or how much money it’s apparent that they (don’t) make.

Bro, I work with practically every A-list talent in Hollywood, every Director and every Producer -all the way to the top. And when I say ‘work with’, I mean in-the-same-room. I do quite well for myself financially. And I’m probably the only person posting here with aSmallWorld account -ooh la la. I own plenty of Macs. Heck, I just bought my girlfriend a new one last night. And I would never dream of talking about people like that. Maybe that’s just the conservative in me.

Anyway, I’m outta here. Moving along. Link deleted. Good luck with all that.

150 Are Macs more Safe than Secure? No — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 05.16.09 at 5:52 am }

[...] Why Windows 7 is Microsoft’s next Zune [...]

151 nat { 05.16.09 at 5:37 pm }

Mike V.,

Can you not see the hypocrisy in calling Dan a “d-bag” for correctly describing Microsoft’s key customers—a description you yourself agree with—and then…forwarding the myth that all Mac users are latte-sipping hipsters!? Oh, I guess that’s “the conservative in you.”

152 gus2000 { 05.17.09 at 1:40 am }

I’m not going to apologize for Daniel, but it seems like the histrionics over his usual liberal-minded asides are well overblown. The volume and frequency of complaints compelled me to re-read the article, and I found only a handful of inflammatory references:

“…the 22% of inbred Americans who think Iraq was involved in the attack on the World Trade Center”

This was clearly a shot at the chronically ignorant, since Iraq was no more responsible for 9/11 than, say, Canada. The term ‘inbred’ suggests a congenital stupidity. It was a non-partisan remark, since AFAIK no party has monopolized absurdity.

“…disdainfully accuse me of being against war, all because I’m biased toward presidential candidates who can speak”

DED is a supporter of Obama. No surprise. But stupidity is bi-partisan, and Daniel chose to poke fun at the idiots on the other side of the aisle to make his point. He’s not suggesting that everyone to his right is an ignoramus, nor that the left is exempt (witness Stallman, who won’t use a cell phone nor surf the web from his own computer…dude, paranoid much?)

“when WalMart releases a suitable clone of Adidas sportswear it can market for ten dollars to the kind of people who…”

This is not a shot at WalMart; it’s an analogy about the futility of a discount retailer marketing high-end goods to a demographic without the money to afford it nor the sophistication to care. There was no outrage over the denigration of Korea and China, but both are well-known for making cheap knockoffs which is a central point of the article.

“The one-party tech kingdom ended up a Soviet Union of sorts…”

We liberals did not voice our outrage over this USSR slight, but that’s because we’re not socialists. Sadly, none of the conservatives here gave DED his props for assailing the Communist Hoards. Better Dead than Red-mond?

“…an open foundation based on open source software (a heretical liberal cancer in the mindset of Microsoft’s hard liners)”

Linux is socialism? Should anyone have been offended? Wait until Limbaugh finds out his favorite OS is based on *gasp* community-written code.

“…were like WalMart trying to introduce its sweats-wearing customers to organic vegetables.”

Again, this is a reference to a consumer-to-product mismatch, not an assault on shopping. I’m inclined to believe that people just see what they want, just as both Liberals and Conservatives think that Stephen Colbert is one of “Them”.

I did not find anything offensive here. I am offended by a sycophantic tech media that expects me to swallow their thinly-veiled press releases as journalism, by bloggers that are nothing more than shills, and by companies like Microsoft that think marketing will solve their technology problems and I that I won’t notice the difference.

153 stefn { 05.17.09 at 10:55 am }

Clearly Mike V. prefers his arrogance to Daniel’s. Get a mirror, Mike.

“And I’m probably the only person posting here with aSmallWorld account -ooh la la.”

154 Neil Anderson { 05.17.09 at 3:10 pm }

Or should that be aSmallMind account? ;)

155 wtfk { 05.21.09 at 6:25 pm }

If you want to convince people that your opinions are based on something other than kneejerk assumptions, you might want to omit kneejerk political comments from your blog.

[And if you have an opinion on the subject worth offering, why don't you offer it rather than posting jingle-laden bullshit? - Dan]

156 bfancher { 05.22.09 at 3:44 pm }

I don’t really care what happens to Windows 7, but I wonder why you felt the need to refer to Americans who think that Iraq had something to do with the attack on the World Trade Center as “inbred?”

In fact, there is plenty of evidence of a connection between between Saddam Hussein’s regime and various terrorist groups, include Al Qaeda:

http://www.amazon.com/Connection-Collaboration-Hussein-Endangered-America/dp/0060746734

[ Sorry, but citing a right wing columnist's 2004 book which bent over backwards (in all senses) to "document" links between Saddam and Al Qaeda in order to justify actions we now know to be entirely fabricated upon lies does not prove anything other than the willing credulity of the extremist fringe in America. I used the term "inbred" not in a literal genetic sense, but in a figurative way, as these people get all their ideas from the same, stagnate pool of dead-end ideology, and it retards their ability to make any progress. What's next, a Michael Crichton book "dispelling" any human involvement in global warming? - Dan ]

And Saddam’s regime gave sanctuary to Abdul Rahman Yasin, who was one of those who carried out the first attack on the WTC, in 1993.

[So the US invades every country that a known terrorist may have entered? Given that the NeoCons spent America's children's and grandchildren's futures in a monumental deficit to pay for this boondoggle war, as well as destroying nearly 5,000 US soldiers so far and causing unnecessary damage to the military, just to pay for this false goose-chase which really had nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with access to oil, how many more times can we afford to do this for every other country a terrorist might enter? And how many terrorists are in Iraq now that Saddam's regime has fallen, giving way to Al Qaeda to control of large parts of Iraq which Saddam was formerly holding in check against his Al Qaeda enemies (they represent rival factions! They hate each other, look it up.)?

There's no question that Saddam was a terrible leader, but removing him to create a power vacuum for even more brutal warlords, radical religious extremists setting up "schools", and other terrorist enemies of Saddam has not exactly brought peace and tranquility to Iraq. ]

No one has proved that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks, and based on what is publicly known so far, I’d guess that he probably wasn’t. But given the long history of collaboration between Saddam and various terrorist groups, thinking that he might’ve been is not entirely unreasonable. Insulting people who hold such a view as “inbred,” says more about the one making the insult than it does about those the insult is directed at.

[There's a HUGE difference between saying there might have plausibly been some relation between Saddam and unsavory characters (as Cheney now says of Iraq and vaguely identified "middle east terrorists,") and saying there was a clear link between Iraq and 9/11 involving imminent danger to America that demanded immediate military action, as Cheney said before invading Iraq. Clearly, Cheney lied.

And trying to spin the idea that "maybe he didn't entirely lie about everything" and "it doesn't really matter so much because it all turned out so well" after the needless deaths of so many people based on those lies, the destruction of so much of America's principles and its world reputation, and the gutting of the American economy to pay for trillions of dollars of war efforts that attacked Iraq for Oil rather than bin Laden to stop actual threats against America.... well, that's just inbred.]

157 bfancher { 05.22.09 at 4:47 pm }

Yes, well, reasonable people may disagree, preferably without resorting to insults. Unfortunately, too many on the Left have been seduced into believing that anyone who disagrees with them is stupid, dishonest or crazy (or all three). This mindset allows them to demonize dissenters and ignore any facts, evidence or arguments that contradicts their positions, while at the same time thinking of themselves as open-minded, well-informed and tolerant. That’s not reason, it’s religion.

158 arlix { 05.23.09 at 4:27 am }

When I saw the lady that was supposed to be the chief designer of the product I knew that things went terribly wrong wrong wrong with Windows7. Girls as corporate spokespersons = FUBAR

159 snookie { 05.23.09 at 4:15 pm }

“Either you meant Ron Paul or maybe the Teleprompter, because unless you’ve been under a rock, it’s pretty well known that our current president is about as inarticulate on his own as our last one was. Not being a hater, just stating the facts.”

No your not being a hater you are being an idiot. Telemprompter…what an ass. think for yourself instead of regurgitating Faux News, Beck and that hypocrite Limbaugh.

I’ll pretend you really believe this teleprompter foolishness for a minute. if you watch the news, at all, or watched the campaign, at all you would see many, many example of Obama’s intelligence and speaking ability. Like when he wiped the floor with McCain during the debates. That you claim otherwise says a lot about you none of which is good. Either you are stupid, delusional, a liar, or all three.

160 snookie { 05.23.09 at 4:16 pm }

Oh yes bfancher because if its one thing that Republicans are its victims. Poor little things. Did we make you feel bad? Awww.

161 snookie { 05.23.09 at 4:25 pm }

As to Linux, it is quite popular these days as a server OS in corporations. I have architected some very large Red Hat environments in quite a few well known companies. At some point it would be really nice to extend Linux to corporate desktops. As you say the Linux desktop is fragmented so they are their own worst enemy much like the mainstream Unix vendors were for years. Now Linux is eating their lunch. the other thing holding Linux back on the desktop is the Outlook/Exchange hegemony to which you can add Sharepoint in a lot of cases. All three of those suck hard. I’ve done very large architectures in all three for years and its just awful crappy software in every possible way. The things you have to do to get exchange to scale and remain stable are way out of bounds but it is the corporate standard for e-mail and scheduling. The only real competition it ever had is Lotus Notes which is even worse. On the bright side I do see some well known companies offering their IT Architects MacBook Pro’s if they want them. Cisco, oracle, Motorola and some other companies I have consulted with offer this option and it has been very well received.

162 bfancher { 05.23.09 at 4:34 pm }

> Oh yes bfancher because if its one thing that Republicans are its victims. Poor little things. Did we make you feel bad? Awww.

It makes me sad to be reminded that so many people are so steeped in anger and hatred that they’re unable to think rationally or see those that disagree with them as human beings. The only victim of your hatred is you.

Who said anything about being a Republican?

163 snookie { 05.23.09 at 4:42 pm }

SteveS
Either you have not been in IT very long or you don’t know as much about NT as you say you do. Microsoft made a big friggin deal about Unix compatibility, being Posix compatible, and even buying a company so that NT could run Unix command line tools. Look it up. Corporations are not moving to Vista because it offers no advantage over the archaic Xp OS yet consumes far more resources. So new hardware, operation support tools, and user training, all of which is very expensive is seen as having no business value and therefore not worth doing. Interestingly enough the interest in Windows 7 by corporations is also very low at this point which is a serious problem for Microsoft. they don’t care how many bloggers or teenagers with their Dells playing games buy Windows 7. It’s nothing compared to large scale corporate adoption. I see the dingbat Army is moving to Vista but hey I was in the Marines so I guess I’m not surprised.

hey beanie…Zune HD looks like its going to be a hit? Do you have a crystal ball because noone knows what the new Zune will be, it’s not out yet yet you say looks like a hit. Right. For the record and the too young to know this would be the 3rd or fourth time Microsoft has tried to combine, music, games and entertainment and they have failed every time. Each time they left the earlier adopters stuck. Maybe you say XBox has been a success? Well no because Microsoft has actually lost money on it. Microsoft will have to radically change how they view consumers, development, manufacturing, support, and licensing to get anywhere close to Apple. instead they are creating even bigger armies of developers wherever they can get them for the lowest dollar. So we will have even more management and development by committee. All you get from this kind of organization is mediocrity and lowest common denominator products.

As to Wal-mart how anyone can defend or be offended by negative comments about Wal-Mart is beyond me. You apparently know nothing about their business practices and the way they treat employees. Oh yes they make money but they spread disaster and ruin in their wake. How many Wal-Mart full time employees have to get public benefits because they don’t make enough money to pay for the shitty insurance Wal-Mart offers a handful of them? Sound good to you? How about paying themselves rent for their stores and writing it off on their taxes? Or are you the type that prefers socialism for big corporations put pure capitalism for the employees?

164 snookie { 05.23.09 at 4:47 pm }

Windows Services for Unix
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/interopmigration/bb380242.aspx

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/323952
File Format Compatibility
You can transfer most binary-format files from UNIX to Windows without modification. Binary compatibility is the responsibility of the program. For example, graphics files, movies, and other binary data files are the same on both platforms. Binary executables are not transferable.

For text-format files, UNIX uses a linefeed character to end each line in the file, but Windows uses a carriage-return and linefeed-character sequence to end each line. This difference may cause problems in the following files:
Text-based data files.
Script files for Perl, Python, or other languages.
HTML files are not affected because browsers ignore line termination.

Programming Language Support
Windows supports C, C++, and Java languages directly or by means of Microsoft Visual Studio. Java-based programs do not require any modifications. You have to rewrite programs that are written in C and C++ if the programs use libraries other than the standard C and C++ versions. There are also versions of Perl, Python, PHP, and other languages that are available for Windows and that work for most scripts.

Networking Support
Windows 2000 supports the BSD networking standard. Because of this, you can use standard TCP/IP networking principles. Windows 2000 also supports standard UNIX services such as DNS, DHCP, HTTP, FTP, and others.

POSIX Compatibility
Windows 2000 is compliant with the POSIX 1003.1 standard. It is not compliant with the later POSIX 1003.2 standard.

Interoperability Support
The Microsoft Services for UNIX product incorporates many tools and utilities that you can use to migrate between the two platforms. These tools and utilities also act as conduits between the platforms during general use. The Windows Services for UNIX product also includes an NFS client and server, user and group data conduits that you can use to share information between UNIX and Windows computers, and tools that you can use to migrate authentication and permission data.

165 bornonjuly4 { 05.24.09 at 10:32 am }

@ snookie – I am sick and tired of people blaming Walmart as if they are the champion of the workers. For a second if you step aside from that mentality and analyze Walmart as a business (in pure Adam Smith sense), they do what they are supposed to do as a corporation. It is a well known fact that even in this recession WalMart puts more affordable food in the table for a lot of people who can afford it due to their low prices.

Come down from your ivory tower. This just not a black or white issue. There are shades of gray which need to be considered. Yes, Walmart is known for their strong arm twisting techniques with their suppliers and paying the minimum wage for their workers. If that reduces their overall prices so more people can afford their products so be it.

166 bornonjuly4 { 05.24.09 at 10:33 am }

And for crying out loud this was supposed to be a technology thread where people discuss about the merits of two upcoming OS’s. This has become a flaming board for repubs/dems!

167 enzos { 05.24.09 at 6:57 pm }

BoJ4: There’s only so many ways of saying that Apples are good for you and that Piece of Craps should stay in the WC. A bit of politics generates postings, and sometimes people remember what the thread is about.

As an outsider to the world’s greatest plutocracy, I find the juvenile political blathering of otherwise intelligent Americans a bit baffling.. but you know what they say about arseholes and opinions…

scatologically
Enz

168 Joel { 05.25.09 at 5:15 am }

Exactly. IMO there needed to be more moderation for this topic…

169 Dancing World { 06.01.09 at 2:16 am }

dance magazine…

Dancing World…

170 Why Can’t Microsoft Develop Software for Zune HD? — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 08.15.09 at 1:11 am }

[...] Why Windows 7 is Microsoft’s next Zune Microsoft to open new retail stores like Apple [...]

171 gunjin { 08.18.09 at 8:44 pm }

Just a couple a brief points since I don’t really want to get bogged down in a debate of which software/hardware developer is better than the other.

1 – IT “drones” as you put it, love Microsoft because it keeps us employed, driving the economy and giving license to companies like Apple to do what they will in a niche market. I suppose somebody has to be the mediocre giant.

2 – I happen to agree with the point made about Microsoft lacking innovation. Think bing.com, Live Search, etc.

3 – I’m certainly not a Microsoft fanboy, by the way. I can’t wait for platform independence to become a widespread reality. To pre-qualify, I am new to your postings and have read only one. Based on the tone of your article, I can see why people think you are a biased Apple fanboy. A truly objective article would point out the pros and cons of each platform and let the readers decide. Instead you choose the diatribe method and hammer away at the flaws of one of the most successful companies in the world without comparing them to how Apple successfully resolved the same issues. To get to my point: I don’t recall seeing anything about Xerox in this latest article while you hammered away at Microsoft for attempting to “clone” Apple’s GUI. If you are thinking, “What the heck does Xerox have to do with Microsoft and Apple?” it’s time to do some homework.

172 The Mad Hatter { 08.22.09 at 5:00 pm }

gunjin { 08.18.09 at 8:44 pm }

Just a couple a brief points since I don’t really want to get bogged down in a debate of which software/hardware developer is better than the other.

1 – IT “drones” as you put it, love Microsoft because it keeps us employed, driving the economy and giving license to companies like Apple to do what they will in a niche market. I suppose somebody has to be the mediocre giant.

Curious. The IT people I know hate Microsoft with a passion. If you work in IT, you’re a newbie.

2 – I happen to agree with the point made about Microsoft lacking innovation. Think bing.com, Live Search, etc.

3 – I’m certainly not a Microsoft fanboy, by the way. I can’t wait for platform independence to become a widespread reality. To pre-qualify, I am new to your postings and have read only one. Based on the tone of your article, I can see why people think you are a biased Apple fanboy. A truly objective article would point out the pros and cons of each platform and let the readers decide. Instead you choose the diatribe method and hammer away at the flaws of one of the most successful companies in the world without comparing them to how Apple successfully resolved the same issues. To get to my point: I don’t recall seeing anything about Xerox in this latest article while you hammered away at Microsoft for attempting to “clone” Apple’s GUI. If you are thinking, “What the heck does Xerox have to do with Microsoft and Apple?” it’s time to do some homework.

I can understand why Daniel doesn’t mention any of the pros of Microsoft Windows. There aren’t any.

Just like Microsoft isn’t a successful company. Consider Honda. Honda has a lot of loyal buyers, because they make a damned good product, whether it’s motorcycles, cars, or ATVs. Taylor has a lot of loyal customers, they make damned good guitars, as does Gibson, and Fender. Unlike those companies, and Apple, Microsoft doesn’t have loyal customers. To make customers loyal you have to produce a great product. Microsoft can’t do that.

Oh sure, they’ve made a lot of money over the last 20-30 years. But if you don’t produce a product that your customers want, well, you can’t expect to survive long.

173 Why Windows 7 isn’t competing with Mac OS X Snow Leopard — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 08.26.09 at 4:54 am }

[...] Why Windows 7 is Microsoft’s next Zune Competing Against Specialized Integration Apple’s specialization and unique differentiation from generic Windows PCs, including the Mac’s advantages of being a highly integrated product with centralized support resources, distinctive hardware design and attractive OS software, all combine to make it better suited for certain markets than the run of the mill PC. No features in Windows 7 can compete against those core strengths of Apple’s integrated platform. [...]

174 RoughlyDrafted.com Views on Windows 7 « UKMac.net { 08.30.09 at 12:24 pm }

[...] and well reasoned summary of why he thinks Microsoft have got it all wrong with Windows 7 ( Why Windows 7 is The Next Zune ). Whether you are pro or anti-Microsoft I think you will find his argument pretty compelling. With [...]

175 Transcript of The Guardian’s 10-Minute Microsoft ‘Advert’ | Boycott Novell { 01.09.10 at 4:37 am }

[...] into the hardware market there almost because we could not get the ecosystem to respond and even in the music player business we tried to get an ecosystem going but it never got to a big enough size so we tried to be a little [...]

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