See, the way that I look at it is that over the past few years Microsoft has handed Apple a whipping stick and allowed it to thrash Vista in public through countless ads. And Apple has become very good at coming up with negative adverts, so much so that some of its ads dont even mention any Apple products and spend the entire thirty second slot poking fun at Microsoft.
And it has worked. Over the past twelve months alone the Mac OS has gained more than two percent market share, as measured by NetApplications. During the same period Windows market share has fallen by nearly three percent.
While it is possible that Apple could carry on regardless with the negative ads (after all, who says they have to be based on fact) theres a chance that such ads wouldnt have the same effect. After all, the Apple ads worked because there was already a widespread belief that Vista was a lemon, as demonstrated by the Mojave Experiment (for more background on the Mojave Experiment check out < a href=http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/columns/article.php/11079_3779486_1/Microsofts-Lucky-7-Gamble.htm>this earlier article of mine).
My guess is that given the sort of feedback Windows 7 is getting now, any continuation of the smear ads by Apple would be seen by many as disingenuous. This means that Apple will need to focus on the benefits that Mac has to offer. That could be tricky and Apple might find that the transition costs it both market share and momentum.
So why is Linux mostly immune to any Windows 7 halo effect? I put this mostly down to the demographic thats shifting to Linux those that are sensitive to price (and as such arent moving to the Mac OS) and those that want the freedom that Linux offers.
While Ive come across plenty of people whove said that theyd move to Linux once Microsoft pulls the plug on XP, the reality is that the numbers actually migrating from Windows to Linux are quite small. For Microsoft the issue is either shifting people who stubbornly cling to XP, or stop them moving to Mac (or maybe tempting a few back who knows, hell might freeze over for a few Mac users).
If Microsoft manages to get Windows 7 out of the door during June and July itll be well placed to pick up a fair bit of back-to-school sales, especially if the economy remains soggy, no matter how much little Dick or Jane protest about how everyone else has a Mac.