Apple vs. Linux: Which Will Win Disgruntled Windows Users?: Page 2

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Are users choosing Mac over Linux because OS X is the superior platform? To be honest, I don’t know that users see a choice. Apple is engaged in a massively high profile ad campaign which Linux has no chance against.

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Apple ads are everywhere, on TV, at the movies, on the web, and in the newspapers, and the message that’s being pushed is clear – if you’re tired of Windows hassles, switch to Mac. Apple has made the switch as risk-free as possible by bundling with the platform the ability to run Windows on the Mac, so users can not only run their favorite Windows applications but also bring their malware-encouraging practices with them to the new platform.

Advertising aside, the gains made by Apple tell you a lot about what people are looking for in an alternative to Windows. What they want is a self-contained platform that’s easy to use and as hassle-free as possible. What they don’t want to be doing is messing about with a dozen different distros choosing the one right for them (Apple got that right with the “one version of Mac OS X vs. who knows how many Vista flavors” ad campaign), configuring repositories and begging for help on forums when things don’t work.

There is one area where Linux could well gain traction in 2008, and that’s at the cheap end of the spectrum. As prices fall and $200 PCs become a reality, neither Microsoft nor Mac will be able to provide an OS cheap enough to offer value for money. $200 PCs don’t have huge appeal and are going to have to sell themselves (because two hundred bucks won’t allow for a lavish advertising budget) but they are likely to sell well nonetheless – after all, every geek could do with a cheap PC.

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