Will Apple Try to Brand Windows 7 "Vista II"?

Sure it will. But Cupertino is likely to find a much tougher competitor in Windows 7 than it faced with Vista.


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In 2009, the operating system PR machines in both Redmond and Cupertino will kick into action. Both Microsoft and Apple will spend millions of dollars trying to convince you that their new OS is the OS that you should be spending your workday sitting in front of.

There’s no doubt in my mind as to which OS will remain dominant during 2009 (and for several years to come).

While the Windows market share might have fallen to below 90% during November 2008, and there’s no doubt that the Mac OS is gaining ground on Windows – and could hit 10 – 11 per cent by this time next year – Microsoft will be a dominant force on the desktop and notebook for years to come.

Note: The Mac market share as measured by NetApplications currently stands at 8.87%. Over the past 12 months the OS made a gain of 1.56%. Given steady gains over the next 12 months the Mac OS market share should be around 10.4%.

The reason that makes 2009 interesting is that we’ll see Apple release Mac OS X 10.6, codenamed “Snow Leopard” and Microsoft release its new OS, Windows 7.

Exact release dates haven’t been released, but a little crystal ball gazing suggests that “Snow Leopard” will be released in the first half of 2009 (after all, Steve Jobs did say at WWDC in June of last year that 10.6 would in “about a year”) and that Windows 7 will hit PCs probably in the second half.

Both “Snow Leopard” and Windows 7 have a small presence on the Apple and Microsoft website respectively, but once the holiday season is out of the way I expect this to grow geometrically.

The PR blitz hasn’t even begun yet. Which company wins the upcoming PR war depends both on how good their own OS is, and how much ammunition the other side provides through making bone-headed decisions.

For example, Vista has been a huge gift for Apple, which has exploited the toxic nature of the name in both Web and TV ads. In fact, negative feeling for Vista was so strong that Apple no longer seems to bother mentioning Mac or the Mac OS in ads, and instead concentrates on hammering Vista.

Here’s an example of such for your amusement:

But fortunes might just be changing for Microsoft. I’ve handled a number of pre-beta builds over the past few weeks and I can report that Windows 7 is looking good.

In fact, it’s so good that I already find myself wondering whether I could make the switch to the pre-beta. Normally I don’t bother benchmarking early builds of an OS, but I was so impressed by the performance that I was experiencing with Windows 7 that I broke this rule, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

In pretty much every test I threw at Windows 7, the OS beat both XP and Vista. Here, for example, are my boot time results:


My guess is that given how good the negative publicity that Vista has received over the past few years has been for sales of the Mac, I’m betting that Apple will try to make the same strategy work in its war against Windows 7.

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Tags: Windows, Vista, OS X, Leopard, snow leopard

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