Will Windows 7 Win Back Defectors to the Mac? Probably Not. And That’s OK.

By  |  Friday, July 31, 2009 at 12:32 am

Windows 7 and Snow LeopardDaring Fireball’s John Gruber has posted a piece titled “Microsoft’s Long, Slow Decline.” As with most of what he writes, it’s both provocative and thought-provoking, whether you agree with all of it, some of it, or none at all.

Gruber writes about such matters as Microsoft’s recent lackluster financial results, the recent news of Apple’s utter domination of the high-end retail PC market, and the cartwheels Microsoft COO Kevin Turner supposedly turned in the hallways over Apple’s response to Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunters” commercials. He mentions Windows 7 and says:

But no one seems to be arguing that Windows 7 is something that will tempt Mac users to switch, or to tempt even recent Mac converts to switch back. It doesn’t even seem to be in the realm of debate. But if Windows 7 is actually any good, why wouldn’t it tempt at least some segment of Mac users to switch? Windows 95, 98, and XP did.

I haven’t heard anyone contend that Windows 7 will convince Mac switchers to come back, either. Then again, I haven’t heard anyone say it’s not good enough to change the game. But it’s an interesting question.

It’s also one that’s hard to answer just yet. For one thing, while Windows 7 looks quite promising, we don’t yet know what PC manufacturers are going to do with it, and there’s a real chance that at least some of them will muck up a respectable OS with demoware, adware, and various other forms of unwantedware. For another, Windows 7 will compete against Apple’s Snow Leopard, an OS which doesn’t go on sale until September and which–unlike Windows 7–has had no period of public preview.

Based on the months I’ve spent running pre-release versions of Windows 7, I think there’s a good chance it’ll have a meaningful impact on the whole “PC or Mac?” question. It significantly narrows the gap between OS X and Windows for usability and overall polish, and while it doesn’t eradicate OS X’s lead, it should leave Windows users at least somewhat less likely to abandon ship.

But Gruber wasn’t talking about whether Windows 7 will stop more people from leaving Windows; he was talking about whether it’ll convince Mac users to switch from Macs, and saying that if Windows 7 is really good, it will.

I’m not so sure. History suggests that people don’t like to switch operating systems and the most striking significant shifts in operating-system market share have happened when one OS has been on alarmingly shaky ground. Back when the exodus from Macs to Windows 95 and Windows 98 that Gruber refers to happened, Apple’s OS was floundering and it wasn’t clear that the company was going to survive. And Apple has made major inroads over the past couple of years in part because Windows Vista was such a mediocrity.

Apple is positioning Snow Leopard as an OS that’s very much like Leopard, except faster, sleeker, and more reliable. Unless it somehow turns out to be a less appealing Leopard, it’s going to be really pleasing. People tend not to dump pleasing OSes, even if there are also other pleasing OSes. S0 I’m not going to judge Windows 7 based on there whether are meaningful quantities of Mac users who are drawn to it…

 
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26 Comments For This Post

  1. tom b Says:

    Josh nails it; Win 7 is largely "smoke and mirrors". MSFT has yet to bite the bullet and adopt UNIX. I think people have been seeing "wait for the next version" from MSFT for decades; I don't think you can keep lying to people forever without them catching on.

  2. Josh Says:

    One of Gruber’s main points was that Microsoft has lost the heart of the “nerds” (a group which I proudly claim to be a member of). While the nerds are not the most signifcant market for computers, they do represent a leading indicator for future buying habits. We saw this with Vista, which largely failed before consumers ever saw it because the nerds were unimpressed and downright hostile to it. The bar has been lowered so far that Windows 7 doesn’t have to be great to get praise, it only has to work and get out of the way.

    So, even if one were to characterize Windows 7 as “really good,” that doesn’t mean that the Windows experience is on par with the Mac experience, which includes things like elegant design, Unix (for us nerds), the wildly popular iLife suite, and the essence of a “cool” brand.

    Another important point that you made is vendors. This is a critical distinction. When I last went shopping for a laptop, I was surrounded by cheap, creaking cases, flexing keyboards, and wobbly displays. Everything has become so cheap, even on the traditionally higher end brands like Vaio. Pair this with bloatware, trialware, lost hard drive space to hidden partitions to save cost on restore CDs, and with notoriously poor customer service. PC vendors simply are not making PC owners very happy. Consumers buy these cheap systems and use them, but they don’t love them.

  3. Michael Pate Says:

    “Microsoft seems to have conceded that the enthusiasts who’ve switched to the Mac in recent years are gone for good.” – John Gruber

    I bought a Mac Book a few years ago. It worked great at first, but then I noticed the DVD Drive (which I had only used once or twice) stopped working. Then one day I was doing an OS Update and suddenly every character set on the screen became garbled. But I could still launch Firefox and it displayed fine. So I decided to keep using it like that until I could get it worked on. Then a few weeks later, it started doing kernel panics either while booting up or within a few minutes. I made a two-hour pilgrimage to the nearest Apple Store (after waiting a couple of days to get a genius appointment) and was told by a Genius because I hadn’t purchased Applecare, for $300 they would fix everything. I declined, took it home, bought an external USB drive and a copy of Leopard, reinstalled the OS, got everything working fine… except that I still get kernel panics far too often to use it reliably.

    I debated for a while, found a nice HP notebook with everything I was looking for performance-wise and for slightly more than double what the AppleCare charge would have been and around half of the price of the MacBook, and I have been very happy ever since.

    I don’t pretend that mine was a typical experience, but I think the idea that the Mac is the ultimate choice for everyone is simply not always true.

  4. david Says:

    Ten years ago I predicted that Microsoft had reached or was close to reaching its peak and was on headed for a (long slow) decline. My students howled at what they referred to as my Apple fanboy delusions but they aren’t laughing now.

    My premise was simple. Microsoft is Windows; the monster growth of Microsoft came after the wild success of Win3 and Windows is the lifeblood of the company. It sells Windows to sell software. It sells Windows Server to sell Windows and software. My prediction was based on the fact that Microsoft appeared more interested in its non-software, non-Windows projects than in Windows. Win2K was late. WindowsMe was a disaster. The convergence of the NT kernel and 9x kernel was nowhere. The promise of easier large scale Windows rollouts and maintenance was nowhere. Microsoft’s focus was lost and while it was lost Windows and software would rot. It did.

    Vista was an unmitigated disaster; there’s nothing more to be said but Microsoft doesn’t seem to understand that. About six months into that disaster I told my students to watch how Microsoft responded. If the company piddled around trying to repair Vista and talk its way out it was time to admit that Microsoft was intellectually and viably bankrupt. If Microsoft jumped to develop a new version of Windows with the stated intention of not just creating what Vista should have been, but something truly new and exciting (and followed through) it was proof that Microsoft had re-found its focus.

    Windows 7 is not a great product – it doesn’t even meet the hype that Microsoft heaped on Vista before we saw how bad it was. Windows 7 in Vista repaired. Windows 7 gives WinXP users no real reason to upgrade. The only good thing you can say about Windows 7 is that it gives Vista users a reason to upgrade rather than downgrade.

    Every big corporation has its day in the sun and then fades away, or into something else. That time has arrived for Microsoft.

  5. Josh Says:

    @Michael Pate: No one is suggesting that Macs are the best solution for everyone. Harry didn’t say that and neither did any of the other commenters. By all means, buy and use whatever you want. The discussion is simply a reference to how Microsoft is on the decline, and Apple and possibly others (Linux?) will fill this gap. Of course Macs aren’t perfect. There have been some nasty issues with Macs over the years. But, if you judge Macs in the league of other PC vendors, they are less troublesome than their counterparts, and you rarely see unhappy customers leaving an Apple store.

    You mentioned that your Mac worked great “at first,” but this is deceptive. If your Mac had such a serious problem and it wasn’t covered, then it must have been at least a year old, considering that all Macs come with a one year warranty. “At first” means, to me, a few weeks, maybe months, but a year is a well-used product. I’m not saying that it should have had problems by one year, I am just pointing out that you are catastrophizing your experience which, in reality, is quite common in the PC industry as well.

    If your HP has a similar problem, you would be in the exact same situation: either pay for repairs, attempt to repair it yourself, or buy something else. So I really don’t see how your experience is characteristic of Macs. If your HP started displaying garbled characters and crashing regularly, what would you do? And how would it be better than what you experienced with Apple?

  6. Alex Crawford Says:

    I was a Mac, and now I’m a PC.

    I’ve built myself a top end gaming machine for half the price of the relatively poorly spec’ed MacBook Pros, and with windows 7 there’s no contest really. Sorry Mr Jobs, you’ve had £1600 of my money but you won’t be getting any more.

  7. Jarod Baines Says:

    Just wanted to add my two cents … well you are probably going to get more than a couple cents :-)

    I consider myself to be one of the nerds, not the typical consumer. I’ve always liked technology and in the last 10 years have assembled and built my own desktops. The last desktop I built (16 months ago), decided to utilize Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (yeah – I bought Ultimate – first mistake). While some people have had good experiences with Windows Vista, my experience has been completely opposite.

    Prior to Vista SP1, the OS was completed unstable, BSOD, lockups during Windows update. I think it was releated to two factors, 64 bit Vista was not stable and the device drivers for Vista 64 bit were buggy. The system was so unstable, I continued running on my old XP machine. I’ve had more BSODs with Vista than with Windows 98. The system has been more stable since upgrading to Vista SP1, but there are still times where Windows Services will just quit running, Windows updates will lock up, etc. Sorry to ramble – but I don’t trust the OS, it just isn’t stable.

    When I decided to purchase a new laptop, I refused to buy a new laptop with Windows Vista, since XP laptops were no longer available, I decided to look at the MacBook Pros. All I can say is that my experience with the MacBook Pro has been excellent. To put it simply – the machine just works, it has been rock solid and stable. For the few Windows programs that I need to run, I utilize VMware Fusion and a Windows XP virtual machine.

    When I decided to replace my kids old Windows XP laptop, I purchased the 13.3 MacBook in white. Price was excellent and the machine has been great as well.

    Microsoft has lost my trust with my experience with Windows Vista. To add insult to injury, they want another $200 to upgrade to Windows 7. I’m sorry – but this customer will not be upgrading to Windows 7.

    A system for me has to be stable and reliable. Just my two cents :-)

  8. robert Says:

    I use both the Mac and the PC. I love them both. However I prefer Windows 7 hands down. That being said, I do not think Windows 7 is enough to cause people to switch back. I have a friend who also uses a mac and his next purchase will be a PC because he sees so much more value in Windows 7. He will continue to use his Mac though.

    I’m not even sure Microsoft is pushing Windows 7 as an OS that will entice people to switch back. That’s stupid to even suggest that when Microsoft is not even trying to advertise it that way.

  9. eric Says:

    Mac users CAN’T switch back, they had to give all their money to their new master!
    All kidding aside, how large is the demographic for this PC to Mac migration anyway? There’s no shortage of anecdotes, but what are the hard numbers? It’s probably smaller than the margin for error on any given sales chart.
    I bought my Vista laptop a year ago. It has slightly worse specs overall than the new Macbook “Pro”, cost $500 less, and if I’m out at a job site all day where no utility power will be available, I can take a spare battery and swap it without help and without voiding my warranty. I’ve had exactly four blue screens on it, and every single one of those was from a failing video chip. Once the motherboard was replaced (as part of my $150 three year warranty plan), it went right back to functioning as normal. What I thought was really neat was how Vista would intercept potential blue screens by pausing the system and resetting the video driver on the fly. It saved me from ten work-interrupting blue screens that I know of.
    I have had zero problems with this unit due to Vista. Zero. Lest you think this is just an anecdote, I had such good luck with it that I started rolling out Vista to our entire company (~200 desktops). I still have had zero problems due to Vista. I spend most of my day browsing the Internet and laughing at Microsoft haters, because my network with all its little Vista computers and 2008 servers just hums along with only minimal guidance. I know all the pseudo-techs want to blame Vista for their third-party software and driver problems, but it’s just to show how quickly they can hop on the “Blame Microsoft” bandwagon. Vista was in RC for easy access by device vendors for a very long time and Microsoft went to great lengths to ensure those vendors had all the necessary information so they could have compatible drivers ready to go long before Vista went gold. That Microsoft is still being blamed for the laziness of these third-party developers two years after the fact is just a sign of how ingrained this “Blame Microsoft for Everything” meme is. The hardware vendors don’t even worry about releasing good drivers on time because they know people will just blame Microsoft for everything.
    Apple, on the other hand, plays the game in easy mode. It’s not really their OS to begin with, and they enforce strict requirements on what can be branded as Mac compatible. This does certainly result in a more stable experience overall, but at the cost of dramatically reduced choices for the end user. Do what you will, but I’ll take all of our perfectly stable, lower cost, higher functioning units over Appleglitz any day.

  10. David Miller Says:

    Michael Pate

    You obviously had defective hardware (it’s rare, but it happens!) that you could have gotten repaired at any time while under warranty. (One year). If you started having problems during the first year, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself. (And if you had bought an HP instead, and had the same problem, how would you have done any better?)

    And without AppleCare, they even proposed a very good deal: for $300, they would “fix everything”? (I’m rather surprised at that and what you’ve written makes me doubt your entire story). A MacBook Pro beyond warranty without AppleCare (what you say you had) which requires a major hardware repair (which is what your letter implies) is going to run more than $300.

    So I’m having a very hard time believing this.

    If you have a hardware problem (what you describe), then the best way to get it fixed for “nothing” is under warranty. If it happens in the first year (most likely, if there’s going to be a problem, that’s when it’ll happen): you’re covered, without AppleCare. If it happens in the 2nd year, even without AppleCare, many credit card companies will double the original warranty and you can recover the cost of the repair. With AppleCare (not inexpensive for MacBook Pros, but can be had for less on Amazon, which amounts to around $280), you get a full extra 2 years of coverage just in case your hardware dies.

    It’s as simple as that, and I challenge you to name another PC hardware vendor or warranty service (Best Buy, Staples, etc) that will provide the same level of assurance for a lesser price.

    Reading the other comments, I’m not the only one to point this out.

  11. Marc Says:

    I made the switch and haven’t looked back.
    I no longer pay over the odds for Macs (although I do own an iPhone 3GS!)

    If you buy cheap they of course you’re going to get crap – that’s the same with all consumer items, and in all walks of life. I always buy decent computers, HP and Dell. Even a cheap Packard Bell (NEC) has seen me through 4 years and is still going strong. My HP laptop looks brilliant, it’s nice and fast, and it’s running Vista. At the time it was on par with MacBook Pros, yet it was half the price.

    A lot of it is perception. Will Windows 7 win back people who’ve started using Macs? Probably not. The fast upgrade cycle and lack of support for those who don’t keep up buying a new OS/hardware every year will probably convince people by itself.

    A lot of the “problems” with Vista were because it was wildly different from its predecessor XP. This meant a lost of people who tried to upgrade found hardware didn’t work. You could blame Microsoft or you could blame hardware manufactures. Either way it was poorly managed, but I remember when OS9 moved to OSX. Even with ‘classic mode’ I had to reboot often to get older hardware to work (and OSX 10.1 – 10.2 were so slow, I often did it just to get work done). Microsoft are now, 8 years later, doing what Apple did and offering a Windows XP mode in Windows 7, too late though.

    Interface wise, it’s personal preference. I always turned off the annoying resizing of the dock when you hover, and enabled some hack to make hidden apps’s icons transparent (does it do that yet out of the box?) – and the Windows 7 taskbar is quite similar. Finally the system tray has been banished. Maybe the likes of Real Player and our beloved Apple will stop spamming it with their branding (QuickTime anyone?) now new icons are hidden by default. The only OSX feature I miss is spring loaded folders, which isn’t a big deal.

  12. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    > Back when the exodus from Macs to Windows 95 and Windows 98
    > that Gruber refers to happened, Apple’s OS was floundering
    > and it wasn’t clear that the company was going to survive.

    That is what is happening at Microsoft right now. It’s the same thing and for many of the same reasons. In 1995, many Mac users moved to Windows as a result. Today, Windows users are moving en masse to Unix, not just Mac. It isn’t as obvious because people have multiple devices now and the PC’s are getting upgraded last in most cases. But if you have a Windows XP personal computer, iPod, TiVo, and Palm Pre then you, my friend, are a Unix user. You are going to want to see the stability, lack of viruses, standardized formats and protocols, and “just works” features of your other devices migrate to the PC, not the other way around.

    The ironic part is that in 1995, Microsoft’s strength compared to the Mac they were stealing bodies from was that Windows ran on “any hardware”, which at the time only meant an Intel PC from various manufacturers. Now, “any hardware” also includes ARM architecture and set-top boxes and mobiles and routers and Wi-Fi base stations and other odd form factors, but Microsoft still only runs on Intel. Now it is Unix that enables you to get your computing done on any hardware. So just as the 90′s migration was from one vendor to many, Apple to Dell/HP/IBM/etc, so it is this time, but this time it’s from Microsoft to Apple/Palm/Google/etc. Poetic justice. Unix is the base now, not the hardware. The hardware varies too much and changes too fast. Software takes too long to adapt.

    Since the iPhone the buzz has been all Unix: Google Android, Apple iPod touch, Google Chrome browser, Mac notebooks each made out of a solid block of aluminum, Palm Pre, Google Chrome OS. And in browsers the buzz has been all HTML 5: WebKit in commercial-everything (Android, Chrome, Pre, as well as Apple products) and Firefox in non-commercial-everything and replacing IE en masse. IE steadily losing market share to where it is about to become the minority browser.

    Specific examples of Microsoft’s OS floundering, starting with XP:

    - XP interface styles by Fisher-Price
    - XP botnets
    - Windows 2004 did not ship
    - no IE updates for 5 years
    - Microsoft Store closes all locations
    - many promised Windows Vista features such as database FS abandoned
    - Vista is late anyway
    - Vista does not run right even on Vista Capable and Vista Ready PC’s
    - Vista upgrades from XP are a nightmare because that’s 6 years at once (2 Mac lifetimes, 3-4 PC lifetimes) in a couple of hours and of course that does not result in a 100% working system
    - product activation server goes down, all Windows installations in the world start a deactivation timer
    - like all versions of Windows, the Mojave Experiment was a fancy demo designed to fool users, but unlike other versions they did not have any new software to sell, when people said “I’ll take it!”, Microsoft just said “gotcha!” … and these users were running years-old versions of Windows at the time, too
    - Windows 7 is literally Vista v1.1, most of the improvements are simply because Windows 7 was beta tested for 3 years by Vista owners and because we have 3 more years of hardware progress and 3 years of application programmers working around Vista problems, combined again with lowered expectations all around, and just as with Vista, most of the machines that Windows 7 will be expected to upgrade are hairy XP installations, with 3 years more hair on them, BUT, according to Microsoft, we should all expect very different results
    - in 2009, most Windows users are using the 2001 version of Windows, basically missing the whole decade of progress (compare to Apple’s progress with OS X since 2001) including the stuff 3rd parties would have built on a successful Windows 2004 or Vista
    - Windows is still the only operating system with viruses, it’s still the only operating system with a commercial malware market because you literally have years to design, build, and publish commercial exploits before the software version you’re attacking disappears, and even worse, Microsoft can no longer claim that’s just how the universe works because there are about 5 Unix-based smartphone systems that survived the past couple of years not only being always-on and always-connected, but also roaming around through public Wi-Fi all over the place and with even less Computer Science training for the users (so where are the iPhone viruses?)
    - the Web will turn 20 next year and Microsoft is still not compatible with it, not at the system level (e.g. they use backslashes for pathname separator), not at the text encoding level (they are still not UTF-8 safe), and not at the browser level (no HTML 5, never passed any of the 3 acid tests, only barely just started supporting 6 year old CSS standard)
    - application platform is still Win32 and no practical way to go to 64, .NET is a mess and a punchline and the .NET on NT and CE are different implementations, which is why the CE one is always so behind, even compared to the NT version
    - a lot of the custom corporate apps that used to be done in VisualBasic Win32 10 years ago are now Web apps and the worst place to run them is Windows because of all of its issues, so corporate clients are going to migrate to Unix platforms to get a better and cheaper platform for their custom Web apps (the company I’m working for today has 10 custom Web apps running on Windows XP and they got the idea behind Google Chrome OS right away, they have no interest in Vista or 7 because they have lost interest in Win32 and DOS because all of their apps are Web-based now)
    - you have to go to school to learn how to choose the version of Windows that you need because there are so many
    - retail price of Windows is $399 and average retail of a Windows PC is $515, there is a huge disconnect there … the $99 Windows client should be the flagship product, the one that people see in the advertising and the one they expect when they buy a PC … instead, most people who buy Windows only get a basic subset of the features they were expecting and are disappointed and have less for 3rd parties to build on and the whole platform suffers

    Is Windows floundering? Yes.

    Is it clear that Microsoft will survive?

    - Bill Gates gone
    - Ballmer is an industry punchline who has no feel for technology, no vision for the future, no connection to consumers, no taste, and no charisma
    - layoffs
    - stock totally flat for a decade
    - earnings disappointing Wall Street
    - still nothing making money except Windows and Office, including XBox and Zune which have been huge financial losses
    - still not making money in any markets, only in their 2 antique monopolies … they make no money anywhere there is competition, they do not have a single competitor who they are out-competing, they make money only where 100% of all dollars in a segment go to them due to some shenanigan
    - massive legal fees due to illegal business practices, many future liabilities due to same
    - as much as they like to tout their XBox success, there are fewer XBox in the world than iPod touch (iPod touch is also profitable where XBox is not, and iPod touch even has more game titles than XBox)
    - search engine market share has dropped steadily for the past decade except for a little bump during the recent rebranding, other Web properties are also-rans on their very best days, they do not even have one Flickr type of success
    - completely irrelevant in the smart phone market to the point where people are suggesting they should buy Palm, even after 10 years of Microsoft investment in that sector
    - their technology is all stuck on antiquated platforms, so anywhere they go from here is costly: NT is on x32 only, XBox is on PowerPC (!), all their Web stuff is built for IE 6, their GPU programming is not OpenCL and not even OpenGL, Office literally has the same 1985 laser printer workflow as ever (MS Office should look more like Google Wave by now than the original version of Office that shipped on the Mac in 1985)
    - hardware partners are in trouble: Dell and HP combined have a lower market cap than Apple, talk is of new form factors, new architectures, more consumer focus, other operating systems, other paradigms, and Microsoft is unprepared for any of those
    - brand is in the toilet to the point where not putting “Microsoft” on a product is considered beneficial, even internally

    Microsoft survival: unclear.

    So I encourage you all to make a 2010 assessment of Windows 7, not a 1995 assessment. The environment you’re computing in has changed radically. Microsoft has not. Windows has not. Office has not. On the other hand, Apple and Google and many others have been moving at breakneck speeds and they are only accelerating. The sooner you are completely on Unix the sooner you can stop with the anti-virus and mapping drive letters and bad NT threads and other archaic foolishness.

  13. Andre Richards Says:

    Alex Crawford Says: “I’ve built myself a top end gaming machine for half the price of the relatively poorly spec’ed MacBook Pros, and with windows 7 there’s no contest really. Sorry Mr Jobs, you’ve had £1600 of my money but you won’t be getting any more.”

    And for a fraction of the cost (and hassle you) spent on that gaming PC, you could have bought a game console. Why would anyone waste that much time and effort on a machine just to play games? You’re an idiot.

  14. tom b Says:

    Kudos to Hamranhansenhansen’s detailed post. People, in general, are so used to habit, to the status quo, that they never believe things will get better (that, for example, we’ll all move to Mac). GM thought they were invincible, too. They gave up building anything I would remotely contemplate buying many, many years ago— like around the time “Datsun” rebranded its name as “Nissan” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datsun)

  15. tom b Says:

    “And for a fraction of the cost (and hassle you) spent on that gaming PC, you could have bought a game console”

    Please note MSFT chose to cannibalize their OWN market (PC games) by choosing to birth the unprofitable XBox division. Arguably, their best product, but a loser, business-wise (a few profitable quarters at a cost of over 20 billion in sunk assets). Why did they do that that? They wanted to kill OpenGL and replace it with DirectX. Did they succeed even with that? Not even close; GL is alive and well, particularly on the high end.

  16. tommybrunn Says:

    I’m not sure if this is something that will actually change anything, but there are a lot of people out there who don’t really make much of an informed or even active choice. A lot of those people simply let other people make the decision for them. My mother is a good example of this.

    She has been using her current computer (running Windows XP) for a long, long time now. She has finally realized that it’s time she let me recycle that computer into something more useful (like a media center), and buy a new computer for her to use instead.

    Here’s my problem. She has no special needs really. She just wants to browse the web, access her bank over the internet, burn a CD or two, and play some shitty, low-spec games. I’m not going to have her buy a Mac, because there’s no reason for her to shell out $1500 for a computer, when she really only needs one for $500. So, what other alternatives are out there for her?

    She could get a standard desktop or laptop, which is more than likely running Vista. I know for a fact that she would throw that computer out the window in less than an hour if she had to run Vista – and understandably so. I have never in my life had as many problems with an OS as I have had with Vista.

    Another option would be to try to find a computer with Windows XP. But come on, it’s 9 years old! It’s completely ancient and should have died a long time ago. If I’m not mistaken, Microsoft has even stopped releasing updates for it.

    The third option would be to buy her a computer with a Linux distribution on (either pre-installed or installed by me). Now, that would save her $200 or something. She could probably do everything but play those shitty, low-spec games on that computer (instead, she’d have OTHER shitty games to play). However, since I’m the only person she knows who runs Linux (that’s not true. She just doesn’t know that other people in our family also run Linux), I would have to be her helpdesk – something I’m not prepared to be.

    As you can see, no choice is really optimal here. If Windows 7 comes out, and it doesn’t suck. Perhaps that would be the answer for her. For now, I’ve bought her an Asus EEE Top running Windows XP. It was dirt cheap. So if Windows 7 turns out not to suck, she could just get a new computer (or install it on her EEE Top).

  17. Marc Says:

    Microsoft’s XBox was in response to Sony’s sudden domination of the living room computing space, and nothing to do with Open GL. Games consoles and PC Gaming are still wildly different beasts. Games like The Sims, Flight Simulator and WoW are better suited to PCs than games consoles. On the other hand, games like Guitar Hero, Halo and GTA and better suited to consoles. If anything, games publishers, by demanding PC gamers buy a new graphics card every year have alienated customers (they’ve certainly alienated me!)

  18. John Says:

    I'm a switcher. However I switched form windows to linux first. That was the hardest swith while I found replacement software for everything. But then I wanted the smalles real pc mony can buy so I got a mac mini. Over all one year later I am a happy os x switcher too. I also have win7rc on a tablet. This is so much better than vista. But paying Money for win 7?

    Out of the box win 7 still needs many add ons to become great. Add DVD burner, mail/calender client, ssh and serial terminal software (I need to acccess switch consoles all day long), CBC remote control client, desktop gadgets (still not many good windows gadgets yet) and antivirus.

    By comparison my mini had all of this out of the box. Oh and HP thought less than two hours on battery was fine to sell as well.

    If you look at highend laptops, any that offer the same build quality are actually more expensive than apple. Many laptops are cheaper. You het what you pay for.

    I have two cars. A ford mondeo and a Toyota mr2. The mr2 is smaller but cost more. It also uses more gas and getts less out of every tank. But I use it more because I like it more. Same for my mac. It is smaller. Sometime more expensive for software but it doesn't matter. I like using it more.

  19. Ron Says:

    There are way too many legacy problems in Windows that Microsoft refuses to admit to… I STILL see the same bugs in Windows 7 that were in Windows 95!

    Why haven’t they fixed them?

    1) They are too hard to fix
    2) There is too much legacy code relying on that functionality
    3) Customer support issues would be overwhelming… everyone would have to rewrite all of their documentation!

    Apple actually ran into the same problem when they had OS9… they knew that a new generation of computers were going to need a completely new operating system – so they bit the bullet, and essentially didn’t sell many new computers for a couple years while they transitioned to Mac OSX.

    Their bet paid off big time, because now they have an operating system whereby people aren’t decrying the bugs and legacy problems in the system, and they are actually excited to see the next release is not “feature-rich”, but will make the system faster and more reliable.

    On top of that, Apple is charging $29 for the new operating system! (and no, this is not a limited time offer or “until supplies last” …lol)

    The number of changes I have seen in Snow Leopard far outpace the number of “new features” I have seen in Windows 7. Windows 7 is essentially the Snow Leopard of the Windows world, but Microsoft continues to rely on their old business model and require that people look at it as a brand new operating system… when in fact it’s just a huge patch to fix all of the issues that came from the Vista fiasco.

    I can guarantee you that the specific bug I am referring to will STILL be in Windows 7 and probably 8… It will be there until Microsoft bites the bullet and rewrites the OS.

    Look at it this way… If Windows XP, Vista or 7 were better than the Mac OS, why wouldn’t they be marketing it to Mac owners, who can now natively run these OS’s on their Intel Macs?

    The reason is because they know they would have a hard time justifying why people should pay to switch… there are almost no features in Microsoft’s OS that aren’t already in MacOSX, and weren’t there for a long time before Microsoft ripped them off.

    Excuse me for being a bit angry about this, but it bothers me that Microsoft can’t be innovative and keeps putting Apple down for being successful at it.

    Why can’t Microsoft just advertise all of the cool new features in Vista, or Windows 7? (Oh, wait… what are they.. besides Windows 7′s new functionality to emulate older OS’s so the old software still works??)

    What are the Microsoft innovations in the latest OS?

  20. Blake Says:

    Andre Richards Says:
    July 31st, 2009 at 7:03 pm
    Alex Crawford Says: “I’ve built myself a top end gaming machine for half the price of the relatively poorly spec’ed MacBook Pros, and with windows 7 there’s no contest really. Sorry Mr Jobs, you’ve had £1600 of my money but you won’t be getting any more.”

    And for a fraction of the cost (and hassle you) spent on that gaming PC, you could have bought a game console. Why would anyone waste that much time and effort on a machine just to play games? You’re an idiot.

    You have obviously never had a good pc gameing machine. Xbox is alright but absolutly nothing compared to an 800 dollar gameing pc. let alone a 2500 dollar machine. The resoulution, antialising and framerates rip xbox apart. not to mention the available use of cuda. I rip whole dvds from dvds to mp4 in around 15 min. But let me tell you i wish i had spent the 2500 dollars to get a base priced mac tower and another 200 just to put windows on it. then i would still have less power than my 800 dollar rig i built in an hour and have never had a crash. Just Kidding ill stick with my rig. :). better equpment better warranty ( lowest warrenty on my system is a factory replacement 3 year) and I didnt have to pay an additional 300 for it ;)Macs bite the big one.

    Ps if you dont know how to do anything with a computer and have more money than brains then you are a mac. hope you dont want blue ray or media on your tv. lol

  21. Ken Says:

    For most people who’ve recently switched to a Mac, switching back to Windows means either purchasing new hardware to replace new hardware or purchasing an unnecessary additional operating system. I don’t think there are many people who see the economic sense in either one. I certainly don’t.

  22. Luke Says:

    What System 7 will primarily do is to stem the tide of defectors. It wouldn’t necessarily result in Mac users going back to Windows “but” here is reality. The percentage of Mac users that are Windows literate is much higher than the reverse. As a result, if System 7 proves to be even 80% as good most Mac user wouldn’t have too many qualms using it if they need it. The same can’t be said about the remaining Windows users, if System 7 works then why would they change?. So will Apple loose market share? Who knows particularly as Apple has integrated its other products so smoothly into its OS. What’s certain is that the OSX user base wouldn’t be growing much if at all. Of course that could all change if Snow Leopard changes the computing speed paradigm.

  23. Alejandro Nova Says:

    After I switched the southbridge of my HP Pavilion tx1000, affected by the Nvidia issue that nobody wants to talk about, but everyone is experiencing 18 months after buying that laptop, the voice of the technician in the service center quietly came out. And I was astonished. He said simply two words, and an explanation.

    “Buy Toshiba”.

    Why? Cooling systems, in his experience, are all scaled down, except in Toshiba laptops. Even Apple’s are scaled down, and they DO NOT COOL LAPTOPS PROPERLY. So, if it is an advice of someone who has repaired hundreds of laptops, I’m going to take it, and I suggest you to take it too. And Toshiba hasn’t paid me a buck for this.

  24. Andre Richards Says:

    Blake Says: “Ps if you dont know how to do anything with a computer and have more money than brains then you are a mac. hope you dont want blue ray or media on your tv. lol ”

    I don’t use Macs but since the most tech-savvy people I know use Unix machines and Macs are based on BSD, I’d disagree strongly that anyone using Macs don’t know how to do anything.

    So once again, as I said previously, you’re an idiot. The fact that you spent >$1000 to build a PC to play games when there are comparable alternatives for less than a 1/3 of that illustrates that fact quite clearly.

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