Will Windows 7 Hurt Mac Sales?

By  |  Friday, October 16, 2009 at 9:25 am

Apple AnvilAmong the many questions that Windows 7’s imminent release is prompting is this: Will it result in fewer Windows users deciding to switch to Macs, thereby halting the slow erosion in Windows’ market share that we’ve seen during the Vista era? So far, there’s no consensus on wht’s likely to happen:a

I’m not going to predict how Windows 7′ release will impact Mac sales–hey, making no predictions is the best way to avoid making boneheaded ones–but a few thoughts on the dynamics of the competition:

  • Unless Windows 7’s driver situation is worse than it seems and/or PC manufacturers manage to screw the OS up with unwantedware, it’s going to make for better PCs than Windows Vista ever did;
  • I’d still rate Snow Leopard as the better OS, but the gap between the two platforms is smaller than it’s been in a long time;
  • Windows 7 doesn’t do much to reduce the need of Windows users to worry about security in a way that Mac owners don’t;
  • It also doesn’t eliminate such Mac virtues as the bundling of iLife;
  • As John Gruber says, the competition between Windows and Macs only happens at the high end of the market–most people who buy Windows buy it on cheaper, lower-end computers for which there is no Mac counterpart.

Ultimately, I keep coming back to the notion that most people really don’t have any particular desire to switch operating systems. If Windows 7 lives up to its promise and expectations, it’ll leave fewer Windows users tempted to dump the OS. But I suspect that most folks who have made the jump to the Mac aren’t coming back.

Your take?


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. IcyFog Says:

    According to this, http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/10/13/history_suggests_windows_7_launch_could_boost_mac_sales.html
    in the last 10 years Mac sales have increased every time Microsoft releases a new OS.
    There’s also this, http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/10/16/apples_snow_leopard_bests_windows_7_in_speed_tests.html, Snow Leopard is faster than Windows 7.
    As far as backing up data in switching from Windows to Snow Leopard, for $99 one can buy the One to One and Apple specialists with transfer the data for you, in addition to other helpful services. http://www.apple.com/getamac/faq/
    Not to mention that Windows 7 is still Windows that comes with all its legacy problems – registry, virus, certification, etc.
    The choice between the two is crystal clear to me.

  2. Marc Says:

    I’d say it depends on the crapware that manufactures insist of weighing down Windows with. That for me is my biggest complaint.
    Why the likes of QuickTime and Adobe need to run on start-up is beyond me (I delete the offending files and they still run fine!)

  3. tom b Says:

    Windows has three main problems: 1) confusing, inefficient, awkward UI 2) poor performance and stability 3) poor security.

    The latter two points are consequences (in part) of MSFT’s failure to upgrade to UNIX during their Years of Opportunity, 1995(Win95)-2000(release of OS X). To be sure, MSFT was busy fending off the DoJ and Bill Gates was busy retirement planning– they were distracted. Win 7 is still not UNIX, and, though the performance gets back to Win XP levels– that’s nothing to brag about. They’ve had a lot of time to get there.

    As for the UI; MSFT is still MSFT. They think like geeks; not like power users.

    “I’d still rate Snow Leopard as the better OS, but the gap between the two platforms is smaller than it’s been in a long time;”

    Disagree. Snow Leopard added LOTS of performance features; they’re just not being tapped just yet, since SL just came out.

    Also, adoption of Win 7 will be better than 90% through new computer purchases– it will be slow.

    I think, overall, the trend lines won’t waver one way or the other much.

  4. Backlin Says:

    Marc pretty much has it on the money as far as I’m concerned. The majority of Windows 7 sales are going to be through pre-assembled systems, and the amount of garbage-ware varies from manufacturer. Of course, that can’t compete with Apple’s zero amount. Asus so far is the only manufacturer that hardly includes garbage-ware on their machines, but there was a bunch of proprietary software that loaded on first boot, so the effect was still felt, kind of. Boot times were still slower than they could be. A quick upgrade to Windows 7 on my EEE changed that though, since the drivers that were included nullified the need for these proprietary programs, mainly the Bluetooth software.

  5. JDoors Says:

    Mac are gonna sell at whatever rate the market for Macs allows. The real question is: How are Mac sales going to affect the sales of Windows 7, since so many Macs are set up to also run Windows?

  6. Tech Says:

    Microsoft has to do something. They keep losing market share to Apple.

  7. joe620 Says:

    I don’t see much change. A year or two from now Windows will still own the OS market and Mac will still pretend like they do.