Interesting article on the "OS Wars"

This article from PC Magazine is interesting. It does a fairly good job of looking at the pros and cons of various OS’, without the silliness of most such discussions. The only aspects of it I think are a little unfair are the “Price” and “Installation” scores, both of which rate Mac OS better than either Windows XP or Vista.

On the price side, while it is true that you can buy Mac OS for less than Windows, you cannot (at least if you are a typical user) install it on your existing, non-Mac hardware. So the true cost of a typical user switching to Mac OS includes the cost of buying a completely new computer, at a premium price.

On the installation side, again the comparison is not quite fair. Both Windows and Linux are general-purpose OS’ which have to be able to install on a wide-range of hardware and almost unlimited permutations of hardware configurations. Again, Apple does not have this problem with Mac OS, since Apple tightly constrains (though not as tightly as it used to) the hardware configurations with which Mac OS must contend.

Overall, though, not a bad article.

Vista is a failure? Mac is a success?

This post was prompted by a post I saw on the WordPress “TagSurfer” about the current market share between various operating systems and OS versions. I cannot find that post again, so I looked up the stats at http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=10, and the numbers looked much the same as I recall from the post.

What jumps out at me from the stats is this: Vista is at 9.19% (after about a year in the wild), and Mac is at 6.81%. And yet, Vista is widely perceived as a failure, and Mac is perceived to be on a roll. How much of a roll can Mac be on if they still do not have the market penetration of a new OS that everyone supposedly hates?

What these numbers say to me is that marketers, fan boys, and other obsessives can spin the numbers to say whatever they want you to buy!

Leopard will open the Mac OS X floodgates (and embarass Microsoft)?

Leopard will open the Mac OS X floodgates (and embarass Microsoft) – nice thought, but not very realistic. The fact is, Apple will continue to eat away a Microsoft’s dominance, especially in certain segments of the market (primarily those who would not be running Windows anyway), but will not become the dominant desktop OS (and hence, will not destroy Microsoft) unless Apple stops being a radically proprietary, closed environment, and lets users buy the OS and run it on whatever hardware they want. Same battle Apple lost in the 80s – seems they never learn.This assumes, of course, that Apple wants to be an OS vendor – maybe they are not stupid, they just do not want to compete in that market.