Mitchell Ashley wrote that, "Apple's Window To Gain PC Market Share Is Narrowing." Unfortunately, I have to agree with him. In his post for NetWorkWorld, he sites that Windows 7's stability, and UI improvements, etc., will be more than enough to compel more Windows users, both private and business, to upgrade than Vista ever did.
One clear indication, that he is right on the money, can be found simply by glancing at the number of positive reviews on the various Windows 7 public betas. These reviews, many absolutely glowing, have been the complete opposite of what we have seen for Vista. Just as Vista was drowning in a sea of negative press, Windows 7 seems to be happily swimming along as it continues to attract even more positive press the closer it gets to it's release date in October. Quite the contrast I say.
However, even though Mitchell correctly points out that OS X's market numbers have fallen somewhat lately as compared to Windows, I believe that he is wrong as to why. The real reasons are clearly, I believe, because of the recession and the sudden rise of low cost netbooks and certainly not because Windows has suddenly become a better OS than OS X, or that OS X is somehow suddenly loosing it's appeal. Trust me, when the recession is over, things will begin to change in OS X's favor, because just like Mitchell, I too believe that OS X is here to stay.
None-the-less, even though Windows 7 won't be anywhere near as cool, as stable, as fast, as secure, or even as fun as OS X Snow Leopard, I'm afraid that I have to agree that the preception of it being "good enough" will be that indeed - good enough for most Window users to upgrade to Windows 7. This, in turn, will also impact on OS X ability to really grab significant market share at Windows expense. However, I don't necessarily think it will be as big as Mitchell and others may predict it will be. In fact, even though future OS X growth might be a little slower than it otherwise might be, thanks to Windows 7, OS X will still grow and continue to grab market share away from Windows, albeit in smaller numbers and at a slower pace. But grow it will, trust me.
One of the reasons for this is simple - Windows users are discovering and are now demanding more choice! Gone are the days when people will simply be content on having only one source for an OS, and a source that, more-or-less, can get away with jamming anything down their throats the way Microsoft has traditionally been known to do in the past. Windows users have grown so accustomed to so much crap from Microsoft that they have simply and passively learned to accept it as a part of normal life. Thankfully, however, growing numbers of Windows users are beginning to wake up to the idea that they do, in fact, have not only alternatives, but even superior alternatives to Microsoft's inferior products, be it in the form of OS X or Linux.
Still another reason is that Apple's mighty PR machine has and will continue to educate people on that fact, that Windows isn't the only game in town. With more money in the bank than Microsoft itself, Apple now has the means, as long as it doesn't get to cocky, too complacent and lets it's guard down, to take on anything that Microsoft can throw at it. Microsoft has been learning a lot from Apple lately and its beginning to show in their products, and thus making it harder, but not impossible, for Apple to educate people by poking fun at Windows. Joking about Microsoft, of course, is serious business as far as Apple is concerned. It's a lot easier, after all, and much more effective to educate people if you can do it in a humorous way, as Apple has done with it's famous "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" ads. Vista was an easy target in this regard, but Windows 7 will be a lot harder, but still doable. Since Windows 7 addresses so many of Vista's faults, it will be interesting to see just how they will effect Apple's "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" ads. Could it even force Apple to take a different approach in it's advertising, by doing away with it's "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" ads altogether?
So, in the end, will Windows 7 put Snow Leopard on the endangered List?
No, not at all - not by a long shot!
Further more, it won't even stop OS X from grabbing more market share from Windows. It could, however, slow it down and lessen it's impact, unless, of course, Apple does something really radical like license it's OS to all comers. I don't expect that at least in my life time, but, if it ever did, it would be a completely different ball game, and who knows - it might just be game over for Windows 7! Not really, but if Apple ever did license OS X Snow Leopard to the likes of Dell, HP, Sony, Lenovo, etc., well, it would surely shake the market up big time! Unfortunately, for Apple, the best time to have done so would have been just after Vista came out and not before or just after Windows 7 comes out. I'm not sure about licensing, but without it Apple's chances for grabbing some really, really significant market share from Windows may have just, well - flown out the window!
Of course, I could be dead wrong on that, and, quite frankly, I really hope I am.
And that's my 2 cents 4 this Thursday, June 18, 2009
Windows 7 logo via: Techslant.com