Next week, Microsoft will officially launch its highly anticipated Windows 7, but who actually is it really competing with?
Is its biggest competitor OS X or is it Linux?
Well, as John Gruber of Daring Fireball correctly points out:
"Windows 7’s biggest competitor will be Windows XP, which runs on about 80 percent of PCs, according to combined analyst reports. Microsoft’s first challenge will be getting XP users to move up to Windows 7."
Yes, even though it's certainly competing with both OS X and Linux in one sense, it's really more of case of mind share with them rather than market share, since Windows already has the bulk of that. Windows 7 biggest competitor, and its biggest problem - Windows XP!
As far as Apple goes, in fact, it seems to be actually looking forward to the release of Windows 7 because it firmly believes that it will further drive growth of the Mac, a computer that appeals far more to the well-to-do crowd, than the bottom-of-the-barrel folks who constitutes the majority of Window users, and who are more concerned with the low prices of PCs rather than quality, something that is the highlight of the higher-ended Macs!
I, for one, believe that Windows 7 will be more successful than Vista (hard to believe how anything wouldn't be), but I certainly don't think it will be anywhere near as successful as some are predicting it will be either, because underneath Windows 7.... it's still Vista! Yes, its cleaned up, and has a host of new OS X inspired improvements, but still that doesn't make it better than OS X! Closer to, yes, but actually better... NO!
Windows 7 simply address's the mistakes of Vista's past; while OS X address's the future, a future that will be faster, more powerful and offer the ability to do things that are utterly unthinkable of doing today. The belief that Windows 7 will be adopted mostly by new PC purchasers is certainly correct, but that doesn't mask the fact that the overall majority of PC users are still, and probably will still be.... XP users, and they are not going to be too eager to start throwing out their one, two and three year old computers just in order to be able to use Windows 7!
Already tests are beginning to prove that the longer you use Windows 7, the slower and buggier it gets, and this is something that I have the sneaky feeling will only get worse as time goes by. After all, this has long been the case with previous versions of Windows and apparently Windows 7 will be no different. On the other side of the coin, I predict that the next version of OS X, of which Snow Leopard is only the beginning, things should get faster and better the longer you use it and especially so as developers tap into its new under-the-hood technologies such as Grand Central Dispatch and Open CL, among others.
In the end, as John Gruber pointed out, Windows 7 will basically be competing with the 80% of all of the current Window users, the XP ones, who have already proven that they are very reluctant to give up on XP regardless of any of the advantages that Microsoft touts that Windows 7 has over it.
For me, Windows 7 is nothing more than a new add on toy for my OS X based Macs, and something to occasionally play around with, in order to maybe to play the odd Windows only game.
In the end Windows 7 might be a better Vista, but it ain't no OS X either - not by a long shot!
And that's my 2 cents 4 this Friday, October 16, 2009