Apple has reinvigorated the operating system battle with Microsoft

“Apple is the prospector, the trailblazer. Microsoft is the Borg. Apple’s technology tends to work extremely well and is intuitive. Microsoft’s works with everything, eventually. Microsoft will never, ever, ever come up with a piece of functional engineering as breathtakingly beautiful as the iMac. Still, Apple [supposedly] lost the operating system war. So it went elsewhere,” Bill Mann writes for The Motley Fool.

“Its jiujitsu moves are paying off. First and foremost, the smashing success of the iPod digital music players, where Apple has managed to introduce product lines in succession without cannibalizing itself. This was an extremely smart move, since music management has turned out to be a killer app. Apple’s iPod and iTunes have become the default as the company has exploited two elements: its design and usability prowess and a marketplace fractured with standard and interoperability issues. If you don’t know what operates with what, your default is to go with the one you know works well, and that’s the iPod,” Mann writes.

“You can see how prevalent this tool is by regarding the actions of Apple’s competition: Napster has essentially ceded the pay-per-download market to Apple by focusing its marketing on monthly subscriptions — in my opinion a strategy that is a loser, since Napster doesn’t work with, you guessed it, iPods,” Mann writes. “What the iPod has managed to do is kick-start and revive the operating system war. If your most cherished technological possession (besides the portable electronic I-Ching, of course) is your iPod, and you’re at the point of replacement for your computer, why not consider a Mac? Moreover, Microsoft has helped here with its consistently-under-viral-Spyware-and-adware bombardment Internet browser and email client. People who primarily use their computers for browsing, communications, and music management have a new low-cost, hassle-free, typically awesome product for these purposes, the Mac Mini.”

“Essentially, Apple has reinvigorated the operating system battle with Microsoft by focusing on everything but operating systems. Given its low level of penetration, it doesn’t have to take much of the market in order to make a huge difference to its bottom line,” Mann writes.

Read the full article for context here.

You can also vote for either Apple or Microsoft in The Motley Fool’s Stock Madness 2005 poll here. Microsoft currently leads Apple 66% to 34%. You know what to do.


  1. Now here’s a thought – have MS done the exact opposite with the X-Box?? For a long time the compelling reasons people give for buying a PC have been MS Office (as most people’s work and schools use it) and games. There’s no compatibility issues with Office on the Mac and to be frank, the upgrade price on the PC is little different to a new educational copy (which most home users qualify for). Meanwhile, X-box is undermining the PC as a gaming platform – the shelf space for PC games in local computer stores has plunged as that for X-box has increased. Still more than the space for Mac games – i.e. none.

  2. here is my question. Gaming hardware (Playstation, XBox and Gamecube) are all sold at a loss, a huge loss as I understand it. Where money is made is the game sales. SSSOOOOO, why wouldnt one of these companies (Nintendo most likely) make a deal with Apple to make the games compatible with both the console and the computer and have 2 possible platforms for playing games instaed of just 1. I know it will never happen

  3. Buffy: Partly because their is no dev platform for making games portable to two platforms as distinct as the two. They would have to make them twice.

    And as far as the OS wars goes…Who cares? I use em both, I like em both, They both have pro’s and con’s. I actually switched full time to my G5 for about a month. But really I have no need to switch completely. And some of ther things I do my PC just does better. Other My mac does better. They are both kick ass. And I wouldnt want either to go away as their both extremely effective in all areas.

    MW Served as in “thats what you just got”

  4. Buffy: Partly because their is no dev platform for making games portable to two platforms as distinct as the two. They would have to make them twice.

    What??? Most games are written in C/C++ because there is no better language as far as game performance prowess is concerned. OpenGL is cross-platform to a wide variety of computer platforms (Mac, PC, Amiga, etc…). Making subtle changes to code will always apply, but coding a game completely twice is absurd. I can see if a game was tailored for DirectX, then that would put a wrench to the whole development situation.

  5. I think Office, Photoshop, GoLive and of course the gaming is better on the PC side. To me Windows just seems snappier and quicker than OS X, Thats just my Opinion though.

  6. KernelPanic

    You have fun with your PC then…. These things just work better on the mac – especially Photoshop. Most of my windows friends that have switched love office better on the Mac as well.

  7. In all the articles I’ve seen about the Mac mini, no one has mentioned schools as part of the upgrade cycle. This looks to be a market forgotten by most as new PC users rush to replace their virus-ridden PCs.

    This may be the real story of the Mac mini, grab the PC switchers first, then the schools. Either way, Apple and everyone who buys one wins.

  8. KernelPanic – you crack me up… I thought you had some program that actually worked better on the PC or something that was not available on the mac… Photshop…now thats funny

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