Windows is weak, Longhorn will be cosmetic upgrade; Apple can deliver killer blow to Microsoft

“At this point, Longhorn seems to be a largely cosmetic upgrade–something that helps you organize your data a bit better, thanks to graphical views, shortcuts, and desktop search aided by behind-the-scenes indexing. And since most of its key features have been or will be made available for Windows XP, Microsoft finds itself in the unenviable position of trying to convince the public that Longhorn, far from being a crucial update or a hotly anticipated new version, even matters at all. Hint: if you have to say it, it’s already too late,” Molly Wood writes for CNET.com.

“Windows is weak. So where’s the alternative? There may never be another moment in time like this: the giant is flagging, and a few well-aimed slingshot missiles could bring it down for good. Now is the time to beat Microsoft,” Wood writes. “I think Apple is the most perfectly poised to strike a killer blow. But it will have to untie the Mac from OS X. Some people want attractive, killer-design, expensive hardware, and that’s why they buy Sony and Apple. Other people–and a heck of a lot more of them–want function-over-form, inexpensive hardware that they can buy, sell, hack, and tweak like any other commodity. They buy Dell, Gateway, and Windows. If those people start buying Tiger, Apple suddenly owns the joint.”

Wood writes, “This scenario is not even remotely out of the realm of possibility. Tiger is based on Unix, for Pete’s sake. There’s no reason it can’t run on Intel-based PCs. Apple’s already using Intel processors in its Xserve RAID storage system. Steve Jobs said in 2003 that it was technically feasible to port OS X–then in Panther stages–to any processor, but as recently as February, Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said the company has no plans to switch platforms. It should. People would use OS X if they didn’t have to buy a new computer to get it (heck, by some accounts, Tiger and Longhorn are darn near the same thing). Apple should do the switching for them.”

Full article, highly recommended, here.

MacDailyNews Take: In order to minimize issues, Apple could go halfway and license “Mac OS X for x86” to Apple certified vendors like Sony or HP. These systems could be designed to run Mac OS X and recommended peripherals could be certified “Made for Max OS X x86.” This would help ensure the seamless, “It Just Works” Mac experience for consumers of such boxes. And remember, Apple offers email, browser, music, photo, calendar, etc. apps all bundled. The user would have much of what they need and could ditch old Windows apps. Thanks to iPod’s success, Apple is now positioned to take any revenue hit they might experience from a loss of Mac hardware revenue. What do you think?

Of note: Window tech writer Paul Thurrott, while attending WinHEC 2005 yesterday, wrote in his blog, “This one’s bizarre, but we heard at lunch today that Apple is unhappy with the PowerPC production at IBM and will be switching to Intel-compatible chips this very year.” Full article here. Take it for what it’s worth.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Why doesn’t Apple advertise Mac OS X on TV? – April 12, 2005
iPod success opens door to Mac OS X on Intel – March 04, 2004

Thurrott: ‘Longhorn is in complete disarray and in danger of collapsing under its own weight’ – April 27, 2005
Thurrott: Longhorn ‘has the makings of a train wreck’ – April 26, 2005
Thurrott: Longhorn demos ‘unimpressive, fall short of graphical excellence found today in Mac OS X’ – April 26, 2005
Microsoft employees leaving due to (and blogging about) malaise smothering company – April 25, 2005
eWEEK Editor Coursey: Longhorn so far ‘looks shockingly like a Macintosh’ – April 25, 2005
Due in late 2006, many of Windows Longhorn’s features have been in Mac OS X since 2001 – April 25, 2005
Apple’s Tiger debuts Friday while Microsoft’s Longhorn is burdened with one delay after another – April 25, 2005
Nearly every segment of the PC food chain needs Longhorn to succeed – April 22, 2005
Microsoft’s new mantra: ‘It Just Works’ ripped straight from Apple’s ‘Switch’ campaign – April 22, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Microsoft’s Longhorn: ‘They are shamelessly copying us’ – April 21, 2005
Apple shows off Mac OS Tiger in Microsoft’s backyard while Microsoft previews Windows XP ad push – April 19, 2005
Apple’s Mac OS X reality vs. Microsoft’s Longhorn fantasy – April 19, 2005
Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn will bear more than just a passing resemblance to Apple’s Mac OS X – April 15, 2005
Analyst: ‘Microsoft’s Longhorn is going to have hard time upstaging Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger’ – April 13, 2005
Analyst: Apple in ‘position to exploit Microsoft missteps, claim leadership’ with Mac OS X Tiger – April 13, 2005
Apple’s Schiller: Mac OS X Tiger ‘has created even more distance between us and Microsoft’ – April 13, 2005
Will Mac OS X Tiger add fuel to Apple’s recent momentum in the computer business? – April 13, 2005
Why doesn’t Apple advertise Mac OS X on TV? – April 12, 2005
Analyst: Tiger proves ‘Apple is light years ahead of Microsoft in developing PC operating systems’ – April 12, 2005
Apple to ship Mac OS X ‘Tiger’ on Friday, April 29; pre-orders start today – April 12, 2005
Apple Announces Mac OS X Server ‘Tiger’ to ship Friday, April 29 with 64-bit application support – April 12, 2005
Analysts: Apple’s new Tiger operating system could really impact Mac sales – April 12, 2005
Piper Jaffray raises Apple estimates on Mac OS X ‘Tiger’ release news – April 12, 2005
Apple’s Mac OS X ‘Tiger’ vs. Microsoft’s Windows ‘Longhorn’ – March 31, 2005
New Microsoft Longhorn chief was former Pepto-Bismol brand manager – March 18, 2005
Microsoft’s Longhorn fantasy vs. Apple’s Mac OS X reality – September 14, 2004
Is Microsoft’s stripped-down ‘Longhorn’ worth waiting for? – September 10, 2004
Silicon Valley: Apple CEO Steve Jobs previews ‘Longhorn’ – June 29, 2004
PC Magazine: Microsoft ‘Longhorn’ preview shows ‘an Apple look’ – May 06, 2004
Microsoft concerned that Longhorn’s look and feel will be copied if revealed too soon – August 25, 2003
Windows ‘Longhorn’ to add translucent windows that ripple and shrink by 2005 – May 19, 2003

61 Comments

  1. “If those people start buying Tiger, Apple suddenly owns the joint.”

    Problem is, they never will. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    “Yeah, Apple needs to sell a $499 computer, dammit!”

    Yeah, with a keyboard/mouse and a monitor for that price, they’d have a better time selling. When the likes of dell are selling Complete systems with a free printer for $349, Apple cant compete with that.

  2. Apple can´t market itself or products…sheesh, is that difficult to have a 2-3% marketshare in any market?

    Steve is spending all his time trying to maintain his personal image in the press and stamping out secret leakers like some whacked out, paranoid Howard Hughes.

    Hey, Steve, its about the products – not you!

  3. FORGET x86
    The single-core 32-bit era of computing is coming to a close and Microsoft won, like it or not. Worrying about trying to overcome inertia in the 32-bit world of Wal-Mart $399 computers is Monday morning Quarterbacking. Let the cheapskates run Lindows/Linspire.
    The NeXT era is dawning– defined by multi-core processors, 64-bit, heavily network capable and aware. This market is up for grabs and Apple is in the lead, technology wise.

  4. A better middle ground would be to license OS X to IBM for their Power servers. Keep the club small and controlled. Apple does not want to cease to be a hardware company. the x86 bargin market is not a place to be, but a move with IBM could help increase both companies sales and give OS X a shot in the arm in the enterprise market.

    Let micrsoft keep 60-70% of the market that represents the pirates and get apple to the 20-40% range where all the apps are available but no need to cater to the lowend and give up their profitable computers.

  5. “Yeah, Apple needs to sell a $499 computer, dammit!”
    – Yes, the mini is a great deal considering the quality and the software that you’re getting, but a lot of PC users won’t see it that way. PC manufacturers are throwing in free monitors and printers with a below $500 price tag.

    But you may say that the systems they’re selling for $400 are filled with cheap parts. True, but so is the mini. Cheap harddrive, DVD/CD drive, slow processor and inadequate memory is inside the mini too. And the cheapest PC Dell has to offer is usable despite what many of you think. How many people are still using one or two year old computers? Well, that’s probably comparable to the Dell $350 computer systems. Perfectly usable for what a lot of consumers are looking for.

    Sometimes on a limited budget, the initial cost is the most important factor.

  6. Up to a point I agree with bobby. What Apple should do is to license the Mac motherboard to perhaps 2/3 top tier vendors – IBM, Sony and Toshiba spring to mind. That way they keep control of the experience.

    What they are trying to do is to reduce dependence on the Mac hardware as their main source of income. If they get the revenue from the iPod and its variants plus other stuff up to more than 50% or so of the total, then I think we will see licensing, but it won’t be in the same form as MS with X86.

    X86 is a disaster area which Apple should stay well away from. Why do you think IBM sold their PC division?

    Tacitus

  7. Licensing software is obviously something Apple is trying to avoid. Apple is trying to sell hardware, which offers more profit per unit shipped. This is not a bad thing, either. Macs are better machines from the bottom up. While we can still modify our Macs, I think most, if not all, mac users would be dissapointed if Apple sold out to second-grade hardware vendors. How well would OSX run on a $349 dell? My bet is not as well as even a basic mini.

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