Windows tech writer Thurrott: ‘In many ways, Mac OS X Tiger is simply better than Windows’

“Late last month, Microsoft finally issued its first public build of Longhorn, build 5048… some features, like the Sidebar and the new system-wide Contacts utility, are missing in action in 5048. There are reasons for these omissions. None of them are particularly good… Between WinHEC 2004 and WinHEC 2005, and while Longhorn was silently being re-engineered, Microsoft publicly revealed that Longhorn was changing somewhat. First, the WinFS data storage engine would be delayed until after Longhorn shipped, though Microsoft promised a beta version of WinFS around the same time that Longhorn was completed and vowed to include most of the instant desktop search functionality in Longhorn regardless. Second, key Longhorn technologies, such as Avalon and Indigo, would be ported to Windows XP with SP2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, and the x64 versions of XP and 2003, to ensure developers that they would have a big enough market to target. Microsoft also vowed to ship Longhorn in 2006,” Paul Thurrott writes for Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows.

“I have to be honest here. After a year without a single new Longhorn build and very little concrete information about what was going on with the project, I had high expectations for build 5048. And a pre-WinHEC briefing with the software giant did nothing to assuage those hopes. Plus, I’ve seen advanced Longhorn UI work and I knew how cool this thing was going to be,” Thurrott writes. “Build 5048 communicates none of that. And that’s a shame, because Microsoft had a chance to ramp up the momentum of a product that, quite frankly, could use a little momentum. On the one hand, we have Windows XP with SP2, which many people describe as ‘good enough,’ a phrase that will haunt Microsoft for years to come as it tries to foist new Windows and Microsoft Office versions on them with decreasing success. On the other hand, I present the competition, Linux and Mac OS X. The Linux market may be convoluted and disjointed, but Linux, too, is ‘good enough,’ and it’s free, along with ‘good enough’ applications like and better Web browsers, like Firefox.”

Thurrott writes, “It gets worse. Apple’s Mac OS X, recently upgraded to version 10.4 Tiger, is more than ‘good enough.’ In many ways, OS X is simply better than Windows, especially for experienced computer users, and Tiger rubs Microsoft’s nose in the embarrassment of shipping a key Longhorn feature–instant desktop search–a full year ahead of the software giant. That’s right folks. We already knew that Microsoft was facing smaller, nimbler competitors. But those competitors are now starting to outperform Microsoft in the feature department too. It’s time for Redmond to stop pretending Linux and OS X don’t exist… Anyway, Longhorn build 5048 is pretty boring… Here’s what I found out about this build during a busy week of testing.”

Thurrott glumly covers the state of Longhorn in his full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Sometimes waking up can be painful and Thurrott seems to be doing it in print for everyone to read. Hopefully, the honesty keeps flowing and, while it does, Thurrott’s articles provide good insights, information, and are interesting reads. Kudos to Thurrott for calling it like it is for all to see.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
EarthWeb: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger is a ‘serious enterprise operating system, a pivotal release’ – May 06, 2005
RUMOR: Apple to release Mac OS X 10.4.1 Tiger Update by mid to late-May – May 06, 2005
BusinessWeek: ‘Tiger bolsters Mac OS X’s edge as the best personal-computer operating system’ – May 06, 2005
The Guardian: Mac OS X Tiger a powerful solution while Microsoft’s Longhorn remains on drawing board – May 06, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times: Mac OS X Tiger shows ‘there’s never been a more compelling time to switch to Mac’ – May 05, 2005
Dan Gillmor: ‘With Mac OS X Tiger, Apple is plainly in the lead today’ – May 05, 2005
Jupiter Research VP: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘runs rings around Microsoft Windows’ – May 04, 2005
The Independent: Apple’s ‘faster, smarter, simpler’ Mac OS X Tiger ‘a must-have’ – May 04, 2005
Mac OS X Tiger review for a Windows PC audience finds Tiger’s ‘far, far better than Windows XP’ – May 03, 2005
Longhorn mentioned in nearly every Apple Mac OS X Tiger review to assuage Windows masses – May 02, 2005
Boston Herald: Mac OS X Tiger should compel Windows PC users to think about switching to Apple Mac – May 02, 2005
Mac OS X Tiger will likely improve performance of your Macintosh – April 30, 2005
PC World review gives Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger 4.5 stars out of 5 – April 30, 2005
Forrester analysts: Apple should advertise Mac OS X Tiger on television and in movie theaters – April 29, 2005
Ars Technica: Mac OS X Tiger ‘at least twice as significant as any single past update’ – April 28, 2005
BusinessWeek: ‘Tiger bolsters Mac OS X’s edge as the best personal-computer operating system around’ – April 28, 2005
Associated Press: Mac OS X Tiger ‘provides another excellent incentive to switch from Windows’ – April 28, 2005
Mossberg: Apple’s Tiger ‘the best, most advanced personal computer operating system on the market’ – April 28, 2005
InformationWeek columnist: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘a compelling upgrade’ – April 28, 2005
NY Times: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger is the most secure, stable and satisfying OS on earth – April 28, 2005
Windows is weak, Longhorn will be cosmetic upgrade; Apple can deliver killer blow to Microsoft – April 27, 2005
Thurrott: ‘Longhorn is in complete disarray and in danger of collapsing under its own weight’ – April 27, 2005
Wired News: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘full of welcome surprises’ – 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
Apple posts QuickTime movies of Mac OS X Tiger features in action – April 13, 2005


  1. He still makes me nervous. I envision the releaser of Longhorn to be hailed as something akin to Lazarus coming back from the dead.

    I already hear Thurrott’s trumpetting fanfare proclaiming the arrival of the new M$ king. Ugh.

    Take what he says with a huge old chunk of salt.

  2. Well, what can I say. Saying these things is a lot less painful than just coming out and saying I’ve been wrong. If I did that, how could I sell myself as a consultant to the 95 percent drones who use Windows?

  3. Poor Longhorn! How sad for PC users. Paul has always put an overly exaggerated positive spin on everything Microsoft. In this article by Paul, he sounds like he just returned from his mother’s funeral, where they dropped the casket or something. This is a must read for all the PC trolls who visit MDN Read it and weep! Very entertaining read for Mac users. GO Apple Computer—GO TIGER! YEAH BOY!

  4. LIES, LIES AND ALL LIES. Thurrott you are selling out. You have been bewitched by the mac zealots and are drinking their kool-aid. See if me and the mrs. ever have you over again to play with our toys. Windows rules; Bill Gates is a genius. Redmond is Paradise on earth. Longhorn kicks Tiger’s but (when it gets of the chute in about 2 years), but nonetheless……

    Ron “keep the checks from Gates coming” Enderle

  5. Nice. As for the receptive press about Mac continuing from Mr. Thurrott? Sure, why wouldn’t it? Frankly however, I think we might serve ourselves well if we got used to living compatibly in the same house with large numbers of people who, like Thurrott, also have both a normal commitment and an understandable endearment to Windows. These folks are invested in that product. Changes in investment take time.

    That said, I’m skepitical about this “Switch” business. I suspect that, initially at least, it will be more a circumstance of ‘adding-on’ than ‘switching’. It seems unlikely that many PC users would actually be abruptly and totally abandoning their old Windows boxes just because they got their first Mac. More likely they’ll be running both PC and Mac side by side and together for a while (just like Thurrott). Under that scenario, not only would they continue to have reasonably supportive comments about Windows but, in-so-far as these folks would then indeed also be part of the Mac community, we long term Mac users might do well to find their comments acceptable. After all, when Mac takes double digit market share (and it will), by default there would likely be more Mac users newly arrived from the PC camp than there are current Mac only users.

    Anyway, Thurrott’s sometimes perplexing duality may well be a good indication of the upcoming mixed emotions that will be commonly expressed as more and more people acquire that new Mac to accompany their already existing PC. We should probably percieve it as reasonable and get on with the business of being a greatly expanded and compatible user community

  6. He still needs to be treated like a dog that you’re never sure will bite. The next time MS so much as adds a new font, he’ll be all over trashing Apple again.

  7. Thurrott is just realizing that Microsoft won’t be around long enough to compensate him for his previous delusional beliefs.

    Make sure to click the link above when he writes something positive or at least honest about Apple.

    We want to support Thurrott when he advertises for Apple.

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