“After years and years of waiting, we finally have a reasonably stable Windows Vista beta build to work with. Windows Vista Beta 1 doesn’t feature many end user features per se, but it does include a nearly complete next-generation Windows shell, instant desktop search, a preliminary version of the new Aero user interface, and other useful functionality. For Windows enthusiasts, Windows Vista Beta 1 is a much-needed demonstration that Microsoft can still churn out valuable Windows releases, after years of doubt,” Paul Thurrott writes for Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows. “For Mac OS X users, however, Windows Vista Beta 1 engenders a sense of déjà vu. Isn’t a lot of this stuff already in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger?”

In part one of his comparison, Thurrott looks at:
• Look and Feel: “In short, though there are some bizarre inconsistencies in the Tiger UI, it is far more elegant looking than Aero in Windows Vista Beta 1. That makes sense, as Vista is still in a very early beta version and will likely be improved dramatically in future releases.”
• Desktop Search: “Overall, the search functionality in Windows Vista Beta 1 is very similar to Tiger’s Spotlight.”
• Data visualization and organization: “Even in this early Beta 1 release, Windows Vista far outstrips the data file visualization and organizational features in Mac OS X Tiger. It will be interesting to see what Apple comes up with for Leopard, the next OS X release.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Comparing a beta version to a shipping product that won’t even be the shipping product (that’ll be Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard) when Windows Vista ships is an interesting exercise. The two products likely won’t ever be competing against each other (unless Microsoft is early and Apple is late), but Thurrott’s comparison gives us a sense for where both Apple and Microsoft are today and where they might be heading with future OSes.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Thurrott: Apple Macs offer a safer computing experience than Microsoft Windows PCs – July 20, 2005
Thurrott on spyware: ‘we should have paid more attention to those Apple Switcher ads after all’ – July 08, 2005
Apple to unleash Leopard on Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn; Mac OS X 10.5 due late 2006 – early 2007 – June 07, 2005
Windows tech writer Thurrott: ‘In many ways, Mac OS X Tiger is simply better than Windows’ – May 07, 2005
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