Tech pundit Enderle: Apple’s Mac has about 12 months to prepare for Windows Vista threat

“Windows Vista is the biggest release for Microsoft since Windows 95. With that release, Apple was tested — and they failed miserably. I was at Dataquest at the time and not only did I warn Apple to take 95 more seriously, I also accurately forecast the massive decline that would happen to them if they didn’t do just that,” Rob Enderle writes for TechNewsWorld. “This was in 1994, after Steve Jobs had been fired from Apple. Of course, he is back now. Apple is again growing with the market and, unlike 1994, is dominant in an emerging market — digital music players.”

MacDailyNews Note: Apple is not “again growing with the market.” Apple’s Mac unit sales are growing at more than double the overall industry rate.

Enderle continues, “The MS platform has changed dramatically… and it is much greater than just the operating system these days. Apple, on the other hand, hasn’t advanced nearly as much but they are predominantly consumer-based today and less vulnerable to this comparative weakness as a result. Apple will be positioning its Intel-compatible OS version against Vista and they have about 12 months to prepare for the threat. Just like the last time, they will largely leverage hardware this time, and, as before, they will be up against companies with resources that eclipse their own.”

Enderle writes, “Glass is the user interface enhancement that appears to improve on what Apple currently has with Tiger. Granted, Tiger is shipping and Vista isn’t, which gives Apple time to respond. Still, this is the closest to Apple’s capability we have ever seen from Microsoft and for those of us who simply cannot use Apple machines this will be very well received.”

“In 1995 Apple was nearly shut down by a product that wasn’t as visually exciting as Apple’s on hardware that was a pale image of what Apple had on the market. But Windows 95 had more application support and where it lagged Apple the vast majority of buyers found it to be good enough. For this round Vista in many ways is equal to or better than Tiger or more advanced, relatively speaking, than Windows 95 was during its beta period,” Enderle writes.

“As for hardware, unlike 1995, the hardware OEMs not only cover a broader range with companies like Voodoo and Alienware in the mix, but historically staid companies like Gateway, HP, Acer, and even Dell are much more aggressive on design today, often surpassing Apple, which was preeminent in this area in the 90s. While this design parity clearly hasn’t impacted the iPod market yet it is incredibly evident in the PC space,” Enderle writes. “Apple will have to improve its game sharply to compete. However, given the strength at the back end, strength that Apple has never had, the exposure now goes well beyond Apple’s available resources. This means Apple will have to partner to avoid what may be the most damaging competitive threat the company has ever faced. While possible, Apple’s one prevailing weakness has been their inability to partner and unless that changes we should be able to call the outcome of this competition relatively easily — and it isn’t positive for Apple… 2006, at least after August, will be great time for buyers and sellers of PC hardware and that has to be a good thing for everyone — except Apple.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Do you think Apple’s Mac platform “hasn’t advanced nearly as much” as Microsoft’s since 1995? If so, how much crack do you smoke each day? From what we’ve seen so far, does Windows Vista’s user interface really “appear to improve on what Apple currently has with Tiger and is Windows Vista really “in many ways equal to or better than Tiger?” If so, have you been hit in the head with an iMac G5 during an earthquake? And, why would Enderle’s statements even matter, as Apple has stated their intention to be shipping Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard on or around Vista’s debut? Do you think “Gateway, HP, Acer, and even Dell are much more aggressive on design today, often surpassing Apple?” If so, are you legally blind or institutionalized? Do you think “Apple will have to partner to avoid what may be the most damaging competitive threat the company has ever faced” within 12 months?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple continues to grow worldwide Macintosh market share – July 25, 2005
Gartner: Apple grows shipments 31 percent in Q2 2005, moves from 5th to 4th in U.S. market share – July 18, 2005
IDC: Apple gains U.S. market share at double overall market rate, up to 4.5 percent for Q2 2005 – July 18, 2005

Microsoft’s Ballmer: It’s true, some of Windows Vista’s features are ‘kissing cousins’ to Mac OS X – September 19, 2005
PC World: Microsoft innovation – an oxymoron – September 15, 2005
Microsoft debuts Dashboard Widgets, er, ‘Microsoft Gadgets’ – September 13, 2005
Microsoft appropriates Apple’s ‘brushed metal’ look for Office 12 for Windows – September 13, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005
Apple to unleash Leopard on Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn; Mac OS X 10.5 due late 2006 – early 2007 – June 07, 2005
Windows czar Allchin says Apple copying Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn – April 27, 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
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Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Microsoft’s Longhorn: ‘They are shamelessly copying us’ – April 21, 2005
Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn will bear more than just a passing resemblance to Apple’s Mac OS X – April 15, 2005
Silicon Valley: Apple CEO Steve Jobs previews ‘Longhorn’ – June 29, 2004
Apple CEO Steve Jobs: Mac OS X Tiger ‘is going to drive the copycats crazy – June 28, 2004
Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs previews Mac OS X 10.4 ‘Tiger’ to ship in the first half of 2005 – June 28, 2004
Apple takes dead aim at Microsoft, ‘Longhorn’ with WWDC Mac OS X 10.4 ‘Tiger’ ads – June 28, 2004
PC Magazine: Microsoft ‘Longhorn’ preview shows ‘an Apple look’ – May 06, 2004
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Apple leads; Wintel follows as usual – November 11, 2002


  1. Meanwhile, AAPL hits yet another all-time high today. Seems Enderle must be in the vast minority with his purported outlook on the future. Here’s my prediction…in 12 months, he’ll still be an idiotic tool.

  2. Wow! Enderle has surpassed even Thurrott’s most inane comments with this one. Well done sir!

    I think his funniest line had to be the one about all the other computer company’s designs being better than Apple. Jonathan Ive leaves more talent in the bathroom each morning than all of those clowns have combined.

    Windows will never be a threat to Apple. I don’t know a single person that has EVER switched from the Mac to the PC, but I know dozens who have switched to the Mac.

    Frankly I don’t know how he managed to write this article, what with all the laughing hysterically and rolling on the floor he must have been doing. Rob, do us all a favor and sit under an iMac during an earthquake, OK?

  3. Yes, Enderle is a retard and I still crack up at the whole iMac/earthquake thing, but there is a small core of truth in all this that makes me sad.

    Namely, Vista will introduce to Windows users a few features we all take for granted (Widgets, nice-looking icons, better searching, security improvemets, end of the Fisher-Price look) and Windows users will fall all over themselves at how great all these things are.

    The fact that we’ve been using and enjoying all these things for years simply won’t matter. They’ll be trumpeted as “new” and “innovative.” And the masses will buy it.

    Seen it before and we’ll see it again.

  4. Why does this guy _have_ to be crazy?

    Okay, so he gets it wrong about Apple’s growth and doesn’t give credit for innovation, but there is one core truth:

    Apple DOES have about 12 months to prepare for the largest threat from Redmond in nearly 5 years.

    Riddle me this: if Tiger is so far superior to Windows XP, and Vista will no doubt close some of that gap, then how is Apple going to convince people to choose OS X over Vista if they can’t convince them to choose OS X over XP?

    I am a switcher, but I am also a realist – Apple needs to do some ADVERTISING and get people to switch NOW, not in 12 months!

    MDN word: called

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