InformationWeek Review: Apple’s Mac OS X shines in comparison with Microsoft’s Windows Vista

“If you believe all the hype, installing the new Windows Vista operating system will solve world famine, end the AIDS crisis and bring about world peace. Well, maybe no one is saying it’s that great, but the clamor and fuss have been pretty boisterous,” John C. Welch reports for InformationWeek.

Welch reports, “Hidden behind all of this hoopla, however, is the fact that as much of an improvement Vista is over XP, its main competitor, Mac OS X, still stacks up really well — and even tops Vista in several important areas.”

“While Mac OS X has been steadily evolving through 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 and 10.4, and is now working towards 10.5, Microsoft was waiting on what would become Vista. When it was obvious the original Longhorn OS wasn’t going to happen, they took the Windows Server 2003 code base and used that for the basis of Vista. They also chopped quite a few features out of Vista, most notably the WinFS object-based data storage and management system, which had been promised in various forms since the first blurbs about Cairo in the early 1990s,” Welch reports.

Welch reports, “Microsoft had two serious issues. First, they had to make this update of Windows revolutionary enough that it came close to justifying the delay. Second, they had to come up with something that would stand up well with its main competitor in the desktop OS market, Mac OS X. Have they succeeded at both? I’d argue that the former’s almost a non-issue: Vista will sell well, because the world won’t have a choice. As far as the latter, well, probably, but you’d be hard-pressed to say Vista’s better than Mac OS X.”

Welch reports, “For Mac OS X, it’s the classic English butler. This OS is designed to make the times you have to interact with it as quick and efficient as possible. It expects that things will work correctly, and therefore sees no reason to bother you with correct operation confirmations… Windows is…well, Windows is very eager to tell you what’s going on. Constantly. Plug something in, and you get a message. Unplug something and you get a message. If you’re on a network that’s having problems staying up, you’ll get tons of messages telling you this. It’s rather like dealing with an overexcited Boy Scout…who has a lifetime supply of chocolate-covered espresso beans… To put it simply, you can work on a Mac for hours, days even, and only minimally need to directly use the OS. With Vista? The OS demands your attention, constantly.”

Welch reports, “I’ve yet to see anything in Vista that blows away the Mac OS, even a version of the Mac OS that’s over a year old. Microsoft still can’t manage to make something simple and easy to use. Vista reeks of committee and design by massive consensus, while OS X shines from an intense focus on doing things in a simple, clear fashion and design for the user, not the programmer.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “π” for the heads up.]

Related MacDailyNews articles:
NY Times’ Pogue reviews Microsoft’s Windows Vista: ‘Looks, Locks, Lacks’ – December 14, 2006
Forbes: Microsoft Windows Vista boss suffers from Mac envy – December 12, 2006
Unlike Microsoft’s Windows Vista, Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard will create no new jobs – December 12, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista: obsolete on arrival? – December 04, 2006
InformationWeek: Now that Vista is the past, let’s look at the future: Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard – December 02, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista and Office 2007 releases generate yawns – December 02, 2006
Dave Winer: ‘Microsoft isn’t an innovator, and never was – they are always playing catch-up’ – December 01, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista vulnerable to malware from 2004 – November 30, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista developers used Apple Macs for inspiration – November 27, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista is basically Microsoft’s version of Mac OS 9.3 – October 11, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista: If you can’t innovate… try to impersonate Apple’s Mac OS X – August 10, 2006
Microsoft botches another copy job: Windows Vista Flip3D vs. Apple Mac OS X Exposé – June 26, 2006
Windows Vista rips-off Mac OS X at great hardware cost (and Apple gains in the end) – June 13, 2006
Computerworld: Microsoft Windows Vista a distant second-best to Apple Mac OS X – June 02, 2006
Thurrott: Microsoft going to get eaten alive over Windows Vista’s resemblance to Apple’s Mac OS X – March 09, 2006
NY Times’ Pogue on Gates’ CES demo: Most of Vista features unadulterated ripoffs from Apple Mac OS X – January 05, 2006
Analyst: Windows Vista may still impress many consumers because they have not seen Apple’s Mac OS X – January 05, 2006
Apple’s talent and innovation vs. Microsoft’s hype – October 25, 2005
Microsoft’s Windows Vista strives to deliver what Apple’s Mac OS X already offers – October 10, 2005
Thurrott: many of Windows Vista’s upcoming features appeared first in Apple’s Mac OS X – September 26, 2005
Microsoft’s Ballmer: It’s true, some of Windows Vista’s features are ‘kissing cousins’ to Mac OS X – September 18, 2005
PC World: Microsoft innovation – an oxymoron – September 14, 2005
As usual, Apple leads, Microsoft tries to follow – June 02, 2005


  1. No argument here about OS X. I switched about two years ago with the Mini, and although I do like to know what’s going on under the hood, Windows tells the user too much about the inconsequential stuff and too little about the important stuff.

  2. When I drive, I like to look at the scenery, enjoy the music, and maybe think about things that need to be done. That is OSX

    When I was young and po (like Kenny’s parents) I drove a beat up ’66 Chevelle. No breaks-had to use the emergency break-no radio, exhaust busted at the manifold(couldn’t heard music anyhow), no tail lighs, which was a cop magnet, but it was all I had. That was Windows. Loud and dangerous.

    I do kinda wish I still had that Chevelle, though. The guy who bought it fixed it up real nice and cherry.

  3. Great article. Nice to know the Vista still doesn’t get it.

    One of the most annoying things about Windows is that basic functions like cut and paste operate differently in different programs.

    In Excel, although it can sometimes remember multiple copies, often it loses the information. In another program, certain items can only be copied by right clicking.

    What OSX is great about, is limiting the programmer to certain approaches for simple tasks like these.

    The end result is that we all know how to cut and paste in any program.

  4. That was Windows. Loud and dangerous.

    Like Windows, a Chevelle tended to have parts fall off, and needed very regular service so it’d run at all.

    Unlike Windows, a Chevelle was fast, fun, and could land the babes even if was old and beat up. Try that with a PC.

  5. It’s rather like dealing with an overexcited Boy Scout…who has a lifetime supply of chocolate-covered espresso beans…

    Like Steve Ballmer? Or Clippy? Or that big stupid frantic butterfly clown from the old MSN TV commercials? Or someone who “helps” by doing everything they can to get in the way?

    Windows is very eager to tell you what’s going on. Constantly. Plug something in, and you get a message. Unplug something and you get a message.

    OMFG, that crap is still in Vista?!?!

    That is one of my LEAST favorite Windows “features”. It’s like “No shit Sherlock, I know I plugged a camera in! Just make it work without the drama, like Mac does”.

    Dialog boxes that pop up by themselves had better be important. Nobody likes crap-that-shouldn’t-be-necessary throwing itself in the way. Apple gets it, MS doesn’t.

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