Mossberg: Microsoft’s Windows Vista offers lesser imitations of Apple’s Mac OS X features

“A new version of Microsoft Windows, the world’s most popular and important computer operating system, will finally arrive for consumers on Jan. 30. It has taken the giant software maker more than five years to replace Windows XP with this new version, called Windows Vista — an eternity by computer-industry reckoning. Many of the boldest plans for Vista were discarded in that lengthy process, and what’s left is a worthy, but largely unexciting, product,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.

Mossberg reports, “After months of testing Vista on multiple computers, new and old, I believe it is the best version of Windows that Microsoft has produced. However, while navigation has been improved, Vista isn’t a breakthrough in ease of use. Overall, it works pretty much the same way as Windows XP.”

Mossberg reports, “Nearly all of the major, visible new features in Vista are already available in Apple’s operating system, called Mac OS X, which came out in 2001 and received its last major upgrade in 2005. And Apple is about to leap ahead again with a new version of OS X, called Leopard, due this spring.”

MacDailyNews Take: It’s unfortunate that Mossberg falls into this trap. Mac OS X Tiger is already ahead of Vista – as many reviewers have already pointed out (see related articles below). Apple doesn’t doesn’t need Leopard to “leap ahead again.” This is something we expect from lazy and/or ignorant tech reviewers, not a journalist the caliber of Mossberg.

Mossberg continues, “Microsoft says Vista is much more secure than any other operating system. But this is hard to prove, especially at the beginning of its life, when few hackers and malefactors have access to it. One visible security feature asks for your permission before you do potentially dangerous tasks, like installing new software. This is a good thing, and it’s been on the Macintosh for years. But unlike the Mac version, the Vista version of this permission feature doesn’t necessarily require you to type in a password, so a stranger or a child using your PC could grant permission for something you yourself might not allow.”

“The new Aero interface is lovely, and it makes using a PC more pleasant and efficient. It apes some elements on the Macintosh but retains a distinct look and feel. Icons of folders look three dimensional, and they pop. Most file icons are thumbnails that show a tiny preview of the underlying document… As on the Mac, you can now drag favorite folders into a list at the left of open windows, so it’s easy to get to them… A new feature called Flip 3D shows a 3D view of all the programs you’re running and lets you scroll through them. It’s like the Mac’s excellent Exposé feature, though not quite as handy… Another new feature, called the Sidebar, is a vertical strip at the side of the screen that can contain tiny programs, called Gadgets, displaying things like favorite photos, news headlines, stock prices and the weather. Once again, this is awfully similar to a Macintosh feature called Dashboard, which displays tiny programs called Widgets,” Mossberg reports.

“Like the Mac, Windows now has rapid, universal, built-in search, a very welcome thing. The main search box is contained at the bottom of the Start menu, and it works well. Other search boxes appear in every open window,” Mossberg reports. “You can also save searches as virtual folders, which will keep collecting files that meet your search criteria. This is another feature introduced earlier by Apple.”

Mossberg reports, “As on the Mac, Windows now has a nice, centralized Calendar program. And there’s a new photo-organizing program, Windows Photo Gallery, but it’s inferior to Apple’s iPhoto because it doesn’t allow you to create photo books, or add music to slide shows. There’s also a pretty rudimentary DVD-burning program. The familiar WordPad program can no longer open Microsoft Word files (ironically, Apple’s free built-in word processor does).”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Windows Vista disappointment drives longtime ‘Microsoft apologist’ to Apple’s Mac OS X – January 17, 2007
InformationWeek Review: Apple’s Mac OS X shines in comparison with Microsoft’s Windows Vista – January 06, 2007
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
15-year Windows vet tries Apple Mac: ‘My God! This is amazing!’ – December 04, 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
Harvard Medical School CIO picks Mac OS X over Linux and Windows – November 30, 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
A Windows expert opts for a Mac life – November 06, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista is basically Microsoft’s version of Mac OS 9.3 – October 11, 2006
Embrace and Extinguish in action: TechIQ’s ‘The VAR Guy’ dumps Windows, switches to Mac OS X – September 25, 2006
Top Windows developer dumps Microsoft’s ‘pile of crap’ for Apple’s Mac OS X – September 12, 2006
$399 for Windows Vista Ultimate?! (Hint: Get a Mac) – August 29, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista: If you can’t innovate… try to impersonate Apple’s Mac OS X – August 10, 2006
Analyst: Apple’s new Mac OS X Leopard sets new bar, leaves Microsoft’s Vista in the dust – August 08, 2006
Microsoft botches another copy job: Windows Vista Flip3D vs. Apple Mac OS X Exposé – June 26, 2006
Sydney Morning Herald Tech columnist dumps Microsoft Windows, switches to Apple Mac – June 13, 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
Bye-Bye Bill: another columnist dumps Windows for Apple Macintosh – January 20, 2005
Orlando Sentinel writer dumps Windows for Mac and writes ‘God bless Apple’ – January 16, 2005
IBM Fellow dumps Microsoft Windows XP, switches to Apple’s Mac OS X – September 02, 2004


  1. Don’t be so hard on Mossberg, he gets it 99% right in his article, unlike 99% of the other tech journalists out there. Save the barbs for morons that deserve it like Enderle and Turdrott.

  2. MDN – Let’s not get our knickers in a knot about Mossberg’s “leap ahead again” comment. As I read Mossberg, it was clear to me that he had said that the existing OSX was already superior to Vista and would be making itself EVEN MORE superior with the new version.

    The fact that Mossberg continues to point out that Vista is an inverior copy of what Mac already has drives that point home.

  3. i was about to say what nuge just said. perhaps mossberg should have been more clear so that the more frothing-mouthed mac people would understand what was being said. =)

    i’m a mac guy myself, but i’d be willing to give vista a chance…. if i had a PC fast enough to run it decently. =|

  4. “Also, despite Vista’s claimed security improvements, you will still have to run, and keep updating, security programs, which can be annoying and burdensome. Microsoft has thrown in one such program free, but you will have to buy at least one more. That means that, while Vista has eased some of the burden on users imposed by the Windows security crisis, it will still force you to spend more time managing the computer than I believe people should have to devote.” — Mossberg

    This means that Apple should be able to count on a continued stream of switchers coming its way. All my friends who have switched to the Mac did so primarily because of the security issues.

  5. OMG! MDN is the biggest Apple fanboys! You rip someone for giving a honest opinion on a product. C’mon! You guys are the biggest hypocrites, Apple can do nohting wrong in your eyes. No OS is perfect! The fact is OSX is a supperior product in some ways and Vista my have some supperior features in it. RELAX Apple fanboys, your approach distorts a clear and balanced perspective on things.

  6. It dawns on me that, while Mac users are often criticized for being smug, the truth is that some of us, maybe more than I think, are just reminded of, and actually depressed by, what a sad world MS has created for pc users. Really – This article just makes me want to fight all the harder to help people stuck in the quagmire that is Windows, see that it can be different, and that there is NO GOOD REASON to keep doing things the way that “everybody else does”.

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