BusinessWeek: Apple’s Mac OS edge is a very real threat to Microsoft

“The 20-year death grip that Microsoft has held on the core of computing is finally weakening—pried loose with just two fingers. With one finger you press ‘Control’ and with the other you press ‘right arrow.’ Instantly you switch from a Macintosh operating system (OS) to a Microsoft Windows OS. Then, with another two-finger press, you switch back again. So as you edit family pictures, you might use Mac’s iPhoto. And when you want to access your corporate e-mail, you can switch back instantly to Microsoft Exchange,” Gary Morgenthaler reports for BusinessWeek.

“This easy toggling on an Apple computer, enabled by a feature called Spaces, was but an interesting side note to last fall’s upgrade of the Mac OS,” Morgenthaler reports.

MacDailyNews Note: We’ll, the toggling, yeah, but you really need to be running Windows via inexpensive virtualization software from Parallels or VMWare in one of those Spaces to do as Morgenthaler describes.

Morgenthaler continues, “But coupled with other recent developments, the stars are aligning in a very intriguing pattern. Apple’s (AAPL) recent release of a tool kit for programmers to write applications for the iPhone will be followed by the June launch of iPhone 2.0, a software upgrade geared toward business users.

Morgenthaler reports, “Taken together, these seemingly unrelated moves are taking the outline of a full-fledged strategy. Windows users, in the very near future, will be free to switch to Apple computers and mobile devices, drawn by a widening array of Mac software, without suffering the pain of giving up critical Windows-based applications right away. The easy virtualization of two radically different operating systems on a single desktop paves a classic migration path. Business users will be tempted. Apple is positioning itself to challenge Microsoft for overall computing dominance—even in the corporate realm.”

MacDailyNews Take: As we have been saying for years. It’s nice to finally see it in the pages of a mainstream publication such as BusinessWeek.

Morgenthaler continues, “It all started with Mac OS X, the multi-core, multi-processor platform officially released in 2001… The modular new OS allowed Apple to condense its core task management function into a tiny computing kernel [which] has proved easily adaptable across the entire Apple product line, from highly complex servers all the way down to the relatively simple iPod Touch. Such modularity allows Apple to add whatever functions are necessary for each product environment—all while maintaining cross-product compatibility.”

Morgenthaler reports, “By contrast, Microsoft has held on to an OS tethered to the 1980s, piling additions upon additions with each upgrade to Windows. With last year’s arrival of Vista, Windows has swollen to 1 billion bytes (a gigabyte) or more of software code. The ‘Mach’ kernel of the Mac OS X, however, requires less than 1 million bytes (a megabyte) of data in its smallest configuration, expanding modestly with the sophistication of the application. This bloating has saddled Vista users with increased costs and poor performance…”

Morgenthaler reports, “As corporations become increasingly mobile, the pressure will build to make them Apple-centric from top to bottom. Rising sales of Apple laptops and iPhones will make the Mac OS only that much more mainstream and acceptable to corporate IT departments. By 2010, the number of iPhones in use could approach 100 million. It’s possible that the iPhone’s share of the U.S. smartphone market (28% in the fourth quarter) will soon approach the 70% share iPod now holds in the MP3 market.”

Much more Apple and Mac goodness in the full article here.

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


  1. What you say may be true for professionals and power users, but I haven’t seen much of such emerging awareness among people who equate the blue “E” icon with “the Internet”.

    It does looks like the I’m a Mac/I’m a PC ads are doing something, but not to the big masses hinted at above.

    It is only when the IT-whiz nephews who “fix” those peoples’ computers will loosen their grip and won’t feel the need to discourage switching (“out of fear for the unknown and for the lack of (unneeded) IT support in the future”), that the herds will start to switch.

  2. Apple is way past “the tipping point”. People who had no clue what was happening at the time will look back and pontificate on the “inevitability” of the Mac emergence.

    But what is amazing me is the synergy being created by the Mac/iPod/iPhone triumvirate. Molly Wood of Buzz Out loud scoffed at the hype created by the iPhone SDK. But she just doesn’t get it. 1) The iPhone has created a brand new platform. In 5-10 years many people will be using a portable phone/computer as their only computer. 2) The iPhone will break down the huge barrier between Apple and Business. 3) The App store will revolutionize the way software is purchased. The ubiquitous, frictionless and intuitive distribution method will simultaneously lead to a massive surge in profits for developers and a ten fold increase in the number of software applications that consumers will be will to purchase. 4) The development of iPhone software will lead to an explosion of Mac software.

    We ain’t seen nothing yet. The expansion of Apple is just beginning.

  3. @Falkirk,

    I completely agree. Apple has been able to convince my Windows-only father-in-law to consider getting a Mac this go-round, after spending the last 20 years telling us about the supposed advantages of MS and Windows and how Macs are what “Liberals use,” as if comedian Rush Limbaugh (apologies to Keith Olbermann) and Walker Bush are to the left of Generalisimo Francisco Franco.

    Apple has been working their grand plan since Steve returned, and now it has everything in place to go after MS full bore.

  4. @Falkirk
    “) The App store will revolutionize the way software is purchased. The ubiquitous, frictionless and intuitive distribution method will simultaneously lead to a massive surge in profits for developers and a ten fold increase in the number of software applications that consumers will be will to purchase.”

    I hope to see this expand to all mac software!, would be great to see software organized by type, now you have to google, do not really know about it, with iTunes it would be vetted, could compare similar offerings, read comments, and purchase using your iTunes account, (hate giving my CC info all over)

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