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What Microsoft Needs to Learn from Apple and Snow Leopard with Windows


arvind_kumar
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When Microsoft made available Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, it pulled away resources from Windows Vista in order to sustain the effort, and came out with a service pack that many considered it could have been passed for a new Windows operating system. "Other companies would have called this a major release and charged money for it," Jim Allchin, (Former) Co-President, Platforms & Services Division, said on January 24, just before Windows Vista hit the shelves. Well, the Redmond company has a thing or two to learn from Apple, as the Cupertino-based hardware company is doing it again. This time around, with Snow Leopard.

Apple is getting ready in "about a year" to release the next version of what it claims to be the world's most advanced operating system. Sure enough, after what it had been through in 2007, Windows Vista, even with SP1 is no contest for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Snow Leopard, the successor of plain vanilla Leopard will take the focus away from adding new features and will instead increase performance and quality. The first lesson that Microsoft needs to learn is that marketing makes or breaks a successful product.

Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, should really pay attention to this one. The only thing worse than chattering about a product in development without a strategy is not talking about it at all. It wasn't all the talk around Windows Vista back when it was referred to as Longhorn that ruined the operating system, it was Microsoft's failure to live up to its initial promise. Sinofsky's translucency tactics involve discussing a product only when its aspects are set in stone, under promising and overachieving. Well, with Windows 7, just as Snow Leopard, a year, a year and a half away, Microsoft needs to start talking about the next iteration of Windows more than just demonstrating multi-touch technology.

The Redmond company's 2008 Professional Developers Conference looks like an excellent occasion for Microsoft to deliver its first taste of Windows 7. Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2008 proved a great moment for the Cupertino company to give a sneak peek at Snow Leopard. A few generic details about the next iteration of Mac OS X were also provided. Just enough for end users to be satisfied without Apple having to say anything. In contrast, at the D6 – All Things Digital, Julie Larson-Green, Corporate Vice President, Windows Experience Program Management, refused to talk about the Windows 7 Taskbar that was clearly visible on one of the Demo machines. That's right! This is a clear example of the absurdity of Microsoft's translucent policy, as whatever happens with Windows 7, it's unlikely that the Taskbar will play any sort of critical role.

"Since 2001, Mac OS X has delivered more than a thousand innovative new features. With Snow Leopard, the next major version of the world’s most advanced operating system, Mac OS X changes more than its spots, it changes focus. Taking a break from adding new features, Snow Leopard - scheduled to ship in about a year - builds on Leopard’s enormous innovations by delivering a new generation of core software technologies that will streamline Mac OS X, enhance its performance, and set new standards for quality. Snow Leopard dramatically reduces the footprint of Mac OS X, making it even more efficient for users, and giving them back valuable hard drive space for their music and photos," Apple revealed.

Apple is essentially promising that Mac OS X Snow Leopard will be smaller, simpler, faster and better, and that's about it. The second lesson for Microsoft is that it also needs to make Windows 7 smaller, simpler, faster and better than Windows Vista. Be it the product of evolution or of a revolution in development, Windows 7 has to be clearly superior to both Windows Vista and Windows XP. With the sole difference that Microsoft cannot really afford to cut down features from the next version of Windows. Snow Leopard will bring to the table Grand Central, advanced Multicore technologies, Microsoft Exchange Support, support for 16TB (Terabytes) of RAM, QuickTime X, and OpenCL (Open Compute Library), taking advantage of the graphics processing unit (GPU).

What will Windows 7 sport? Well... multi-touch computing. This is all that Microsoft managed to confirm, even with Windows 7 dropping next year. Or is it? The Redmond company is continually refusing to talk about a deadline, or to commit to anything beyond three years after the general release of Windows Vista.

But, in addition to start the marketing campaign ahead of launch, and not wait to drop another Wow as Windows 7 hits the shelves, as well as deliver a superior Windows release to what is already available, Microsoft needs to get Windows 7 out there. One year ahead of launch Apple has already made available Snow Leopard to developers. Undoubtedly, Microsoft has already done the same with Windows 7 Milestone 1, the Redmond company's focus is wrong, and limited only to its largest and closest partners. Windows 7 pre-release builds need to be offered as soon as possible to let the feedback flow. Microsoft simply needs to gather, centralize and take into account feedback from a much wider ecosystem of users and developers, not just the traditional Windows testers. They need to go beyond Apple's PC Guy from the Get a Mac ads.

Source: Softpedia

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Wow... what a biased article. This claim of "1000 innovative new features" is a bit far fetched. I'll bring down one of their top marketing ploys right now - Time Machine. All Unix and Linux systems have been able to do something like this with rsync. While it might not be as mindless of a setup, the feature and the functionality is all there (I wouldn't be surprised if Time Machine is based on rsync). There are countless features in Vista and Server 2008 that I'm sure many people here know about, and that if spun the right way, would be "All-new-wow-jazz!!!".

Let's face it - Apple has a far smaller market share than Windows. Mac users have also been known for having a bit more money to play with. Let's face it, a basic MBP is not cheap by any standards - starts at $2099 CAD. A well equipped Lenovo ThinkPad, on the other hand - call it $1500 after taxes. Unlike Microsoft, Apple has the ability to simply tell it's users "Dump that two year old hardware and buy a new computer - just so you can run Snow Leopard". This is also part of the reason why Snow Leopard is going to be "more optimized" - they're only making it for Intel systems - bye bye Motorola/IBM support!

Advanced multi-core support - I think Microsoft got there first. OSX pre-Leopard did alright with multi-core scaling... but it wasn't really all that stellar.

16TB of RAM... I think that's a mis-terminology here. 16TB of address space has been available to any 64-bit Windows OS. Who's actually got 16TB of physical RAM installed in their system? :P

Taking advantage of the GPU - how is this new? The entire OSX GUI has been based off the GPU for years (came with OSX 10.3). That was one of the key selling points of expose when it was unveiled back in 2003... Comon guys... don't market old technology as "new and improved". You're simply re-inventing the wheel here.

/rant :)

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Microsoft can only learn from Microsoft!

They have the record of what works for them---and what does not.

They know what makes the consumer happy, and what does not.

Know thyself! As the ancient Greeks said.

There is a way the Big M can maintain their dominance, and never have to worry about Open Source, Linux, or Mac. It is a somewhat perhaps madcap sounding concept I propose, but it would achieve for them, a place in history—where they will forever be defined as “The Good Guys”---and having “Integrity”. They can in fact “Redeem” themselves, from a downhill and negative reputation and trend.

Let them do the following:

Extend the life of XP—period. Dispense with the “End of Life Cycle crap”!

Continue to support it, update it as they have.

Continue to work on Vista---period.

Work out the bugs; improve and update as necessary. Dispense with the “End of Life Cycle crap”!

Continue to work on their next OS,--Windows 7 or whatever; and take at least five years—to deliver a truly “Grand”—UNIQUE---and Superior product!

Commence to design, and market their own powerful and “modestly priced”

PC---to be sold—in a way they can legally do it.

This PC must be capable of running XP, or Vista—efficiently, and smoothly.

If they cannot do this, then make sure an OS of theirs is never sold from a store that is not

ready to run their OS efficiently! No installations on PCs’ that are not really meant at all to run them, such as Vista installs on computers only fit to run XP!

Give the consumer “a choice” of either of these two, and eventually three major Microsoft Operating Systems!

They can corner the market,---not through heavy handed and forced tactics,---but offering “commitment” and “dedication” to what they have already succeeded with---XP---and what can be made to succeed---Vista.

Though I myself would add an improved and revamped 9x Os to this—I realize it would be considered going way beyond the “far fetched’ {Yet Possible} ideas I have already espoused. ---But I had to throw it in, since my favorite OS of theirs is 98se!

They have got to think out of the Box!

And realize that they are at the crossroads, or are approaching very near unto that!

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source of article is 'Marius Oiaga' - news writer the author behind great articles like Forget about the WGA! 20+ Windows Vista Features and Services Harvest User Data for Microsoft and Microsoft Updates the Default Spy Tool in Vista SP1 and lets not forget Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard = Windows Vista

ok lets forget the source of the article an look at the content:

article says MS needs to learn from Apple.

article is critical of Microsoft who has 98% of the PC market

article praises Apple who has 2% of the market

Um yeah Microsoft is definitely doing something wrong there. Gates and Balmer need to don the black turtlenecks, blue jeans and tennis shoes, Give Dell, HP, Toshiba, Acer, Gateway, and IBM all pink slips and start cranking out overpriced hardware with their OS preinstalled. Yeah thatll work out real well.

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The article fails to mention that Snow Leopard is being rumored to be Intel-platform only.

http://www.tuaw.com/2008/06/12/mac-os-x-10...-be-intel-only/

This would mean Snow Leopard is an operating system specifically designed for Apple computers approximately two years old and newer. While this seems crazy, remember that Apple has a history of killing backwards compatiblity utterly, and has changed hardware platforms before, leaving the old platforms out to die slow, painful deaths. That guy that spent $7000 on his multi-CPU Mac G5 in 2005 is abandoned in the name of progress.

As cold as that is, MS should have taken this approach with Vista. I argued two years ago that Vista should have been 64-bit exclusive. Even looking at Longhorn screenshots in early 2006 I was like "my P4 3ghz box will NOT run this very well." But MS insists on trying to sell Vista x86, and even makes it the "default" Vista choice. GRRRR WHY?! They should have at least made Vista x86 the limited exception. Vista Starter Edition should be "the x86 version" of Vista. Everything else, 64-bit only, right on the box "you need a 64-bit processor for this" and be done with it. The "3.5GB barrier" is something we'd see talked about on XP forums and we'd chuckle behind our 8GB ubermachines.

But hey, I'm sure MS knows what they are doing -.-;

Edited by S.SubZero
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The article fails to mention that Snow Leopard is being rumored to be Intel-platform only.
Exactly what I said. AFAIK, It's now been confirmed that Snow Leopard will be Intel only.
As cold as that is, MS should have taken this approach with Vista. I argued two years ago that Vista should have been 64-bit exclusive. Even looking at Longhorn screenshots in early 2006 I was like "my P4 3ghz box will NOT run this very well." But MS insists on trying to sell Vista x86, and even makes it the "default" Vista choice. GRRRR WHY?! They should have at least made Vista x86 the limited exception. Vista Starter Edition should be "the x86 version" of Vista. Everything else, 64-bit only, right on the box "you need a 64-bit processor for this" and be done with it. The "3.5GB barrier" is something we'd see talked about on XP forums and we'd chuckle behind our 8GB ubermachines.
I'd disagree on this one. I purchased my laptop just before the first Core Duo chips were available (sadly, didn't really have the opportunity to wait). Dispite this, and it having "only" 2GB of RAM, it handles Vista quite well, and for what I do with it, Vista is a far better OS than XP was. Microsoft did the right thing by releasing a 32-bit version of Vista. However, I'd hope that Windows 7 is 64-bit only, since by that time, 32-bit only machines will be over 5 years old... I'd hope that people wouldn't spend more money on the OS than their computer is worth.

The lifestyle cycle of Windows vs OSX has also been debated endlessly, and sorry to all the mac-addicts out there, Microsoft's cheaper. I'm sure that closer to the release date, prices for Snow Leopard will be released, and people will continue to complain about the "high price of Vista". People forget that each upgrade to OSX along the way has been over $100 spent. If you kept up to date along the way, that's $600 for your operating system. Even Vista Ultimate doesn't look so bad now, does it? Heck - An OEM copy of Vista Home Premium can be purchased now for $100, and that includes all service pack and support for the next however many years.

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@Zxian, gotta call you out there just in case those who aren't in the know read this - buy an OEM copy, get nothing more from Microsoft than public updates (that is why it's cheaper). Unless you buy retail, you'll have to pay for that support call. Everything else is right on though :).

Also, ask anyone who runs Vista or XP on a MBP if the hardware is better - this OS (same vista x64 image on both) is almost twice as fast in almost everything but copying files (network limited, not hardware) than my almost identical (but ~$450 USD cheaper) Thinkpad. Why? Because the hardware's better, the mobo is better, the proc is probably better, the RAM is faster, and Apple can make OSX scream when the hardware is that good. Run OSX on this Thinkpad and *then* talk to me about how great OSX is ;).

@cyberformer, eventually you have to reach a point where it costs more to support an old product, however good, than to pump those man-hour time and resources into newer products. 10 years for support of an entire OS product from a company with literally hundreds of millions of installed users in it's userbase is more than acceptable. Ask apple how long they support an OS version, and it isn't 10 years (heck, support for 10.1.x, released in September of 2001, is no longer available other than public downloads and user forums - you must have 10.2.x to get support from a human on the phone, and only within 90 days of purchase before it's not a free call either).

As to working on future products and Vista, how many devs do you want working on the Windows codebase? :) While your desires are laudable, they're not fiscally responsible or programatically sound (too many hands in the cookie jar with that many devs on the same type of product).

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Are we starting another THE SAME OLD OSX vs Windows thread ??

then i too have something to share

Snow Leopard is 64bit and support intel platform only ( Apple delivered all promises till last release)

w7 is supposed to be 64bit only (somewhere b4 relese of vista m$ hinted this)

m$ is planning to make w7 as software as service (install just a basic os ,download required apps from m$ servers for $$)(may be fed up with lawsuits with EU and in Korea )

might showcase winfs (it was promised for Longorn aka vista, not delivered till longhorn server s2k8)

still they hav 98% userbase, why ?

*backward compatibilit for MOST apps

*long term support(5yrs for workstation os and 10yrs for server os)

*better flaw patching speed (on that point apple is really a set back)

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Well im just a normal computer user with no marketing experiences or knowledge but i run vista(was a long-time xp user) on my pc and have macbook botht at home.

from my experience from both of these computers (which after my last pc upgrade mostly runs the same hardware type and models) i would say every beginner-moderate user should buy apple macosx(if can efford);

1.much better performance with everything,

2.everything works out-of-box,

3.you have all the app's you need for basic usage,

4.almost all parts of the OS runs just as you want them without the need of editing any settings,

5.installing softwares is much easier than windows infact its just the matter of copy pasting them,

6.you dont have to buy firewalls or antivirus's and wake up everymorning wishing there wasnt a new virus released on net last night which infected your network computers(which i know is only because mac shares a much smaller market but still) ...

anyway from a user point of view if you dont know how to triple backup your files and put your antivirus on auto update every 30mins and runs your firewall only opening the ports you need THEN you should consider apple systems.

i myself would love to buy a mac replacing my pc if i could have all my softwares on mac :sigh:

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1.much better performance with everything,

That's not what I hear at all. Seemingly Windows on a MBP is sooooooooo much faster than OS X...

2.everything works out-of-box

... and what DOESN'T work out of the box with windows? Yes, you might want to do some tweaks to how it looks and such, but everything DOES work regardless.

3.you have all the app's you need for basic usage

Vista comes with a web browser (that I loathe admittedly), a mail client, a calendar app, a media player, a very nice photo gallery app, movie maker and dvd maker, an IM app, a bunch of small games, a backup app, can burn discs, ... That covers basic usage alright I'd say (no need to buy iLife or such)

5.installing softwares is much easier than windows infact its just the matter of copy pasting them

Because running setup.exe, or using the autoplay menu of most CDs is too challenging? If they can't do this, they're probably the type that just learned to double click. I don't see how copy/pasting is any better/more intuitive myself.

6.you dont have to buy firewalls or antivirus's and wake up everymorning wishing there wasnt a new virus released on net last night which infected your network computers(which i know is only because mac shares a much smaller market but still) ...

Windows already comes with a firewall and windows defender. You don't have to buy anything. Actually, I run without either, and it's been years since I've been infected (so much for not clicking on everything blindly, and not opening freepr0n.jpg.exe I guess!)

anyway from a user point of view if you dont know how to triple backup your files and put your antivirus on auto update every 30mins and runs your firewall only opening the ports you need THEN you should consider apple systems.

Update your AV every 30 mins? :blink: Crazy firewall rules? Triple backup your files? That's TOTALLY uncalled for... I do NOTHING of this, nor do I know anyone who actually does!

Mac is the LAST platform I'd recommend to anyone:

  • The licensing style and closed-source-ness of Windows (who cares if it's BSD based, where's the source code again?)
  • The OS is no cheaper than Windows -- 100$ for every 0.1 update, whereas a copy of Windows be had for 100$ (5 updates in the last 6 or 7 years, only 1 new copy of windows in that time frame)
  • Absolute worst lock-in EVER: a single hardwave vendor! THEY choose what you can buy. With any other OS, YOU pick what you need.
  • The said hardware vendor doesn't offer any GOOD hardware configs (either a mini POS, a beyond overkill $5000 mac pro, or such -- they don't sell a normal Core 2 Duo tower!), unless you want a laptop
  • And their hardware is overpriced

And in the end, when they buy quicken, or this year's tax report app, or their kids buys a game, or try to use basically any app that didn't come with the mac pre-installed, IT WON'T RUN! Because ~99% of apps are windows-only nowadays.

Why lock yourself into a single hardware vendor, who has no good hardware configs, with an OS that's no cheaper or anything, and that won't run most apps, and on top of that, pay a hefty premium for their hardware?

It costs more than a windows box (hardware and OS), the license is no better, and like Linux, it doesn't work with Windows apps -- worst of both worlds! At least Linux would have SOME benefits vs windows: free for good, open source, etc. And no, it's not THAT hard to install.

I think someone's been watching too many Apple ads...

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One point to note:

every 10.1 update is equivalent to windows' 6.0 -->> 7.0 update

remember m$ did the same 0.1 update in 2k (5.0) to XP (5.1) and 2k3 (5.2)

the 0.1 is a major update bcoz the 10 (in roman digit X) is constant for Mac OS X (it to be pronounced as Mac OS ten), since the kernel is not having much radical change as it from OS 9 to OS X (ten) then onwards.

in 9 -> X the base of Mac OS changed to darwin, and still using darwin code.

(dont mis-understand me am not a BLIND mac fan, just sharing the info)

its a good platform bcoz the s/w OS is optimized for the h/w.

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One point to note:

every 10.1 update is equivalent to windows' 6.0 -->> 7.0 update

remember m$ did the same 0.1 update in 2k (5.0) to XP (5.1) and 2k3 (5.2)

the 0.1 is a major update bcoz the 10 (in roman digit X) is constant for Mac OS X (it to be pronounced as Mac OS ten), since the kernel is not having much

Erm... No. The only major update that OSX has seen that's worth any merit is Leopard. In my experience, the other updates are equivalent to what Microsoft does with Service Packs.

Your comparison to Windows 2000/XP/2003 is also flawed. Windows 2003 is a server OS - XP was a workstation. Microsoft has gone back to the way they had things with Windows 2000, basing both Vista SP1 and Server 2008 on the same kernel. However, that does not mean that they are the same operating system.

in 9 -> X the base of Mac OS changed to darwin, and still using darwin code.
And they also cut out a large portion of their userbase in the process. All OS9 apps had to be scrapped (there was some compatibility layer, but honestly - it sucked), and users were encouraged to ditch their old machines and buy new ones. We're running into the same story with Snow Leopard - bye bye PPC.
its a good platform bcoz the s/w OS is optimized for the h/w.
Tell that to anyone still using PPC apps on an Intel machine. There's also the fact that, like crahak said - they have a very limited set of hardware to support. Browse any Mac forum and you'll find plenty of threads on hardware incompatibilities. The hardware that OSX is sold on is faster than most standard PC hardware - but that speed also comes at a steep price.
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Windows already comes with a firewall and windows defender. You don't have to buy anything. Actually, I run without either, and it's been years since I've been infected (so much for not clicking on everything blindly, and not opening freepr0n.jpg.exe I guess!)

you really dont expect anyone to buy this one right? lets see! few days ago ive been called up for network being infected with malwares which had KIS installed on all systems and updated daily... you can give a total nOOb a mac and come back in one month and see no virus or malware ever infected the system...

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you really dont expect anyone to buy this one right? lets see! few days ago ive been called up for network being infected with malwares which had KIS installed on all systems and updated daily... you can give a total nOOb a mac and come back in one month and see no virus or malware ever infected the system...

Honestly - a large portion of that is user error. I've been running all of my Windows machines (ranging from XP Home to Vista Business, and just about everything inbetween) without additional security software for close to two years now.

The reason why you can give a "n00b" a mac and not have to deal with malware is because nobody targets them... although that's starting to change. Computer security ultimately comes down to the user. Most modern operating systems are "secure enough" by default, and as long as the system is kept up to date with the operating system patches (forget about AV definitions), most users should be fine.

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I've been running all of my Windows machines (ranging from XP Home to Vista Business, and just about everything inbetween) without additional security software for close to two years now.

Ditto.

indeed! Also, I'd MUCH rather deal with 1 virus or spyware infection every 5 years or so, than buying a overpriced computer that's not compatible with ~99% of apps out there (unless you put Windows on it...)

Computer security ultimately comes down to the user. Most modern operating systems are "secure enough" by default, and as long as the system is kept up to date with the operating system patches (forget about AV definitions), most users should be fine.

Exactly. If you never patch your system, use IE, visit every shady site, and click yes on everything and open email attachments blindly, you WILL get malware. But even my daughter's XP machines never caught anything ever (they're running as admins, no AV, no firewall, fully patched, FF as a browser). So it's not like your average user can't pull this off.

Antiviruses and software firewalls mostly give users a false sense of security. Keep your stuff patched, ditch IE, be just a little bit cautious (don't just open any .exe from anywhere, or click "yes" on everything blindly) and spyware will be a thing of the past. Spyware scanners won't ever find anything more than cookies, and soon you'll be thinking they're useless and just wasting your time. The last time we got any spyware was circa 2004 (coolwebsearch iirc) -- right before we switched to Firefox 0.8 (SP2 for XP came out shortly after too).

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