Snow Leopard's Reliance On Fundamentals Isn't Enough To Beat Windows 7

Though yesterday's Apple WWDC announcements were largely about the iPhone OS 3.0 and iPhone 3GS model, Apple also rolled out Snow Leopard, the next in line Mac OS X upgrade to do battle against Windows on desktops. The iPhone OS and 3GS phone were all about features, features, features, plus better 3GS performance, but Snow Leopard carried a much different message. Just as the fundamentals determine winners in sports, Snow Leopard is emphasizing software fundamentals. Apple's message for Snow Leopard, aside from a healthy dose of poking fun at Windows 7's Vista legacy, is stability, speed improvement, smaller disk footprint (a full 6GB lighter than the current Leopard OS version), and a smattering of new features. The most significant enhancement is improved Microsoft Exchange support for mail and ical apps.

That's fine, and I certainly wouldn't argue against focusing on important fundaments like reliability and improved performance, but Microsoft's put a big focus on the same fundamentals in Windows 7. And writing off Windows 7 because underneath the covers it's still Vista is a mistake Apple shouldn't make. Windows 7 is built on a third generation of the Vista kernel, which is much more stable and offers far better performance (including browser performance ), the two things Apple's touting as their strengths. And Microsoft has lightened Windows 7 by unloading and simplifying a lot of the kitchen sink problems that plagued Vista. Windows 7's biggest challenge is getting Windows XP users to upgrade  to any operating system, period. Apple's lost momentum in gaining desktop market share, and I'd speculate it's because most of those changing to a Mac were Vista users and Windows 7's impressive beta has staved off many who might switch.

The iPhone definitely has Windows Mobile ready to tap out due to a painful submission hold, but Snow Leopard will have to do more than impress in the fundamentals department to deal Windows 7 any kind of serious blow. I've heard some commentary that Apple's already blown their chance to take on Windows.  Mac OS X hasn't been able to break through the 10% market share barrier, even with all the opportunities Vista's given Apple. 

It's very difficult to see how Snow Leopard would significantly change the game, especially with Windows 7's pending release in October.

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