2007, the year of the sub-par operating systems
Last modified on Monday, 07 January 2008 04:33
During 2007, marketers at Apple and Microsoft enthusiastically peddled the next generation of operating systems. Apple had its Leopard and Microsoft had Vista. Both operating systems arrived late. Microsoft held the record for being a few years late, while Apple was just a few months late.
The reason for the late arrival of Vista was because Microsoft was cutting off anything that remotely looked interesting from the original spec and was adding more security and DRM. Apple was too preoccupied with its iPhone range, which would arguably make it more money than Leopard ever could. It withheld developers from Leopard to make sure that the iPhone made the sales that Steve Jobs wanted.
After both products came out, it was clear that they were not really fit for the purpose intended. Vista was loaded with unforgiving DRM, which made it impossible to change graphic cards without losing your operating system. Leopard was just spotty (pun intended) with hundreds of bugs that should have been dealt with during the QA. Neither operating system offered anything that really could be considered "new." The graphics on Vista weren't bad, if you were prepared to pay over the odds for them, but these were behind what had been seen on Linux boxes.
Leopard, on the other hand, did not seem to offer anything that could not be had from Apple's Tiger Operating System. However, did have a lot of bugs. Even the most faithful Apple user had his and her faith tested when the operating system just switched itself off, or the back-up system lost data. What was worse was that some of these bugs had been fixed in earlier versions of OS-X.
Apple did its best. It blamed everyone else before issuing a major patch, which made Microsoft's patching efforts look lightweight. Value for money, however, Leopard was not. Many users have reported to us that they are going back to Tiger, and those who still have the operating system say there is no way they are paying more than $100 to 'upgrade' it. After the first flush of sales had gone, they started to dry up.
Apple, at least, had the advantage that its loyal customer base were stupid enough to run out and upgrade without engaging their brains. They also had a tame U.S. IT press, which spouted positive reviews to encourage wavering buyers.
Microsoft had the problem that businesses liked its Windows XP and were not going to upgrade to something that was not much better and could possibly be even worse. Throughout 2007, the mantra from businesses was that they were only going to upgrade when SP1 came out. Microsoft tried hard to say that it had seen SP1 and it was not much of an upgrade, but businesses would not listen. It turned out that Microsoft was right and now businesses are thinking that they will skip Vista completely.
There is also a roaring trade in users who have bought Vista machines and want to roll them back to Windows XP.
The only consolation that Apple and Microsoft have had this year is that the Linux desktop has not been able to give them both the good kicking they deserve. Although Linux has been doing quite well in building up the technology that matches Apple and Microsoft on the desktop, it is still server-focused and not really interested in stealing their markets. It has also been hamstrung by the lack of interest from commercial software developers to support it.
Our prediction for next year is that with neither Microsoft nor Apple having anything interesting to offer, and things will stay the same. Leopard and Vista will stay on the shelf. Apple will concentrate on making its entertainment gizmos. Microsoft will try to rally its flagging ego with XP until it can get a better version of Windows to market.