Blog Post

Windows 7 Pricing vs. Mac OS X: Why Even Go There?


Windows 7 pricing was made official not long ago, and the general consensus is that, despite a slight drop in Home Premium pricing compared to Vista, it’s too expensive.

Still, there are some in the Microsoft (s msft) community that try to justify it by comparing it to Apple’s (s aapl) pricing for Mac OS X. Microsoft can never win this game. Heck, Microsoft never even gets in this game. And yet, you have folks like Ed Bott at ZDNet giving it a shot. Here’s his latest salvo:

In two recent posts… I took a closer look at the differences between Windows 7 editions and their counterparts from Apple.

That’s from the first sentence, and already the article is off to a misguided start. There are no “counterparts from Apple” to Windows’ OS Editions. Every Mac OS X sold is — to use Microsoft’s terminology — Ultimate. Let’s keep that point in mind.

In previous posts, Bott had taken some criticism because Apple offered a Family Pack, something Microsoft would not talk about for Windows 7. But now he thinks Microsoft has beat (or is at least competitive with) Apple there. He supplies a partial screenshot of the license agreement for Windows 7, and then clarifies it with this:

If you can’t read the screen shot, here’s the relevant section: “If you are a ‘Qualified Family Pack User’, you may install one copy of the software marked as ‘Family Pack’ on three computers in your household for use by people who reside there.”

Bott seems pretty excited about this. To his credit, I appreciate that he understands a Family Pack is not a particular luxury any more. There are simply too many households with multiple PCs. Microsoft is still silent on the issue, so Bott has to speculate:

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Microsoft prices the Family Pack at $189, which is $10 less than Apple’s Family Pack (although Apple’s license is good for five Macs in a single household).

I appreciate that Bott points out five licenses are greater than three. However, to do so parenthetically minimizes that five licenses is a lot more than three. It’s 66 percent more, to be precise. Based on Bott’s price guess, it means you’re getting two additional licenses for 10 bucks! I’d say italics and bold were called for more than parenthesis.

Further, Bott again ignores that Mac OS X licenses are Ultimate, not two notches below that in the form of Home Premium. (Bott’s tack regarding the whole Professional and Ultimate thing is to simply claim you don’t need them, doing so with a cheesy marketing checklist of cherry-picked OS “features”.)

The biggest fact Bott ignores — and I played along, because Apple wins anyway — is that Snow Leopard will be $29, and the Family Pack $49, for users of Apple’s current OS. Even if you’re using an older Mac OS, Apple offers a sweet deal via a boxed set containing Snow Leopard, iLife, and iWork for just $169. Throwing in the latest iLife and iWork is a major plus since Leopard and Snow Leopard have features the latest “i” versions can take advantage of.

Finally, the above great pricing is not “special,” or “pre-order,” or “limited time,” or “mail-in rebate,” it’s simply The Pricing.

I think it’s time to get Lauren and have a series of “OS Hunter” ads. “Hmm, this OS is $29 and contains all these great features, this one is $120 and is two steps down…”

50 Responses to “Windows 7 Pricing vs. Mac OS X: Why Even Go There?”

  1. I am not sure why people are so excited about the pricing of these new operating systems. Yes, both are new operating systems and not just minor tweaks as some suggest.

    I’ve been using the developer preview of 10.6 and the public preview of Windows 7 and I can tell you that those who upgrade to Windows 7 will get the most excitement out of their upgrade. This assessment is not because the 10.6 upgrade is insignificant compared to 10.5, but because Windows 7 is so significant compared to VISTA. If, like me, you have suffered through life with VISTA you will truly appreciate how clean the Windows 7 preview was. Assuming that the release version is as good as the preview, Microsoft will finally have an operating system as clean as Windows 2000.

    Those of us who already use Leopard will probably feel a little visually disappointed by Snow Leopard because it looks virtually the same. You have to look really close to even notice that they changed the desktop picture and some of the finder components. The reason for this is because Leopard was already a pretty mature operating system that Apple have, for want of a better word, tweaked.

    I do not accept the ignorant assessment that 10.6 is a service pack, just as I do not believe Windows 7 is a service pack even though they are both supposed to be cleaned up versions of their predecessor. OS X 10.6 contains many new versions of the major applications, includes support for new technologies, the whole underlying code base has been rewritten, and some new features for power users. I am not sure how significant 64 bit is for regular people, but for those who work with number crunching it sure is. The difference between Apple’s implementation and the older Windows 64 bit implementations, if I remember correctly, was that the Windows versions required 64 bit applications as well. I believe 10.6 and Windows 7 can perfectly happy running 32 bit and 64 bit side by side.

    Pricing comparisons are not worth the effort. A lot of people are concerned that Microsoft are pricing too high, and Apple are pricing low because it is a service pack, but it is more likely due to the companies nature. Apple is a hardware company that makes software to support its hardware, but Microsoft is a software company, so it makes little or no sense for Microsoft to give away their software. Having said that I wish Microsoft would simplify their pricing to be something more like Apple is where they appear to be charging $129 for a full upgrade and just $29 for the Leopard upgrade. I just placed an order for three copies of the Windows 7 Home Premium, and will preorder the $29 Snow Leopard upgrades. At these prices, they are worth every penny.

  2. Hudson

    The whole fallacy of this argument is that pricing matters.

    It doesn’t matter. If you have a Mac you don’t care what Microsoft is charging for its OS upgrade. If you have a PC, you don’t care what Mac is charging. It’s not as if you can take the $29 Mac OS and shove it on your Windows machine and suddenly have all the great and wonderful things that are Mac. And I don’t think you can install Windows 7 as a dual boot option on the Mac. So pricing is IRRELEVANT.

    • Sagem

      Of course you can install Windows 7 as a dual boot option on an intel Mac! Just download and register a RC from MS and try it for yourself. Windows 7 64 even supports UEFI. If your Mac supports AMD64 (intel 64) you should get the 64-bit version

  3. One more thing

    ” Gazoobee on July 4th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    @ bob: You are technically right about Windows 7 running on “old” hardware that Vista could not, but only in the narrowest technical sense and only on a very limited number of devices with particular hardware. So by replying to me that I am “wrong” you strongly exaggerate your case and do a fair bit of disservice to true reporting.

    In *almost* every case, Windows 7 is as slow and as impossible to install on the same hardware that Vista was slow and impossible to install. ”

    You are wrong my friend
    I’ve installed Windows 7 in very old computers ( as old as Celeron 333Mhz ) and startup and daily use was very good for computers that don’t have enough fire power for newer apps

    So, i don’t know which articles you’ve been reading but… they are not 100% accurate.

    And remember, i’m a macOS fan …

  4. Ok, i will give my opinion about this issue that is very specific…

    Although, main Apple users got one due to hardware requirements or personal taste … i’m, in the other hand, eager to get MacOs due to the os itself … and not the hardware.

    I’ve been trying to buy a MAC for years now… since i’m a interface designer, i love the way MacOs looks, works and the nr of different apps you can get … everything very apple oriented.

    But, as i said … i’ve been trying to buy a MAC … did not buy one. Everytime i look at the price of the hardware … i can’t help making math with a normal PC…

    So, in the begining of the year, again, i changes to a … pc … for the price of a lower Macbook Pro … i got an i7 with lots of memory, greate graphic card … lots of hard drives with raid storage…a create cooling setup ( water )…a great NEC monitor…

    And i’m using Windows7.

    Now i have another possibility to get a Mac … and again i just can’t forget the fact that the mac i really wanted costs 2000Euros ( more than 2K USD ) … and it’s not even a 4 core…

    But i understand … the price to be different is high … and Apple product politics is this so … i must face it … if i really want, i must pay and that’s it …

    So… as for Windows 7 …

    I used XP … Vista and now Windows 7 in RC version.
    I must say … i never liked Vista. But working with this WIndows 7 was a pleasure and a surprise…

    Super Super stable … super quick … My Photoshop opens in 5 seconds …

    So… what i can say is that this new Windows7 version is a great surprise … but… in the end, the functionality of MacOS will continue to make me eager to have a MAC :)

  5. DaveH

    @Gazoobee: I was going to say the say thing but you beat me to it. I also work in tech and more users have been asking for Apple computers. In fact, our little section of 14 people already has 6 macs, compared to none a couple of years ago. I didn’t get what the big deal about OS X was until I went to a tech conference sponsored by Apple where they outlined all the security features and what was coming next.
    Things like full address space randomization, hardware non-executable (NX) memory, 64-bit only processes (enables passing function arguments in registers, instead of on the stack), sandboxing, code signing for drivers, etc really help with security. I can see why Apple has been wanting to move to the latest Intel chips that help speed up those things in hardware. I have been waiting for native support for Exchange Server 2007. Some of our users don’t like having to use Entourage through WebDAV or IMAP.
    I tried Windows 7 and immediately hated the glossy, faded transparent stuff.
    Yeah, it looks pretty but it’s hell on the eyes when you have to look at a monitor all day. While we’re at it, turn off the start up sound by default. Let the people who really care about such annoyances turn then on. I was also hoping for a better way to install and uninstall applications without worrying about leaving strands behind in the registry. Somebody who knows more might be able to enlighten me but it seems the same as XP.
    The OS X way is way, way simpler. Don’t like the app? Just drag it to the recycle bin and it’s gone. If you want to remove the preferences, use the $10 App Zapper. At least I can still keep my music, videos and other big files out of my documents. Trying to move the My Documents folder has always been a difficult thing with trips to the registry editor and such madness. I also want a feature like OS X’s encrypted disk images. It’s nice to be able to create a disk image on the desktop and then drop it onto a flash disk. Another thing that I miss is having external disk drives pop up on the desktop when I plug them in. There is also that spaces feature that I have grown to love. And will it kill somebody at Microsoft to implement SSH capabilities in the OS? It’s 2009 and just about every other OS has it built in, for crying out loud. I know I can use Bitvise SSHD or one of the other ones but that’s a real hassle and means more money out of my pocket. Once they get that out of the way, it might be possible for MS to trump OS X with a cool SSH drive feature, which is already available in Linux but is still difficult in OS X. It’s 2009, not 1999.
    Most times I have to deal with servers on the other side of the city and it’s a pain to have to use Remote Desktop over VPN.

  6. Gazoobee

    @ bob: You are technically right about Windows 7 running on “old” hardware that Vista could not, but only in the narrowest technical sense and only on a very limited number of devices with particular hardware. So by replying to me that I am “wrong” you strongly exaggerate your case and do a fair bit of disservice to true reporting.

    In *almost* every case, Windows 7 is as slow and as impossible to install on the same hardware that Vista was slow and impossible to install. I don’t have the links but several in depth articles in PC magazines and Windows web sites have pointed this out. If you dig down for the actual details and not just read the cheery headlines you will find this to be true. The requirements for each are almost identical in every way. The difference is that many of the old laptops that would not support Vista have in fact died in the two years since it came out, others have been upgraded in attempts to get Vista to work or simply because memory upgrades are cheaper now.

    To anyone who is interested, I work in tech and encounter all this stuff daily in a real work environment and the majority of the Windows 7 stuff in the comments here is simply inaccurate. If you want to run Windows 7, go for it, but if you are a person who wants to make an informed choice between the two systems before you buy, do yourself a favour and don’t listen to most of the stuff being said above about Windows 7. Especially don’t go into the “Snow Leopard is a service pack” stuff. It simply isn’t in any way shape or form and no one who knows anything about tech would imply such. Seriously.

    OS-X really *is* light years ahead of Windows in most areas and Windows 7 really *is* just a service pack for Vista. They have just copied the OS-X interface again and placed it over the top of Vista along with basic service pack types of improvements in speed and OS footprint etc.

    The internal version number for Windows 7 is really Windows 6.1 and that’s a pretty fair and accurate assessment of where it stands.

    • Carter

      Like I said above, both Snow Leopard AND Windows 7 are small improvements over their predecessors, both focusing on performance, UI, and graphical tweaks. Saying one is and the other isn’t is completely biased.

  7. thomcarl

    First mistake: Windows is not even remotely close to OS X ,and hasn’t been for years, most of the windows fanboys posting here have never used OS X and have little or no knowledge what they are talking about. Apple doesn’t make service packs, Microsoft does.
    2nd mistake: 7 is not a major rewrite, it’s a highly polished version of Vista, a turd, is a turd, is a turd.
    3rd mistake: Don’t believe all of the Fud that is published as fact, and in reality is an attempt by the people who live in the cheap seats to put them selves at a parity level with Apple products.

  8. bigbaba

    XP Mode

    It’s a nice feature…but I don’t know why Window’s users are claiming it to be a brand new technology. OSX had the ability to run in Classic mode for years until the Intel Macs came out. I guess it must have got old and died. Now Microsoft is using the idea and passing it out as something new.

    Intel Only Snow Leopard

    I guess I could see why you guys would get upset that your outdated…I mean old technology isn’t supported. I felt the same way when my old 604 era PPC wasn’t supported in OSX. I’m guessing you’re not running the most updated software on your system anyways so why do you need the most updated OS? What next? Are you gonna complain that you don’t get boot camp either?

  9. martin


    what is funny about this whole discussion is that Apple charges for what are effectively Sevicepacks which is a fair discription of many of the versions of OSX that they have sold. Is Windows 7 over priced well if you factor in the fact that most Apple computers have a massive premium placed on them compared to the equivalent standard pc hardware and the “sealed” nature of a lot of Apple products are really you will find taking everything into account that the PC users are getting a better deal. Apple products are bit like marmite you either love them or wonder what is the big deal.

  10. I use a Mac because OS X provides the best computer experience (and UNIX features) for me. Personal choice. I have the Leopard OS X family pack (best $169 I ever spent) which I have installed on my 4 Macs. The $49 upgrade pricing for Snow Leopard is icing on the cake.

    I am just sad that my Windows using friends won’t be able to do that (upgrade multiple machines for very little money) with Windows 7

  11. ‘untouchable’ is the right word, if it wasn’t 29 bucks I would have never touched it ;), but seriously, I can appreciate the overhaul of OSX, it’s just the bias and the complete inability to acknowledge technology other than Apples’ that really annoys me on the Apple Blog, and it’s even worse because there are some articles, which are just so good that I don’t have the heart to delete the RSS altogether :)

    PS. Completely agree with you on the XP Mode issue, this is going to come back to bite MS in the ass.

    • Louis wheeler

      You seem to have issues with Apple.

      I have issues with Windows, because it is technically inferior. Windows is a stand alone system which cannot withstand the hackers on the Internet. It needs to have its foundations rebuilt or go out of business. Its flaws are costing people billions of $ a year.,00.shtml

      Pointing out Microsoft’s flaws is not bias, if those flaws are real.

      Next, you have made some questionable statements.

      “Windows 7 is a MAJOR overhaul of Vista, it’s not two steps behind MacOSX, in many things it’s actually a step or two ahead.”

      Since we don’t know much about Snow Leopard’s details yet, how could you know? Why not wait until it is released before you trash it?

      “OSX is going 64 bit, YEAH BABY, YUPPI, HURRAY… oh wait, wasn’t windows 64 bit for like… 4 years by now???”

      Apple introduced 64 bit programing in April 2005 in its Tiger 10.4 release; there wsn’t much need for it then.

      The problem with Microsoft’s implementation of 64 bit in XP Pro was that it made you choose between running 32 bit or 64 bit aps. Choosing one meant that you couldn’t do the other. Most of Windows aps, like Apple’s, are in 32 bit.

      System seven creates an XP emulation mode can be run in 32 bit. I’m still unclear on whether the rest of System seven will be in 64 bit. I’m guessing that the answer is no.

      The difference with Snow leopard is that it is a fully 64 bit Operating system which can also run 32 bit code. The Xcode programming system, which Apple forced on developers in the move to Intel hardware, makes the move to 64 bit code as easy as a recompile.

      This means that almost all of Apple’s applications will be in 64 bit code by next year. You cannot say that of Windows.

      This move to x64 is major. At the bare minimum, it means that your system runs 25 to 50% faster because x64 can utilize the extra registers in the Intel Core 2 processors.

      Hence, Snow Leopard is not a service pack. It is laying the foundations for future developments. That may not be sexy, but the applications which will be derived from these changes will be.

    • Agnostic2000


      —The problem with Microsoft’s implementation of 64 bit in XP Pro was that it made you choose between running 32 bit or 64 bit aps. Choosing one meant that you couldn’t do the other. Most of Windows aps, like Apple’s, are in 32 bit—


      I have a dual Harpertown pc (8cores) running XP64 (and BTW leopard in virtualization ;P ).

      I assure you, it runs both kind (64,32) apps with no problems (at the same time if you want) the kernel and basic system have been all along in 64, as SL will be:

      If you install, say, 3dsmax or softimageXSI on XP64 or Vista 64, it installs both “binary” 64bit and 32, you can choose to start the 64 or the 32bit version.

      If you save your 3d scenes in the 64bit version, it will still open in the 32bit version of the same program… Unless it’s super-complex scene that require >4gig of memory (that never happenned to me, yet)

      Hell, there’s even PHOTOSHOP IN 64BIT on windows (something not available yet on OSX)!

      Believe me, the extra registers don’t give such a performance boost, the real impact of 64bit OS is that apps can take more than 4gigs of RAM, so you can work on insanely big project files.

      OSX is a few step ahead in many ways, but in term of 64bits, windows is indeed 4 years ahead…

      Why did apple didn’t do it before, there’s a lot hassle involved in the jump to a full 64bit OS. A 64bit kernel wants 64bit services/ktex, it’s a lot of work! I’m really eager to see QT in full 64bit glory, with real 64bit codecs, that should be great!

      Just a side note, the Xbox360 use three 3.2GHz PPC cores (hehehehe), developing a game for it and windows, with XNA, is mostly as simple as a recompile… Their equivalent of Xcode, is not shabby by any means.

      C’mon, Louis! Microsoft is not as dumb as apple want you to believe!

      Since OSX, I like mac, I’ve work with them often, but the many uniformed macusers is a real turn off for the “mac culture”! There’s differences, but not that much.

  12. Oh yes, Apple wins all the time on Apple Blog, I wonder why that is…hmmm ;)

    Microsoft pricing strategy has nothing to do with Apple itself, comparing it to Apple doesn’t make much sense, because of the user base. Microsoft will sell its system for 49.99, 129, 189, 299 simply because it can and more significantly, because you don’t have to have a Mac to run it.

    Apple on the other hand doesn’t have that luxury it has to sell the Snow Leopard cheap, because although the system overhaul is indeed huge, it’s all happening under the hood and it’s awfully difficult to convince someone to spend 130 bucks on something that looks identical to what that person already has… need I really continue?

    Windows 7 is a MAJOR overhaul of Vista, it’s not two steps behind MacOSX, in many things it’s actually a step or two ahead.
    Sure W7 doesn’t have all the niceties and fireworks of OSX, and it will NEVER HAVE them, because they’re proprietary to Apple, it now has OTHER things for Apple to steal back (yeah steal back, they’ve been playing this cat and mouse game for quite a while now). I’m not even going to go there feature by feature, because you can google it for yourself dear Tom. I’d suggest starting with Lifehacker, unlike Apple blog it is actually successfully attempts to be unbiased, maybe you and your team could learn a thing or two about becoming something that would at least resemble a journalist.

    And one more thing…
    OSX is going 64bit, YEAH BABY, YUPPI, HURRAY… oh wait, wasn’t windows 64bit for like… 4 years by now??? (yes, there even was an XP which was 64bit)
    Boy do I feel stupid for touting that as a mac os x feature…

    • tayker

      1. Windows 7 isn’t a “MAJOR” overhaul of Vista. Tweaking old code and redoing the graphics isn’t “MAJOR.” Snow Leopard is Apple getting rid of the old code (read: PowerPC), has tweaked the graphics and added some extra features. I can see why people think it’s a paid service pack. However, if 7 is “MAJOR” then Snow Leopard, by your standards, is “UNTOUCHABLE.”

      2. Yes, 64-bit came out with the barely used XP Pro – which I used prior to Vista. However, developers are still lagging for over 6 years (AMD released the 64-bit CPU that Intel licenses the technology from due to cross-license agreements) on the Windows platform, hence some programs and drivers not working on 64-bit Vista. I don’t see that as all Microsoft’s fault, and which is why I won’t buy another nVIDIA or Linksys product – due to their lack of support or the years they took to release 64-bit support. Within the short amount of time Macs have been 64-bit capable, Macs have been more aggressive. Plus, I don’t have to worry about Snow Leopard Pro to give me Tiger support – 7 Home Premium doesn’t have XP Mode which will cause unsuspecting buyers to upgrade a second time when they find out their XP software is now busted (gotta love not being able to return software).

    • Carter

      Both Snow Leopard AND Windows 7 are small improvements over their predecessors, both focusing on performance, UI, and graphical tweaks.

      The difference is that Snow Leopard is $29 if you’re upgrading from Leopard, while Windows 7 Home Premium is $49 until July 11, then $129 for the remainder of its lifespan, if your upgrading from XP or Vista. Get it now people?

    • IT Guy

      On the 64 bit transition, Windows is a train wreck and OS X is transparent to users. As long as vendors and users have to choose between a 32 bit version and a 64 bit version, and the 32 bit version is ‘more compatible,’ you’ll have the very same problem you’ve had for the last 5 years–a marginalized 64 bit version. Apple has introduced incrementally more 64 bit support to Tiger and Leopard and COMPLETES its 64 bit migration with Snow Leopard, and as far as users are concerned it’s been totally transparent. That’s a big deal.

    • veggiedude

      Snow Leopard introduces “Grand Central” – a system that simplifies developers to write software to utilize multiple processors – Windows 7 does not, so its 64-bit is worthless in comparison.

  13. joseph

    AHHH my PS3 broke, optical drive is messed up and I am not getting an X Box I will not use microsoft made consoles am i being stupid or should i get a new ps3 I dont know im so confused nd I’ve hurd that Apple wants to release a system what should I buy or should I wait it out?

  14. I see Tom’s still got a hard on for MSFT.

    Let me try to help answer this question….

    Snow Leopard is basically a service pack being marketed as a new version. Windows 7 appears to be rock solid from all initial reports, and, from a PR perspective, a huge improvement over Vista. Apple knows that, and realizes the only way to compete is on price.

    THAT IS WHY they are charging less than they have done in the recent past.

  15. AdamC

    The iPhone is the game changer in this equation of Apple getting more traction in the enterprise. It has shown to everyone that Apple OS whichever flavor is easier to use and doesn’t need a geek to get it working. MS’s stuff is the opposite, getting windoz to work is a complete nightmare and then the virus and whatever is out there.

    The progress for Apple is slow but it is getting there.

    BTW most windoz boxes are use in the enterprise and guess what – cheap which you can’t even give away, which accounts for the market share.


    You can install whatever flavor of windoz in a very old pc but at what speed. No point talking about able to install when its function is seriously compromised.

  16. Victor

    Microsoft is caught in a serious pickle. If they offer windows 7 as an upgrade, which is basically is, as there’s no MAJOR difference between windows 7 and vista, they run the risk of not differentiating windows 7 from vista and running into the same marketing issues they had before. So do they offer it as say a $50 upgrade to Vista.. and stick with all of the marketing implications that come with that, or do they just charge more and hope that makes people forget about Vista, plus they get to make more profits off it. I just want to know what they plan on doing for all the companies that they just did major implementations of Vista for. Kind of shafts them hardcore.

  17. iphonerulez

    Any anyone that doesn’t have an Intel machine is not able to upgrade to Snow Leopard for any price. Not that it matters to me since I’m still running Tiger on my MacBook Pro 2.33 and still enjoying it. I had Leopard running for a while on my old G4 dualie MDD and it was OK, but I still went back to running Tiger in the end. I’ll move to Snow Leopard when I buy my next Intel Mac which will hopefully be some four-core iMac.

    Look, it really doesn’t matter whether the cost of Windows 7 is a worse deal than OSX. Apple can’t even give away OSX to consumers who will nearly always to continue to choose Windows PCs over Macs. The enterprise loathes OSX and will always go with Windows no matter how bad a few people think it is. OSX will always be flawed as far as Windows compatibility goes and Microsoft will always see to that. They’re not stupid.

    As a diehard Mac user I think all this talk about Windows being Satan’s OS is totally overblown. It works OK and almost everyone in the world wants to use it. No matter how much Microsoft charges for it, almost nobody will dump their PCs and switch to Macs, especially businesses. They’re not going to start from scratch. Windows is a bigger religion than Buddhism. It’s so rooted in the world, nothing can ever kill it and certainly not Apple. Microsoft licenses Windows to everyone and Apple licenses OSX to no one and that is the reason OSX will never grow beyond a small percentage of market share. Windows industry is just like the iPod industry. Whole industries of software and hardware have been built around Windows to make money and only a few Mac users want it to go away.

    So Mac users, enjoy OSX and be content on running it on a Mac. Just don’t get any delusions of grandeur about Apple and OSX ridding the world of Windows. Microsoft will sell tens of millions of copies of Windows 7 at any price and PC users will pay to get it no matter how much is charged. Windows PC users are stuck for better or for worse and they’re helpless to do anything about it.

    • SunnyGuy

      >> Apple can’t even give away OSX to consumers who will nearly always to continue to choose Windows PCs over Macs.

      Wrongo. Mac sales are up a lot more than PC sales.
      Apple is going like gangbusters nowadays. Check the
      sales figures. They’re all over the web.

      >> The enterprise loathes OSX and will always go with Windows no matter how bad a few people think it is.

      Exactly wrong. It’s the relatively few people who make
      decisions for IT departments, that foist Windows on
      their helpless victims — who often loathe Windows.

      >> OSX will always be flawed as far as Windows compatibility goes and Microsoft will always see to that. They’re not stupid.

      Actually Microsoft is stupid — or weren’t they found
      guilty of illegal monopolistic tactics?

      OSX is not “Windows compatible”, nor does Apple
      want it to be. There’s a little thing called Boot Camp,
      that Apple supports, that allows one to dual-boot
      Windows on a Mac.

      There are also a little thing called virtualization — read
      up on Parallels, VMware, and Virtual Box from Sun —
      that allows one to run Windows, Linux, and Solaris,
      WHILE one is running the Mac OS X host system.

      Windows is on the way out. Wait a few years and it
      will be apparent to everyone.

      Sunny Guy

  18. Snow Leopard is considered a full version upgrade for one reason only: it stops the support on PowerPC. For everything else, it seems to be an updated Leopard like other described. Apple is basically forcing people who still run PowerPC Mac and Tiger/Panther to get on-board with Intel Mac already.
    I think most people with Intel Mac already have Leopard, so $29 upgrade seems reasonable. Although I do feel bad for people with early Intel Mac on Tiger because Apple is making it difficult to either buy a newer powerful hardware or forking out the cash for the updated Leopard, which has a pretty high hardware requirement that early Intel Mac barely met.
    At the end of the day, there’s no comparison for Mac and Windows though. My sister’s laptop was advertised as “Vista Ready” with XP, but it is too slow for Windows 7, so basically she’ll just have to get a new hardware anyway – Maybe finally jump to Mac.

  19. @ Gazoobee
    You seem to be unaware that Windows 7 does run on hardware which was too old for VIsta, in fact it can be run on a notebook which was a no-go zone for VIsta. Heck, someone even managed to get Win 7 to run on a Pentium II (Even XP had problems doing that).
    The fact that Leopard is going into 64-bit territory will not create any real noticeable difference to anyone’s system. Sure it will have better memory management and it will finally incorporate GPU acceleration for quicktime but for the most part it’s just a change for developers, so as far as the end user is concerned the main difference will be the added “Snow” to the “Leopard”.

  20. Gazoobee

    @ gopowers:
    If you have a computer that’s still running Tiger, chances are it can’t be effectively updated to Snow Leopard so your comparison is flawed. Windows 7 is similar in that it requires pretty much the same hardware spec as Vista but it works because most recent computers are now more capable and can now run it. If you have a machine that is running XP and could not support Vista it won’t support Windows 7 in the same way. Both manufacturers are right to discourage those upgrades.

    @ Smooth Criminal:
    You’re completely off-base in describing Snow Leopard as a “service pack.” Almost everything is new and the whole system is 64 bit, it just *looks* the same. That doesn’t mean it *is* the same. The entire windowing system has been re-written from scratch for starters. Leopard is intended as a foundation and Snow Leopard is the bridge to the new hardware and 64 bits. The original Leopard is intended for the old machines and Snow Leopard for the new.

    This is just as if when Microsoft came out with Vista they made a special edition for the older slower computers so that people wouldn’t have compatibility problems. Microsoft *didn’t* do this of course.

    Snow Leopard also makes old computers faster. I’ve yet to see a Microsoft operating system that actually sped up an old computer when applied. Typically, you need a new computer or you need to beef up the old one a bit to make it work at the same speed.

  21. I was about to leave a comment on Ed Bott’s ramblings but others did it already, so I juste moved along… then I saw you post, and I’m happy you point out how biased Bott was.

    Still, I doubt all this makes any difference, people don’t “hunt OSes”, they hunt laptops/desktops/phones/…

    Android is the only exception I currently know where I hear some non-expert users think about OS choice…

  22. Johnny

    Don’t forget the price for Windows usually quoted is for an upgrade version. All OS X releases are full versions. To be fair you have to compare Windows Ultimate Full Retail version to The OS X version. Currently Windows is $319 for Vista at Best Buy.

  23. Smooth Criminal

    I like Apple. Trust me on this one. But there is only one problem with Snow Leopard. SL is just an updated Leopard. Sure Apple ironed out some kinks out of Leopard and added a few minor tweaks but it killed the PowerPC (non-intel Mac) users. So SL in my opinion qualifies as just a service pack which the unholy Microsoft gives away for free! Think about it. Free vs. $29 for leopard users & $129 for Tiger users & the rest of the Mac users with non-intel macs can just go to hell or simply buy a new mac…
    Another thing, Vista was bad for many who had old systems so Windows 7 is supposed to work for those same old pc’s which had problems with Vista. So if you are one of the people who could not install Vista on your old pc, you can still install windows 7. So the brute Microsoft still took care of its customers while Apple ditched its non-intel mac users altogether.
    Trust me when I say this, I still like Apple but I feel slowly it is turning into another Microsoft.

    • James

      However, many of the biggest improvements with Snow Leopard (Grand Central, OpenCL) only apply to the dual core (which means Intel processor) Macs, so if you’ve got one of the old PowerPCs, I’d argue you don’t NEED to purchase Snow Leopard.

      In addition, your statement that “if you are one of the people who could not install Vista on your old PC, you can still install Windows 7” is false. The official minimum recommended specs are essentially the same as Vista at the 32 bit level, and I can tell you with confidence that my 5 year old PC wouldn’t run Windows 7. The reality is that at some point, a new OS will always leave an old model behind. My old PC runs XP comfortably, and old PowerPCs do the same with Leopard. I don’t see anything wrong with this.

  24. Louis wheeler

    gopowers, he didn’t forget. He mentioned that you can buy buy the boxed set for $169. That gives you the latest versions of iLife and iWorks, so Snow leopard cost you $11. Where is the heart burn in that? Plenty of people skip upgrades. Apple doesn’t owe them anything when they do.

    Besides, I had read, several months ago, that 92 percent of the Mac user base had upgraded in the 19 months since leopard was released. Probably over 75% of those are Intel computers which can use Snow Leopard. Hence, the $29 up grade offer applies to most users.

    Anyway, this is America. It is supposedly a capitalist country where companies can choose what to sell their products for.

  25. Microsoft’s “editions” turned me off long ago, when many of us got burned with the whole “XP Home doesn’t support networking, you need Pro for that” fiasco. Arbitrarily limiting features of an OS just so you can charge more for your actual OS, is a real BS move. And, frankly Microsoft only gets away with it because Mac OSX is not a directly competitive with Windows. You get so much more with Mac OSX (even more than Windows’ Ultimate edition) at a fraction of the price, and a small fraction at that.

    It’s even more embarrassing for Microsoft when you consider that even the limit-time upgrade offers are much more expensive than Apple’s Snow Leopard upgrade will be, and Apple is improving upon an already awesome OS. Conversely, Microsoft unleashed the demon that Vista upon the world and is now charging everyone to get a “Vista that Works”. And, I’m sorry, that’s all Windows 7 is; it’s Vista as Vista should have been. If Microsoft had an ounce of decency (an obviously severely lacking character trait), they’d just give away Windows 7 to all the poor saps that got saddled with Vista.

    • I don’t know what you’re saying, but vista work fine for me. Never had any problems with it and never will have. I don’t understand the people who keep bashing on vista.

  26. gopowers

    What you may have forgotten about, is the upgrade to Snow Leopard is only available to those currently running Leopard. If you’re upgrading from Tiger and earlier, you will need the $129 version. For the first time in Apple’s history, they have offered two different prices for the same product. And I sure hope that this doesn’t continue, because I love the simplicity of Apple products and marketing.

    • legacy

      The Apple upgrade is really just an upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard, like a service pack which Microsoft does not make you pay for. Windows 7 is a new OS that isn’t just an upgrade from Vista as much as people are saying it is going to be.