Mossberg on Windows 7 vs OS X — “A Toss Up”


windows-7-logoOver the past two years, each time I saw a review of Microsoft Windows, I wanted to wave my hands around like a Jedi. “These aren’t the reviews you’re looking for…” is what I’d say while appearing to concentrate heavily. Sadly, this never seemed to work — apparently, I need more time honing my mind tricks at the Jedi Academy. Luckily, there’s no magic needed for the latest overview of Windows 7 by Walt Mossberg:

In recent years, I, like many other reviewers, have argued that Apple’s Mac OS X operating system is much better than Windows. That’s no longer true. I still give the Mac OS a slight edge because it has a much easier and cheaper upgrade path; more built-in software programs; and far less vulnerability to viruses and other malicious software, which are overwhelmingly built to run on Windows.

Now, however, it’s much more of a toss-up between the two rivals. Windows 7 beats the Mac OS in some areas, such as better previews and navigation right from the taskbar, easier organization of open windows on the desktop and touch-screen capabilities. So Apple will have to scramble now that the gift of a flawed Vista has been replaced with a reliable, elegant version of Windows.”

Although we’ve been covering and using Windows 7 since the first beta nearly a year ago, I recommend this overview at the All Things Digital. Aside from the personal opinions offered, Mossberg provides a solid list of the major new features and functions in Windows 7.

I have to agree with him on the usefulness of the new Taskbar features as well. I’m enjoying the Aero Peek and Jump Lists features more than the updated Dock functions in Snow Leopard. That’s not a reason to switch from one operating system to the other; just an observation in the way I use my computer. Besides, I have the best of both worlds after upgrading my MacBook is with 4GB of memory. Using Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0, I’m running Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard at the same time throughout the day. Sometimes the best choice is the one you don’t have to make!


steven malan

I looked back at articles when Vista came out, and guess what, Mossberg praised Vista also! Don’t
be fooled, Windows 7 has the same underpinnings as Vista. Both work when brand new, but it won’t be long before they slow down to a crawl. Recent reviews say that Windows 7 takes longer to boot
than Vista does. In short, I predict more disappointment ahead for Widows users, a big SNAFU
for Microsoft. How many more times can Redmond use its smoke and mirror tactics? One of these
days its customer base will stop believing the hype, it maybe this time around!


Joe – I don’t think you have a very good understanding of the law if you’re hoping Mossberg sues for this. Your 20 years argument did give me a good chuckle, given the rest of your rant. I’m going to give you a 4/10.

Joe Anonymous

Yes, I’ve used Windows 7 – and read extensively about it. Read the Computerworld review – Windows 7 is SLIGHTLY faster than Vista in their tests, but still quite a bit slower than XP.

Bottom line is that there’s a 20 year history of “Sure, the last version of Windows stunk, but THIS one will be better than a Mac”. After 20 years, you get tired of the same old junk.

It’s also interesting that Mossberg never says anything bad about anyone. For example, try this review of Vista when it first came out (before any of the service packs made it almost usable): “After months of testing Vista on multiple computers, new and old, I believe it is the best version of Windows that Microsoft has produced”

Gee- exactly the same words he used for Windows 7. That’s comforting, isn’t it?

Kevin C. Tofel

So Joe, are you trying to attack Mossberg, Microsoft or me? I’m not sure of your point. If you think OS X is better than Windows, then use it. That’s what I do — use the best tool for the task. Often it’s OS X, while at other times it’s Windows or Linux. It might be a notebook, a netbook or my MacBook.

Point being: Vote with your wallet and if you want to criticize Mossberg’s article, his site takes comments too. ;) I’m not sure if or how I came across as one of the “fanboys” you mention, but as I said in the post, I run both operating systems as needed.

Joe Anonymous

Your headline is inaccurate. I hope Mossberg sues your butt all the way back to Redmond.

Mossberg stated that he gave Mac OS X the edge, but that it was “more of a toss up”. That’s not what your headline says.

Furthermore, Let’s wait and see.

I’ve been hearing for something like 20 years how the NEXT version of Windows was going to be just as good as the Mac – if not better. Then, when it comes out, it continues to suck (although, other than Vista, not usually quite as bad as the previous version). Heck, even back in Windows 3.0 days (which was one of the worst operating systems EVER foisted on mankind, the WIndows fanboys were claiming that it was just as good.

Let’s wait until let’s say 2 months after the release and watch how sucky it really is. For example, a number of published reports say that while it is slightly faster than Vista (heck, a drunken slug is faster than Vista), it is still far behind XP on real application performance.

Reviewers praised 3.1, 95, 97, ME, XP, 2000, Vista, and any others that I’ve missed – but users continued to realize that they were miles away from Macs in usability.

James Kendrick

Wow, that’s EXACTLY what the headline says:

“a toss up” vs.

“more of a toss up”

means basically the same thing. Bear in mind that we have been running Windows 7 for a year now and are pretty sure you shouldn’t hold your breath waiting for what you predict.

Gavin Miller

Oh dear Joe. One thing I’ve learned in the same 20 odd years is that anyone using the term ‘fanboy’ is infact tarnished by the very word they are using to insult others. You’re displaying the classic ‘fanboy’ trait of bashing OS’s you don’t use.

As a user of Snow Leopard on my Macbook Pro, using Bootcamp with Windows 7, I can assure you that Windows 7 is a robust, modern and quick OS, as is OSX. We’d all be interested in some links to these ‘reports’ you’re quoting though.

Also, ‘usability’ is an interesting argument to make. I’ve never found anything I couldn’t do on either OS over the years, apart from the obvious gaming and app specific issues.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m excited at where we are today with the tech we have and the amazing OS’s and Apps we can choose from. Yet many people, like yourself, prefer the age old ‘everything else sucks’ mantra. There’s a brave new tech world out there, you should embrace it!


“Let’s wait until let’s say 2 months after the release and watch how sucky it really is. For example, a number of published reports say that while it is slightly faster than Vista (heck, a drunken slug is faster than Vista), it is still far behind XP on real application performance.”

Have YOU actually used Windows 7? Millions Users and reviewers have been running it since January, over 9 Months. Its not just a few elite rewiewers who are talking about how good the system is, but normal users.

I’ve been using it as My primary Operating system in a dual boot configuration since the beta (Over 6 Months) and its performance has been great. While it might be slightly slower (Less then 10%) on the same hardware, the improvements in usability and stability have been incredible.

Unless you are running Hardware intensive applications on older hardware, your not really going to notis a major slowdown compared to XP. And in many of those cases it is more of an issue of non optimized drivers and applications.

Running it in parallel with Snow Leopard over the past few weeks, its easy to see how both are mature systems, both having their strengths and weaknesses.


Hahaha, yeah, that’d be the day. Well, there’s always Hackintosh, right? And you can do that in VMware if you try hard enough.


Dang. If only there were someway to run MacOSX on a virtual machine with a windows host…
Hey, I can dream cant I?

i would love to see virtualization on a chip, so that one could boot and switch between multiple os’s as if one was using a kvm.

closest i have seen so far is a dual system motherboard, with a atom next to a core2.


“Using Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0, I’m running Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard at the same time throughout the day. Sometimes the best choice is the one you don’t have to make!”

Well, that’s nice for you. ;-) But don’t forget that this is only a solution for few people. Lots of users have to deal with hardware that won’t work in a VM. Most users, I guess, don’t want to deal with these issues at all. For them choosing an OS definitely a either-or-decision.


Wow, normally I think of Mossberg of being an extension of the Apple marketing machine so this is quite a shock. I gave up reading any of his reviews a long time as I never thought they had much credibility. Maybe this is the start of a more objective viewpoint.


I felt just the opposite, that Mossberg was one of the few voices out there that spoke for the Apple side as if it was a worthy competitor to Microsoft. Even more surprising was that he spoke from a conservative-dominated newspaper. Over the years his reviews seem to have borne-out the predictions that Apple would reemerge as a viable enterprise after nearly being snuffed out. Its appeal to the small business and consumer market, rather than corporate market is working. Apple is inspiring companies like Microsoft to produce better products.


Mossberg is looking at superficial UI elements and not the underlying OS architecture. I’m not impressed by Windows 7’s gimmicks and we will see how much Mossberg likes Windows 7 6 months out as it slows down and becomes less stable because of registry rot. Which the only fix for is to reinstall the OS.


Registry rot? That’s the sort of silly thing I’d expect to hear from Mossberg.

By the way, virtualisation falls slightly short of “the best of both worlds” due to the fact that you have limited access to the hardware. Aero and DX11 are for more than just eye candy.

James Kendrick

The current version of VMware Fusion supports Aero in virtual machines, plus, don’t overlook Boot Camp which allows full Win7 access to h/w. I’m just sayin’.


I was going to say something about Bootcamp but I know that there are a lot of Mac users that would rather have access to both operating systems at once rather than one at a time. I also had a vague recollection that VMWare supported Aero but didn’t mention it as Kevin was talking about Parallels. Also, does VMWare support DX11 and its GPGPU extensions?

I’m not saying virtualisation is bad but it has it’s limitations, especially on a consumer desktop.

James Kendrick

Oh I agree with you completely. It’s still important to realize the options that are out there though.

Parallels still doesn’t support Aero, only the new version of Fusion does as far as I know.

I don’t think DX11 is supported yet, but I haven’t researched it.

I regularly run Win 7 and OS X side-by-side with Parallels and it is incredibly useful to have both at hand when needed.

PS. What is this “desktop” you mentioned? :)

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