C|Net: Steady-as-She-Goes Approach for Leopard is Best

Steady, slow steps in OS evolution, combined with some periodic cash flow, is a better way to evolve a modern OS than the lump sum approach of Vista, according to Tom Krazit at C|Net on Friday.

While there are many new features in Leopard, what may be more important is the methodology for updating a modern OS, given the pace of Internet life. While Microsoft spent five years on Vista, then updates its OS with free service packs, those service packs donit receive the publicity that a semi-major update every 18 months does for Apple. Nor do they generate the more frequent cash infusion that Apple benefits from.

Computing trends change. Hardware changes. "Hereis the lesson: making smaller, more frequent changes to your product makes it much easier to stay on top of a changing industry than a five-year plan will ever allow. It keeps engineers on their toes and also makes the bean counters happy. Thatis because modest upgrades can be released more frequently that still have enough new bells and whistles to justify charging for the new software," Mr. Krazit noted.

Microsoft, on the in the other hand, is highly burdened by the backwards compatibility requirements and the desire of IT managers for long-term stability. They canit turn on a dime like Apple can.

As a result, while some see the Leopard release as evolutionary, others see it as revolutionary in that it changes the OS debate. Apple obtains more momentum, appears to be changing and growing more quickly, and generates revenues more often. The approach also better prepares for the future.

"And [Apple is] more nimble," Mr. Krazit observed. "...a crucial advantage as an era dominated by the PC comes to a close and something new takes its place."