Microsoft’s Perilous Pit and Snow Leopard Maneuvers

| Snow Leopard

Microsoft is a company that cut its teeth on the Enterprise. Yet, somehow, the company is unable to ignore Apple's market share and attend to its own business. The release of Snow Leopard continues to mess with Microsoft's mind.

Not only did the early release of Snow Leopard catch some Apple developers off guard, it's likely caught Microsoft by surprise as well. Microsoft probably reasoned that they could bracket Snow Leopard with Zune HD and an October 22 release of Windows 7. How's that working for you, Microsoft?

Snow Leopard

What has Microsoft in a bind here is that Windows 7 sales will come primarily from new PCs with Windows 7 pre-installed. In November. History has shown that a much smaller number of customers will run out to buy a copy of Windows 7 to install over Vista. And the vast majority of consumers are actually quite happy with Windows XP, SP3.

Why is that? Here's the upgrade matrix for various Windows installations. (A custom install requires one to completely wipe out the current OS.)

So it's fairly clear that Microsoft got itself into a bind in the 32 to 64 bit upgrade process. But that's okay; IT managers are paid to deal with charts like that.

Snow Leopard, on the other hand is just one step in an incremental series that has carried users and developers along from 32-bits to 64-bits. That's how its done in the consumer world.

On top of that, Snow Leopard doesn't have onerous licensing. Apple doesn't have to worry too much about people pirating Snow Leopard because of the good will it has with customers and because it'll only install on a Mac anyway. Apple doesn't make a huge amount of money with Mac OS X -- it's merely a gateway to Apple's other revenue streams. This is all very well thought out. This morning, I explained how and why Apple has made it so easy to upgrade.

So if Microsoft really wants to put the "wow" back into Windows 7, they should have figured out a way to produce just one version of Windows 7 that seamlessly upgraded either XP or Vista to 64-bits. If the company couldn't figure out how to do that, it should just give the shareholders their money back and close up shop.

Snow Leopard's early arrival, in time for the back-to-school season, gives college students two choices. Just go get the coolest Mac OS ever, Snow Leopard, for $29, and drop it into place on a MacBook -- or wait until November for a new PC laptop with Windows 7 ... or go through the pain of upgrading to 64-bits ... or stick with a two generation old XP. Fabulous options there.

Microsoft is going through the Perilous Pit right now. No consumer really wants to mess around with their stuff anymore. It isn't fun and its OSes aren't easy to install. There's no "wow," just pain. And that pain was all born of Microsoft's insidious agenda for business for the last 15 years.

So I'll predict that selling Windows 7 on the shelves in Microsoft retail stores is going to be a disaster. Microsoft, I'll be blunt. Either build a consumer OS division with a new vision, a single OS, a single price, and a sleek, reliable upgrade technology, or just give up the whole idea of emulating Apple. Apple's OS development, leading to Snow Leopard, makes it more clear than ever that there is really only one consumer OS.


Lee Dronick

“Apple doesn’t have to worry too much about people pirating Snow Leopard because of the good will it has with customers and because it’ll only install on a Mac anyway.”

Not being an owner of one I have to ask. Do we know how well, if at all, Snow Leopard will install on a Hackintosh?


Well put. M$ seems to think that because business users have an IT guy on speed dial that home users do as well. People ask me what kind of computer they should get. For over a decade I’ve told them “They pay me to fix Windows problems. I use the money they pay me to buy Macintosh because I don’t want to fix problems at home too.”

John Martellaro

I haven’t seen any reports yet.


Answer to Sir Harry:

Apparently, a torrent of the Gold Master, modified to run on SSE3 Intel PCs, is circulating around. A few people have already reported successfully installing it on their non-Apple hardware. Not sure what issues, if any, are they experiencing, though, but the install seems to be working.

The effort is so far below Apple’s radar, it just isn’t worth dealing with (yet).


Mac OS X on a hacintosh?  Isn’t that illegal?  Regardless, I know some folks like to tinker and spend time building machines, etc., but Mac OS X installs just quick and fine and POOF…I’m up and running.  Simple.  I can’t wait to see what Apple has up its sleeves ‘cause I know they didn’t spend two years just to clean house (which is absolutely wonderful) but they’re laying the groundwork for some future super cool Mac OS X-based stuff now that it is lean and mean and under-the-hood features.  Just wait…I think next summer will blow us away with something really awesome.

Maybe Windows 7 is a under-the-hood-Vista-fix also, and congrats to MS for that.  However, Windows really needs an overhaul.  The OS architecture is outdated.  I would respect MS if they put Windows into a “compatibility box” and rewrote a whole new OS that is modern and doesn’t have the ties to old Windows stuff (e.g., registry mess among other stuff).

Lee Dronick

Related to the subject of Hackintosh I just got a Google alert that Psystar has filed suit to be allowed to sell their clones with Snow Leopard pre-installed. See more details via the link.


Related to the subject of Hackintosh I just got a Google alert that Psystar has filed suit to be allowed to sell their clones with Snow Leopard pre-installed. See more details via the link.

I’ll give Psystar credit for having the nerve of a mongoose. They just don’t get it though It’s what they are doing, not how they are doing it. “Your honor I plead not guilty to bank robbery because I did not threaten them with a knife as the complaint alleges, I used a machete.”


I agree that Microsoft screwed up with Windows 7.  We have an old eMachines C2480 desktop (2 GHz AMD Athlon XP CPU, 80GB HD, 2GB RAM, Radeon X1300 video card) running Windows XP that I decided to skip updating to Vista because of all the initial problems.  Windows 7 was supposed to be a faster, leaner version of Vista, right?  From Microsoft’s site, I installed the app that looks at your configuration and tells you if you can update or not.  Seems as if the Radeon card will not run the Aero graphics.  Besides that, it doesn’t include Outlook Express; I would have to do a “clean install” (which I’ve done before, but what a pain in the arse); and the 2GB of RAM is the minimum in order to run older XP apps in Windows XP Mode.  Sorry, Microsoft, but no Windows 7 upgrade dollars for you!

Neil Anderson

The Perilous Pit of no return.


What all the fuss about W7? I am happy with W2k on my work PCs and only problem I have is one f…. website that recquire IE7 but is workable in IE 6. Why to instal all that newr Win bloatware just to slow down you computer and eat your memory alive wink and enter into Windows registration headache. If you want upgrade, buy SSD HD and you will give you computer new life for few years.

Of course my home mac will get 10.6 soon grin No brainer!

Delta - Tech

Not too long ago John C Dovorak did an article on Windows having to scrap the whole OS and start from scratch or trying their hands at something else before they drive their own product into the ground.

My biggest problem with Windows these days besides the cost and bloat is the never ending parade of viruses, trojans, malware, and spyware.  I can honestly say that I’ve done more fresh installs on Windows machines, just because it’s quicker and easier for me, than spending weeks trying to resolve the myriad of infections on one machine.

My one nephew was in the reinstall of the month club it seemed like I would just get his system restored and one of his buddies would tell him about another site to get music and it was back to square one.  When my brother asked what laptop to get him for his high school graduation I told him a Macbook Pro and it was over a year before I heard from him and a archive and reinstall fixed the issue, no fuss, no lost files, and a couple clicks on my part and I’m the hero.

Macs just work…......


Is the Mac OS really more modern?

If the current version of Windows is the same architecture as Windows 1.0, then it’s beginning date is 1985. If you want to go back further, then Microsoft’s Interface Manager was started in 1981. If you want to go as far back as QDOS (licensed by Bill Gates) it was developed around 1979.

Windows however did go through a major re-write and today’s XP, Vista and Windows 7 all come from Windows NT from around 1993.

Now what about Mac OS X? Well it’s based on BSD. BSD got it’s start in 1974! Whoa, talk about old technology. The Mach kernel didn’t enter the BSD distribution until BSD4.2 around 1983, 2 years before Interface Manager got it’s start. NeXT was showing a version of it’s OS in 1986 and delivered it’s first OS in 1989, well before NT was released.

So which OS is more modern? Probably Windows. Which OS is a better consumer OS? Need you ask?


SL has been available on Hackintosh for - well, about as long as Snow Leopard developer betas have been available.

I ‘predicted’ the upgrade disk would be obvious move to scupper Psystar - it doesn’t affect Hackintosh users (who Apple largely tolerate, and who are often Mac owners anyway) but it does cause a problem for anyone trying to make a case for a legal resale, given that Psystar’s legal argument rests on the fact that Apple sold full copies of OS X at retail.

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