Microsoft’s latest Windows is reportedly its best yet, which spells trouble for Apple. How can Steve Jobs keep the Mac momentum alive?
Yesterday, Wall Street Journal gadget god Walt Mossberg gave Windows 7 a wet kiss, which is one of the best things that has happened to Microsoft all year.
And it is not good for Apple, whose Mac business has gained a substantial amount of momentum over the last several years in part because Windows Vista was a huge disaster. Apple could easily lose some of that momentum now that Windows 7 is not terrible.
One choice section from Mossberg’s review that will likely cause frustration in Cupertino: Where he says that Mac OS X just isn’t that much better than Windows anymore.
“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.”
So what will Apple do to keep its Mac momentum going?
- Keep trashing Windows in ads, pointing out Windows 7’s flaws. In this case, one of the biggest flaws is what a mess the upgrade process will be for Windows XP users. It’s so bad that Mossberg thinks it will force many XP users to “either stick with what they’ve got or wait and buy a new one.” So make sure when they “buy a new one,” it’s a Mac.
- Keep making better Macs! Reports suggest Apple will release all-new iMacs, a new plastic MacBook, and faster Mac minis this month. That should help a little.
- Price cuts. Apple has done a much better job with this recently than ever before, but if it ever wants to dial up a little more market share, it can always dial down a few price tags. We don’t expect anything major, but reports suggest the new iMacs will be cheaper, and the new Mac minis could be, too.
- emphasise that Snow Leopard, the new Mac OS X, only costs $30, and is not a hassle to install. The Windows upgrade is much more.
- Remind people that Windows 7 will run on a Mac, making their new Mac the prettiest Windows PC on the planet.
- Apple tablet. Forge new markets where Microsoft doesn’t participate, make people care.
- Take advantage of the millions of people who have recently bought iPhones and iPod touches, and make them Mac owners. One way could be to continue making great apps for the iPhone that work hand-in-hand with your Mac and OS X. Apple has been rather slow about making apps for its own mobile platform, but its Remote app for iTunes is a good start.
- Eventually, a new Mac OS. But since Snow Leopard just shipped, don’t expect a new one for more than a year.