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Hasta La Vista… Baby? January 23, 2007

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Computers, Mac vs PC, Macintosh, OS X, Technology, Vista, Windows.

One of the top stories today on WordPress is “Will Vista Be the Reason You Switch to a Mac?” Ignoring all the questions about the poll the article references, there is an interesting market dynamic approaching as existing PC owners consider changing their computing experience.


I think it’s interesting that there are assumptions about Vista from the “I already know Windows” perspective. By all accounts, Vista dramatically changes the way you use Windows (as it should, if it’s going to fix some of the many fundamentally broken things about the preceding versions).

Are You App to Move?
From that standpoint, the question becomes one of “Am I so tightly dependent on the behavior of the Windows applications that I use daily that I can’t change?” I think, for most people, this is a harder question than they realize. Even on something like MS Office, the OS X version is very different from the Windows counterpart. This is appropriate for the differences in the operating systems.

However, for some users (most likely home users), the core apps may be email, web browsing, and a handful of games. For that user, if Apple can provide a simple upgrade path, they may be able to make some inroads.

Here’s what that would have to look like:

  1. Install Parallels
  2. Install WinXP (from your PC setup disks)
  3. Migrate data using XP’s Files and Settings Transfer Wizard
  4. Apply license key from previous copy (using RockXP or something similar)

This is roughly what I did with my son’s Mac Mini before sending him off to school. As an added bonus, he’s got a copy of the Windows image stored safely away, so he can always “go back” to the state of install. (In that regard, he’s got a better Win XP environment than when it was running on a PC.) Because it’s a college campus, I’m prepared to have to “fix” his XP environment regularly, as I’ve done for several of his buddies who are running XP.

Will Vista Open Windows to OS X?
It remains to be seen whether or not Apple will seize the opportunity and suggest such a path, or if Microsoft will make upgrading to Vista easier than it has made the move for previous versions. If the pain is similar, Apple has an opportunity. If not, then things will largely remain as they are, with Apple gaining only a minor amount of market.

For Apple, this opportunity may never come again.

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