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  • Newsletter #489 Preview: If Windows PCs Are So Good,
    Why Does Microsoft Have to Lie About Them?

    April 12th, 2009

    The other day, in responding to less-than-serious email from me on the subject, an acquaintance reminded me how hundreds of millions of people use Windows around the planet. To his way of thinking, that’s because they preferred that operating system over the Mac OS or Linux.

    Well, that may be true in part. But history shows that Microsoft has not dominated a market by building superior products. In large part, they used bait and switch and other deceptive tactics to push their mediocre imitations to customers.

    In the early 1990s, for example, when several advanced operating systems were available or being developed, Microsoft said that they were working on their own, Cairo, which would be far superior, so there was no reason to choose an alternative to Windows.

    Cairo, however, eventually vanished from Microsoft’s talking points, simply because it was all an illusion. Maybe they did at one time have hopes for such a thing, just as they actually planned to add an advanced file system to Windows Vista. But neither ever saw release. In the case of Vista’s Win FS file system, it appeared in beta versions, but was pulled for further development. No, it won’t be in Windows 7 either.

    Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.



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    3 Responses to “Newsletter #489 Preview: If Windows PCs Are So Good,
    Why Does Microsoft Have to Lie About Them?”

    1. Andrew says:

      The matchup of a Mac Pro against a high-end, though clearly consumer-model PC is absolutely absurd.

      If you want to be fair however, you should also point out that allowing a “downgrade” is nothing new in the Windows world and is actually essential for most business and government buyers. Large organizations usually lag one or two versions behind and use standardized software loads that are tightly controlled. Only with a lot of testing will a new version of Windows make it into these large organizations.

      I used to work for the Department of Justice and was using Windows 3.11 as late as 1998, at which time I was one of the lucky ones to get a Windows 95 system. When I left in 2005 we were transitioning from Windows 2000 to Windows XP. It is such buyers that require the continued downgrade options to XP. 7 is similar enough to Vista that we may never see the option to downgrade to Vista, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we did.

      Vista itself actually isn’t that bad. Most of the problems were caused by the lack of drivers and incompatibilities with an entirely new architecture for accounts and security compared to Windows XP. Windows users went through similar difficulties when the old DOS-based Win9x was replaced with NT-based XP and Mac users had similar joy in the early days of OS X and to a lesser extent moving from System 7 to OS 8 and 8 to 9.

    2. Bo says:

      A huge problem on the Mac side is the lack of a mini tower model aimed at the consumer market. I am looking at PearC, where the Advanced Stylence tower sound very tempting. I also contemplate making a hackintosh of my own using the EFI dongle to get the hardware of my choice and also being able to choose a display that I like. I want Apple to thrive, but then they have to offer hardware that is competitive at a competitive price as well. If I want/need a consumer level quad core Mac, there simply are no options. I have to pay an arm and a leg to get a Mac Pro that surely isn’t consumer level. I think Microsoft has a point in their commercials, pointing out that there are a lot of choices on the PC side, and you can get a computer that suits your needs in a more fine grained way than on a Mac. In short, I use Apple Macs because I like OS X, not because of the hardware or that I dislike Vista.

    3. gopher says:

      People buy and stick with what works for them. For instance my office still uses a 2001 copyright version of XP. And believe it or not its stability has been very good. Of course it has a large IT staff making sure things don’t wrong. There are some software titles which might work on Boot Camp, but no one has the money to replace the computers in the office. The only way Apple is going to get people to switch in an office is to give live demos at offices wherever they seek a market showing that Boot Camp works equally well, and gives them an upgrade path for the future.

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