The Thrilla in Manilla for 2006 is going to be Microsoft Windows Vista going against Apple Mac OS/X on the same Intel hardware. This weblog will be supplying a little ongoing Cheat Sheet which will be offering some insights on who is getting what advantages in what is shaping up to be the OS Desktop Slugfest of the Decade.
eWeek is reporting that all the hardware chips are falling into place for Apple to make an announcement as early as as the AppleWorld show in mid-January in San Francisco. This would not be unheard of as Apple has used an early debut to whet interest in product that would be delivered 2-5 month later in the year. And since Apple is publicly committed to a June 2006 data for the start of the conversion …
However, both Apple and Microsoft are running into the “the tide is going out on PC sales” pheneomenon. And so there may be an advantage to release early before the tide is completely out. However, I suspect that Apple will not want to commit too early and “virtually = for delivery in 3-5 months time”. Apple has been working triple overtime to exstinguish the rumor and trade secrets leak mill – and with good reason. Microsoft has proved wonderously adept at Marketing Defense – either impugning and attacking the weaknesses of a competitors products, outshining with discounts and technology futures a competitors features, plus marshallling it $40B in cash to “get the markets attention” in novel ways. So Steve Jobs will not want to reveal his target until he is ready to actually deliver.
VISTA Hardware Bloat ?
On the Microsoft side the hardware requirements seem to have been made to make Intel, Dell, HP, Lenovo and other computer suppliers happy – not consumers and business users. The culprit is the requirements for running the Avalon/Aero display technology. But as well we know that there are two other hardware/software flies in the Vista ointment. First, there is a wholescale changes to the device drivers which ISVs are not going to be thrilled about doing especially since prospects for Vista being a blow out seller are diminishing. Also Microsoft now competes head on with more and more ISVs with Expression Suite, Windows Media Player, and Windows game software. Second there is the large-scale changes to Color management also required. In short, on the “make the hardware work” side it appears that Vista is forcing developers and ISVs through more hoops (and risks that their software explodes as dyfunctional) than Apple.
But in this first cheat sheet, I will give Gartner the last word and that is Go Slow on Vista.