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Microsoft Feared Mac Vs. Vista In '05 652

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-so-much-any-more dept.
CWmike writes "Gregg Keizer sifted through many threads of e-mails released under the 'Vista Capable' lawsuit to dig up this jewel...More than a year before Windows Vista's release — and long before Apple started poking fun at the OS — Microsoft officials were already worried about comparisons between Mac OS X and Vista. An e-mail thread from October 2005 showed that an article in the Wall Street Journal by Walt Mossberg grabbed the attention of managers at Microsoft. In a column headlined What PC to Buy If You Are Planning On a Vista Upgrade, Mossberg alarmed one Windows manager who forwarded a bit from the column.... 'You won't have to worry about Vista if you buy one of Apple Computer's Macintosh computers, which don't run Windows,' Mossberg had written. 'Every mainstream consumer doing typical tasks should consider the Mac. Its operating system, called Tiger, is better and more secure than Windows XP, and already contains most of the key features promised for Vista.' Warrier added a comment of his own: 'A premium experience as defined by Walt = Apple. This is why we need to address [the column].'"
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Microsoft Feared Mac Vs. Vista In '05

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  • News??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theaveng (1243528) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:16PM (#25818727)

    Uh... this is news? Any good businessman always watches the competition and tries to estimate how many customers might switchover. That's not "fear". That's just good old commonsense.

    • Re:News??? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:41PM (#25819209)
      It's news because it's not every day that we get to be party to these discussions. We're only finding out because of a law suit. As a linux/mac fanboy, I would be just as interested if not more so if we got the read the same discussions about Steve Jobs and Co. discussing how they were going to beat windows, and I read about the GNU and linux guru discussions about this subject when they make the front page of slashdot. (See, linux is open source, so the discussions are easier to access. :) ) So it's news, I'm interested in it.

      Also, there's a sense, at least to many on slashdot, that Microsoft owes its position not to good software, but to its monopoly status. Thus, if the MS execs are concerned about the competition, it means maybe the end of the windows domination is that much closer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mrops (927562)

        IMHO, Mac is a bigger threat to Linux than Windows/Vista/XP ever was or will be.

        For the longest time, I wanted to move to a *nix OS. I kept trying ubuntu, FreeBSD and the likes, only to switch back to XP because of office apps and all business were using stuff like Office Suite of apps. Further, tried Cinerella for my video editing on Linux, it has potential, thats all I will say.

        Recently got a Mac (some say I switched to the dark side). Interestingly, I find it has all that I need and nothing I don't. Best

  • Broken premise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:18PM (#25818783)
    Mossberg says:

    Vista, formerly known by its code name of Longhorn, is due out about a year from now, well within the lifetime of any PC you purchase today. I assume most consumers running Windows will want to upgrade to Vista.

    Which is just plain wrong. Consumers don't upgrade operating systems. They use the one that came with the box until they need a new box. Techno-nerds and enterprises upgrade operating syatems. In the case of Vista, enterprises have stayed away in droves.

    • Re:Broken premise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by qoncept (599709) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:27PM (#25818943) Homepage
      Wow, that's a pretty bold assertion with absolutely no evidence to back it up. I don't have any numbers, but I'll go ahead and base my entire argument on personal opinion like you have. I think you're wrong. I'm sure that less people buy operating systems to upgrade themselves than buy them OEM with a new computer, and I know businesses have avoided Vista, and after the fact, when everyone found out for sure that Vista was garbage they stayed away, but "Consumers don't upgrade operating systems" is just straight up silly. The simple fact that Best Buy has them for sale says you are wrong. People do it, and enough do it that Microsoft markets to them.

      And, as an aside, business do upgrade operating systems. But not immediately. They give them time, wait for bug fixes and evidence that the platform is stable. With Vista, that never happened, so they didn't upgrade.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
        No, I really don't think that's silly. People (enterprises included) generally upgrade operating systems as part of a new machine purchase. The number of people who buy the latest Windows to upgrade an existing machine are a vanishingly small portion of the total licenses sold.
    • Broken ad campaign (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hellfire (86129)

      In the case of Vista, enterprises have stayed away in droves.

      Which is a point I've been making for months to pro Vista people who don't understand why this is such a disaster and keep claiming "Vista isn't that bad." What they don't understand is that for the business market, Vista is extraordinarily bad!! That's extraordinarily bad for Microsoft, and which is their main source of income. Business are still buying XP licenses for new machines, but they aren't upgrading current machines to Vista because i

    • by Selfbain (624722) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:59PM (#25819521)
      When my Mother got a new computer, it came with Vista and I had to keep telling her there was nothing to fear from a new operating system but I think my message was somewhat undermined by the fact I kept swearing and screaming at the computer while I was setting it up.
  • by spoot (104183) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:18PM (#25818787) Homepage

    I'm sure many will remember the comparisons of the screen shots and betas for Vista vs. OS X. It was remarkable how much Vista looked like OS X. In both feature (bloat) and GUI. Microsoft is as much, if not more, to blame for the feature comparison. Redmond continued to flaunt using Cupertino as their proxy R&D. When Microsoft finally shipped the goods, the comparisons it seems, were only skin deep.

  • Still true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Foofoobar (318279) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:19PM (#25818805)
    With a BSD backend, a controlled hardware architecture and the ability to run tools from all platforms via MacPorts or VMWare or Wine, Mac has shown it is not only a better user experience in th long run but a far lower maintenance computer. There are fewer problems due to the maintained hardware architecture by Apple and no viruses to speak of due to sandboxing and BSD's UNIX background.

    It does hav bugs like any OS which luckily they are fairly quick to address, and they have a much faster turn around for new versions of the OS (one every year versus every 3-5 years for Windows).

    Would I prefer it to be more open like Linux? Oh hell yes especially now that they are adopting HDCP and other DRM related technologies. I suspect however that the Vista fiasco and Netbooks have caused enough people to consider a switch to Linux and with Apple embracing OpenGL for game development on iPhone and iTouch, it will only be a matter of time before it is on equal footing as a game platform and openGL is equally considered thus giving Linux a footup as well; afterall, Blizzard already has admitted to having a Linux Warcraft client internally that they haven't released.
  • by Shuh (13578) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:19PM (#25818809) Journal
    Microsoft has a lot to worry about. When it has come to the big technology shifts, DOS and later Windows have always been trailing-edge technology.
    • by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:29PM (#25818989)

      Microsoft knows this and they know all about Tiger, they copied alot of it. What Microsoft was concerned about was rogue press saying things like Mossberg wrote. Anyone who knows technology over the last 20 years knows that Microsoft is a marketing company before they are a tech company and this email just shows that. 'Don't let the public know there is something better' is all this says and that is SOP for Microsoft. IMO

      LoB

  • by rehtonAesoohC (954490) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:21PM (#25818839) Journal
    I'm getting really annoyed at the Mac commercials that constantly slam PC's.

    I'm the kind of person who hates it when politicians run smear campaigns and TV ads slandering the opposition, and for Apple to be doing this for their TV ads seems unprofessional and childish.

    If you want to highlight your product, great! Do so, and let the product speak for itself. People who are so fed up with Microsoft will see a commercial highlighting the Mac's features, and they will generally go research it. I have been put off by the commercials, and any interest I genuinely had in getting a Mac was completely destroyed.
    • by gmor (769112) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:35PM (#25819097)

      I'm getting really annoyed at the Mac commercials that constantly slam PC's.

      I get the opposite reaction. I find Apple's ads cute, fun, and surprisingly truthful as Microsoft runs desperate "I'm a PC, so I'm nowhere near my computer" ads.

      And the iPhone and iPod Touch ads are musical, elegant, and actually make me want to buy the device, as opposed to the other carriers' ads that show dominoes of inventory but no one doing anything cool with their phones.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by badasscat (563442)

        I get the opposite reaction. I find Apple's ads cute, fun, and surprisingly truthful as Microsoft runs desperate "I'm a PC, so I'm nowhere near my computer" ads.

        MS's first ad in that series I thought was brilliant. (The two guys in Apple's ads are nowhere near PC's either.) It was both a really positive message for MS and a really subtle but effective needling of Apple. It showed the diversity of PC users, with both regular and famous/creative people, and by extension implied pretty effectively that App

  • by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:28PM (#25818957) Journal
    Sure MS may have been worried about OS X in 2005, but the problem runs much deeper now. Let's take a look back:

    In 2005, Mac OS X was available and rating "better" as a desktop environment in many places, but in order to "upgrade" to OS X, it required purchase of all new hardware.

    by 2008, Mac had adopted Intel x86-based processors and expanded support into the realm formerly controlled only by PC. While technically you still need to upgrade to Mac hardware according to the Mac OS X EULA, the validity of that claim is currently being questioned. Additionally Ubuntu and other Linux distros that make setup easy and are very user-friendly have started spawning and are also beginning to take a significant chunk out of MS's market share.

    There may have been signs of things to come in 2005, but thinks look even more bleak for MS now unless they can get things together with Vista or at least Windows 7.
    • by nawcom (941663) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:46PM (#25819275) Homepage

      In 2005, Mac OS X was available and rating "better" as a desktop environment in many places, but in order to "upgrade" to OS X, it required purchase of all new hardware.

      by 2008, Mac had adopted Intel x86-based processors and expanded support into the realm formerly controlled only by PC.

      You really mean in 2001 Mac OS X was available and by 2005 Mac had adapted Intel processors - right? Your first 2 points confused the hell out of me.

  • by ianare (1132971) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:34PM (#25819073)

    Russell went on to defend Vista, specifically its ability to "run on a very wide-ranging set of systems from the minimally capable to the incredibly capable," he said. "Apple doesn't do that."

    Riiiiight. Apple was able to slim down OS X to run on an ARM smartphone, can MS do the same with Vista ? Oh yeah that's right, they had to extend the life of XP just for the netbook market, cause there's no way Vista could run on that hardware, and they were afraid of Linux taking over.
    I can't see how this guy could think that, did he not ever use Vista ?

  • by Jodka (520060) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:34PM (#25819079)

    "A premium experience as defined by Walt = Apple. This is why we need to address [the column]."

    That suggests that when Microsoft received reports of a competitor offering a superior product that executives regarded the reports themselves as the problem and not Microsoft's deficient offerings; Warrier writes of addressing Mossberg's column, not of addressing the problems with Microsoft's planning and development processes which led them to an inferior market position.

    Blaming someone outside the organization is smart corporate politics because it does not make enemies inside your own organization who might retaliate against you. But then maybe that is the problem with Microsoft management, that it is full of shrewd corporate ladder-climbing types instead of inspired artists and engineers.

  • features myth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brre (596949) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:36PM (#25819111)
    Why does Microsoft, and apparently Apple, believe what we've been waiting for is more features? I don't know a single consumer who is dissatisfied with their box because it lacks this or that feature. The consumers I know who are unhappy are unhappy with the user experience: box does something unexpected, unexplained, mysterious, unintended, or just plain wrong. So I don't understand the features war. I would think the vast majority of us aren't looking for the box to do something new and wonderful, but to stop doing things that are weird and obstructive.
  • Ballmer! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hal_Porter (817932) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:43PM (#25819229)

    I will kill this Mossberg for you for ten million of your American dollars and a lifetime license for Windows XP.

  • Enough already! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nobodyman (90587) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @12:45PM (#25819265) Homepage

    Look, I know this is Slashdot and all, but honestly I'm starting to get microsoft-vista-embarassing-email-story fatigue. Ever since the Vista class-action exposed all of these internal Microsoft emails, people have been cherry-picking emails and making them into full-blown stories for months it seems.

    I'm no Microsoft apologist, it's just that it's starting to get old. Yes, we know Vista sucks. We know Microsoft felt the same way. We get it!! Please stop beating us over the head with it already.

  • by starglider29a (719559) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @01:02PM (#25819585)
    Mac: Hi, I'm a Mac
    Bill Gates: And I'm a PC
    Mac: WHOA, Bill Gates! What are you doing on a Mac commercial?
    Bill: To remind people that Microsoft is more than Windows. We've been writing software for the Mac since before there was a Mac. The same Office suite that PC's use is available to Mac Users
    Mac: Actually, Bill, it's better.
    Bill: [blushes] Thanks. And with Boot Camp and virtualization, you can run Windows if you have to.
    Mac: Or want to. I think Vista ROCKS on a Mac.
    Bill: That's all. Microsoft makes software and operating systems... for PCs AND Macs.
    Mac: So, we can work together.
    Bill: Yes. Yes, we can. [shakes hands] Nice shoes...[Exit, Stage right]
    [Mac stands stunned]
    [Enter PC, eating a churro]
    PC: You're not going to believe this. I just met Jerry Seinfeld in the hallway.
    [Mac stands stunned]
    PC: What? What'd I miss?
    [Fade to iMac running Office 2008 and Parallels with Vista] and new 'Yes, WE can' logo
  • Not Fear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cbreaker (561297) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @01:06PM (#25819651) Journal
    Microsoft doesn't have much to fear from Apple and won't for still some time even if Apple keeps slowly increasing their market share.

    What you see here is an interest in the competition, a dialog to consider improving your own product in response to a competitor.

    Sounds like the market actually working, but it's not fear.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      What you see here is an interest in the competition, a dialog to consider improving your own product in response to a competitor.

      That theory might hold more sway of Microsoft actually improved anything.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @01:39PM (#25820257)

    It's fear of a Mac planet.

  • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @02:55PM (#25821521) Homepage Journal

    'You won't have to worry about Vista if you buy one of Apple Computer's Macintosh computers, which don't run Windows,' Mossberg had written.

    When my wife was asked to do half her work from home (and be much more productive that commuting to the office, it turns out), she had to look into replacing her ancient (4 years old ;-) Windows box. It was running XP, and her office hasn't upgraded to Vista, so she was looking for a PC to run XP. She couldn't buy one, until she asked at an Apple store. They explained to her that she could indeed run XP on a Mac. She got an iMac, installed XP via Fusion, and it works fine. Now a number of other people at work want her to teach them how to do it.

    This has gotta be one of the things that terrifies MS's management. They lost a customer to Apple because the customer couldn't use Vista (for work-related reasons), and a competitor's system can run a virtualized XP subsystem. You could probably do the same with Linux.

    Back in the 1970s, when the VM OS was taking over the IBM mainframe world, IBM responded by adopting VM and supporting it. This radically improved the usefulness of IBM's mainframes to their customers, and helped them consolidate their stranglehold on the mainframe market. So far, MS has viewed virtualization as a threat to their business, and has tried to block it. Maybe we shouldn't tell them that they're making a huge mistake. If they keep fighting it, they'll never be able to duplicate the total takeover that IBM managed in the mainframe arena. Virtualization is just too useful to a large percent of the users. And if we can avoid that sort of monoculture in the desktop, laptop, etc parts of the industry, we'll have a much healthier industry that will continue to innovate.

    So let's all encourage MS to continue to try to block this development. It's for the benefit of everyone (except for MS's main stockholders).

    • Not exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sxltrex (198448)

      Unless your wife installed a cracked version of XP she got off of Pirate Bay, Microsoft didn't lose a customer. I'm betting the license for the copy of XP she's running was paid for and did, in fact, generate a sale for MS. She probably also installed a paid for copy of Office as well.

      Some PC manufacturer lost a sale but MS didn't. In fact, they probably made more money than they would have if they'd sold the OEM license.

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