Microsoft, Apple Keep Upping the Ante

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-10-26 Print this article Print

5. Security

One of the main complaints about Windows is that it isn't as secure as some users might want. Apple's Mac OS X has held its own when it comes to security. Responding to that, Microsoft has done a fine job of delivering a more robust, secure Windows. At the same time, Apple has improved Mac OS X's security features to try to keep users safe. Security is a major battleground between these companies, which can only mean that the fallout will yield better security for both platforms.

6. Keeps PC makers happy

When Microsoft offered Windows Vista, many PC vendors were unhappy with the software. Users weren't buying Vista PCs. In response, vendors decided to offer "downgrade rights" to users who wanted to stick with Windows XP. The impetus to optimize hardware for a new Windows operating system just wasn't there. But now that vendors expect big things from Windows 7, they can focus their energy on designing products that compete more aggressively against Apple's beauties. That should mean users can expect better-looking hardware as Windows 7 and Snow Leopard battle it out.

7. Vastly improves the user experience

Microsoft realized its shortcomings in relation to Vista. It also took a beating for those shortcomings in Apple's highly successful, "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads. Not wanting history to repeat, Microsoft has done a great job of making sure Vista's glaring issues (driver support and User Account Control annoyances, to name a few) haven't plagued Windows 7. In the process, it has succeeded at making Windows a more viable operating system. Apple should be thanked for that.

8. Innovation is (finally) a reality

If either Microsoft or Apple reigned supreme in the operating system market, the need for innovation in software design wouldn't be great. Either company would be content to maintain the status quo. But thanks to the pressure Apple has placed on Microsoft, the software giant is willing to take chances. It's willing to invest bundles of cash in fresh ideas. The Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 is a fine example of that. Without Apple's help, it's doubtful that Windows 7 would have come as far as it has.

9. Eye on the enterprise

As Microsoft and Apple keep battling out, the enterprise also stands to gain. Both companies realize the value the enterprise provides. They understand how important it is to succeeding in the computing business. And chances are, they will be more aggressive than ever in targeting the business world. PC buyers in that space will have a field day.

10. The future is bright

Thanks to the battle between Microsoft and Apple, one thing is certain: Both of these organizations are poised to invest in the future. They realize that the battle for dominance in the computing space will continue and revolutionary products can change everything. They're also aware that giving the opposition an opening can prove troublesome. I think we can expect significant improvements and innovation in software design to come. And it will be the PC buyer who will reap the benefits of that.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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