10 Ways for Apple to Capitalize on Windows 7 with Mac OS X

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-10-13 Print this article Print

News Analysis: There are at least 10 good reasons why Apple shouldn't fear the release of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system. In fact, the release of Windows 7 on Oct. 22 could well prove to be a golden opportunity for Apple to win more converts to Mac computers and Mac OS X, if the recent history of Windows releases is any guide. Factors such as more imaginative marketing and superior security could help Apple make deeper inroads against Microsoft's desktop dominance.

A Wall Street analyst said in a report Oct. 13 that, historically, Mac OS X has not felt the effect of Windows releases. In fact, the analyst found that Windows releases have helped Apple sell more Mac computers.

"I analyzed the impact of the last four Windows launches and found no negative correlation between them and Mac sales, " Brian Marshall of Broadpoint AmTech said. "In fact, they almost act like a delayed accelerant on Mac sales."

Assuming Marshall's research is correct, that might spell some serious trouble for Microsoft. Especially considering it's coming off the weakest operating system it has released in the recent history of the 25-year-old PC operating system. If history should be our guide, it would seem that Apple has a real opportunity to capitalize on Windows 7's launch.

Here's how it can do just that:

1. Take the marketing high ground

One of Apple's most effective divisions is its marketing division. That group of employees releases outstanding ad campaigns that captivate audiences and help Apple sell more products. It's where the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads came from. It's where Apple's highly successful iPhone ads came from. And it's where Apple has done the best job of making users think twice about Windows. By investing in a major effort against Windows 7, Apple might be able to convince those who don't want to switch.

2. Focus on security

One of the key issues Apple can capitalize on (and Microsoft can't combat) is security. Mac OS X, based on the sheer number of documented security issues, is a more secure operating system than Windows. Apple can tell that to the world. It can make sure that that talking point sits atop its list when it promotes its software. Security matters to users.

3. Remember Vista?

Apple should also focus much of its efforts on Windows Vista. Sure, Microsoft wants the world to forget about Windows 7's predecessor, but that doesn't mean Apple should let that happen. Quite the contrary, the company should remind consumers and the enterprise just how bad Vista was. It might just make those users think twice about Windows 7.

4. Make a big announcement

Apple can effectively limit Windows 7's thunder by holding a major announcement around the time of Windows 7's launch. Speculation abounds that Apple will be releasing a tablet computer and a refreshed Mac product line. What better time to announce those products than around the time of the Windows 7 release?

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, 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 http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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