10 Reasons Why Having Both Macs and PCs Spells Trouble for Apple

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-10-06

10 Reasons Why Having Both Macs and PCs Spells Trouble for Apple

A recent study from the NPD Group has found that the vast majority of Mac owners currently have a mixed computing environment in their homes. The study found that 85 percent of respondents currently have both a Mac and a Windows PC running. That figure came with news that now more than 12 percent of American households have Macs.

On one hand, Apple's rise in the computing industry is a boon for the company. It has been able to increase its OS market share. It has enjoyed strong profits. And Microsoft has lost some of its dominance in the space because of it.

But that doesn't mean that it will stay that way forever. In just two short weeks, Microsoft will be releasing Windows 7. And all those Apple owners that also run Windows PCs will be taking notice. Although it is possible that they will ignore Windows 7's launch. I believe it's far more likely that they won't. They will find value in Windows 7. They will be more than willing to pick up a copy of the OS (if not buy a new PC).

Here's why:

1. Users know Windows

Although Windows XP and Windows Vista are markedly different from Windows 7, the very fact that Mac owners own a Windows PC helps them understand what to expect in Windows 7. At its core, Windows 7 is still Windows. Those Mac owners are familiar with that environment. And they won't be scared to switch.

2. Users know Mac OS X

Windows 7 is also quite similar to Mac OS X. It features a dock-like taskbar. It has several Apple-esque graphics. And thanks to some design tweaks, it behaves in a way that's similar to Mac OS X. Mac owners will feel at home on Windows 7.

3. They're willing to switch

By owning both a PC and a Mac, users are indicating that they're willing to use the operating system that provides the best experience. For years, that has been Mac OS X. But with the release of Windows 7, it's entirely possible that Microsoft's operating system will take the prize. And if those users have switched once before, why wouldn't they do it again?

4. Comparisons matter

Since most Mac users have both Mac OS X and Windows running, they know the differences between the operating systems. They know what they like and they don't like. By evaluating Windows 7 before they purchase, they can decide if they need something a little different (or perhaps, better) than Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

5. The hype is gone

I've found that those who don't own Apple products tend to hype the company's products more than those who do own them. They only see commercials and the cool features friends show them. They don't use the company's products on a daily basis to help them form a more informed opinion. Mac owners do. They know what's good and bad about Mac OS X. And if they believe Windows 7 can improve upon that, they will switch.

Apple Fans Dont Matter Any More


6. Windows is still useful

Part of the reason why so many Mac owners have Windows PCs running in their homes is due to the fact that Windows is still useful. There are several enterprise applications that only work with Windows. Those people might need access to those programs and can only gain that access from their Windows PCs. If they know Windows 7 is better than what they have, they will undoubtedly upgrade, dedicating cash they might have spent on Apple products to Microsoft's software.

7. These aren't fanboys

For years, Apple has been able to make billions of dollars off of the "Apple fanboy." Those people typically love everything Apple does and despise anything related to Microsoft. They wouldn't be caught with a Windows PC.  However, the NPD Group study shows more than 85 percent of Apple owners aren't fanboys. That means Apple needs to constantly impress them to win their cash. Considering the iterative update that Snow Leopard is, it might not be so easy when those same users see Windows 7's upgrades.

8. They have low expectations

If current Mac OS X users are also using Windows PCs, chances are, they have low expectations for Windows 7. They expect the OS to be just a slightly upgraded version of Vista. Once they find out that it isn't, they might think twice about that MacBook Pro and opt for a Windows PC instead.

9. The new thing is appealing

Apple has already released the upgrade to its operating system. And for many, it seemed like an iterative update that didn't impress. But Windows 7 is soon to be the "new" operating system on the market. It isn't a simple upgrade. That should excite users. And it should help Microsoft sell more copies of Windows 7.

10. Most are Windows converts

Although NPD didn't say this, it would seem to me that the vast majority of Mac owners that use both operating systems were Windows converts. They were disenfranchised by Windows at some point over the past few years and opted for Mac OS X. And although they might like Mac OS X, what's to say that they won't also find more value in Windows 7 and go back to Windows?

Apple might have some trouble ahead. Although it has been successful in capturing the attention of so many Windows users, Microsoft might be grabbing that attention back in just two weeks. Apple's success has been swift, but based on the NPD Group's claim that many Mac OS X users also operate Windows, it's possible that Microsoft will turn the tide with Windows 7.


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