Apple, Microsoft Operating System War: 10 Major Apple Advantages

News Analysis: Apple has been engaged in an operating system battle with Microsoft for a couple of decades. For most of that time, all of the advantages were held by Microsoft Windows. But now more than ever Apple is in a position to score major market gains against Windows.

Microsoft has been and for the foreseeable future will be the most dominant force in the desktop operating system market. The company's Windows has been deployed by millions of companies around the world, as well as by an overwhelming number of consumers who want to be more productive while home or on the road. With each new version of Windows, it's clear that Microsoft has what it takes to keep those people coming back for more.

But atthe Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 6, Apple fired its latest shot at Microsoft in the companies' ongoing operating system battle. For years now, the firms have been trying to best the other on the desktop. But now, it's clear that mobile operating systems and even the cloud are becoming weapons in that war.

Apple has opened several new fronts in its war against Microsoft, and if it can follow through on its promises, it might go a long way in hurting Redmond's operating systems.

Read on to find why Apple is in position to gain ground in its war against Windows.

1. The digital-only Lion

Arguably the most surprising shot over Microsoft's bow at the Worldwide Developers Conference was Apple's announcement that Mac OS X "Lion," the next version of its flagship operating system, will be available as a download from the company's Mac App Store, rather than sold as packaged disks in-store. Even more importantly, it will be available for just $29.99. Apple has changed how operating systems are sold, and now the pressure is on Microsoft to respond.

2. Lion's multitouch

When Apple first announced Mac OS X Lion last year, the company said that it had designs on bringing iOS-like functionality to its operating system. At WWDC on June 6, Apple made that clear by showing off several multitouch gestures, including pinch-to-zoom and swiping, working with Macintosh applications. Considering Microsoft is trying to make Windows 8 more tabletlike in its functionality, it looks like Apple might have beaten it to the punch.

3. The Mac App Store

In Windows 8,Microsoft will likely offer an applications marketplace that will allow users to download programs from the operating system, rather than be forced to buy software in-store and install it. The only issue is that Microsoft will be late to the game. Apple's Mac App Store is already available on Snow Leopard, and the company is planning to build it into Mac OS X Lion. In addition to its current functionality, Apple said at WWDC that it plans to bring in-app purchasing and push notifications to its store.

4. It's making Windows a component in its strategy

Apple also unveiled the long-awaited iCloud at WWDC on June 6. Furthermore, Apple said that Windows will be a component in its strategy to win the cloud race. Regardless of whether a user is running an iOS-based device, Mac or Windows PC, they will be able to use iCloud, share content with other products and much more. Microsoft doesn't have a suitable competitor that can do the same. MakingWindows a piece of Apple's iCloud strategy could eventually hurt Microsoft's OS, especially if it encourages more people to switch to the Mac or diverts data that would go into a Microsoft Windows cloud to iCloud.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...