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?
More Opportunities for Apple
5. Focus on the halo effect
The halo effect is strong at Apple. Those who like the company’s iPod or iPhone are buying the company’s Macs. Apple should focus on that effect while ensuring that its products continue to appeal to users. The more exciting and worthwhile its products appear to be, the more viable its software will become. Apple can’t lose sight of that.
6. Key in on Windows 7’s problems
With the release of any new software, there will undoubtedly be issues. Apple needs to make sure that it keys in on those issues, while bringing them to the public as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s not enough to simply say that Windows 7 isn’t a good operating system. Apple needs to make that case by explaining why.
7. Target consumers
Although Apple is doing better than it has in the past at attracting enterprise customers, the chances of the company actually enjoying enterprise dominance are slim. But it is possible that Apple can steal market share away from Microsoft in the consumer space. That said, it can only do so if it focuses its attention on consumers. It needs to attract them. And in the process, some of its successes in the consumer space might filter into enterprise.
8. Remember core principles
In today’s tech industry, the core principles that govern Apple’s ability to do so well can’t be forgotten as the company attempts to capitalize on the release of Windows 7. Apple can do its part by showing that Windows 7 is the same old Windows with a different name. It can show that Apple is the only company providing a “cool, next-generation” experience to consumers. It has worked so far. There’s no reason to suggest it won’t continue.
9. Take on price
One of the biggest complaints many consumers and enterprise customers have is that Windows 7 is too expensive. The operating system will set users back hundreds of dollars when it hits store shelves next week. Apple offers an upgrade to Mac OS X “Snow Leopard” for just $29. Apple can use that to its advantage. And it can show potential Windows 7 buyers that Microsoft’s operating system might not be worth the price.
10. Compare with PC vendors
The vast majority of Windows PCs are boring. Vendors like Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Acer simply don’t provide the sexy products that have made Apple such a success. In today’s marketplace, how we look matters just as much as what we’re doing. Apple can use its massive marketing budget to show users that if they want to be old-school, they can stick with a Windows PC.
Undoubtedly, Apple’s battle against Microsoft and Windows won’t be easy. But there are opportunities for the company to capitalize on Windows 7’s release.