Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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(Column) - The battle between Microsoft and Apple continues to heat up as both Vista and Leopard are being previewed to the world and are due to be on store shelves around the same time. Of course, the actual time frame in which Vista is released is anyone's guess, and while they have tried to pinpoint a date, even executives from Microsoft have said that it will just ship when it's ready. OK, that helps a lot.

One of the things that have been good for Apple is having control over the hardware and the software. Granted, the OS is a part of the equation, but without something to run it on, what use is it? You can build the most elegant software in the world, but if you go to install it on a generic beige box with a "Designed for Windows 98" sticker peeling off the front of the case, then it's going to take away from the experience. Some would argue that as long as the software is strong and the hardware is capable, then there should be no issue at all, but you have to admit that presentation is important. Even something as apparently simple as a computer case can make a huge difference in people's perception of the computer, the hardware, and the software. Apple's computer design is the best, and there's really no doubt about that in my mind. OS X is elegant, and running it on something as beautifully modern as an iMac or a MacBook Pro just completes the picture. Once Leopard is released, Mac users will enter a state of nirvana when they install the operating system on their machines. They'll compliment each other beautifully, and it's going to show.

For awhile there, it was easy to wonder if Microsoft even acknowledged the fact that PC design needed a major overhaul from the ground up, and it seemed like they were just content to throw software out to the world and let other companies figure it all out from there. Well, surprise, surprise - BusinessWeek is reporting that Microsoft is finally making an effort to get PC design to an acceptable level. I wonder why they're doing that. Are you finally feeling the sting of defeat in that area, Microsoft?

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