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Mossberg: Win 7 means Mac no longer "much better"

updated 12:40 pm EDT, Thu October 8, 2009

Mossberg says Windows 7 closes gap

Microsoft's release of Windows 7 will be enough to eliminate most of Apple's advantage in recent years, Walt Mossberg said today in his review of the new operating system. Normally an outspoken proponent of Apple's platform, the columnist now believes that Mac OS X Snow Leopard only has a "slight edge" over Windows thanks to 7 running faster and sporting multiple interface improvements.

"I, like many other reviewers, have argued that Apple's Mac OS X operating system is much better than Windows," he said. "That's no longer true."

The upcoming release centers on a new taskbar that merges the Quick Launch and running apps into single icons. The feature is effectively borrowed from the Mac OS X Dock but adds a preview that shows all an app's windows just by mousing over thumbnails, an approach that Mossberg prefers to the Dock Expose in Snow Leopard, which requires a click-and-hold command to achieve a similar effect.

Other improvements are mostly fixes and included easier though not flawless home networking, fewer prompts for security or other notices, and native support for multi-touch that will find its way into a number of touchscreen PCs.

Apple chiefly wins in areas where it has historically trumped Microsoft, such as far fewer instances of malware attacks, cheaper and easier individual upgrades, and bundled apps. Mossberg reminds users that Windows XP upgrades force a "clean" install due to fundamental OS differences and that Vista upgrades are at times problematic, in separate cases rendering video output and a notebook trackpad unusable.

The positive review marks a turning point for Windows, whose poor reputation under Vista led to rare revenue drops for Microsoft as some home users and most businesses consciously avoided the release due to real and perceived problems with compatibility and speed. However, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer has admitted that he only expects a small boost from Windows 7 as the economy and hesitant businesses may prevent a larger sales spike come the October 22nd launch.

by MacNN Staff



  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    a bit early

    to make such a call. let's see how stability is, how driver support, how...

    there's a lot to be said for "let's wait and see..."

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Uh Oh!

    I can't wait to see what Fake Steve says about Goatberg's traitorous statement. This will not go down well and Moshe or Katie will be dispatched I'm sure.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let's not be too hasty here

    Windows 7 is a definite improvement over Vista, but that wouldn't take much. Performance is much better, but it's still Windows.

    Who's the genius who decided that ugly green was attractive for progress bars?

    I'm using Win 7 here at work, and I like it...but not enough to get me to switch back to the Dark Side and run out and buy a PC.

  1. Rolando_jose

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let's wait for the Sietes' people....

    I'll love to see what the towners of Sietes' have to say about it, at least the town will get an influx of money from MS.

  1. bdmarsh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    if only upgrading were easier from XP

    MS sure isn't helping their upgrade numbers with the work it takes to "upgrade" from XP to Windows 7... even Vista to 7 is pretty slow (Compared to Mac OS X upgrades)
    XP to Windows 7 includes "backup, format, install Win 7, copy your data back, install programs from original CDs or downloads" - really not a smooth transition.

    Now having said that, having used the Release Candidate, Windows 7 is the least annoying version of Windows I've ever used. As someone else commented though, not enough to get me to switch to Windows though.

  1. psdenno

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A game of words....

    So now Walt thinks the Mac OS is merely better, instead of "much better", than Windows 7. I can live with that. Actually, I have been living with that for over 20 years as a Mac user.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Compatibility is an advantage...

    ...of XP - when I realize I can run all my legacy apps over the past decade with XP I may actually use it on my mac for accessing past client files - if possible I wish Apple would at least stop orphaning older OS's on new hardware...

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's ALL about file formats. And fonts. That's the bottom line.

    I've used Macs since 1985 and never felt a need (and certainly no desire) to use Windows. If I can Open and Save a file and Export it again, that's good enough.

    Besides, I never send editable documents, only PDFs, or standard file formats if someone is shackled with Word or Excel and insists on editablity.

  1. JuanGuapo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ok.. it only took them 'how many years' to make an OS at best nearly as good as OSX?

    I ran 7 as a beta tester and it is pretty good--it's definitely to Vista what XP was to Windows Me.

    However, in comparison, Snow Leopard was a cheap $29 upgrade from Leopard vs. $130+ upgrade to Windows 7 [from Vista].

    Who is raking who over the coals here? Sorry, I'm not a zealot but don't pee on my leg and tell me its raining--Apple deserves almost all the credit here, and Microsoft is still playing catch-up.

  1. AlenShapiro

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What was that about a Leopard and spots?

    It's still the same programmers. It's still the same programmers. It's still the same programmers (repeat the mantra). I do not think that Micro$oft's programming culture is going turn itself around in the space of one operating system which, despite what might be advertised, borrows heavily from Vista.

    I predict that Micro$oft will eventually do a 180 and embrace Open Source. But first they'll have to redefine it to be acceptable so as not to make the change look like a complete rout.

    When that happens Apple will have something to worry about. Until then, same-ol' same-ol'.

    Still the same programmers.....

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