I was reading an article at the BBC News website last week on Windows 7 – my laptop is a Mac, but inevitably at work I’ll eventually have to become familiar with Windows 7, so I was still curious – and while most of the article addressed the economic importance to Microsoft of Windows 7’s success, given the abysmal failure of Vista, as an aside the reviewer made reference to Apple having “botched” Mac’s latest OS, Snow Leopard.
Almost all the reviews I’ve read of Snow Leopard have been positive, and my own experience has been almost completely without difficulties (except for one or two laggard vendors who didn’t have their own upgrades in place for early adopters). And while it’s hardly an earth-shattering paradigm shift of a new OS, by making it available for only $29, Apple effectively lowered expectations on that score. So I’m left to wonder: where’s the “botch”? I guess that since the OS installed cleanly in less than an hour, required very little in the way of upgrades to existing applications, and generally was nearly invisible to the user, it didn’t generate loads of stories about how to improve the experience of installing Snow Leopard…unlike installing new versions of Windows, which invariably takes hours, often requires the reinstallation of nearly every app on your machine, and which, notoriously, is full of bugs in its first iteration. I love the quote in the article about not having to wait for “Service Pack 1”: wow, imagine that: they’re waiting until it’s a working OS to actually release the thing. And, of course, the article warns that if you’re trying to move directly from XP to Windows 7, that’s a huge giant pain in the ass. Because, of course, with less than a third of PC users adapting Vista, you’d want to make it difficult to upgrade from the OS two-thirds of your users are actually using.
I think the key word in the writer’s description of Snow Leopard’s launch is “uncharacteristically” – as in, “Apple…uncharacteristically botched its new operating system Snow Leopard.” For Microsoft, in other words, a botched OS is SOP.