Snow Leopard and Windows 7: Two flavors of the same GUI?

Has Microsoft, after more than 20 years of work, finally come up with an operating system that rivals the Mac OS? Are the two just different flavors of the same GUI?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Has Microsoft, after more than 20 years of work, finally come up with an operating system that rivals the Mac OS? Are the two just different flavors of the same GUI?

Hadley Stern, writing for Apple Matters, thinks this might be the case.

It may have taken Microsoft 20 odd years to figure this one out but there is some pretty big news on the horizon. Of course the market-share battle is lost for Apple, although it continues to chip away here and there. But the innovation-share battle continues. And the big big big news:

Windows 7 Doesn't Really Suck


Unless Apple is hiding something very very very big with Snow Leopard Apple is about to lose the high-ground (and bullying rights) when it comes to its operating system. The blunders of Vista were easy to pick at, picking on Windows 7 will be nitpicking at best, stupidity at worst. For all intents and purposes Snow Leopard and Windows 7 are two flavors of the same GUI.

I'm not so sure. Why? Well, first off, most of us were so surprised by how bad Vista was when the OS was released (or at least surprised by how bad a reception the OS received) that Microsoft could have re-released a revamped version of XP and people would have been happier. Thankfully Microsoft didn't do that and decided instead to listen to feedback and actually work on releasing an OS that is good right from the RTM stage. Ed Bott is spot on when he says that no one can accuse Windows 7 of being rushed out of the door to replace Vista. During the development of Vista, Microsoft seemed all over the place, adding and removing features all the time between builds. With 7, Microsoft has consistently worked on making the core OS better and better with each build. This consistent approach has worked out.

But there's another, far more important reason why Windows and Mac OS will never be on a level playing field. It's because Apple tightly controls the hardware that Mac OS runs on, while Microsoft is at the whim of every OEM out there. While the Mac OS runs on a selection of systems, and can accept a small selection of hardware upgrades, people expect Windows to run on anything and everything, and then to be able to add any and all hardware they can find to the system. While it's true that the Mac OS is more stable than Windows, much of this stability is down to a smaller, more controlled hardware and software ecosystem. People complain that Windows crashes, but more often than now it's not Windows that's responsible for the crash, but a driver or some dodgy bit of hardware. But Windows gets the blame.

To be honest, I don't see a lot of GUI similarities between Windows 7 and Mac OS X. Sure, the basics are all there, but an OS is an OS much in the same way as all cars or wristwatches share similarities. Beyond that, I find that the Mac OS is better suited to running a handful of apps, while Windows is more versatile at handling many apps at once. That's just my opinion, not fact, so cut it out with the scary TalkBack comments!

I like Windows 7 a lot. So far I rate it as the best Windows OS I've run since NT 4.0 (I had a machine running NT 4.0 that just ran and ran and ran.). As to Apple's upcoming Snow Leopard, I look forward to picking up a new Mac system as soon as the new OS is out. Despite what many of you think, I'm pretty OS agnostic nowadays!

So, what do you think? Are Snow Leopard and Windows 7 just two flavors of the same GUI?

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