Jim Forbes wrote an interesting piece Microsoft Wake Up–Apple is gaining Intellectual Capital and Market over on his blog.
I have to disagree with most of it though. I don’t see Apple gaining momentum outside of a few new media folks, who’ve always held an exaggerated sense of their own importance.
From the home point of view: Apple has big problems on the gaming front. I can’t get the latest and greatest games running on OSX. That’s a deal breaker for me right there. Running the latest and greatest 3D games through a virtual machine just isn’t an option.
From a business point of view: Microsoft have got it nailed down tight. We run Windows XP with Office 2003 all shared using Windows 2003 Small Business Server. Contrary to what you may have heard, that all works great. One of the very clever things Microsoft has done is tie everything together so it works seamlessly (most of the time). Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t remove Windows XP from the mix, I would lose too much functionality.
From a developer point of view: Microsoft owns the market! So, why develop for anything else. Apple bundling software is great for their customers but it doesn’t send a great message to their ISVs. Microsoft’s support for developers has always been great, and I don’t see that changing. The biggest threat I can see is Eclipse, a wonderful suite of developer tools all for free. We use it heavily to create Java based websites. But again, we get just as much out of it by running Eclipse on Windows XP as we would running it on OSX.
I do agree with you about competition, Microsoft needs to be kept on its toes. Having Apple, Linux & Eclipse around is great for that.