Vista Helping OS X

by Aaron Wright Feb 07, 2007

According to DigitMag, Microsoft having 10 different versions of Windows Vista is one large reason why OS X will win (win what?), stating that OS X is simple and Windows is clearly not.

Yes, we’ve all heard the typical “simple computer for simple users” words thrown at Mac users from jealous or clearly bored Windows users (quite childish all this actually) over the past few years, but it seems that Apple’s way of keeping things simple is really helping their market share in the computer world.

So why is Vista so confusing?

Well, for a start, you have to decide which of the ten versions is for you. Now remember when you were a kid and went into a shop full of sweets and your mother asked you to pick out only one, you’d spend a good ten minutes deciding what to go for, simply because there was so much choice. Well, this is similar to Vista, except that Vista is more sour than sweet.

For those that want to keep costs down, it’s probably best to go for an Upgrade. The upgrade comes in a variety of forms: Home Basic Edition, Home Premium Edition, Business Edition, and Ultimate Edition. In order to upgrade you need to have a computer that can (obviously) run Vista, and have a legally licensed version of Windows 2000 or XP currently sitting on your computer. Once you’ve upgraded to Vista, your existing copy of Windows 2000 or XP is now no longer valid, but don’t throw away the disk. Should you ever need to reinstall Vista, you must first install Windows 2000 or XP and then upgrade to Vista again.

That’s probably expected, but what about all those people out there who received a simple restore disc with their computers? They’re going to need to restore their computer with all the junk programs installed, then remove them and then install Windows Vista.

Oh, and please don’t get me started on the procedure of installing an upgrade of Vista on a PC you may decide to build in the future.

What else?

As Digit Mag explains so well, when Windows 95 was launched all those years ago, consumers knew exactly what they were getting: a well needed upgrade from Windows 3.1. So simple that even my at-the-time computer illiterate parents managed to obtain a copy for me, bless them.

But what about now? I remember when Windows XP came out and I had friends and family asking me the differences between Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional, but can you imagine the frustration I, and many others, will have to go through in explaining the differences between the following versions of Windows Vista?

1)  Windows Vista Starter Edition
2)  Windows Vista Home Basic Edition
3)  Windows Vista Home Basic Upgrade
4)  Windows Vista Home Premium Edition
5)  Windows Vista Home Premium Upgrade
6)  Windows Vista Business
7)  Windows Vista Business Upgrade
8)  Windows Vista Ultimate
9)  Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade
10) Windows Vista Enterprise Edition

Now what on Earth does all that mean?

According to DigitMag, “Windows Vista Starter Edition is for Third World countries. The Enterprise Edition is for big companies. The Business Edition doesn’t have any of the cool multimedia stuff you want from Vista. Home Basic versions are crippled. The Upgrade versions are poison.”

So basically, stick with Windows Vista Home Premium Edition, is that right? Talk about!

My point is to coincide with what DigitMag, MacNN, and all the other websites, critics, and news folks out there are saying: don’t upgrade to Windows Vista just yet, or preferably, not at all. It’s alright for the tech heads out there who know exactly what each version does, but there are more normal people out there than there are tech heads, and it’s those normal people Microsoft and Apple are looking at (not to say that tech heads aren’t important to their overall business strategy).

Why Apple then?

With Apple you’re getting pretty much everything Windows Vista has to offer, and more. This isn’t me or the Mac nerds out there talking, this is just a fact. You could also take a search on Google and find more articles based on how Vista is just a late copy of OS X.

With OS X there are only two versions available. There’s OS X 10.4 Tiger and OS X 10.4 Tiger Server edition, the latter of which is clearly for servers. Both of these versions can be purchased as either single user license or multi and unlimited user licenses. That’s it for complications.

Along with being absolutely simple to use and purchase, OS X is also a damn site cheaper than Windows Vista. Let’s take a look at the pricing:


OS X 10.4 Tiger - $129 for single user (
OS X 10.4 Tiger Server - $499.00 with 10-client license (

Feature-for-feature, Windows Vista Home Premium is the most comparable operating system to OS X.

Windows Home Premium Edition Upgrade $159 (
Windows Home Premium Edition $239 (

Not only does Microsoft’s confusing system line-up help Apple, but the requirements Vista will need helps Apple too.

In order to run Windows Vista Home Premium Edition on your PC you will need the following:

  • 1Ghz Processor
  • 1GB Sysytem Memory
  • 40GB Hard Drive with at least 15GB of free space
  • 128MB Graphics

Now this is just to run Windows Vista, it doesn’t take into account games and software (especially Photoshop etc). In order to really get the most out of your system, 2 to 3Ghz processor will be required, at least an 80GB Hard drive and 256MB graphics card. The cheapest computer I’ve seen that is capable of running Windows Vista Premium Edition is the Fujitsu Siemens SCALEO Pa1518 system which comes in at roughly $990, and that’s not including a monitor or Windows Vista Premium Edition, the total then being somewhere nearer the $1,390 mark -– all that just to run Windows Vista. Compare that to the Mac range and the cheapest iMac comes in at $999 with everything set up and ready to go.

Now tell me Macs are more expensive.

In all honesty, OS X and the Mac have never looked more appealing to consumers throughout the world. An award-winning computer, an award-winning operating system, little hassle, more time to do the things you want, and now cheaper than a half-decent PC. The future’s looking bright for Apple.

Oh and by the way, yes I have acquired a headache through trying to learn what each version of Vista does.





  • People like choices. Microsoft gives you 10 bad ones. You still have a choice. Just depends on much of a bad thing you want and how much your willing to spend for it. Ok, grudge aside. They are giving you a choice and why Ultimate is the direction all systems will be going they can’t alienate all those older perfectly good systems out there… That leaves out some 90% of the world, where would the profits come from? So they create less and less feature full packages to suck the blood, I mean get some $$, from those people who wanna, shoulda, needa, run Vista for whatever reason.

    BTW: There’s a loophole in using an upgrade disc to get a full fresh install.

    xwiredtva had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 172
  • Microsoft is banking on user stupidity so you may buy Windows Vista Ultimate because hey, Ultimate sure beats all other versions rights and sounds a lot more fancier.

    Tanner Godarzi had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 70
  • I’ll have to run down to the SnotShop later and see what there selling with Vista.

    xwiredtva had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 172
  • Well, you still don’t have it quite right, which is just an indication of how bad the situation is for consumers.

    (1) If you buy a new computer for under about $1,000 you won’t be able to run Home Premium.  You are stuck with Home Basic and won’t be able to upgrade to Home Premium without spending lots of money.

    (2) If you have an old(*) computer that cost under $1,000 in 2006, you’re stuck with Home Basic.  Even if you have a more expensive one, you will still need a memory upgrade to 2GB of RAM to run Vista well.

    (3) Many will need Vista Ultimate.  Those who want to hook up to their corporate domain from home, while still having home features will need Vista Ultimate.  Those who want extra security features will need Vista Ultimate.  Vista Ultimate is horribly overpriced at $399 for the hapless folks who need it because they pretty much have you where they want you.

    You can buy an OEM version of Vista Ultimate for $199.  This means you are on your own for support and your license is forever locked to a single computer.  In return, you’re saving 50% on the purchase price.  If you need Vista, I would highly recommend this option.

    So you need to be aware of and understand Home Basic, Home Premium, Vista Ultimate and the existance of OEM versions (that’s five more products for you to choose from!)  to make your decision correctly.

    (4) MacOS X is equivalent to Vista Ultimate in features, not Home Premium.  Therefore the cost savings associated with MacOS X, even when compared to the OEM versions of Vista, are substantial.  Compared to the precisely equivalent packaged versions, they are massive.

    (5) Both PC makers and Microsoft seem to be determined to confuse you as much as possible when buying a home PC.  This is because they know nobody wants Vista Basic and yet people are used to pricing that would only allow hardware compatible with Basic. 

    So we have the difference between a “capable” and “Premium Ready” computer.  They want to snooker you into buying a “Basic” computer and think it’s “Premium Ready” before you get it into your home and find none of the fancy effects and cool features you were promised.

    Or maybe they want you to try and buy Basic and rely on a salesperson to explain Premium to you and convince you to buy a $1,000 PC instead of a $500 PC.

    In other words, they want you to buy SOME PC so they can make money and they don’t really want you to understand what you’re buying.

    I don’t know about you, but this looks like a recipe for disaster to me.  I really doubt that more than a handful of computer buyers are going to understand things they really need to understand to make an informed purchase.

    Many people have their issues with Steve Jobs but compared to this particularly nasty bait and switch deal he looks awfully good.  All MacOS computers currently being sold will run Leopard just fine.  Even PowerPC systems that are a few years old will still run it.  I think they finally cut off support for computers made in 2001 or before.


    (*) An “old” computer in this context is any computer more than a month old.  An “ancient” computer is pre-2006.  Vista will NOT run on “ancient” computers adequately, ever. That’s planned obsolescence!

    David H Dennis had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 7
  • Question: What are the feature differences between Basic, Premium, and Ultimate.

    If there are actual feature differences between these, do developers have to change their applications to take advantage of these features? Which version should developers try to target?

    soft_guy had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 21
  • “Which version should developers try to target?”

    Mac OS X. :>)

    Game developers will rush on the DX 10 stuff, alienating 95% of thier customers if they do so… Until they are up on Vista Super Ultimate Crackalackin King Excellent Rendition edition, then they’ll find the video card while it can run Vista SUCKER can’t run DX 10…

    Build for Home Premium. Basic should run XP Native as well as the others once the final patches are done to incorporate some things that developers have used in the past that need re-worked (using security exploits as a feature-Such as autolaunching and auto-emailing from the application). If your building Games, stick to the Game Engine your using and let them build the Vista version that you can migrate your software to.

    Basically it’s a sit and wait issue as development IDE’s move to the Vista platform.

    xwiredtva had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 172
  • I think we are all missing the point. Who are Microsoft’s customers? No, not you and I. Microsoft’s customers are PC manufacturers. They make most of ther money from pre-installed versions of Windows. So how do you keep your customers happy? Help them sell computers! Vista is not about selling copies of an operating system (I think that is what we are realizing here). Vista is about selling new hardware. EVENTUALLY, it will work at doing that. In the mean time it is up to Apple to pick up as much business as they can.

    tonymosa had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 3
  • Our kids have more problems then they’ll know how to fix. Last thing we need to do is add more mercury spilling wintel boxes into the landfills.

    Where’s greanpeace when you need them…

    xwiredtva had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 172
  • Oh and by the way, yes I have acquired a headache through trying to learn what each version of Vista does.

    And that means OSX Leopard will switch millions of dazed and confused people like yourself.

    That is not a prediction, it is already happening. Have you heard of any good news on the Vista front since launch? Not here.

    Robomac had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 846
  • MS has a way of shooting itself in the foot like this.  It needs, at most, two versions.  A home and small business edition and an enterprise edition.

    The fact is that all of these versions come on the same install-disc anyway so it’s not like a cost savings to add features.  It just makes no sense.

    That said, I echo Aaron’s comment about exactly what OS X “wins” out of this.  A point or two in market share?  MAYBE?

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • Tonymosa makes an excellent point as well.  For the most part, consumers will never pick or choose from one of these installations.  They will get whatever version of Vista comes with their new computer.

    But for those who do wish to upgrade from Vista or buy for their Boot Camp partition, MS has not made it easy.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • I own a PC I built myself from parts over 1 year ago, costing roughly 400$, which easily meets all the requirements for Visa (not that I wanted to upgrade). The point is, factory-built PCs are also expensive, just like Macs. Also, many of the people I know already have PCs capable of running Vista. I think the hardware upgrade is really a non-issue. Those susceptible to upgrade to Visa are not PIII users using Win98 with 128Mb RAM (an extreme example…) Any of you out there own PCs? Out of curiosity, do they meet the Visa requirements?

    ediedi had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 16
  • Yep, I built mine too, and it meets all the requirements. I could also add another giga of RAM. The thing here is I don’t care to updating to Vista, even though I could download the enterprise ultimate windows vista edition (or whatever the name is) for free. I just don’t care about it.

    nana had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 63
  • A point or two in market share?

    But a “point or two” increase means Mac market share would be roughly 7% and that is very significant from 2-3 years ago when Mac market share plunged to its lowest levels of less than 3% in the U.S. and even lower worldwide.

    In the past year, the Mac has already increased its share by 2% to around 5% (in the U.S., at least) thanks to the popularity of the iPod and iTunes. The Apple marketing machine wasn’t that bad, either.

    With all the confusing Vista selection, one would conclude that people has had it with MS and that they will start accepting that there is an easier and better choice.

    That easier choice happens to be the best OS overall when it comes to what people actually want with their PCs - multimedia, fun, and usefulness.

    Robomac had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 846
  • I don’t think it’s so bad for the people that build their own PC’s, because in most cases (if built in recent years) a new Graphics card and more RAM is all that would be required. Okay, this costs more money again but it’s a cheaper than buying a whole new PC, something a computer novice would probably do considering they can’t build PC’s (add/remove hardware at least).

    Aaron Wright had this to say on Feb 07, 2007 Posts: 104
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