Microsoft Watcher, Win SuperSite Say Leopard Isn’t Better Than Vista.

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Joe Wilcox at Microsoft Watch wrote a screed about why Leopard isn’t better than Vista. I subscribe to the Watch feed, so I was a bit surprised and disappointed in how weakly the article was argued. I left a comment on the site, reproduced here:

“Until the issues you mention (or others) happen on a wide scale (hint: they won’t), then your comment that Leopard being no better than Vista is at the very least unsupported, and at the most outright wrong. With Vista, the reported issues were widespread. Heck, it was hard to find anything but a horrible review of Vista in the first few months (and even now, for that matter). Compare that to the stellar reviews Leopard is receiving.

You’re reaching anyway. Certainly some of your issues are a reach. Outlook web mail doesn’t work in Safari? Well, sure, that’s Apple’s fault. Please. Also if you think Vista’s UAC is ANYTHING like Leopard’s security prompts, than I have to question your sanity. Honestly, this post, and your ridiculous rant about the “double standard” from a few days ago, are borderline trolling.

It’s been less than a year, and you’re already re-writing Vista’s history. Wow.

I subscribe to your site because you tend to look at Microsoft critically, but lately you’ve changed from a Microsoft Watcher to simply an Apple-Basher. I guess the page hits were too hard to resist…”

As you might expect with such an article, Paul Thurrott drooled all over it, and after sponging off his keyboard wrote his own little post about it . So now we get these great lines:

“If you’re not up on Apple’s SOP, that last point [sense the software shipped before being really ready] is what they always do, Joe. In fact, the company shipped its first Leopard update less than 24 hours after it hit retail. Expect plenty of updates in the weeks ahead.”

There have been plenty of reviews on Leopard already, Paul. Why not read a few? Try here, here, and here (I picked these so you can’t claim I used only Apple-friendly publications). There have been numerous other reviews as well. Where is the outrage over Leopard’s bugginess, sluggishness, or compatibility issues? There isn’t any such outrage because it hasn’t exhibited those tendencies. Of course there are some minor annoyances and quirks, don’t act like you thought there wouldn’t be any. The biggest issue so far was easily nixed and due to one piece of software.

Meanwhile, the widespread horrors that early (and late, for that matter) Vista adopters experienced simply do not exist for Leopard. Period. Many reviewers that received a machine with Leopard pre-installed also upgraded one or more of their own; it’s been remarkably without incident, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Leopard to any Mac user interested.

I also practice what I preach. I bought Leopard and upgraded my iMac last Saturday.

“Um. No offense, but Apple had their version of UAC well before Microsoft did. That it’s even more annoying in Leopard says a lot about the company’s hypocrisy obviously.”

I took Joe to task for this as well. Comparing Microsoft’s UAC to Apple’s security dialogs is asinine. Really, there’s no other way to describe it. To imply that frequent popups for “suspicious” activity requiring only a ‘Cancel’ or ‘Allow’ is the same as prompting for an administrator password when software is installed, or a prompt the first time a downloaded program is run, is asinine. The fact that Paul and Joe don’t recognize this makes me wonder what planet Microsoft deposited them on.

In response to Joe’s comments that many of the same migration complaints from an older OS to a newer one apply, and that Microsoft is in a worse place because of so many applications, we get this talking point from Paul:

“Exactly. Both companies sell OSes, so it seems like a fair comparison. But there are one billion people using Windows right now, compared to about 25 million on Mac OS X. Do the math.”

Nonsense. Aside from the fact that migrating applications in Microsoft is hell because they were never designed to be touched after they were installed, I also can’t believe they trotted out the old numbers defense. Cry me a river, guys. If Microsoft can’t handle the mess they made, don’t piss and moan because Apple didn’t make a similar mess. Oh well, the good news is that anytime a Microsoft apologist drags out the numbers defense it means they have no real counter argument to the original point made.

And now, we get to the part of the article I hate the most: The attempt to re-write Vista’s already short history. The whole tech planet knows Vista’s plagued with performance and compatibility issues, but that was apparently yesterday. No, really. Today it’s just fine. How did it get this way without even so much as a Service Pack? They don’t say, but Joe sums up his article by stating that Vista isn’t so bad now: its “shakedown is largely over”, and he has “little to complain about”. Naturally, Paul is right in lock-step:

“Yep. It just keeps getting better, no doubt about it.”

Bullshit. First, obviously it couldn’t get worse. Vista was released NINE MONTHS AGO (yes, I’m using the 1/30 date) to scathing reviews. And the negative press and comments — about Vista by itself or in comparison to Mac OS X Tiger and now Leopard — continue to roll in.

These people aren’t seeing the big “shakedown” Joe referred to, so it better not be “largely over”. Sure, the die-hards have come into line, but others either got new hardware (that doesn’t operate at its potential with the sluggish Vista OS), went back to XP (Microsoft extended XP availability and is working on SP3 for a reason, guys), bought a Dell with Linux, or switched to the Mac. And the Enterprise customer (Microsoft’s meal ticket) is avoiding it in droves.

The tech headlines are full of this stuff. And not just from a few months back, this one’s from only two days ago; here’s the money quote: “Simply put, Mac OS X Leopard is one of the most significant operating system achievements we have witnessed in years. Not only does it add functionality that Microsoft could only have dreamed of, it does so in a snappy environment that doesn’t annoy you with pop-ups asking for permission or all of those security threats we have come to know (and hate) in Windows.”

Or how about this post from yesterday; here’s the money quote: “This post [describing what’s wrong with Vista] was dated back in July, guys and gals. And guess what? Even all these months later, the same problems exist. The sky may not be falling, but faith in Microsoft definitely is.”

Somebody better tell these guys that Paul and Joe say Vista “just keeps getting better” and the bug “shakedown is largely over”. Ha!

We already know Leopard has fewer initial problems than Vista did (and likely fewer than Vista even now), is much more reasonably priced, makes modern hardware run faster, and as a bona-fide Unix implementation has the benefit of proven, time-tested security peer-reviewed by a large community instead of being built in a Microsoft silo shutoff from the rest of the networking and security world. Paul and Joe better pray the real shakedown for Vista is still coming.

“It will be interesting to watch the Mac lobbyists go nuts on this guy, BTW. “

Well, the name-calling had to come up at some point. No Thurrott post would be complete without it. I must admit, however, that I think “Mac lobbyists” is a new one. As I’ve mentioned before, these are just the sweeping Apple supporter generalizations that have been used for twenty years, and they don’t fly anymore except perhaps in Microsoft’s own tech circle and the 14-year-old Halo-playing fans of Redmond. Sticks and stones, Paul.

Finally, it must be noted that Joe Wilcox also posted, on the very same day, an article about why Leopard is better than Vista! Not surprisingly, Paul neglects to mention that article. He takes Joe as Gospel in one Leopard column, and ignores him in another? Whatever.

As for me, I didn’t quote from the other article because, frankly, I’m not fond of Joe’s approach. Post two essentially conflicting articles so you can claim to be unbiased to either side. Meanwhile, you get readers (and page hits) from both sides of the aisle. Truth is, he stole a page from Paul’s book, and I’ve always discounted that approach. Toss nice compliments at Apple, then get your real digs in against them at the end. The compliments serve no purpose other than to “pull quote” when claiming how impartial you are.

It doesn’t work, though. The bias is obvious. Honestly, guys, you’d be better to stand behind your choice of Microsoft than to try to play both sides of the fence. It’s clear where you stand — good thing, too, given the names of your respective sites — so your attempts at being “unbiased” won’t really fool anybody, and just look silly.

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