Did Windows force Apple's hand?
Microsoft's upcoming operating system might have prompted Apple to speed up its release of Mountain Lion.
The software will be made available for download from the Mac App Store in late summer, making Mountain Lion one of the company's fastest Mac OS rollouts to date. Normally, Apple follows a two-year cycle between consecutive upgrades.
What might have prompted the company to speed up the process? In a word, Microsoft (MSFT). (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.) We have a $550 price estimate for Apple, about 10% ahead of market price.
Windows 8 is coming
Microsoft, a longtime Apple foe, is planning to launch its Windows 8 operating system later this year. The software, built to work not only on traditional keyboard-centric devices but also touch-based ones, is Microsoft's attempt to challenge Apple in the fast-growing tablet segment.
The iPad has single-handedly cannibalized PC sales, leaving the industry with hardly any growth over the last few years. At the same time, the iPad and the iPhone have had a halo effect on Mac sales, helping Apple gain market share at the cost of Windows counterparts.
Although PC makers love to claim otherwise, the hard reality is that no competing tablet could pose any kind of threat to the iPad's popularity.
However, all that may change if Windows 8 becomes a hit and tablets running Microsoft's competing software become popular. The iPad may lose its aura and Mac sales may see a slowdown in their runaway growth.
Apple far ahead in mobile
Apple is leading the mobile revolution with the iPhone and the iPad, and is using that expertise to designing Mountain Lion. The company said it is borrowing some of the best features from its mobile operating system for use on the Mac.
While Microsoft has been the 800-pound gorilla in PC software, its Windows Phone attempt have mostly disappointed. Things are starting to look up, if only a bit, only now due to a key partnership with Nokia (NOK). With the Windows Phone 8 (not to be confused with Windows 8) slated to release by mid-2012, Microsoft may finally have an answer to its mobile woes.
It will be tough for Microsoft to usurp market share from the firmly entrenched smartphone ecosystems of the iOS and the Android by Google (GOOG). However, if Microsoft manages to stake a claim on the still-nascent tablet market, it will be able to defend its PC business more effectively.
The world can live without AAPL
The world cannot live without MSFT
Oh by the by - who is the largest AAPL applications maker/seller in the WORLD???
You get one guess.
I feel it's the other way around, Microsoft is force by apple. To compete with tablets which is why we see Win8 being highly optimized for Tablets.
It is both ways. Competition is what keeps innovation alive in this market. Windows 8 seems very promising. The challenge for MS is convince Apple fanboys to switch since tablet market is already lead by Apple. I am in for a windows 8 tablet for sure.
windows has a large share of the market but does seem to have problems. apple a much smaller market but a much more loyal customer base. apple in my opinion is alot smoother. got to hand give windows credit for making thier products accepted world wide first. hell these guys are friends and at the end of the day laugh all the way to the bank.
This is like calling a guy who says its light out when there is sun a liar because its dark out when there is not. Both are true, does not mean the first is wrong.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
These hot movers could rise by double digits in coming months.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.