Did Windows force Apple's hand?

Microsoft's upcoming operating system might have prompted Apple to speed up its release of Mountain Lion.

By Trefis Feb 20, 2012 3:04PM
Apple (AAPL) has been busy developing its next Mac operating system, dubbed Mountain Lion, and last week released an early version to developers.

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 Mac Desktop Market Share

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.

Microsoft Windows Market Share of PCs

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.

Feb 20, 2012 4:45PM
I wonder if any of you apple die hards know that Bill Gates saved apple from bankrupcy in the 90's.
Feb 20, 2012 4:28PM
the only kind of apple I will ever buy is the kind you eat.
Feb 20, 2012 5:21PM
Apple computers are horribly overpriced luxury/status items. Their toys are better. Some people will pay $4000 for an OS just to surf facebook. You can't mess with Apple computers like you can with PC's. They don't last as long. You are better off making a Hackintosh if you really want an "Apple" computer. Looking forward to other companies producing pads and the like, maybe it will drive the prices down. Everyone makes all this fuss about Steve Jobs and Apple. The fact is, he was just another guy that "pirated" other people's hard work and ideas. He treated people like ****, he treated his family like ****. When the creator of UNIX died, nobody said anything, and the world runs on that.
Feb 20, 2012 8:10PM
Back in the '60s working on computers, the monsters were as big as a building .. now you can stuff one of the gadgets in your hip pocket.  Guess that is what happens with time .. pant size gets a little bigger.  Yep, good to see Apple and Microsoft in a horse race of invention .. nothing like watching whiz kids out think each other.
Feb 20, 2012 4:10PM
Their(Apple/Google) days are numbered.  Microsoft will challenge very well. 
Feb 20, 2012 8:47PM
Geesh Rom lets get our facts straight shall we? Vista wasn't the worlds worst OS. Windows ME was but to say Windows 7 is as bad as Vista? Wow what planet are you from? Your unintelligent, unknowledgeable comments due more harm to Apple than Microsoft would ever hope to do.
Feb 20, 2012 4:37PM
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.
Feb 20, 2012 7:58PM
once again win 8 for tablets is full blown operating system...not just a content device..it is work,play,think,develope tool
Feb 20, 2012 8:00PM

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.

Feb 20, 2012 6:04PM
Who said trouble? they just don't last as long as a PC you can mess with, fanboy.
Feb 21, 2012 3:28AM
i will say that apple could try reducing thier prices
Feb 20, 2012 9:39PM
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.

Feb 20, 2012 7:18PM
Apple may add iOS features to OSx but Apple won't end up with one OS anytime soon. Microsoft Windows 8 has a better chance of becoming one OS since Microsoft has written all of it from the ground up and didn't take Linux for mobile devices and Unix for traditional devices. Microsoft haters will complain but they're mostly schooled in the Steve Apple love fest mentality. It'll be fun to watch this but Nokia has a lot to win if Windows 8 takes off dragging WP7 and WP7 with it. 
Feb 21, 2012 3:16AM
Apple makes nice stuff, but anyone who does not have deep pockets and pays $600 for an item that costs less than $50 to make, and with rival products nearly as good for half the price is a fool in my book.  Don't buy stuff you don't need, and if you ever just want to, at least do so responsibly.  This is no different than when  people were paying $4000 for an avg PC in the early 90's.  Apple products were superior to Windows based PC back then, but Americans only understand marketing.  Nobody was buying Apple in the early 90's eventho their stuff rocked. 

Ever since they spent less on quality (altho their quality is still good, just not what it used to be) and more on marketing and looking flashy, everybody is on the bandwagon.  If you stop buying every worthless "upgrade" (like people did everytime a prettier version of Windows came out in the 90's), they will be forced to drop their prices and improve their features even more. 
Feb 21, 2012 3:28AM

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.


Feb 21, 2012 3:14AM
"to the person who said that the world can not live without microsoft. well you are wrong. the world can not live without linux. most of the internet servers run linux. every other computer runs microsoft though"

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.
Feb 21, 2012 1:31AM
to the person who said that the world can not live without microsoft. well you are wrong. the world can not live without linux. most of the internet servers run linux. every other computer runs microsoft though
Feb 21, 2012 1:36AM
ROM you are dumb windows 7 is based on vista. vista was a totally new operating system not based on windows DOS. windows 7 is just the oops we fixed it version. looks the same is the same with major fixes. vista sp2 fixed most of the issues with it.  "windows 7 = vista + fixed every problem we forgot to test because we rushed the release of an OS too early"
Feb 21, 2012 11:58AM
I'd be the first to buy a Win 8 tablet.  Will probably use Adobe and Silversight  seamlessly for one thing.  That's one of my big complaints about the aapl or the android os for that matter.  Apple computers will never be a big hit in business because there are countless software packages that don't run or don't run well on aapl computers---especial​ly custom packages, so I don't think Microsoft needs to worry there.  All that being said, I have owned aapl stock for over 4 years.....just  in case I'm wrong.
Feb 21, 2012 1:18AM
I think ill wait until win 8 beta is released at the end of the month before making a snap judgment.
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