Leopard vs. Windows Vista

As you can imagine, I’ve been involved with countless Windows Vista email threads over the past few days. One of them is with Stardock’s own Brad Wardell (a good friend of mine). He tried to hit me with the classic “I don’t pay for service packs” argument when discussing Apple’s impending Leopard upgrade.

“I challenge you to name what in Leopard justifies $149,” Brad interjected. “Because I sure can’t think of one.” Apparently, you’re not thinking hard enough – or you haven’t done your homework:

  • Time Machine (amazing interface, long overdue)
  • Mail updates (To Do, Notes, Stationery, RSS – Outlook killer)
  • iChat (live video backdrops, photobooth effects, screen sharing)
  • Spaces (awesome virtual desktop behaviors)
  • Dashboard (Dashcode, .Mac syncing)
  • Spotlight (search Macs on your network, inline preview)
  • iCal (CalDAV support, auto schedule, event dropbox)
  • Core Animation (for developers who understand design)
  • Boot Camp (’nuff said)
  • Other optimizations and tweaks (combined)

You *MUST* watch every single one of these Leopard videos to understand why I believe the price is completely justified. Apple issues security updates constantly (and no doubt will wrap them into Leopoard as well). This isn’t a service pack, dude. These are not trivial upgrades. You combine the features of this list with better parental control, seamless 64-bit compatibilities, wider accessibility, and… and… and… knowing that Apple will have another set of new, incremental, and system-wide upgrades in another couple years? Game over.

Microsoft’s Service Packs are free, and they offer us… security updates, which should be free to begin with. Oh, wait – and pop-up blockers for browsers that are sadly past their prime. I appreciate that “smaller” Microsoft teams release useful tools every so often (like Windows Live Writer), but your mom probably couldn’t find them in the first place – and doesn’t care about them to begin with. Apple has invested a significant amount of time to ensure that both our personal and professional lifestyles will be enhanced and extended by Leopard. Microsoft has been shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic – and Windows Vista proves it.

If it’s asinine to spend money on a set of tools which serve to make my life better, then could you please explain to me Stardock’s business model? Moreover, could you explain why Microsoft is allowed to charge for Windows Vista and Apple isn’t for Leopard? Don’t get hung up on version numbers, dude – they’re “pointless” at this stage of the game. Then, aside from the “given” nature of security updates, could you give me ten solid reasons why someone would want to pay $149 for a service pack from Microsoft!?

All you Windows fanatics need to get off your high horse for a second and realize what’s happening here. My name isn’t Chicken Little, and I’m certainly not alone in my belief that Leopard is far more compelling than Windows Vista.