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CNET - Will Windows 7 stymie Mac OS X's growth?

Earlier this week a colleague sent me a link to a CNET blog entry with the above title, and remarked, "Maybe he's on drugs."

I'm not so sure he's on drugs, but I'm also unwilling to concede that Windows 7 will stall (or reverse) the growth trend in Mac marketshare. The reasons people buy Apple products revolves around the entire experience, not just around the operating system. If you've ever visited the Genius Bar at an Apple Retail store, you'll understand part of what I mean by the entire experience.

It's about how the hardware and software fit together so exactly. It's about how information and content flows seamlessly from one device to another device to the Internet and back. It's about how, when you call Apple, you almost always feel satisfied after you've hung up. It's about walking into an Apple Store and seeing your name on the video queue showing how many other guests will be helped before you at the Genius Bar. It's about seeing your kids sit down at a few of the store's iMacs and become enthralled in a game, an edutainment program, or just start digging around in one of the iLife apps.

Until Microsoft takes Windows 7 onto its own devices and establishes a similar retail infrastructure that allows for end-to-end control of the customer experience, Apple will remain the ONLY digital products company that can deliver this kind of engagement.

Having said all that, Apple is no longer dependent on whether Mac OS commands a notable marketshare. Their diversification into communications and media devices (iPhone and iPod) keep consumers attached to the Apple brand, and reinforce the Apple customer experience. I remember when I would buy nothing but Sony audio and video gear for many of the same reasons I now buy Apple products.

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