Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Comparing the Vista Launch to an OS X Launch Is Stupid

OK, so I've seen several comments on the web saying that the Vista launch is lame because 1000's of people line up at the Mac stores to get OS X at every launch. That's supposed to mean that OS X generates more excitement? This is an illusion created by supply vs demand vs availability. Let's do some really simple math here:

Mac OS X is sold at:

14 states don't even have Apple stores. Apparently no one in the Dakotas buys Apple products. That's too bad.

Windows Vista is sold at:

  • Best Buy
  • CompUSA
  • Staples
  • OfficeMax
  • Circuit City
  • Fry's Electronics
  • etc...

There are over 30,000 retail locations alone that Vista is available in. Not to mention the fact that you can order it from the comfort of your own home. It's availability vs demand. Since you can usually only pick up the new release in an Apple store, and there are only a few locations per state (if you're not backwater enough to get a store, of course), then OF COURSE the lines are going to be long.

But when 1,000 people line up for the latest OS X release, chances are pretty good that greater than half of the Mac user base in the area is in line with you. You couldn't fit half of the local Windows user base in the nearest sports arena.

But who am I to split hairs, here?


  • Dan said:

    Agreed, some of the coverage has been awful. Comparing Vista to the Playstation 3 or Wii launches (which was in a Associated Press article on Yahoo News I believe) is bizarre. The supply is high, there isnt a rush because Vista isnt going anywhere; but yet people try and compare it.

    January 31, 2007 3:40 PM
  • Kevin Dente said:

    >You couldn't fit half of the local Windows user base in the nearest sports arena

    Indeed. Which means that even though there's a lot more retailers, there's also a LOT more users that those retailers need to service. Does your math take that into account?

    As I recall, there were plenty o' lines for the Windows 95 release, which also had lots of retailers. I suspect that the lack of lines is due to the fact that a) many of the folks who REALLY want Vista already got their hands on it, and b) Vista isn't the compelling upgrade MS would like it to be (especially given the extra hardware requirements).

    Don't get me wrong, it's nice, I like it. I've already ordered my copies. And it doesn't really matter anyway - all the new PCs will be going out with Vista, and MS will grow their Vista market share that way primarily.

    January 31, 2007 5:10 PM
  • JoeM said:

    Personally I wish more people were standing outside of the stores buying Vista.   But from what I heard so far, Vista out beat OSX sales in one day.  But that is not saying much since Windows owns 95% of the market.

    January 31, 2007 5:28 PM
  • Kel said:

    Well, if you're going to go down that path, then let me ask this:

    If you assume that that "overflowing sports arena of local Windows users" consisted of both business users as well as consumers, and that those business users got their installs from their IT department and don't need a retailer, that would cut the user Windows population that might have run to a retail store in half.  Then subtract the folks that downloaded the OS from Windows Marketplace or any of the distribution sites on the Internet.  And subtract the pre-orders on Amazon, Buy, NewEgg, and particularly every other online commerce site that isn't an Apple-authorized Mac OS reseller but is a Windows reseller.  Now take that number and divide by 30,000+.  Does your math that take into account?

    I've heard this comparison before and regarding the launch, a Win95 analogy simply doesn't apply.  Stating that the number of software retailers back then is anywhere close to the number available these days is crazy.  Walmart sells Windows these day for god's sake.  It's a different decade with far different distribution & marketing dynamics.  The fact is, when Win95 launched, the only way to get it was as a retail box at your local Egghead Software.  OEM installations were far less common.  (Being that I was with a major OEM at the time, I should know.)

    January 31, 2007 5:46 PM
  • stubear said:

    That's because PC users are smart, I ordered my copy of Vista Business OEM off of  My copy of Vista Ultimate is going to be installed with my Dell XPS M2010.

    January 31, 2007 6:55 PM
  • MrObvious said:

    I made a similar comment in the Tennessean today (under 'mrcommonsense') and I actually dug out the 'osx release' article from CNET where they noted the following:

    - apple limited osx rollout initially to 10 locations to create 'buzz'

    - cd & dvd drivers were not working (advice; reboot into os9 to play DVDs) and firmware update wasn't expected until SUMMER (this was in March)

    - 'memory issue' where something like 20% of the RAM in your computer disappeared once osx was installed.

    The verdict?  These were classified as "minor hiccups".  Article below.  Enjoy.,+misses+others/2100-1040_3-254965.html

    January 31, 2007 8:27 PM
  • SH said:

    The fact is, anybody who stands in line at midnight to buy an operating system (Whatever make or model) is out of their mind :).

    I converted to OS X after 14 years of working with Windows and I'm 120% happy with my decision.   My everyday computing activities are now fast, safe and pleasant.  

    January 31, 2007 11:01 PM
  • Chris Parker said:

    Could you stop the Mac-Bashing please?

    I enjoy using both operating systems and most of the articles on this site are pretty good, but all this "my operating system is better than yours" crap is a bit juvinile. If you prefer Vista, thats your perogative, but don't criticise other peoples choices.

    February 1, 2007 4:12 AM
  • Hey man, I'm just reacting to the reaction. I have nothing against Macs, and I never criticized a choice. I fully recognize that Macs are great hardware, and that OS X is a great piece of software.

    What I can't stand is BS zealotry without thought or context. OS X has like 4% marketshare. If Apple converted a million people over to OS X, they'd have like 4.5% marketshare. So it's not like the dynamics of the situation are going to change anytime soon. I just wish that Mac users would just enjoy their OS and stop feeling like they have to be on defensive all the time.

    February 1, 2007 11:04 AM
  • chris parker said:

    Sorry about that Rob, blame it on me being in a bad mood before my early morning coffee. Didnt mean to take it out on you mate. After re-reading the article, I realise I must have been half asleep when I posted that :)

    February 1, 2007 12:48 PM
  • Comparing the Vista Launch to an OS X Launch Is Stupid - Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

    September 12, 2014 9:12 AM
  • Comparing the Vista Launch to an OS X Launch Is Stupid - Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

    September 12, 2014 12:04 PM