Leopard: 'Introducing Windows Vista 2.0'
New OS Wars, Real Apple vs. Microsoft Battle, Begins Today

by Joe Leo, Columnist

EYE OF THE TIGER: A man second in line (one which continued well to the end of the block) for the release of Mac OS X Tiger back in 2005, gets interviewed in front of the Apple Store in Emeryville, CA. Note the "Tiger World Premiere" poster behind closed doors on the top left. [PHOTO: 2005, J. Leo]

FEATURE: 10.26.07-- Almost four years to the day Panther was released, and just over two years since Tiger joined in on the safari, another big cat pounces out onto the vista with the official release of Mac OS X version 10.5... better known as Leopard. Tonight, at 6:00p local time, Mac fans and Windows converts will finally be able to get their hands on Apple's latest and greatest. Question is, just how great will it be this time around?

AD: Check our Leopard price tracker for reseller availability and lowest price (some Apple Authorized Resellers are offering rebates) for Mac OS X version 10.5 at Mac Prices.

When Panther and Tiger were released, there wasn't much competition yet between Apple and Microsoft. Well, yes there was-- they've always been in competition with each other. But in terms of the OS wars, to each their own. But when Mac OS X started to steal the spotlight, Microsoft was left to wonder how to spice up their own aging Windows operating system.

Exactly six years ago to the day yesterday, Windows XP was released. It was the first major revision to the operating system since Windows 95, the last time Microsoft had a big stink over their flagship product. (Windows 98 was like a minor update). On the other end of the spectrum, Apple had just released the newly-minted Mac OS X operating system.

When Windows XP finally came out, Mac OS X had already been revised since its initial release. Version 10.0, a somewhat "beta" version of the operating system, was so not ready for primetime that it was updated with bug fixes and more features (some, missing features) with a new release in 10.1 just seven months later. Two Mac OS systems in 2001.

Microsoft's XP, while major, had no telltale competition from / comparison to Apple's OS X.

As if on caffeine or steroids, Apple kept rolling out the tweaks and upgrades to its system each subsequent year. They were doing it so fast that even they started noticing that it wasn't making sense to create a new operating system each year. Version 10.2 Jaguar was released in summer of 2002, while version 10.3 Panther followed in fall of 2003.

But with each release, OS X, the "big cat," kept getting bigger, better, and more stable. It would be two more years before Mac fans would see the next upgrade to OS X.

In that time, Microsoft must have seen what it was missing out on because the pressure seemed to be knocking at Redmond's gates. 2005 came, and Mac OS X "Tiger" version 10.5 was released in spring of that year, and in only two months time came the announcement by Microsoft that they would be releasing its own "next generation" system in a year or two.

In its early stages, Microsoft's planned overhaul of its operating system was already being compared to Apple's Tiger operating system. First code-named Longhorn and then renamed to its current form as Vista, it was hard not to make the comparison to Mac OS X (especially when it finally did come out).

And that's when the real OS wars, the real competition, began between the two rivals.

Prior to that, it was "Mac vs. PC" and Windows was just a part of that factor since almost all non-Apple computers were Windows-based PCs. If you bought an Apple computer, you had the hardware and naturally, only one choice for a native operating system, the Mac OS.

With Vista, it was becoming a little more personal. Apple couldn't stand it, but since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,--and they had nothing to worry about because it was clear that they were first on the block with Tiger--all they could do was move forward and look to the future, even touting OS X version 10.5 Leopard as "Vista 2.0."

The future has arrived, and hours from now, we will get to see "Vista 2.0" (Leopard).

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