Microsoft Windows 7 Or Mac OS X Lion: Which Will Rule The Pride?

Meanwhile Apple, whose disciples were further anchored to the platform by the stability and openness of Mac OS X, has been building a steady stream of new followers in the mobile world with the runaway successes of its must-have devices.

For corporations entrenched in Windows, trepidation turned to migration according, according to Corporate Operating System and Browser Trends, Q2 2010 to Q2 2011, a report published last week by Forrester Research. It shows that in the past year, corporate adoption of Windows 7 has more than doubled, jumping from 9.5 percent in April, 2010, to 20.9 percent in March, 2011.

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This marks a major strategic shift for corporations from the spring of 2009, when DailyTech reported that 83 percent of companies said they had no intention of upgrading to Windows 7 months before its release.

The Forrester study includes responses from more than 418,000 Forrester clients, of which 87.6 percent indicated that they continue to use Windows, a three percentage-point drop from April 2010, when 89.6 percent of respondents were using Windows.

Today, infrastructure and operations managers are deploying Windows 7 on about 31 percent of new PCs, but that number is expected to jump to 83 percent within a year. For the CRN Test Center, virtually all of the x86-compatible client computers that we test arrive with Windows 7 pre-installed, and it's no surprise that adoption of Microsoft's latest operating system is speeding up. Between the second quarters of 2010 and 2011, Windows 7 installations increased by about one percentage point or more in eight of those 12 months.

Meanwhile, Vista declined by nearly 50 percent, dropping nearly five percentage points from 11.3 percent to 6.2 percent over the year. Vista adoption peaked at 13.9 percent in Nov. 2009, according to Forrester. And while XP declined by 7.6 percentage points during the year, it still enjoys an installed base of nearly 60 percent of corporations in the study.

It's interesting to note the gradual decline of Windows in general, as other operating systems rise to fill the void. The most prominent up-and-comer is Apple's Mac OS X, which during the period has risen in market share from 9.1 percent to 11.0 percent, an increase of more than 20 percent.

As a majority of companies delay migration from Windows XP until their next hardware refresh, the time seems right for a rethink of the whole client picture. For today's mobile workers, it's no longer enough for corporate apps to exist on the desktop monitor or laptop screens; they must now extend seamlessly to tablets, cell phones and other mobile devices, and be accessible through single user interface.

In the catbird seat like never before is Apple.

The industry-shaping success of its iPad and iPhone give the company enormous leverage and sway with corporate executives, who crave an intuitive UI anywhere they compute.

And with the release in July of Mac OS X Lion (a.k.a. Mac OS X 10.7), including an iPhone-like app launcher, full-screen apps and a new set of multi-touch gestures, Apple will deliver that unifying experience across all Apple devices with the simplicity of the iTunes store and an unheard of price of $29.99 (if you already have Snow Leopard).

Current Mac users clearly have scant reason to resist; and we think many former Windows clients will follow.