Consumers may finally be warming to the idea of Windows 8 and its new interface. Though there's been a bunch of bellyaching up to this point, Windows 8 has slowly been gaining market share and jumped up 2 percentage points last month. That's the largest month-to-month gain in share since the operating system debuted in October of last year, and it was enough to propel it ahead of Mac OS X for the first time.
A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday dealt an almost mortal blow (more on the “almost” after the jump) to former hackintosh vendor Psystar’s remaining chances of a comeback in its legal battle against Apple. Dismissing Psystar’s appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a 2009 district court decision to award Apple a permanent injunction against Psystar’s infringement of Mac OS X.
For those of you rocking a Mac, Apple on Monday released a software update for Mac OS X Snow Leopard bringing the current version to 10.6.3.
The latest update plugs a whole bunch of security holes, addressing everything from improved validation of MPEG encoded movie files to preventing remote attackers from extracting information from Open Directory, as well as a little love for more secure Wi-Fi. There are 69 security related updates in all, of which you can view here.
Version 10.6.3 also includes several stability and compatibility enhancements, some of which include:
address compatibility issues with OpenGL-based applications
address a color issue in iMovie with HD content
improve the reliability of 3rd party USB input devices
improve printing reliability
Apple also took a step towards better error reporting. In addition to the Crash Reporter state data, updated Macs will also include recent system loga information as well as details about the apps and hardware devices installed.
I'm guessing that about half of our readership scanned over the headline and rolled their eyes, and the other half did a fist pump for the underdog. Psystar has tried pretty much everything to try and keep itself a float in its legal battle against Apple, and it seems determined to keep its name in the headlines just a bit longer by following through with its threat to file an official appeal.
For those that haven't been following the developments, U.S. District Judge William Alsup recently handed down a permanent injunction against Psystar after a drawn out 17 month legal struggle to prevent the sale of any future hackintoshes. Despite the ruiling the defiant startup seems determined to not let the issue go and this time around they are requesting a three member panel of judges from the Ninth Circuit to hear the case. Perhaps they are hoping Apple will get so sick of all the press they will simply pay them off, or maybe these guys really are fighting for the future of Hackintoshes.
Interestingly, Windows 7 usage trailed that of OS X by almost a percentage point earlier in the week. "Certainly, the trend line shows Windows 7 will surpass Mac (market) share soon,” believes Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president at Net Applications, according to Computerworld.
In what's turning out to be a game of cat and mouse, Apple last week disabled support for Intel's Atom processor through a Snow Leopard update, a tactic the Hackintosh community insisted would present only a temporary setback. They were right, thanks to a Russian hacker known as "teateam," who says he has restored support for Atom-based Hackintoshes running Snow Leopard 10.6.2.
"The problem originates in a revision to the kernel in 10.6.2. The changes Apple made to the latest mach_kernel removes support for [Atom] processors, leaving updated netbooks in a useless state," InsanelyMac member "blkhockypro19" explained in a forum post.
TeaTeam's hack appears to address the issue, though Jeff Porten of MacWorld warned that performing the crack is not something to be taken lightly.
"You'll need to roll up your Terminal sleeves for a few simple steps here," said Porten. "And, of course, replace the kernel of your operating system -- the fundamental code that underlies everything else in Mac OS X -- with a file you've downloaded from the Internet."
Not only that, but it's only a matter of time until Apple releases another update that, in all likelihood, breaks support again. Apple hasn't been sympathetic to the Hackinstosh community, and even went so far as to serve Wired.com a cease and desist order after the tech site posted a video with instructions on how to hack a netbook to run Mac OS X.
Apple didn't just win its case against Psystar, it demolished the "open computer" vendor whose Mac clones triggered a legal battle over whether or not the hackintoshes violated Mac OS X's EULA. According to Judge William Alsup, it most certainly does. In fact, the judge ruled in Apple's favor on every count brought to the court's attention, although the biggest focus was on copyright.
"Psystar's use of Mac OS X has been in excess and has violated Apple's copyrights," the judge wrote at one point in his 16-page order.
According to Groklaw, there are still issues that remain for trial, including allegations of breach of contract, induced breach of contract, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, trade dress infringement, and state unfair competition under California Business and Professions. In other words, the best case scenario for Psystar at this point is that it will be held liable for damages on Apple's copyright claims, but with its primary defense now seemingly dismantled, the company appears to be in a world of hurt. Or as Groklaw puts it, "Psystar is toast."
A Microsoft manager has gone on record saying one of Microsoft's goals with Windows 7 was to "create a Mac look and feel in terms of graphics." After posting the story, Maximum PC reader Tekzel commented, "That dude is sooo going to get in trouble." Tekzel, you sooo called it.
It didn't take long at all for Microsoft to distance itself from Simon Aldous, the partner group manger who made the comment. In an official Windows blog post this morning, here's what Microsoft had to say:
"An inaccurate quote has been floating around the Internet today about the design origins of Windows 7 and whether its look and feel was “borrowed” from Mac OS X. Unfortunately this came from a Microsoft employee who was not involved in any aspect of designing Windows 7. I hate to say this about one of our own, but his comments were inaccurate and uninformed."
Oh snap! Microsoft went on to suggest reading an AP story with Ms. Larson-Green and a couple of other articles linked in the blog to learn more about the design of Windows 7.
Apple would argue that Microsoft has been ripping off its Mac OS GUI ever since Windows was first introduced, a notion Microsoft has dismissed on more than one occasion. That being the case, we're willing to bet the Redmond company isn't too thrilled that one of its managers is flapping his gums about Windows 7 taking a liberal cue from Mac OS X.
"One of the things that people say an awful lot about the Apple Mac is that the OS is fantastic, that it's very graphical and easy to use," said Simon Aldous, partner group manager with Microsoft. "What we've tried to do with Windows 7 -- whether it's traditional format or in a touch format -- is create a Mac look and feel in terms of graphics."
Spending a little time with the redesigned Taskbar is all it takes to see what Aldous is talking about, and it's not too difficult to find other similarities, either. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, though it's not something you want to flaunt if you're Microsoft, or one of Microsoft's managers. These types of admissions have a way of ending up twisted, taken out of context, and capitalized on by Mac OS pitchmen Justin Long and John Hodgman.
This one's sure to ruffle a few feathers, but according to the latest data from Net Applications, the launch of Windows 7 hasn't done anything to slow down Mac's record rise in market share.
Of course, we're only talking about a 5.27 percent of the OS market, which doesn't come anywhere close to Windows, which dominates the scene with a 92.52 percent share. Still, Mac fans will be quick to point out that Mac OS X still managed to reach a new hgh, and did so amid a heavy marketing campaign for Windows 7 accompanied by temporary deep discounts.
If you've been watching Apple's Mac vs PC ads, then you've seen Apple encouraging consumers to use the launch of Windows 7 as an excuse to switch to Mac. After all, if you're going to upgrade anyway, you might as well make the transition, Apple argues. And that's what Electronista believes is going on.
We're not so sure we agree, and while we'll concede that the numbers might not be what we were expecting, it's far too early to tell what impact Windows 7 or Mac OS X will have on the ongoing OS wars.
Hit the jump and tell us how you interpret the numbers.