October 22nd is when Microsoft will be launching its newest operating system, which it calls Windows 7. It is expected that consumers will be buying a lot of new computers this coming year. Since Apple picked up a lot of former PC users who were unwilling to use Vista, Apple seems to think it can once again capitalize on Windows’ weakness and the strength of its own operating system. What is expected is an advertising blitz by Apple when Windows 7 launches.

A recent article also states:

In the coming weeks, Apple is expected to hit those computer buyers with advertising aimed at luring them to its Macs. It will likely make the case that Macs are less susceptible to viruses and are best suited to its popular iPods and iPhones. And look for it to poke fun at Microsoft for making XP owners go through an arduous process to upgrade to Windows 7—one that includes backing up all their files to an external drive, reformatting their PC, and then reinstalling all of their old programs, assuming they still have the CDs. “Any user that reads all those steps is probably going to freak out. If you have to go through all that, why not just buy a Mac?” says Schiller.

No question, Microsoft and partners such as Hewlett-Packard (HP), Dell (DELL), and Acer will benefit from the Windows 7 debut. PC makers will be rolling out a raft of eye-catching new models—from $300 netbooks to sleek desktop computers with touch-sensitive screens. Microsoft downplays the hassles of upgrading to the new operating system and says most people are going to buy new PCs anyway, which means they won’t install the software themselves. “For the vast majority of people that get Windows 7, most will move to new hardware,” says Parri Munsell, Microsoft’s director for consumer product management.

PC makers are likely to benefit from their machines being much cheaper than Apple’s, especially given the soft economy. The average price of a Windows PC is $537, compared with $1,434 for a Mac, says analyst Stephen Baker of researcher PC Data. “I just don’t think you’re going to have a huge influx of people who have perfectly good XP machines deciding they need to buy an all-new Mac,” he says.

Schiller won’t say if Apple is planning to cut prices, which would certainly attract a flock of new buyers. He points out that the company already has programs for helping PC users switch; people who pay $99 a year for its One to One training program can bring their PCs to an Apple Store and have all their files transferred.

Schiller says the success of Apple’s operating system is indicative of the changing fortunes in the tech industry. While less than 20% of Windows users have moved to the three-year-old Vista, more than 70% of Mac users have upgraded to the Apple operating system introduced at about the same time. He has similar hopes for Apple’s four-month-old Snow Leopard OS. Says Schiller: “I expect Snow Leopard will have an amazing upgrade rate, and Windows 7 won’t.”

Now that Apple has increased its market share here in the U.S. to about 9.4%, one can see why Apple is poised to try and increase that share. But my crystal ball is in the shop for repairs, so predicting whether PC users will dump Windows for a Mac is hard to do.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

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