I don't think that this question is important.
I am an Apple & Microsoft stockholder. In fact, I am invested in every company mentioned here except the owners of Gateway.
Apple and Mac's are very important even to the Windows world. It was Bill Gates who helped save Apple with an injection of US$150 million. It is Microsoft which has always had a Mac version of Office available, admittedly a shortened version sans Outlook.
While most Mac users probably now favor iTunes as their default player, Microsoft always had a version of Windows Media Player for Mac.
There is a terrific article about Steve Jobs in the November 23 issue of Fortune Magazine. Here is a link to a part of the article, the best link I could find:
http://money.cnn.com/2009/11/04/technol ... e.fortune/
In the article, Apple's course of history is presented.
Regarding the Apple-like look of Win 7, when the Windows apps of WMP, RealPlayer and Music Match were all making their competitive runs up from earlier versions of around version 7.x to version 10 (MM is gone and WMP is on ver 11 or 12, Real is on ver 11), they all began to take on this really clean slick look. It came directly from Apple's influence, well before iTunes, and all three were better for it.
Similarly, go to any mall with an Apple store, take a look, and then find in that mall or some other mall a Sony Store, or any other electronics retailer. You will see that even the retail decor of the Apple stores is having an influence.
There was a report that among private citizens like us, not corporations, industry, etc, in the last quarter, Apple sold 89& of all machines above US$1000. Sorry, I no longer know where I saw this. Of course, with industry and such added in, HP, Dell, Sony, Acer, etc., way way far outweighed the Apple sales.
Apple eschews huge parts of the world of computers.
Windows users - like me - should consider what would happen if Apple decided to go after some of these markets and teamed with Oracle and/or Sun or an Oracle/Sun combo (discussed below). There was a time when a lot of stuff would not run on Mac's. But there was also a time when a lot of web sites would not run in FF. I think in both cases those days are long gone.
If Apple's Mac offerings began to look to these greater markets and if Apple had any real penetration, believe me, the apps would be developed to be there. Things like large scale database software from Oracle and SAP would all get in line; PC apps from third party providers who have not previously given the Mac O/s even a look.
No one remembers the time back in the mid nineties when Gateway was a home PC market leader and Dell went after enterprise markets. Dell did not even include sound cards. But when Gateway started to try to push into the enterprise market, and especially the failed attempt to enter the market for machines in the US government, Michael Dell pushed back, went into the home PC market and ate Gateway's lunch.
All of these dynamics are potentially there for Apple. Steve jobs is very personally close with Larry Ellison and Scott McNeally.
So, fellow watchers, don't concern yourselves about Windows 7 seeming to clone the Mac O/S look. Instead, be grateful that Apple is there running now on Intel technology. Be grateful that Microsoft cares about backward compatibility. I am grateful that I can still run my HP Deskjet 5600 and 5150 in Windows 7. I have had them since I think Windows ME, and I can install them with all of the bells and whistles.
My new Dell Studio XPS 9000 running Win 7 with the Intel I7-920 hyperthreaded CPU and 6 gigs of DRAM was very easy to set up, ate up my network with no prompting, and is a joy to use.
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