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Windows Vista Service Pack 1, Windows XP Service Pack 3 and even Windows 7 need to be on the lookout for Apple’s Leopard(s). The products of a software and a hardware company, Windows and Mac OS X, invite comparison as an inherent extension of the face-off between Microsoft and Apple. In the operating system arena, Windows holds the lion’s share of the market, while Apple claims to offer a superior product, boasting advanced security, reliability and performance. But at the same time, it seems that the intimate connection between Mac OS X and Mac computers offers a larger degree of customer satisfaction compared to the bundle of Windows and OEM PCs, according to ChangeWave Research. In this context, although it may already be too late for Vista SP1 and XP SP3, Windows 7 has to bring user experience to a new level for Microsoft.

Back in January 2008, ChangeWave Research revealed via a survey of 4,604 participants that four in five respondents, namely 81% of Apple customers, were satisfied with Leopard. In contrast, only 53% and 51% of those surveyed stated that they were satisfied with Windows XP Home Edition and respectively Windows XP Professional. The numbers for Vista are extremely low in contrast to both XP and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, just 27% and 15% of respondents indicating that they were satisfied with Vista Home Premium and Home Basic SKUs respectively.

Paul Carton, ChangeWave Research Director of Research, made it clear that Apple’s proprietary operating system is also the top dog when it comes to the satisfaction level delivered to business users. In a February 2008 survey, ChangeWave Research pointed out that 53% of corporate customers declared themselves satisfied with Leopard. Again, XP trailed Mac OS X 10.5 in terms of satisfaction with only 40% of the votes. In corporate environments, Vista is managing things even worse than it did with end consumers. Only 8% out of the 2,200 participants in the survey said that they were satisfied with the latest Windows client.

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