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Leopard May Be Delayed Due to Vista Compatibility

By Katherine Noyes MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Mar 23, 2007 2:52 PM PT

Apple's new "Leopard" operating system, most recently expected to launch next month, has reportedly been delayed until October in order to ensure compatibility with Microsoft Windows Vista.

Leopard May Be Delayed Due to Vista Compatibility

Apple is hoping to have Leopard support Vista through an integrated version of its Boot Camp tool, which helps install Windows on Mac machines, according to published reports. The goal: To make sure that Macintosh PCs running Leopard can also run Vista.

Leopard, the nickname for the next version of the Mac OS X operating system, was previewed last August at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. No specific launch date was announced, but officials said they expected to release it this spring.

No Official Word

Boot Camp, which debuted earlier in 2006, is a free software application that allows Windows to run on Macs. Other features anticipated in Leopard include Time Machine, which lets users retrieve accidentally deleted content, and Spaces, which lets them use a single key to toggle among applications.

Lynn Fox, a spokesperson for Apple, would only say that Apple previously announced that it plans to release Leopard in Spring 2007.

If the reports are true, delaying the new operating system's release could make a lot of sense.

Worth Getting Right

"They've been having trouble getting Leopard out, and it's supposed to be the most compatible platform they've ever brought forward," Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group, told MacNewsWorld. "It's got to be right -- if the compatibility isn't where it needs to be, Apple is not going to get the market it wants."

Apple exists largely in the consumer and small-business markets, Enderle noted, where most sales take place in the second half of the year. "This is a slow time for PCs anyway," he said. "You don't want to sacrifice the second half just because you want to get an early launch."

Apple is also banking heavily on switching behavior among consumers for the success of the launch, he added, so the product needs to be good enough to achieve that.

Key Issue

"This doesn't seem like it's a big deal," Phil Leigh, senior analyst with Inside Digital Media, told MacNewsWorld. "What it does signify is that Apple is very serious about making their computer work on both Windows and Mac platforms, and I see that as a way for them to gain market share relative to the PC manufacturers."

A delay of 6 months is not momentous, he added, given the importance of having Leopard and Vista be compatible. "An important factor driving Apple to gain market share is the fact that it can operate in both Windows and Mac environments. It's critical to have Leopard work with Vista."

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