Apple’s feeling the opportunity in Microsoft’s Vista-replacement, Windows 7, playing it cool as it plans its own new advertising blitz to tempt across those PC users who just can’t seem to put their faith in Ballmer’s boys any longer.

As Business Week (and, later, MacRumors, informs), Apple plans to begin its own ad-attack when Win 7 climbs out of the trenches on October 22. And Apple VP Phil Schiller thinks Microsoft’s handing Apple an advantage in the desktop OS game…

The ads will extol Mac OS X’s real virtues – lack of viruses, happy connections with iPods and iPhones and its simple upgrade process….after all, Windows XP users (still a big slice of Microsoft’s user base) are expected to jump through hoops and engage in mystical mantras if they want to upgrade to WIn 7. Well, OK, not quite that, but they are expected to:

1/ Back-up everything to an external drive.
2/ Reformat their PC.
3/ Reinstall all their old applications.
4/ Replace all their personal files.
5/ Live through all those steps while retaining sanity.

Far easier to switch to the Mac, Apple surmises. Particularly as those friendly staff at the Apple Store will swap all your personal files across for you.

"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?" Schiller helpfully points out to BusinessWeek.

Sure, we all expect Win 7 will boost PC sales slightly, it’s well-known that the market failure of Vista has served to depress the PC industry, while Apple market share grows.

Indeed, just 20 percent of Windows users have shifted to Vista, while over 70 per cent of Mac users migrated to Snow Leopard. "I expect Snow Leopard will have an amazing upgrade rate, and Windows 7 won’t,” Schiller said, bullishly.

With Snow Leopard available at a reasonable price, Schiller’s next statement could be prophetic: "We’ve been through these transitions before, and no matter how you look at it – it’s still Windows. When all is said and done, the Mac picks up share a bit at a time."

Will Phil Schilller one day refer to Windows marketshare as a “rounding error”?

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