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Year in Review: X marks the spot

What is it about the letter X? Stealing a page from the marketing playbook of the big automakers, Microsoft and Apple released ruggedized versions of their operating systems.


X marks the spot
Operating systems fight for supremacy
What is it about the letter X?

Stealing a page from the marketing playbook of the big automakers (Acura MDX, BMW X5 and Lexus RX300), Microsoft and Apple Computer introduced ruggedized versions of their operating systems.

Windows XP is being touted as more stable, more robust and prettier on the eyes. But competitors such as Sun Microsystems and AOL Time Warner are more concerned with some of the less noticeable additions such as ties with Microsoft's .Net plans.

Meanwhile, Apple began selling OS X, although support from some major software companies has remained sluggish and has stalled widespread adoption.

But in the end, it was Linux that could rightfully claim the letter X, at least for this year. The open-source operating system celebrated its 10th birthday.

Let's hope the companies get a bit more creative when they get to operating system version 30.

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 Mac OS X and Windows XP square off
Todd Myers, Mac OS X user, and Mark Rush, Windows XP beta tester
July 16, 2001

Microsoft introduces its most ambitious OS
David Coursey, executive editor, Anchordesk

The catalyst--or the conqueror?
You may buy Windows XP because it offers nifty tricks for editing photos and music. Microsoft surely wants the revenue but has much grander ambitions for its latest OS.
October 17, 2001
Critics: XP a bundle of trouble
Microsoft has argued that adding OS features provides added value for consumers. But how do competitors feel when they find their products competing with Microsoft's bundled software?
May 21, 2001
Who's afraid of open source?
Microsoft has a monopoly on PC operating systems, but that doesn't mean the company isn't looking over its shoulder. Nowhere is that concern more obvious than in the server market.
June 19, 2001
Linux: The operating system that might
One reason Microsoft can't ignore Linux is that the alternative OS has shown longevity. How did the upstart reach a milestone seen by few others that would dare challenge Microsoft?
August 24, 2001
Making a comeback: OS X
It took seven years and the return of Steve Jobs to get OS X out the door. Is it enough to spur sales? Not until there are more programs to run on it.
March 24, 2001
Apple: We were here first
Wireless networking, CD burning and photo editing? All were Apple's domain before Microsoft got savvy. Microsoft's embrace is flattering, but that may be of little solace to Apple.
November 19, 2001
Free is fine, but cash is king
Linux's popularity is still strong, but many start-ups and other companies that offer the system are finding it hard to survive on the technology scraps left behind by Microsoft.
November 20, 2001

• Early XP sales less than stellar
• How Linux saved Amazon millions
• Web services: The .Net connection
• The lessons of Linux, 10 years later
• Apple tries to woo Windows defectors
• Will Unix roots help Apple grow?
• Be: A long history of almost
• Open-source fans try to outflank .Net
• Microsoft expands Windows XP messaging
• Adobe cozies up to Apple's OS X