Despite Ballmer's representations to the contrary, Apple's share of the PC pie seems to have improved with the launch of Microsoft's newest operating system. The new operating system, while favorably reviewed, is more expensive to OEMs (thus reducing the competitiveness of OEMs' computers equipped with it); this observation is not a matter of mere theory, but stands with the support of anecdotal evidence of Apple's competitiveness. Concentrating ads on the majority of the PC population -- those who will be suffering the prospect of upgrading from XP rather than Vista -- Apple emphasizes the inconvenience of an upgrade path that seems a weekend project rather than a while-dinner-is-served background event. Even the students eligible for Microsoft's $30 limited upgrade offer seem not to have gotten what they expected. Even if Windows 7 is really all the reviewers claim (and didn't they say Vista was all that, too?), Microsoft has a reputation to overcome.
Apple's competitveness isn't simply in comparison to Microsoft products, but to other vendors' whose products rely on Microsoft for infrastructure. For example, the cost-effectiveness of Blackberry deployments in enterprise, supported by Exchange and RIM middleware, seems challenged by Apple telephony products that lack the need of additional middleware.