Steve Jobs announced today that he is removing himself from Apple due to health concerns. This looks like it is going to have more of an affect on the company's stock price than anything. Will Apple still continue to bring innovation to the desktop computer? From all news reports that I have read it appears that most of the creative juices that flow at Apple are from the talent that Steve has put together under him. But Jobs is the glue that holds it all together, so there my be some decline in Apple's product output.
There is no doubt that OSX is far superior than Windows as far as how the OS performs, and desktop usability. And, since OSX only really needs to confine itself to a certain set of hardware, in most respects it outperforms Ubuntu Linux, as well. I think that OSX is far enough ahead of the field that it will take Ubuntu quite some time. Plus, there is Apple's first class marketing attack to deal with. But, consider this, Ubuntu Desktops and their Linux ilk has gained a 30% increase in users over the past year, and that trend is expected to continue to accelerate.
A big help to the Linux community came last year when some pretty big computer companies started pushing Ubuntu as default operating systems in netbooks and cheap PCs. The poor showing by Microsoft Vista and all of the complaints that have plagued that operating system helped to further fuel the Ubuntu fires.
The combo of a poor Vista product, and possible decline of the Apple empire may be the crack in the door that Ubuntu needs to make itself an even more viable option for users. In either case, 2009 is shaping up to be an interesting year for Ubuntu.