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Mac OS X beats Win XP. Then it doesn't

CNET makes up its mind. Then changes it

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Apple was victorious against Microsoft last week, after CNET ran a Windows XP versus Mac OS X death match, and eventually awarded Mac the trophy.

The punch-up was actually a dead heat but Apple won when the judges ruled its upgrade/licensing deal gave it the edge. However, Apple's victory was shortlived, as a quick rethink saw the battle royal reduced to a draw - apparently the Mac OS X upgrade/licensing path is only better value than WinXP's if you pirate the software.

While not quite MTV celebrity death match style, the whole affair has a cartoonish air.

Ar first, CNET proudly displayed the winner as Mac OS X, which MacCentral quickly picked up on and published.

When the judges changed their decision, MacCentral had to post a revision.

On MTV's death match, this would be the instance when dead contestant one (having had his heart removed, crushed and flung into the crowd) suddenly pulls out a hidden chainsaw and severs winning contestant two's head from his shoulders. [Can anyone remember who won the Bill Gates v Steve Jobs death match? - ed]

Contestants John and Matt (representing Mac and Windows, respectively) duke it out through the review, comparing the two OSes on a variety of topics before making their conclusion: installation (winner: OS X); interface (Win XP); software compatibility (OS X); hardware compatibility (Win XP); and Internet support (draw).

In the revised version, this 3-3 draw remains the same, but the motivation behind the winner is altered, as this correction states:

"Some of you may have noticed that in an earlier version of this story, we gave a slight edge to OS X. One of the primary factors behind this decision was the cost of each upgrade as it relates to licensing requirements. Although it is true that OS X lacks a feature like Windows XP's product activation that would bar you from installing it on more than on system, it is still a violation of Apple's end-user licensing agreement to install the upgrade on multiple systems. We regret any misleading information in the initial version, which has now been updated to clarify this issue. (11/2/01)" ®

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