Windows fans expecting Apple to let Microsoft have its moment in the sun next week when Windows 7 launches should probably know better by now -- the Mac maker is actually planning a marketing counter-offensive to hit alongside 7's debut. According to Phil Schiller, the convoluted upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 7 represents a big opportunity for Apple, since users have to back everything up and reformat. "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?" Well -- we're sure most of you can think of several reasons. Of course, Microsoft has long said that most people will actually get Windows 7 when they purchase a new machine, which is one reason we're seeing such an absolute flood of interesting and innovative new PC hardware -- but Phil seems to remember that was also the company line about Vista, and homeboy isn't backing down. "We've been through these transitions before, and no matter how you look at it-it's still Windows." Harsh burn, amigo. Any last predictions? "I expect Snow Leopard will have an amazing upgrade rate, and Windows 7 won't." We thought you might say something like that. Good thing we're giving Steve Ballmer a chance to respond live on the air next week, no?

[Via AppleInsider]