A few notes about Vodafone and Snow Leopard
Quote: "There are other niche OS's with userbases just as large as Snow Leopard, I don't hear them complaining."
I suspect the difference is that they buy their service from Vodafone in the knowledge that their operating systems are not supported. The Vodafone website, even as I type, still advertises that software is provided for the current range of USB devices on the Mac from 10.3.9 Jaguar and upwards. I see no such claims for any Linux variants so the comparison is not really a fair one.
This is not an Apple -v- Microsoft thing either. None of the operating systems hit the market through the back door and both streams (SL and Windows 7) have had opportunities for interested companies to work with various incarnations of the operating system to ensure compatibility for when it finally ships. Having seen the impact of the Snow Leopard issues it is to be hoped that the Vodafone planning for driver support in Windows 7 is a little further along. The impact of failing to accomodate support of a new Microsoft operating system will be orders of magnitude louder than a failure to support a "niche" operating system.
On the day of launch of Windows 7 to the masses there will be shiny new machines in retail outlets across the country with eager sales assistants desperate to mitigate the price of the laptop by tying it in to a Mobile Broadband contract. It would be a PR catastrophe to have to admit that support for it was being developed but I don't know when you can have it.