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Why Microsoft Should Fear Apple

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the sneaky-fruit dept.

Microsoft 576

jcatcw writes "Computerworld's Scot Finnie says that Microsoft should be afraid because Apple has gotten smarter about how it competes. He says that it's the Parallels Desktop software that has been truly transformational for the Mac. Finnie did a simple three-month trial of the Mac last in the fall and realized four months later that he wasn't going back. Since then he's received hundreds of messages from readers who've also made the switch. 'In the end, this is about perception. It isn't about Apple's market share or even its quarterly sales numbers. (Apple's notebook computer sales for the fourth quarter were 4.1% of all portable computer sales, according to DisplaySearch.) What this is about is that Apple is reaching the right people with its product, winning new converts, Windows user by Windows user -- and creating buzz. How do you measure buzz? You don't. It's something that experienced people in this industry can just feel. And that's the condition Microsoft should fear. Because buzz can turn into something much harder to combat than sheer numbers.'"

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Experienced people in the industry... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544093)

It's not going to be experienced people in the industry buying Mac's and then bithching because it does not play games.

bless (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544095)

piss3d fristy

First (-1, Troll)

exklusve (991442) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544101)


Microsoft should worry until... (3, Insightful)

mdboyd (969169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544131)

Microsoft shouldn't be too worried until Apple begins to sell OS X for installation on hardware besides theirs. When OS X can be put on all kinds of hardware, I will gladly purchase it and I'm sure many others will as well.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (3, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544277)

Microsoft shouldn't be too worried until Apple begins to sell OS X for installation on hardware besides theirs. When OS X can be put on all kinds of hardware, I will gladly purchase it and I'm sure many others will as well.

Sell their OS for standard hardware, even if they won't give the same warranty protection as if it were on their hardware AND court more game publishers to convince them to release more games for OSX, and I'd buy it.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (0)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544301)

Parent is far from 'redundant' - I see no other previous comments along this line. Can a competent modder please mod up?

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544465)

I can see the reason it's redundant -- it's been said over and over again and it serves no purpose, as it's quite clear that Apple will do no such thing.

If I posted a comment mentioning that the sky is blue, that would be redundant too, even if it were the FP.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544515)

No, it is redundant because that very same opinion has already been expressed ad nauseum. I hope a competent modder mods you down for encourage people to say things that nobody needs to hear because everyone has heard it before.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (-1, Offtopic)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544547)

I was watching the thread develop from the beginning - the moderators were going crazy on anything remotely critical of Apple at first. I think at this moment there are still some posts unjustly labeled "Flamebait".

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (1, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544671)

Unfortunately, being a moderator doesn't reflect any degree of competence. What we see here is a moderator with an agenda, and his work has already been dealt with.

In any case, the parent indeed has a point. It would be kind of interesting to see a contender of the stature of OS X duking it out against Windows. I've met any number of "switchers" who have mentioned their relief at no longer having to be so concerned with all the issues of Windows security or the absence of it.

However, with OEMs such as Dell beginning to come on board with pre-installed Linux on some of their machines, it may not be too long before we start hearing some of the "buzz" mentioned in the submission applied to Linux. We'll have to wait and see, I guess...

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (1)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544939)

At least once a year I install a Linux distro on an "unsuspecting" friend's PC to gauge their reaction and see what the current state of linux is to a common user.
After explaining the benefits most of my friends have aggreed to let me install some flavor of linux(ubuntu lately). Invariably, my friends have issues with some piece of hardware or some software that isn't what they are used to.
I think that linux will begin to pick up a mainstream following in the future, but we're still a few years out from being a serious competitor to the casual user.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544335)

Couldn't MS just limit their software to running on Non-Macs, just as Apple has limited their software to running on only macs. It would be a dirty trick, but If Apple can do it, why not MS. Sure MS is a monopoly, but if Apple wants to play the game of what software can run on which hardware, then I don't see why MS shouldn't have the same priviledge.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (1)

aegzorz (1014757) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544593)

What exactly is a Non-Mac? Since the Intel switch the macs are PCs, and to run Microsoft software you still need Windows installed. (OK, you could use something like CrossOver Mac to run win32 applications, but that's buggy at best)

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (4, Interesting)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544847)

Maybe because they don't sell PCs? I'm not saying that it is or even should be illegal, but it's not really the same. And MS does say you can only play Xbox games on Xbox.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (4, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18545027)

The difference between Microsoft and Apple is that Microsoft is mainly a software company (Windows, Office, ...) while Apple is mainly a hardware company (Mac's, iPod's) and recently also a multimedia distributor.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544367)

Microsoft shouldn't be too worried until Apple begins to sell OS X for installation on hardware besides theirs. When OS X can be put on all kinds of hardware, I will gladly purchase it and I'm sure many others will as well.

Others have detailed the practical and financial reasons why Apple will not do that. Namely, they make money on hardware not software. One of Microsoft's problems is to attract developers, Windows supports a wide range of hardware with a minimum of requirements. Unfortunately that has meant that the quality of third party drivers has been less than desirable. That combined with MS 40,0000 (not including undocumented) APIs have made turning solving this issue difficult.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544469)

Microsoft shouldn't be too worried until Apple begins to sell OS X for installation on hardware besides theirs

If their smart, they'll worry much before that. First, unless you're some sort of a Mac-ophobe, there isn't a real reason why you can't buy a Mac if you want to run OSX. You can buy one machine and gain the ability to run OSX, Windows, Linux, and whatever else runs on x86 hardware (EFI aside). Contrary to what you hear, Macs aren't really expensive for what you get, so if Apple gets some more market segmentation, most of the reasons to buy a Dell with fall away. The only market they'll be missing are the homebrew people, which is a market I'm sure Apple can live without.

And, of course, Apple doesn't need to get a majority market-share in order to be a danger to Microsoft. It's sufficient that people will start saying, "So why doesn't Windows let me do [such-and-such]?" Microsoft has relied on vendor lock-in for years, and any competitor gaining even a significant market share means that there will be market forces for them to open up a little more. To explain it a different way, if you see Macs creep into everyday life a bit more, you'll find a lot more heterogeneous environments. If Microsoft doesn't use open standards in order to interoperate with Macs, it will be clear that they are blocking productivity and the people maintaining those environments will be more likely to choose something more open.

So, in this sense, a single Unix-y alternative OS getting through the doors will probably open the door for others to come in, too. By gaining 10-15% market share, Apple might actually increase Linux adoption as well.

Right now, Microsoft is feeling pressure on many fronts to use open standards and open formats, and that can only be a good thing.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (3, Informative)

tomz16 (992375) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544745)

FYI, a friend of mind was looking for a laptop a month or two ago. Based on prior experience, I would have bet that the apples would be more expensive. It turns out that for all the configurations we tried, Macbooks and Thinkpads were pretty much neck and neck when it came to price/specs. Still a far cry in price from your cheapo budget Dells with stackable coupons, but I'd say that the build quality of macs and thinkpads is on the same level.


Re:Microsoft should worry until... (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544927)

If their smart, they'll worry much before that. First, unless you're some sort of a Mac-ophobe, there isn't a real reason why you can't buy a Mac if you want to run OSX. You can buy one machine and gain the ability to run OSX, Windows, Linux, and whatever else runs on x86 hardware (EFI aside).

Except for Windows, you get all the limited selection of OS X hardware. Want a better graphics card for your Windows games than what the Mac can offer? Oh sorry, can't do that. Would you like a motherboard that offer other features than the Mac? Nope, can't do that. On a laptop it might not matter but for all of us still trying to match our needs with a desktop machine, Macs are very limiting compared to your plain generic PC.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (3, Insightful)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544567)


this has been my personal stance on apple for years: i dont have anything major against them, but i'm pretty much going to ignore them until i can use their software without having to buy their hardware.

i personally have no urge to buy their hardware, i build my own thank you, but i wouldnt mind giving OS X a go. in fact, i would absolutely love it if after apple did this OS X took majority desktop market share. if the top desktop was unix-based, it would make multi-platform compatibility so much easier.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544875)

What makes a MAc and OSX work so well is that Apple can control the hardware and thus right the drivers, which eliminates on of the biggest problems with Windows stability. MS has been trying for years to get the idea of "it just works" onto the PC and not really succeeded; Apple won't give that up just to be able to put OS/X ontp random hardware

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (2, Interesting)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544879)

I purchased my first new Mac in 2002. I have been in IT for some years having first worked on IBM Mainframes so being older, my opinion will be suspect:
    PCs I have used since the 296 days; building them, upgrading, running various operating systems from GEMM and DOS to OS/2 and all flavors of Windows, BeOS and Linux ( Debian, RH, and Slackware so my distro experiences is somewhat limited, but RH 5.2 kernel 2 on a SCSI box was quite educational). Macs I never used, and through osmosis of my peers gained a disdain for them, a disdain born of my own ignorance and prejudice.

My Mac Experience began around 1999 when I was given a dumpster bound older 68k based Mac running OS 7.1. I thought the interface ugly, clunky and not as easy to modify as other opsys. Then I was given another, and another and another, then picked up a few more. Use increased understanding.
  In the end I played with, modified, tinkered with, and eventually sent to dumpster heaven, almost every model of Mac there was up to around PPC 604 based machines.. My interest was as a hobby since I still work in IT on PC based systems. Learning this way; on discarded junk machines on obsolete operating systems, as versus on "working" machines doing real work, is a good way to do it; you are not constrained and can try things that might let the magic smoke out of things ;)
Anyway, I jumped from 604 to G4 buy actually buying a new Mac in 2002. By then I was hooked. The OS X interface worked, the addition of terminal allowed me to command line when needed, and the apps did everything I could do on the PC side with few constraints...and less issues.
I now use a Mac as my primary (but hardly only) home box. Oh and that 2002 purchase is STILL up though now relegated to use as a media server for home entertainment.

Speaking as a PC user who tried a Mac, worked with it, and grew to prefer it.
Macs may not be for everyone; but I contend they are still the best machine for Joe User at home. Also, the more Joe Users there are with Macs, the less zombies there are out there attacking my net.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (5, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544943)

Microsoft shouldn't be too worried until Apple begins to sell OS X for installation on hardware besides theirs. When OS X can be put on all kinds of hardware, I will gladly purchase it and I'm sure many others will as well.

Actually, I'm not sure if I'd be that excited about standalone sales of OS X. Yeah, it looks pretty... Apple's got some nice applications available... But I'm not sure that I want just another OS available to me. I can get fairly close to the OS X experience with Vista or various flavors of Linux. What really makes Apple shine is the same thing you are lamenting - lack of hardware choices.

In the PC world you've got hundreds of PC manufacturers, thousands of hardware vendors, billions of combinations of components that are all supposed to work together...

Sure, I'm a hobbyist and I like to tinker. I've built my last dozen machines myself, by hand, from individual components. I like that level of control. I like to sift through benchmarks and reviews to find the motherboards that work best for me. I like the feeling of pride in having a quality PC that I built.

But my sister doesn't care. She wants to go in, buy something off the shelf, and just have it work. She isn't even completely clear on the fact that HP, Dell, IBM, Gateway, etc. all make computers that are called PCs. She sees stickers that say "Mac Compatible" and wonders why there isn't a "Dell Compatible" sticker. And to her, buying a Mac is simpler and more straightforward than buying a PC. She can understand that OS X 10.3 is newer/better/faster than 10.1 She knows that if it says "Mac Compatible" it will likely work. She doesn't need to wonder about whether the printer has a Parallel interface or USB. It just says "Mac", so she's safe.

And I really think that's part of the appeal of Apple products. They're simplified to the point where they just basically work most of the time.

Re:Microsoft should worry until... (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544949)

They're growing just fine without making such a change. Apple market share doesn't mean OS. It means computing market share (software and hardware). What most people really care about is having a good computing experience, which Apple provides by controlling the software and hardware together. People such as yourself aren't who they're after, so I'm sure they don't mind if you take your business elsewhere.

Apple - Great Image (5, Interesting)

chris09876 (643289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544139)

People are talking about the Mac throughout the industry. Admit it: Whether you love it or hate it, you're talking about the Mac at the water cooler.

Apple certainly does have a great public image. They are in a great place right now - they get huge amounts of publicity for free. This just didn't happen by accident though, they've done a good job creating their image, and creating products that people want to get excited about. Actually, some Mac ads are so good, that I enjoy watching them. (I love those "I'm a PC" and "I'm a mac" ads!). Apple has the momentum.

Re:Apple - Great Image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544549)

Exactly. The main reason apple needs to be feared by micro$oft is that its products are for creatives, and we're growing in number.

Apple computers are about self-expression. We have to pay a premium for that but so what - its a choice we make. would you honestly expect the worlds most powerful personal computer to cost the same as an equivalently priced pc? [] Far from being items of jewellewry they are 'simply the best'(tm) Call it elitism but that is human nature for you- some people can afford to have the best and always will- its about excellence.

No way. (1, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544153)

How many times have we seen articles about how Apple's consumer market share is going to rise? And it never does.

Today, Apple's computer business is a distraction from its core business area of entertainment electronics.

Re:No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544195)

Last I checked, Apple's computer business was still slightly more than half its revenue.

Re:No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544235)

As we saw a week ago but I'm too lazy to find, that 4% market share translates to 18% install base.

Re:No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544401)

Here is the operating system market share for February, 2007: 2 []

Re:No way. (2, Interesting)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544445)

What?? They separate out "Mac OS" and "MacIntel", and include Wii and PSP as operating systems? I don't understand that graph at all.

Re:No way. (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544999)

That's not market share. That's what's reported by web browsers to the select few web sites that use their tracking software. Utterly useless for this conversation.

It's rising now... (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544247)

How many times have we seen articles about how Apple's consumer market share is going to rise? And it never does.

Actually I think the stats show that Apple's market share is rising at the moment. Anyone got any stats?

Re:No way. (2, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544293)

I'm with you on this one. There are some real easy things to look at when it comes to computers. If a ordinary user is going to switch from Windows, one of the reasons is typically DRM/updates/cost. The other is having to learn something new. If you have to learn something new, but you can do the learning on a FREE OS, then most average people are willing to try the FREE one first, especially if it can run that cherished 6 year old windows program that they just can't live without at the moment.

Even technical people are tired of MS for many reasons. One of my coworkers was going to buy a Mac laptop recently. That is until he found he can get a non-Mac laptop with support for Linux on it. (Thank you Dell, Lenovo et al)

MS should be more worried about the court case against the Russian school teacher than they are of Apple.

Re:No way. (1)

Beve (579487) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544463)

I was one of those technical users who got off my XP laptop because I was sick of Microsoft. I switched to the MacBook Pro and enjoy it. Does it take getting used to? Yes! Do you need to buy new copies of your programs? No, if you buy parallels and run XP. I tried the Ubuntu on the laptop route and was very impressed with how far it's come. But when it came down to it, I got tired of jacking with laptop-mode scripts to get my hard drive to shut down and hoping the next kernel update wouldn't break my script to use my Cingular 3G card. I finally took the dive and just figured it was worth trying something new (especially on a laptop) to see if the hype was worth it. I'm glad I did as things work a lot easier and I can work on Java stuff without worrying about the underlying OS. I enjoy playing with Linux, but when I need to get something done, I don't have time to mess with little settings and tweaks.

Re:No way. (1)

8-bitDesigner (980672) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544915)

This is true, and I've gone with Ubuntu on my desktop in lieu of WinXP, however for someone like my mum, I can't imagine linux being ready for the desktop yet. Last night, I reinstalled Ubuntu (going from the 64-bit version to the 32-bit), and ran into a pretty glaring bug in the out-of-desktop configuration: X crashed every couple of minutes. So, I boot into single-user mode and run apt-get, and I'm back on my feet after 200M worth of updates.

Would my mum be able to handle that? No, the computer just "wouldn't work". I like OSX for its BSD underpinnings, but its stability and UI make it a good starter drug for non-technical users.

Re:No way. (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544937)

The other is having to learn something new.

Often repeated, but repetition doesn't make it true. People were perfectly able to "learn something new" back in the days of PC-DOS, and I see no indication that stupidity is so totally pervasive in the consumer computer market now. I have yet to know of a person who, while familiar with XP, really cannot become productive on OS X in a vanishingly small period of time.

And I don't even particularly like OS X. I just get peevish when people invent arguments that are meaningless or untrue.

Ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544159)

So what's Microsoft supposed to do about Apple? The #1 problem with Windows systems are crap 3rd party programs.

Microsoft already tells software companies to use .NET and most don't listen. What more can they do? Nothing.

Attention Windows Clickarounds (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544529)

Yeah i'm talking to you. The wannabe computer programmer who thinks they are good at computers because they can click around the computer enough times and find the reboot button and 'fix' an inherently flawed windows system. You think you're cool because you can pirate photoshop but not know anything about it, get Microsoft Office for free but have the literacy of a 1st grader when writing a paper, and get a copy of Norton Anti-virus because your inherently flawed system is useless without Administrative privileges. Get a clue, you are not smart, you are just a corporate sheep for a company that will bury you if you ever tried to write any software that did anything remotely useful. You are a clickaround and all you know if your ugly gray existence that is Windows.

Want the sourcecode to windows vista?

head -n 1000000 /dev/random >

rolls eyes (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544163)

How do you measure buzz? You don't. It's something that experienced people in this industry can just feel.

Sounds like the "reasons" I'm given to believe in Jesus. I really wonder if people believe in this "exists but not quantifiable in any form" business?

Re:rolls eyes (-1, Troll)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544385)

Eactly.This reminds of the Paul Graham essay where he informed us that he and all the smart people he knew used macs. Put me right off macs cos anyone that far up their own ass about the machine they use is just disturbing.

Re:rolls eyes (5, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544479)

I'm sure there are plenty of people with their heads up their asses using Windows and Linux, has it put you off of those platforms too? Because I know I pick my OS based on the fact that no one I dislike uses it.

Re:rolls eyes (2, Funny)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544813)

But what happens if you buy this computer and become like THEM? Why take the chance? The computer could be the vector.

Re:rolls eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544509)

buzz = word of mouth = social networking = etc

It can have a strong effect if popularized in the "right circles". Of course it can also be gossip and spam, with their potential for detrimental effects either intended or accidental. Buzz could also be the sound of that saw as the log with the heroine on it approaches, but don't worry, someone will throw a chair and stop it.

Re:rolls eyes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544697)

"Sounds like the "reasons" I'm given to believe in Jesus"

Or any jewish claptrap.

Same story, different decade (1, Troll)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544185)

'Buzz' means squat. Sales and market penetration are everything.

Sure there's buzz, and buzz can lead to sales, but when it's contained in a niche market...

Apple is dominant in a particular market segment, the 'too cool for you' market segment. Just about no one else cares at all, and rather, a lot of people see Apple and die hard Apple users as elitist techno snobs.

Apple doesn't sell hardware, they sell an image, and most people couldn't be bothered.

Don't get me wrong, they've got some slick shit, but again, that just doesn't matter. Besides, my shit is slick, extendable, reconfigurable, and cost me one piss of a lot less than anything comparably from Apple. And I'm talking home computer, laptop, mp3, and cell phone. (Not that the iPhone is out yet, but for the stated reasons, I'll never buy one)

Image is nothing, unless you care about that sort of thing, then by all the means, step right up and spend your money.

Mod parent -infinity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544271)

Blah blah image blah blah snob blah blah tired old BS arguments that only apply to computer hobbyists with no lives.

You're an artifact of the underperforming past. The new century has left you behind. Go play with your crappy beige box of clunky blandness and STFU.

Re:Same story, different decade (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544533)

Sheesh... what decade are you living in? Check out the price differences for Dell versus Apple along the product line - where comparisons can be made. You'll see very little difference in price w/ the Mac Book and Mac Pro lines.

Then again... since you haven't bought a laptop in 8 years, you wouldn't know.

Re:Same story, different decade (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544635)

That just means Dell is overpriced. I just bought an HP laptop. It should arrive on tuesday. 120 gig harddrive, 1 gig of ram, dvd burner, it's a sempron 3500 so it's not the fastest thing on the planet. $600 from Costco.

Re:Same story, different decade (4, Insightful)

timster (32400) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544603)

In my experience, only elitist techno snobs have the audacity to group all the millions of Mac users into the "too cool for you" market segment.

Were we to have an honest, reasonable discussion, I'd ask you to provide evidence that the majority of those who use Apple products are obsessed with image. I'd present dozens of product reviews in mainstream publications which praised the usability and practicality of various Apple products. But this is Slashdot, so as long as you state something as if it were an objective fact, somebody will mod you up.

Re:Same story, different decade (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544709)

"'Buzz' means squat. Sales and market penetration are everything."

That would be true for a person who is only interested in where they have been and has no interest in where they are going.

That's like basing your driving 100% on what you see in your rear view mirror. Unfortunately, that's how a lot of businesses (and ex businesses) are run.

Re:Same story, different decade (2, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544809)

Good points. I'll add some to this.

Many people switching to Apple are honeymooning. I happen to be a long time Apple user and MacOS (in any form) has its share of problems just like Windows, Linux, or whatever. It hangs, it crashes, some applications have awful interfaces, it's slow, etc. The problems are often different but it's really no better than any other OS. It does look slick though.

I haven't found the hardware to be better than anything else either. In fact my experience with Apple hardware has been that it breaks more often than other brands. My iBook has the only LCD display I own with dead pixels. Everyone I know with Macs has had it in the shop at one point or another (everyone in my company has a Mac, among other computers). They're like Ferrari's, nice to look at but a bitch to keep running.

On the technical side I don't like Apple either. I find it extremely hard to get anything done. I have no idea what the problem is but almost every time I try to do something with MacOS it seems I can't figure out how to. I don't understand the people that say the OS is user friendly because it seems to me it's the least friendly. I mean is there a single person on this planet that likes Finder?

I also hate developing for MacOS. Ugh, there are so many tacked on API's and just plain bizarre ways of doing things that it causes nothing but pain (and I know what I'm doing, I have worked for Apple doing software development). I'll compare the API's between Microsoft and Apple. Where Microsoft also has a lot of tacked-on API's, they tend to be extensions of existing systems or otherwise have the feel on something designed by a group of people. Buried in OS X in a ton of stuff just flying around every which direction like a whole bunch of developer's doing their own thing.

Now I'm not saying Microsoft or Linux is better or anything like that. I do happen to use Linux as my primary OS and run everything else in VMware. I'm just saying that I think many of the people switching to Apple will be looking for something else eventually.

control group (4, Insightful)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544211)

Since then he's received hundreds of messages from readers who've also made the switch.

The problem is, he hasn't received millions of emails from people who haven't made the switch. This is why "buzz" is misleading instead of using real data. Maybe the "buzz" leads to more people switching to Apple, but if you don't actually measure it, how would you know??

Re:control group (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544493)

The problem is, he hasn't received millions of emails from people who haven't made the switch.
He doesn't need to. The fact of the matter is that the number of people who write in such e-mail are a small sampling of those who actually do switch. That's why people who write legislators have more influence. Legislators figure that for every letter they receive about an issue, there's easily a few thousand more people in their district that feel the same way.

Amen? (1, Troll)

palladiate (1018086) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544501)

I wish I still had mod points, this is a rather good point. EVERY time I've come across articles praising how well Apple is doing in the market, the author inevitably says something stupid like "you can just FEEL the energy Apple is putting in the market."

I'm with you, I call bullshit. Give me evidence that Apple is 'pwning' Microsoft in any measurable way. Just because people hate using Windows doesn't mean OSX wins by default. My father is STILL pissed how he blew 3000 bucks on an Apple ][ and 6 months later Jobs announces they have this thing called a Macintosh and how they were going to screw supporting anyone who had an Apple. He will NEVER own another Apple product. Look, I have hokey anecdotes too!

One of my professors told me once, long ago: "In God we trust, all others bring data."

Apple is doomed! No, Microsoft is doomed! No, ... (5, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544215)

Speaking as a certified Macintosh fanboy who bought his first Mac in February, 1984... gimme a break. If there's anything more boring than an Apple-is-doomed story, it's a Microsoft-is-doomed story.

(Yes, I know he says Microsoft is not going to die... then at the end he says "Nothing lasts forever. The bloom is coming off the rose on Microsoft. I would never put it past the software giant to come up with a way to remake itself in a better light. But the current course doesn't appear to me to lead in that direction. As much as Apple is doing things right, Microsoft is doing things wrong." How is that anything but a weasel-worded version of "Microsoft is doomed?")

Speaking as a certified Macintosh fanboy, Microsoft copies the Apple OS a lot... and, you know what? Apple has, for a long time, been returning the favor. The two companies borrow ideas from each other promiscuously, and only the blinkered view of the fans of each camp prevents them from seeing it. Of course, one idea Mac OS 9 borrowed from Windows was making windows resizable by dragging at all four edges. I just wish Mac OS X had borrow that from Mac OS 9!

Re:Apple is doomed! No, Microsoft is doomed! No, . (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544759)

First, I'll admit that I might be a bit of a Mac "fanboy". I don't think I'm irrational, but I do like Macintoshes quite a lot these days. To put it in perspective, I spent most of my life using Windows and thinks anyone who was a an of Apple in the '90s was an absolute head-case. However, these days they're basically the same hardware as the other guys, a form of Unix, and a nice GUI. They're hands-down the easiest desktop operating system to set up and maintain on a small/medium scale. (I've never managed a huge network by myself, so I won't speak to that)

Anyway, now that I've given a hint of a background, I'll state for the record that I don't think Microsoft needs to die. I hope they don't die. I'm not looking for more software monoculture and fewer choices, so we don't need to get rid of Microsoft. However, Microsoft does need some healthy competition. They need someone to keep them honest. Microsoft needs market pressures to force them to use open standards and open formats. They need to start playing well with others, and they need an economic incentive to put the needs of their customers at the forefront.

Regarding copying, you're right, and I've never understood the complaint. Microsoft copied from Apple, and Apple copied from Microsoft. Gnome and KDE copied both of them, and they both copied Xerox and any other company that came along with a good idea. Is that a problem?

I really don't know why people would complain about this sort of copying. Some implementations might be better than others, but if you think you can use an already-existing interface convention to make your interface better, use it! For the whole of human history, people have been taking the best ideas they could find and trying to put those ideas together in better ways. That's progress. That's what people should be doing.

Momentum = mass * something or other (0, Offtopic)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544259)

"How do you measure buzz? You don't. It's something that experienced people in this industry can just feel. And that's the condition Microsoft should fear. Because buzz can turn into something much harder to combat than sheer numbers." A splotch on the windshield?

OSX (-1, Flamebait)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544263)

Hey, I'm sold...let me order a copy of OSX and triple-boot it with Vista and Linux on my existing computer...Oh I can't...Nevermind.

Funny math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544323)

OK, let me get this straight. Microsoft should fear Apple because it is now a lot easier for people to buy a Mac system which also runs a Windows OS? Does anyone else see something odd with this line of logic? If consumers buy MacOS INSTEAD of Windows, Microsoft should be afraid. If consumers buy MacOS AND Windows, Microsoft will just laugh and laugh and laugh all the way to the bank.

why? you still need an os install disk... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544325)

to run parallels. microsoft could give a flying fark where you run their os, as long as you buy one.

DELL or other pc manufactureres should be scared of macs.

Re:why? you still need an os install disk... (2, Interesting)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544681)

My coworkers are all switching to Macs. We write various web apps, and having three operating systems right there is a lot easier than VNCing into a system and possibly having to wait for others to finish testing.

And quite a few people around the office have considered switching their personal computers to Macs because the experience is so good. And every Mac purchased by our company is money Dell isn't getting from us.

Other things I used to install (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544737)

When I worked as a programmer years ago, I had a 3270 terminal emulator I ran on my PC to get some work done. I don't have that emulator anymore...

If people start using the Mac as a primary system, and have to specifically load Windows/parallels on it - there may come a day when they are doing a new OS installation and realize, hey - I don't need to install parallels anymore.

Wedge (2, Informative)

kadema (929400) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544359)

Look around at any codefest, hack day or industry conference and you'll see a great many macbooks. This is the leading wedge in a sea change for Apple that could translate into market share in the enterprise over time. The real question is - can Apple master the enterprise sales challenge toe-to-toe with Microsoft.

Baloney. (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544363)

Pure baloney, Scot Finnie.

How do you measure buzz? You don't. It's something that experienced people in this industry can just feel.

Would you buy stock in a company based on "buzz"? Doubt it. At least these days, in the post dot-bomb world anyways.

What Apple does currently have is momentum. They keep making good decisions and carving out markets. And that's why MS should fear them. MS is already losing in the junior leagues (Zune vs. iPod). Enough of that, and maybe MS will start losing in the big leagues (OS and Office).

Re:Baloney. (4, Insightful)

smaddox (928261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544921)

Would you buy stock in a company based on "buzz"? Doubt it.
Do you know ANYthing about the stock market? Did you not read the article about those stock market mass email spamming ventures. The stock price goes up 5-10% (I forget the exact number) just because someone sends out a bunch of email!!! The stock market is COMPLETELY about "buzz".

Also, I would like this chance to point out what I like about Macs. It is nice and simple:

I can't stand touchpads. Everytime I use a laptop, I have trouble with the damn touchpad. They are POS's compared to a mouse. However, the Macbook touchpads are slightly better. They have multiple touch response, which allows you to scroll down a page by sliding two fingers across the touchpad (functioning like the mouse wheel).

Mac's have lots of tiny little additions that by themselves, don't mean much, but all together, add a lot of functionality and increased productivity.

Leagues (1)

hotsauce (514237) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544941)

Personal music devices are hardly junior leagues. There are at least as many of them worldwide as computers. And there is no reason their margins can't be as high as OSes.

For that matter, an OS or office suite is hardly big leagues, certainly not in the future. There are plently good, free versions of both to threaten the future viability of commercial in those areas. OTOH, it would take the invention of that thingie that makes Capt Picard's Earl Grey, complete with glass, to threaten physical music players, and people would probably still prefer to pay the premium for Apple's devices.

Creating the desire to pay premium for your products? Priceless.

FUD (1)

Mizled (1000175) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544365)

Hi my names Scot Finnie, I'm Mac and you should believe my FUD!

Seriously though Microsoft has nothing to fear as long as Dell, HP, etc is loading their crapware on to their machines by default. Mac as an OS doesn't have a chance against the M$ monopoly.

Why Microsoft doesn't really give a shit. (5, Interesting)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544405)

Okay! So you bought a Mac!

You bought something MacOS. Yay for you! YOU REBEL!

Now you use Parallels and buy a copy of Windows to put in there.


*MICROSOFT* doesn't care what HARDWARE you run their OS on. Running Parallels on a Mac doesn't hurt MICROSOFT in the slightest.

Both Apple AND Microsoft pull a profit off this. Microsoft even moreso, since Mac heads are likely to buy a RETAIL copy of the OS, meaning higher margins for Redmond than they'd get from a traditional OEM copy.

Who it's a mark against? The other PC vendors.

Seriously. Why does everyone turn stupid non-issues like this into a zip-gun fight between Redmond and Cupertino?

Re:Why Microsoft doesn't really give a shit. (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544835)

...a zip-gun fight between Redmond and Cupertino
I'd pay to see that in HD.

Re:Why Microsoft doesn't really give a shit. (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544935)

Not really. When I got a Mac, one of the first things I did was buy (second hand) a copy of VirtualPC, which came with a Windows license. I installed it, used it for a couple of apps (the speed wasn't great, but it was okay). Then, a few months into owning the Mac, I just stopped bothering. Since then, I've bought an OS X upgrade and a new Mac. I have bought nothing from Microsoft.

Sure, you may run XP in Parallels now, but will you buy new Windows software? Will you buy anything that says 'Vista only' on the box? Or will you just slowly replace your old XP apps with Mac apps, and then forget about your VM? I would guess that the latter is more likely for most switchers.

Marketing vs Business Model (2, Insightful)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544495)

Apples has a much better marketing department and Microsoft has a much better business model for its shareholders. Both make the companies money in different ways and both companies are different in how they approach making money, but Microsoft's model has been proved to work. Apples great image is dependent how the mass market views its marketing campaign. Marketing can get you into the industry as a competitor, but it can only do so much for so long.

This is not to say that Apple does not make quality products though, both companies do. I just feel that Microsoft has something that will outlast the fad Apples marketing department has created. As Apple branches off into new markets where specs are more important, we may see a new take on Apple advertising. If not, then we will see iPod type ads for the iPhone, which will not resonate well at all to people looking for smart phones where, of course, specs are the name of the game.

Re:Marketing vs Business Model (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544987)

The iPhone will sell to Macintosh owners for a start. Care to back up the statement that smartphone sales are based more on specs than MP3 players?

Games, Games, Games, Games! (2, Insightful)

michrech (468134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544535)

I (and quite a few others) have said it before, and I'll say it again. I have Age of Empires (the first, through AOE3), Rise of Nations (the base game and the add-ons), Rise of Legends, City of Heroes/Villains, etc. Not one of these games (and hundres of others) works in OSX (without emulation -- that doesn't count).

Yes, this is changing, but not fast enough for me or thousands (millions?) of others. Yes, WoW is available, but most games aren't. Until game studios start porting their software to the Apple platform, MS really has little to worry about.

Add to games, the fact that everyone and their sister seems to be glued firmly to MS Office, and MS is sitting in a pretty good position.

As a side note, I'd happily purchase a copy of OSX so I could poke around, try things, run it as a main desktop for a while to see how I like it. But I'm not going to purchase *another* PC (I have too many in my house as it is) just for the "privilage". I'm not the only one. Until such is possible, I'll just have to deal with the limited amount of exposure to OSX that I receive while at work (we have a few iMac "workstations" students can use, but mostly they sit empty (the original ones, before the silly white rounded base with "floating" LCD)).

Man, I'm tired of seeing these "MS should be worried about Apple!" articles. Do everyone a favor. Write one up when MS's quarterly/yearly profits are FLAT or NEGATIVE. Untill then, I won't even read your articles (so that you don't get paid for the ad views).


Re:Games, Games, Games, Games! (3, Interesting)

DebianDog (472284) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544717)

Flat?.... Umm the last 5 years [] ;)

The change is coming (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544777)

I (and quite a few others) have said it before, and I'll say it again. I have Age of Empires (the first, through AOE3), Rise of Nations (the base game and the add-ons), Rise of Legends, City of Heroes/Villains, etc. Not one of these games (and hundres of others) works in OSX (without emulation -- that doesn't count).

Yes, this is changing, but not fast enough for me or thousands (millions?) of others

What is changing is that some of this stuff is heading to consoles, and more will continue to do so. Imagine WOW on a PS3/260 sold with a custom WOW keyboard to attach to the console.

Consoles are where most games are heading now, there are just a few regions holding out before they do are drawn into the whirlpool.

Re:Games, Games, Games, Games! (1)

dasimms (644188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544825)

I would love to see more games for the Mac since I think it would benefit everyone. So you know, Age of Empires II and III (and Age of Mythology) are available for the Mac. I'm not sure about the others you mentioned.

Re:Games, Games, Games, Games! (1)

michrech (468134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544917)

I would love to see more games for the Mac since I think it would benefit everyone. So you know, Age of Empires II and III (and Age of Mythology) are available for the Mac. I'm not sure about the others you mentioned.

Admittedly, I was in a hurry and did not immediately see Apple versions listed for AOE on their web page (I looked at each games web page).

At least my main point/argument was still strong enough to stand as it was, though. :)

Microsoft should fear....Parallels? (3, Insightful)

pulse2600 (625694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544543)

After skimming TFA, it seems like the #1 reason the author claims Microsoft should fear Apple is due to Parallels on OS X. I don't quite get why this should make Microsoft shake in their boots. Parallels does not somehow allow Windows apps to run without a Windows installation (i.e. what WINE is attempting to accomplish). Therefore a license for XP/Vista/whatever is still required. If anything Microsoft should be happy that Mac users still need to own a Windows license to run apps in Parallels. It may mean that more people will buy Macs because they like the hardware and OS X, but simply owning a Mac with Parallels does not remove the user's need to run Windows apps, and therefore pay Microsoft for a license.

Re:Microsoft should fear....Parallels? (2, Interesting)

amper (33785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544753)

One point that I find rather interesting...if you want to run Boot Camp or Parallels to run any version of Windows, you have to buy a retail copy of Windows. This means that Microsoft is then obligated to provide you with technical support. Microsoft's main business is selling OEM copies to hardware manufacturers, and under the agreements they use, the OEM is the one responsible for technical support of Windows. The retail license is also transferrable in a way that the OEM licenses are not, so this means that Microsoft might end up supporting that retail copy far longer than the OEM would be supporting the OEM copy.

I wonder how much impact it would have on Microsoft and their technical support people if ever larger numbers of Apple customers begin buying retail copies of Windows. I've bought two myself, for my new Core 2 Duo iMac and MacBook, and I know that several of my clients have done the same.

Can Microsoft deal with it?

BTW, I've also made the switch to OpenOffice with the new version. I've realized that I never really use the copies of Office v.X that I bought with my last two Macs (at a good promotional price), except for my occasional use of Excel as glorified graph paper, so there's nothing preventing me from moving to OpenOffice. Now my documents can move seamlessly among all three of my installed OS's: Fedora Core 6, Windows XP Pro, and Mac OS X.

It's more likely to be Linux than Apple (1)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544575)

Apple doesn't want to take on the support task of a massive hardware base and driver signing, etc. I don't think Apple wants Microsoft's wide-range market. If they were interested, they would have taken on Dell's offer.

Honestly, the future of computing is not everyone using the same white plasticky computer... that scares the hell out of me. The moment Apple adds support for the everyman computer, suddenly they get to worry about MASS piracy, licensing to an unlimited and growing number of vendors, supporting weird and obscure hardware, oh dear!

Overnight, we'd see OS X becoming just as 'unstable' and 'blue-screeny' or more than Windows, which is set up to run on anything X86. Let's face it guys, Apple just doesn't have the hardware support range or driver/hardware-lab workforce of either Microsoft or the expansive open source community.

Linux is more likely to take Microsoft's budget marketshare than Apple. The Apple they're talking about here just isn't Apple. Microsoft and Linux are modular computing solutions- Apple's proprietary nature is part of the reason their system works as it does.

Fear an emulator? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544581)

Why should Microsoft fear something like parallels when you are running THEIR software via it. In fact its increasing Microsoft's market share in the process.

They don't sell hardware, so anything that incerases the number of users is a good thing for them.

The Anti-Buzz (5, Interesting)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544585)

Worse than a pro-Apple buzz, is the Anti-Microsoft Buzz. As another Switcher appears at the watercooler, smiling like Smilin' Bob, the DIS-satisfaction of Microsoft will grow. What will happen is that Windows users will become increasingly frustrated with their inabilities, the road blocks, the busted drivers, the paths out into the 'Net they now FEAR to tread. Every "Cancel or Allow" will toll in an image of the Apple commercial's sunglassed security monger. The "Sad Realization" will grow.

Like one who looked into the Palantir, the emotional illness will sink in. And they will be trapped. Every mouse click will make them sicker, sink them deeper. Their happy, released Mac User associates will shine like a white wizard among the Orcs.

And every trick that Microsoft will try to rejuvenate their relationship will be transparent to them. Zune the iTune killer will make them laugh sadly. Every promise of liberation and innovation will fall flat before it is delivered. Every

The numbers will lie, like the percentage of marriages that last longer than 7 years... it belies the number of dead marriages still lingering. Microsoft will retain 90%+ of the market, but those will be wretched zombies, entombed in their own fear and loathing.

Microsoft's "WOW" will become "woe", from which they are unable to escape. And like Gandalf, betrayed by a friend and mentor, they are marooned atop a tower which promised great vision, but a broad horizon of darkness, gloom and malevolence is their only vista.

What about the Switch-back? (4, Interesting)

davevt5 (30696) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544591)

I am writing this in Firefox in Vista on my MacBook Pro. One year ago (almost to this day) I made the switch because I had bought into the hype. I told myself I'd give it three months to make my decision. When the time came I was struggling to be as productive as when I was in Windows. However, I realized that I had not yet learned everything I needed in the Mac to give it a fair shake. So I extended the test. Finally after 10 months I made the Switch-back.

What about all of us that gave it a try and end up switching back? We just get modded down because of the anti-M$ sentiment. I'm no M$ lover -- I run all Linux servers and refuse to deploy Active Directory in my organization because I believe it is a gateway to "everything M$". However, many people like me may find that they are actually more productive in Windows.

Re:What about the Switch-back? (1, Flamebait)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544767)

There are a lot of of us. I bought my G4 Powerbook because I was tired of Windows nonsense.

Hurrah! Now I get to deal with OS X nonsense. And with design and feature choices that just defy any reasonable sense of usability.

I too find, even after a year and a half, that I can boot up a Windows machine and accomplish more work in less time. I can't think that I'm alone. []

Worry about what? (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544609)

Microsoft doesn't sell hardware, they sell software, and the last time I looked the one "Great Thing" about the new mac hardware is that it runs Windows.

Now, I know many (many many) people will run windows without a license, but it will be the same percentage that run windows without licenses on non-apple hardware. People will buy more licenses for Windows because of the great mac hardware.

Being a Mac User... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544621)

I seriously hope Apple doesn't increase market share all that much. They seem to be making plenty of profit and advancing quite nicely without the masses migrating to OS X.

What makes you think having a huge market share will actually improve the operating system? I sure don't think it will as much as being a small competitor with something to prove. MS may have most of the market tied up, but everyone knows how much people love Windows.

Macs are already used by a significant proportion of the technical crowd. The rest of the market is full of people who don't care about computers, they just use and abuse them. Do we really want spyware and general crap being ported over to the Mac? I certainly don't.

It's great how it is, being on a great platform that does what it needs to do. Why care about the other 90% of computer users when they don't care about computers and just treat them like shit?

seriously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544637)

look at what happened to snow white when it ate the apple!

I'll give you a real world non techie perspective (3, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544645)

My kids are college students and always prefer Mac laptops to Windows machines every single time.

1) They don't care about the internals at all. Makes zero difference
2) They see Macs as an integrated whole without having to dick around with things
3) They see the hardware itself as being more solid
4) They see the integrated whole as being more compatible with their iPods, cameras and whatnot
5) When or if something breaks they walk it in to the Apple store, where that is the ONLY thing they fix and drop it off for repair or upgrade
6) Most college courses are online not installed so it makes little if any difference what the machine runs on its own
7) They look cooler

Don't argue with me about this. This is what people who look at a PC as an appliance like a microwave or a TV see when they see a Mac.

I am a laggard. When my XP Home machines eventually become worthless I will replace them either with miniMacs or whatever is what those are at the time, and/or Ubuntu or equivalent machines at that time. I expect this to happen in the next 3-4 years if not sooner. I have no intention of moving to Vista. Not for ideological reasons but because there will be cheaper better alternatives by then.

It Also Does Windows (3)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544693)

With the ability to boot into Windows, or run Windows in Parallels, Apple has eliminated the biggest barrier for people to try a Mac. If someone doesn't like it, or a vital app won't run, they aren't stuck with an expensive brick - they can switch to running Windows. Less risk means a lower barrier to entry which means more people buying a Mac.

This gives Apple a chance to compete on the merits of its OS instead of being hampered by the number of applications that don't support it. Users can easily switch to Windows, run their apps, and switch back; and switching isn't even needed if you use Parallels. I claim that after a few weeks on a Mac, users will get annoyed when they have to deal with a Windows machine, and somewhere in Cupertino a bell will ring as another Mac user is born.

the shift (2, Interesting)

bigwavejas (678602) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544699)

I entirely agree with the article, the "buzz" or shift has begun to lean towards Apple. Don't believe me? I'm a student and over the last few years I've noticed Macs starting to pop-up more and more in class. My feeling is with all the problems people have had historically with Windows viruses and now Vista and its incompatability, people are just getting fedup with Microsoft. Eventually a person can only take so much before they think "There's got to be something better!!!" and... there is.

It's because Apple makes damn good products! (3, Interesting)

Theovon (109752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544751)

Apple users want to gripe all of the time about flaws in Apple hardware and software. If you read the online discussions before buying a Mac, you might get scared. But the fact is that Mac users are an elite club of really obsessive people. That's not a slight against them. They have incredibly high standards. As a Windows and Linux user, however, my experiences with the Mac were a huge breath of fresh air. It's nice to finally use a computer that's clearly been well-engineered. From simple things like how the keyboards are made to the way MacOS X manages application-related files, you can tell that Apple wants to do things well and isn't afraid to do it.

I recently was in need of a notebook computer, so I did some investigation as to what my options were. I put notebooks from various manufacturers side by side and compared based on processor speed, FSB speed, memory (size, speed), graphics (GPU power, shared memory, etc.), display resolution, and numerous other factors. While things appear to have changed slightly in the recent past, at the time, the MacBook Pro was less expensive than any PC notebook with comparable capabilities. How's that for risk management? I was nervous about getting a Mac... what if I didn't like it? No problem. The hardware is great, and I can install Linux or Windows on it if I feel like it. Turns out that I really like MacOS too and run Windows and Linux using Parallels.

As a Free Software enthusiast, I am bothered by the fact that so much Apple software isn't Free. But I'm an activist in many ways. I'm an activist for Free Software. I'm also an activist for GOOD software. And my computer is my computer, and I'll run whatever apps make my life easiest. As such, I'm going to use commercial software when it's clearly superior in design and quality to the Free Software. (Notice how I'm implicitly dismissing Microsoft as anything worth talking about.) Then I tell people which apps are the best and why. This way, the Free Software enthusiasts can take notice and improve their designs

I think I won't be much interested in using Linux as a desktop OS until some Ubuntu comes with Beryl by default. And I'll NEVER like the fact that Linux applications have their files spread out across different sections of the file system (/bin, /usr, /etc) and how config file are plain-text in a way that makes it impossible to do upgrades cleanly. That's annoying as hell. Linux architects need to get their heads out of their asses, group all files for a given app into one place, and use mini XML registries for config options. This is just simply good engineering!

Stuck via VPN software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544787)

Some of us are just stuck using Windows 32-bit because the VPN clients we have to use to access the company network only work on 32-bit Windows.
I would gladly jump to Ubuntu 32/64-bit or Win XP 64 etc. if the VPN client worked. But the Juniper VPN client only works on Windows 32-bit.

Not MS, OEM (3, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544789)

People tend to confuse the software with the machine. As long as most machines runs MS Windows, it does not matter if they run it on an Apple machines, or Dell machine, or HP machine. In all cases, if the user has a copy of MS Windows or MS Office, MS rakes in the cash. In fact, MS probably does better selling an Apple user MS Windows because they get the full price, and it will likely use less customer service because the machines are not made from whatever fell off the back of a truck.

Now, the concern is for the OEMs. I have been saying for a long time that by concentrating on price, they are playing the MS game, which is to maximize profit at MS and minimize profit on the hardware. For example, the Apple switch to Intel is not so interesting for Apple, but does indicate that Intel learned that MS has no interest in hardware profits, and that if Intel continued to focus on MS, it would continue to be has been chip maker.

So, MS is stemming the flow that will hurt it's business in the near term, namely there are no fully compatible OS products, and only allowing virtualization of premium priced products. In the long term, who knows. At some point there has to be a competitive compatible OS. Apple would do well to create the OS and run it as layer in the next Apple OS. But the only danger to MS is that the hardware vendors will wise up and stop cutting their own throats so that MS can make a profit.

Indeed, we have seen many OEMs go away as they can no longer make cheap enough boxen. We are really going to be down to Dell, HP, Lenova and Sony. The later two are more or less premium manufacturers. HP has the experience with HP/UX to rebrand it's PC as *nix workstations, but Dell will continue to be at the mercy of MS, and I feel sorry for them as Apple continues to earn 20% per machine, while squeezing Dell's margin to zero, especially now that the Intel kickbacks seem to be a thing of the past.

Parallels, Microsoft, and costs (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544815)

With Parallels, you still need to buy a Microsoft OS and any Windows software you need. So Microsoft still collects their money. The only thing is that now instead of buying a Mac and then buying a Windows box, I only have to buy a Mac. Software costs are still the same.

So Parallels ADDS sales to Apple, but neither adds nor removes sales from Microsoft.

That being said, Parallels is shweet! :)


How do you measure buzz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18544853)

Who cares?!?! I call bullshit, smelly and simple.
$1 in sales is worth $100 in buzz. I think Microsoft would be very happy to lose the buzz competition, as long as it keeps sales and market share.
Apple is doing very well in its niche market, but it has to get a lot more than 4% market share for the Apple/Microsoft comparison to be one of peers. Right now it looks like the comparison between my 12 year-old kid and Derek Jeter in baseball...

Mini-Microsoft May Be Revealing (4, Insightful)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544883)

In the last year I've seen a number of blogs from former Microsofties, as well as the infamous Mini-Microsoft. Many of these talk about top-heavy management, unhappy staff, projects leading nowhere, ladder climbers and bleeding money through some product lines.

In isolation, individual blogs may be just some people blowing off a bit of steam, or may be representative of a few dissatisfied staffers.

Taken together, they paint a picture of a company that's in danger of losing its way.

It's hard to know just how representative the sum of these blogs is. They're all pretty self-selecting, after all. If they paint a relatively accurate picture, then Microsoft is missing some key things Apple's recently gotten right:

* Management who understand their products at every level and pitch them well. Anyone who's presented to a large crowd knows how hard this is, but Steve Jobs is a complete master at it.

* Getting the product's look and feel right first time. Pick up a new Apple product. Touch it. Look at the surfaces. They always look great. People react to this, equating professional finish with professional products.

* Focus on product lines, with no products bleeding more money with every unit sold. There's no Apple product I've heard of where each unit sold is a loss to the company. The units both R&D and then start to generate profit. Even iTunes with its razor thin profit pays for itself. This shows solid business planning, solid budgeting and is very well respected by the investors.

* Staff who keep pretty damn quiet about the internal stuff. Apple have a policy on communication, and very few staff feel they need to start some kind of Mini-Apple in response. Few companies allow staff to communicate, as it's just too easy for staff to send the wrong message. The company I work for is vast beyond the dreams of Apple or Microsoft, and we train all staff about external communications (in normal policy & procedure training). The impression Apple gives is that of a tightly run company.

Apple present as a company focused on a few core lines - home computing, professional media/art computing and entertainment. It's easy to see how just about everything they do fits those lines.

Microsoft are all over the place. Their core is clearly Windows and Office, but they've dipped metaphorical toes into media, gaming, tablet computing, robotics, handhelds, peripherals, mobile phones, web searching and more. Some non-core lines are very successful (XBox-360) but they all seem to be in the red, only able to be pursued due to the huge cash reserves brought in by the core lines. Few businesses would do this, even very rich businesses (such as GE) demand each product or division runs a profit and improves year on year. That's sustainable business practice, but Microsoft seems to believe deep pockets last forever.

Microsoft are looking tired, but they can pull things together. Cut some of the non-core lines loose - sell them off. Get out and understand how people want to use stuff before building a product (Zune wireless sharing is a notable failure here). Savage the management layers to shake out dead wood at *all* levels, review all current projects with a view to killing most of them and refocus the (smaller) company on the smaller range of product lines.

Microsoft can waste energy competing with Apple and Google, but they needn't bother. Neither is a threat and the market's easily big enough for everyone. The biggest enemy they seem to have is themselves and their existing products.

To recap a film metaphor - remember when Luke Skywalker went into that cave near Yoda's house on Dagobar? He met Darth Vader, then fought and killed him. The mask covering the head exploded, revealing Luke's own face. His greatest enemy at that point was his own nature.

measuring buzz (1)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544931)

How do you measure buzz? You don't.

Yes you do. Google search statistics are a pretty good measure of buzz. Maybe they're not perfect, but they're better than people's intuition.

Here [] is a graph of the number of searches for "mac laptop". The hump last year shows up in the number of searches for "laptop," (link [] ), but the current climb does not. So it looks like the the numbers from google agree with the article.

good luck... (1)

poor_boi (548340) | more than 7 years ago | (#18544991)

If you can't measure buzz, how can you intentionally create it?

If you can't intentionally create it, how can you intentionally sustain it?

If you can't intentionally sustain it, how can you reasonable expect it to predict it will continue?

If you can't predict it will continue, how can you claim that it will?

If you can't claim that it will, how can you claim that Microsoft should be worried? =P

They do worry ... (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 7 years ago | (#18545005)

But they worry about the iPod, not about the Mac.

MS spent years keeping Apple alive both to minimize the appearance of monopoly in the US, and because they recognized that Apple was much preferable to Linux. As long as the Mac doesn't take off too much, they are still happy with this (nothing like a competitor that drives prices up!).

On the other hand, the iPod (and related products) is a totally different issue. They never meant for that to happen.
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