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Be Careful What You Wish For…

By Brian | March 23, 2006 | Share on Facebook

Continuing the theme of my discussion with Jeff about superior Mac technology, here’s a guy writing for BusinessWeek Online who thinks Mac users shouldn’t boot to Windows, even if they can.

I’m very much convinced that the arrival of the MacTel machine has moved this debate away from the last vestiges of technology, and squarely into politics. You’re either in the Microsoft party or the Apple party. And whatever party you’re in, everything the other party does is bad. Worse than bad – evil. Any indication that “they” may have an advantage, no matter how small or in what context, is sacrilege.

A few key snippets from this article to illustrate:

There was a certain illogic to the idea of running Windows on a Mac. As one commenter on Slashdot.org observed: “We’ve figured out how to put an inferior OS on more expensive hardware!” That way, he says, you can have both the frustrations of Windows and pay a lot for the equipment. “Next, how to mod your Porsche into a Toyota Camry.”

First of all, the hardware is more expensive because it’s not made/sold in the same quantities as Dells or HP/Compaqs. There’s no reason to believe Apple could not compete given the same economies of scale. As for an inferior OS, there are certainly arguments to be made in terms of architecture, security, etc. But this guy has no interest whatsoever in making those arguments. Instead, we get this:

Windows certainly is inferior. But like taxes and carbon emissions, many people find it a necessary evil for getting along in the world. I dislike the way Windows gets in your face all the time with system messages, and how it requires so much hand-holding.

I have one Windows box at home. Every time I use it, before I can get anything done, I need to update something — whether it’s a new set of spyware or virus definitions, some new component of Windows, or the driver software for my mouse. The Mac for the most part stays out of your way and walks you through simple updates, but only when you really need them.

Sigh…

On the one hand, he complains about security. On the other hand, he can’t be bothered by updates to his virus definitions. Even still, if it really bugs him, he should set the virus updates to download automatically on a regular basis (this is what I do – it only bugs me once a year, when I have to authorize the credit card for another annual license to the software). The same is true for Windows updates/patches – with LiveUpdate, I never get bugged at all (unless I want to be). And the mouse driver? Dude…if that’s really happening, get a new mouse.

This a time to go on the offensive: Bring back the “Switchers” TV ads that portrayed happy Mac converts telling their personal stories of Windows unhappiness followed by Mac-inspired bliss. Ellen Feiss, call your agent! It’s time for Apple to publicly flog Microsoft for a long string of slipping development schedules.

Damn straight! Why make the two systems interoperable and let people choose the tool they need to do the job at hand, when you can wage all out war and attack the opposition through the media will half truths?!?

I am sure Microsoft is not the least bit happy about delaying Vista until after the hoilday season. There must be some significant functionality that isn’t working right for them to forego that kind of marketing opportunity. I’m also sure that if they did release it early and a major bug was found, this same author would be all over them for rushing software to market before it’s ready (something Apple would never, ever do…)

To paraphrase Aragorn’s rousing speech from before the final battle in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, a day may come when it makes sense for Apple to get serious about offering Macs that boot to Windows easily. But it’s not this day. This is the time to fight.

And so the battle rages on. Next week: Bill Gates is secretly wiretapping e-mails to suspected terrorists, and Steve Ballmer is having an affair with his intern.

Topics: Tech Talk | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Be Careful What You Wish For…”

  1. Jeff Porten says at March 28th, 2006 at 11:07 pm :
    We went to the same school. We use the same Internet. Heck, we even see each other from time to time.

    So how is it we seem to spend so much time on different planets?

    Believe it or not, but in an earlier draft of my comments in that other thread (yes, I draft my comments

  2. Brian says at March 29th, 2006 at 12:11 pm :
    Jeez, we’re really going to do this on two threads? I’ll respond here, then let’s shut this one down & stay in one post, OK? (others, of course, are free to comment if they dare…)

    As for the zealots: I wasn’t talking about Macintouch, I was talking about Business Week. So it seems we agree here (although the fact that you still believe down to your bones that Windows makes life a living hell is evidence that the poison has reached the water supply, IMHO…)

    As for virus updates: if he used the machine more frequently, he’d have less wait time when he booted – that’s likely true on any system. As for security, I get monthly updates from Norton, all of which I trust, so I have it set to automatic. If I was worried about being a patch guinea pig, I’d set it to manual and read up on each patch. The time vs. effort scroll bar is there, so he can’t complain about one end of it and pretend the other end doesn’t exist…

    Re: interoperability. Yes, it’s the same argument you’re making in the other thread, but here we’re talking about people buying machines at home. There, I’m talking about installing 10,000 machines in a corporate environment that’s already set a standard. I said *I* couldn’t work at home with a Mac, I didn’t say *no one* could (or, even, that everyone who buys a PC needs it to work from home).

    Re: Windows at Christmas: no, no one will buy Vista for Christmas. In fact (and this is the point), very few people will buy Vista at all. Soon after Vista comes out, Dell and HP will begin shipping all new machines with it pre-installed, and a WHOLE LOT of people will buy computers for Christmas. This is why the delay is such a big deal. When Microsoft made that announcement, Dell’s stock price dropped…

    As for iterative improvement, sure I’m for it. But the first release has got to stand on its own. Microsoft has a PR battle to fight, and they know it.

  3. Jeff Porten says at March 30th, 2006 at 10:55 pm :
    I think that other thread has enough grist for that mill…. So I’ll stay here but be as brief as possible.

    Windows being a living hell: just reporting what I hear, I don’t use it myself. But I note that 90% of what I hear just doesn’t exist as problems on my side of the fence. I keep reporting my rule-of-thumb metric: there are plenty of Windows consultants who do well supporting only home users. I don’t know any Mac consultants who can do this; they just don’t need us as much.

    10,000 machines and set standards: if you truly believed this, you’d still be using Wangs. At some point it made sense to switch to Windows. At some point in the future it might make sense to switch away, and perhaps not monolithically. I don’t hear you considering this possibility.

  4. Brian says at April 2nd, 2006 at 10:45 am :
    Windows being a living hell: just reporting what I hear, I don’t use it myself.

    I think it’s safe to say that most of what you hear comes from people who also don’t use it themselves. Think about it: do you really think that 90% of all PC users consider their environment a living hell? Or is it just that with that many users, there will always be story of hard drive crashes, poorly written software, etc.?

    Using me as an anecdotal case, I’ve used the Windows environment since, literally, the day Windows 3.0 came out (the first usable version). Total problems in 20+ years: One – likely because someone sent my wife a Word document with a virus in it, and I didn’t have virus protection software on that machine.

    But I note that 90% of what I hear just doesn’t exist as problems on my side of the fence.

    You know, I keep hearing that, but then I read folks like Lileks, who is always complaining about a hard drive crashing here, a peripheral that won’t install, a software package that doesn’t do what he wants, etc. I’m not comparing the two environments based on two guys’ experiences, I’m just saying nothing’s perfect, and the trade press does not replace statistics.

    10,000 machines and set standards: if you truly believed this, you’d still be using Wangs. At some point it made sense to switch to Windows. At some point in the future it might make sense to switch away, and perhaps not monolithically. I don’t hear you considering this possibility.

    Excellent example: I have considered this point very carefully, and have written extensively about it. Click here.

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