This is a significant article.
I’ve written at length for my distrust of Microsoft, representing in my view, a road that personal and business computing should have never gone down.
Microsoft got lucky with DOS – everything else, Windows, Office, Sharepoint, .Net, Exchange – it’s all momentum from that huge mistake that IBM made all those years ago, letting Bill Gates provide a disk operating system he didn’t even own at that point.
It allowed ‘computing for the rest of us’ to be a ridiculed statement made by a company that didn’t understand what ‘business’ needed.
Over the years, Apple has struggled on, sometimes lacking any direction, sometimes having the odd big success, but even that was dismissed as transitory – the mantra being that Apple needs a hit every year or two, otherwise it would just fade away.
Meanwhile Microsoft soldiered on, knowing that their army of IT people whose jobs depended on Microsoft staying in pole position, would keep them healthy.
An almost parasitic dependancy on each other developed, Microsoft need those IT managers to keep fooling company’s into believing there is no alternative, and those IT managers need Microsoft to keep the technology just opaque enough so that their jobs are safe, the rest of us suffered, or worse, carried on, not even knowing there was an alternative.
One thing they didn’t bank on was BYOD – bring your own device. Even in my little corner of the world, away from the US and even London, I’ve seen the effect. More people are choosing ‘anything but Microsoft’ for their personal computer and phone needs.
It’s still early days, and I don’t see a Mac on every desk anytime soon, but the article puts it perfectly:
“These days consumer preference dictates enterprise decisions. If you’re not powerfully out in front with the consumer, you’re going to end up getting hurt in the enterprise. That’s why it was smart for IBM to partner with Apple. Led by Apple, they’ll bury Microsoft in the same grave BlackBerry cluelessly fell into.”
Apple’s joint enterprise with IBM is very significant, as is this article. I’ve never seen any commentator dare even mention this as an option. I’ve also never seen anything like this from Apple either.
The enterprise doesn’t mention Macs, but I can understand that. In the eyes of business, the Mac brand is tainted (even though it’s a world away from the Mac of 1984).
However it doesn’t matter – the juggernaut that is iOS is the Mac OS underneath. Everyone knows that, Microsoft knows that, IBM knows that. What they don’t know is what iOS devices Apple will release in the coming years, which will be automatically part of the agreement.
If you consider that iOS and Mac OS will merge at some point and what the device Apple will merge them on will look like, you can start to see a future where we will all be using devices that run iOS.
Any IT manager still clinging on to Windows will use it in the server room where it belongs – just don’t let any normal person near it.
And I haven’t even mentioned the software services that Apple offers as part of this agreement – why would you choose Office when (an admittedly enhanced) iWork is free?
“In a blog post entitled ‘Competition Authorities and Search,’ Microsoft Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner said part of the motivation for Microsoft and Yahoo’s search deal was ‘we are concerned about Google business practices that tend to lock in publishers and advertisers and make it harder for Microsoft to gain search volume,'”
And here’s the killer line:
“according to court documents, Ballmer pledged to ‘f***ing kill Google’ after learning of Google’s plan to hire a key Microsoft engineer in 2005.”
Poor Microsoft are upset that Google isn’t just rolling over and letting them dominate search, just like every other company has let them take over their business-niche before them.
Maybe Microsoft are angry because:
a) they can’t ‘cut off their air supply‘ like they did with Netscape in order to create an abusive monopoly in the internet browser business
b) they can’t blatantly steal code from Google, like they did with Apple’s Quicktime, in order to have a product that got even close to what Apple had
Still, while Microsoft and Google are at loggerheads, it keeps them occupied whilst everyone’s favourite fruit company can stroll past them.
NetWitness found a botnet with control of 74,126 Windows systems spread around 196 countries. These systems are found at medical companies, insurance companies, educational institutions, energy firms, financial companies, Internet providers, and government agencies.
Prevx came upon a cache with logon credentials for 74,000 FTP accounts. These accounts were for companies such as NASA, Cisco, Kaspersky, McAfee, Symantec, Amazon, Bank of America, Oracle, ABC, BusinessWeek, Bloomberg, Disney, Monster, and the Queensland government.
You know, you start to become jaded concerning the security of the most popular OS on planet Earth.
The OS that 90% of the people viewing this blog use.
The OS that your company runs on.
The OS that your government runs on.
The OS your school, college or university runs on.
The OS that your bank probably uses.
The OS that despite being quite clearly not fit for use, somehow continues to be used, because so many people’s lives dependent on it.
What people? Well you, me, the IT department that won’t even let you change your desktop pattern wallpaper at work, your parents, your friends, the guy you overheard talking in the bus queue this morning about how his computer has become unusable again, or the other guy he was talking to who said that all he had to do was:
a) pay for more security software
b) visit this site that tells you how to solve your latest Windows problem in 38 easy steps
c) buy a new computer
d) don’t do anything on your computer to do with online banking or payments of any kind.
And, yes that last group of people who benefit from the crap that Gates & Ballmer peddle every day – the criminals and ne’r-do-wells that use the money they generate from hacking your computer to buy & supply drugs to your kids, fund terrorism, and various other nasties.
Lots of fun for all concerned.
Thank you Mr Gates and Mr Ballmer for all this, and thank you Apple for allowing me to write this blog on a computer that is not affected by any of this.
Sorry for being so jaded, but I don’t see anyone, anytime soon kicking Windows technology out of the door.
Way back in 1997, Apple was very nearly history.
I remember back then that I seriously thought of getting out of the graphic design business for good, I could not face a career having to use, what was then, Windows 95/NT.
I decided to hold on and hope for the best, but even I never thought that Apple could go this far.
If there’s one thing that defines Apple, since 1997, since Steve Jobs came back, it is that everything they do, and I mean everything they do, MAKES THEM MONEY.
A sh*tload of money.
Profit margins on their hardware that others can only dream of (around 40% for the Mac).
Software – since Steve Jobs returned, Apple makes the best software in their target markets (please Apple, take on Adobe!)
Content – the iTunes store makes profit on music, movies and apps.
Apple Stores – have the best profit per square foot of any retailer.
Next we have the tablet, and with the rumours of more content deals and that huge data centre built for some as yet unannounced reason, we can expect that to rake in even more cash.
But as the MacDailyNews/Businessweek articles states, what is it for?
Apple have spent a little here and there, acquiring one or two businesses that make strategic sense.
But there’s a lot of money left and it’s looking very unlikely that Apple are going to give that money to their shareholders (with a dividend), or it’s users (by reducing that profit margin).
So what’s it for?
Take a look at the graph at the top of the page – I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
When I’m bored (I mean really bored), I spend a few 1/4 hours surfing the Apple discussion boards, and nestled in amongst the questions, bugs, answers and advice I come across postings from recent switchers to the fairer platform.
What’s odd is that these postings have very similar topics and all seem to be categorised around repeating experiences.
1) The brand sparkling new switcher. This person has really only just got their Mac that weekend and they’re still breathless from the experience. They love it (of course), but want to know the following:
a) what applications there are to function the same as Wordperfect and Paint,
b) why the menubar is always at the top and why can’t it be moved,
c) how to turn off mouse-acceleration,
d) where can they get Anti-virus/malware programs.
2) The settling down switcher. This person has had their Mac for a few weeks and has learned to live the Mac-way, rather than trying to customize their Mac into a Windoze clone. The questions however continue.
a) Why can’t they change the size of the fonts in the menus,
b) Can .exe files run on a Mac,
c) Can they delete the Apple applications they don’t want,
d) They really need an Anti-virus/malware program, where can they get it from.
3) The Mac-tinkerer. This person has grown comfortable with their Mac and has successfully transfered all their pirated music/pron photos etc over. Now down to business:
a) I want to be able to delete anything on my Mac, how do I become an Administrator so I can do this?
b) I want to edit my swap file but I don’t see any way to do this, how?
c) I want to edit the registry, where is it located?
d) Are you really sure I don’t need anti-virus/malware?
e) I’ve been using my Mac for a few weeks now and need to defragment my drive, what programs are available?
4) My Mac has slowed down I must have a virus, yes a virus PLEASE HELP! Because every problem they have ever had with Windows was down to a virus/malware/spyware/keystroke logger, they are convinced that as soon as the beachball occurs, they must have a virus. Helpful Mac-users point out:
a) You don’t have a virus
b) Really no you don’t
c) Post exactly what your symptoms are and we can find out what the slowdown is caused by
d) No, really you don’t have a virus
e) Ah, the reason why your computer has slowed down is because you’ve put 180gb of pirated movies/music on your Mac and there’s only 1gb of space left.
5) OMG! My Mac’s not working PLEASE HELP! This person has decided that even though they are happy with their Mac, they want to make it better, and has accidentally deleted:
1) The Finder
2) The Terminal
3) The Library folder
4) All of the above
and of course they don’t have a back-up. They curse the day they ever bought a Mac and complain profusely that this never happened on Windows.
I know that’s there’s a bit of exaggeration here (only a bit mind), but every one of the above true observations, is centered around this concept:
To a Windows user, the fun in using a computer comes from keeping it running, installing and updating Antivirus, editing key files to squeeze out 1.7% extra speed, configuring arcane files, messing around under the hood.
Not actually using the computer to learn or create something. Sure they probably do some of that along the way, but first and foremost a computer needs careful nurturing before you can do any of that silly creative nonsense.
If you could define a Mac, it would be that it arrives, out-of-the-box, ready for you to use, ready to have some fun.
There’s a critcal update for Windows 7, this, even before it was released.
“Do not install this critical update until you have (successfully) installed Windows 7. The code in the update may corrupt earlier Windows systems, destroying your own data and making it impossible to upgrade to the fabulous Windows 7.”
You know, leaving aside the seriousness of this bug, and the fact that it shows, yet again, that Windows is the swiss cheese of operating systems, doesn’t it strike you odd that Microsoft is asking it’s users not to install this update unless they’ve first installed Windows 7. This could corrupt their system.
WHY DOESN’T WINDOWS AUTOMATICALLY SENSE WHICH OS YOU’RE RUNNING AND ONLY PRESENT THE OPTIONS FOR THAT OS?
You know, like Mac OS always has done?
It’s no wonder some Windows installs go bad – the OS doesn’t even help the user make the right choices.
Windows 7 doth approach, and Microsoft, in it’s wisdom have organised ‘Windows 7 parties’ to encourage the poor deluded majority to bet, once again, that this version of Windows is the one they will actually enjoy using.
The one that will at last, be intuitive, won’t crash much, will be free from viruses and malware, just like those other computers that they don’t like to mention very much.
The general reception that the Windows 7 party idea has had is predictably consistent; it’s an awful, cheesy, cliche and pain-inducing idea that only reinforces the idea that Microsoft are so totally uncool and unhip, that it’s a wonder their bums don’t fall off (to quote Zaphod Beeblebrox).
However one excuse for all the fallout has been, ‘there’s no such thing as bad PR.’ Meaning that it doesn’t matter that the idea is awful, it doesn’t matter that everyone is laughing at Microsoft, the number of column inches it generates is worth all the bad press.
However I do not agree.
Many years ago I worked alongside a person who I had great respect from in the creative and advertising industry. Our team was tasked with creating a straightforward campaign for a large supermarket chain to advertise a sale.
This advertising took many forms, but one part was bus-shelter posters.
Now being trained graphic designers we new that the thought process for the consumer was thus:
You hook in the consumer with a gimmick, an offer or an angle.
You then hold there attention with an attractive, easy to ‘consume’, flowing, logical design.
You then let them go, away from your adverts influence, with a thought, or memory of your offer.
The last part is the most important. The consumer will spend infinitely more time away from your ads influence, than being exposed to it. You don’t have long to get your message across and that message has to hit home first time, and it must stay with them when you ad is long gone.
This period is the time where your influence has to be positive so that the consumer can pass your message along to another person.
This is why ‘viral marketing’ is a difficult and dangerous approach. You have to get your message and every possible interpretation of that message absolutely right.
Anyway I digress a little- back to the supermarket’s ad.
We created what we thought best fulfilled those 3 critera, to hook, to hold & give right memory. However the client didn’t see it that way.
They wanted something much more direct, simple and gaudy. Put simply they wanted their ad on a dayglo green or orange background, so that it ‘stood out’ and shouted their message.
It certainly would hook & hold, but the memory? My colleague commented that, “We’ve hooked them in, the ad will be noticed most certainly, they will even read the ad, but what memory are they left with? a cheap and nasty one.”
The client, whose product was most certainly not cheap and nasty, finally relented, but this experience made me think about the Windows 7 party.
It’s getting the column inches, and we’re certainly hooked and held, but what’s the memory we are left with? What are we saying to others about this approach?
Microsoft seems to think that any news is good news… I don’t think so.
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As part of my job, I come across dozens of Windows users every day. They have used Windows all their life and have little or know knowledge of the Mac.
These are, to coin a few phrases, the other 95%, the drones, the job security for hundred’s and thousands of IT Managers up and down the USofA.
Occasionally this ‘majority’ have to sit down and use a Mac for a period of time and it’s here where their ‘muscle memory’ of using the upside-down and back-to-front version of the Mac (i.e. Windows), comes into the realm of the way it was done first, and done correctly – the Mac.
One way in which this surfaces is the forward-delete key. This was first brought to my attention when a bemused PC user, typing a document, said, “where’s the delete key on this keyboard?’
My first reaction was that they couldn’t be blamed for not knowing. There’s nowhere on a mac keyboard that says ‘delete’. It’s the key with the left facing arrow, as a Mac user, I just know this through years of use.
However the PC-user, upon testing this said, “No, that’s the backspace key.”
“No it isn’t”, I remarked, “the backspace key on a Mac is the left arrow key, along with the up, down and right keys”.
Not understanding what ‘backspace’ meant, I then learned about ‘forward-delete’ from this PC-user. It’s always been on a Mac keyboard, but I’ve never used it, because it doesn’t make any sense to me. And neither does ‘backspace’.
To me, the word ‘backspace’ does not mean a destructive action. Backspace means, ‘to move back a space’, i.e. the left arrow key.
‘Delete’ means to delete something you have just done. i.e. You type a word, it is wrong, and you, going backwards using the delete key, delete that word. Where does the term, ‘forward’ make any sense in this?
You don’t place your insertion point at the beginning of the word and then when you press the delete key, expect it to move forward along the word, deleting it.
That’s counter-intuitive isn’t it?
I suppose this all comes down to what you’re used to, but ‘forward-delete’ to me doesn’t make any sense to me as a concept.
However as the ‘majority’ use it, I must be wrong, right?
…and the other 10% have another chuckle at the expense of the deluded majority.
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Upon thinking about Microsoft entry into the retail space, a few thoughts occur.
Microsoft have a really deep seated envy of everything that Apple does. Now, they’ve always had this from the very first meeting about Windows 1.0, and in the past they could get away with it.
After all, despite all Apple’s efforts, they were not a mainstream company. Microsoft and their partners dominated and no-one outside Apple’s niche had ever heard of them.
All the great unwashed saw was ever greater ‘innovation’ coming from Redmond. They did not know that this innovation was a photocopied, me-too agenda based upon what Apple did.
This approach works fine, as long as Apple remains a niche.
Can you really say that Apple Inc. is at this current moment ‘a niche player’?
Group together everything that Apple does, the Mac, iPod, iPhone etc, and their approaching 10% market share (and even greater mind-share), I think not.
Why does this make a difference? Well, Microsoft can keep up the pretense of being an ‘innovator’ as long as no-one (or at least the majority) knows that Apple exists.
This is all the more difficult, and one very good reason this is getting harder, is because of those pesky Apple Retail Stores.
People used to listen to their ‘geeky friend’ on what computer to purchase, which was usually, if not always Windows.
That’s not the case now, they see an Apple Store, go in, and more often than not, purchase. I don’t know what their footfall conversion rate is (the % of customer who enter a store and either do or do not purchase something), but according to Apple 50% of those purchases are to Windows users.
So what is Microsoft to do? Well there’s only one thing to do, fight fire with fire.
But Microsoft has a problem, and it’s a problem that cannot be got around. The PC model is proprietary OS on open hardware. Apple’s model is open OS (sort, parts of etc), on proprietary hardware.
Now I don’t care what people say, Apple’s model gives us more reliable computers, Microsoft’s model gives problems – lot of them, with more chances to go wrong.
Apple’s model is naturally fits the retail environment. People enter Apple Stores for an experience. Yes, they take their computers in to be fixed, and Apple manages that quite well, as their model keeps those fixes down to an acceptable level.
Microsoft? Their model invites problems, how the hell are they going to manage all those PC users with viruses, spam, malware and faulty hardware because their ‘geeky friend’ made their computer?
This should be interesting to watch…
This is going to be fun to watch…
Imagine the scene: Microsoft opens it’s store, hoping that people will walk through the door and fully grasp that Microsoft software can help their digital life and will be wowed by everything they have to offer and they won’t go to that funny fruit store down the street.
However what will happen is that Joe Sixpack will walk through the door walk up to the counter and say, “Ug! Computer not work, you fix!” (Along with the 20 people behind them with similar complaints).
The patient (and butt-ugly) Microsoft genius with say, “I’m very sorry sir, but your issue is a hardware issue and I’m afraid Microsoft only deal with software, I can give you the number of the Dell support-line?”
Mr Sixpack will then say, “Ug! Dellman say your software got virus, you fix!”
The Genius eyes will then light up and say, “Aaaah, yes sir then we can help you, we sell virus killing software starting at $59.95 per month for our basic package.” He then hands him a leaflet.
Mr Sixpack numbly hands over his credit card, “just make computer work – me want pr0n!”
At the end of the month Microsoft will say that their software stores are a great success, having sold millions of software packages that help their customer get more from their computer purchase.
If anything, this will force more consumers into Apple stores because for the first time, Microsoft will meet the great-unwashed PC buying public – and their problems. I really don’t think Microsoft realise that aspect at all – they really are that arrogant and full of themselves.
The will not be able to cope – it will be a PR disaster. All Apple needs to do is air a well-timed Mac vs PC add that targets this sh*t storm, and watch them come through the doors.
Microsoft, please, please, please – carry on.
In thinking about what my views are on Microsoft’s $300 million ad campaign, I’ve a few points that will hopefully give some structure to my thoughts over the next few posts:
Firstly, why bother?
Apple has (at best) 5-7% worldwide market share. Microsoft and the PC brigade account for just about everything else. At the very, very best, if Apple continue with the proprietary hardware and (sort of) open OS model, they can hope for 10% tops, and I’m being optimistic.
Are Microsoft that desperate for total domination that they can’t stand a competitor to have a tenth of their market share? What difference will it make to there day to day business & profitability? Absolutely none.
So why? The only reason I can see is that this is not business – it’s personal.
Secondly, why did they change direction completely after 2 ads?
I work in advertising, I’ve been present and had decision making input when agencies pitch for work. I can say that if the usual rules apply (and I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t here), what we are seeing is ‘pitch 2’.
When pitching it’s usual that three ideas are presented. The first idea is what the agency wants, the second is what the customer wants and the third is a combination of the first two. The agencies pitch will push for their choice, and it will be the one that has had the most work put into it.
The Seinfeld ads were the agencies choice, the ‘I’m a PC’ ads are what Microsoft wanted. The 3rd pitch we will never likely see (unless Microsoft pull the ads again!)
The Seinfeld ads are typical high-brow, high-concept crap that agencies love because it’ll get them mentioned in Creative Review and maybe win an award, whilst having f**k-all use for the customer.
The ‘I’m a PC’ ads are the one created grudgingly by the agency in case they couldn’t convince them to go with their choice.
The 3rd set of ads are never meant to be chosen, because the agency can use them to agree with the customer that it is something they don’t want, this makes it easier to convince the customer that they need to agree again with the agency and go with their choice.
The brief from Microsoft will be along these lines:
“See those Apple ads? They piss us off. They’re taking the piss out of us every single frickin’ time! That PC guy? That Bill Gates that is! They’re telling lies! – none of this crap is true! Well maybe some of it is, but we want revenge! We want you to create ads that answer those ads and blow them out of the water!”
And so they agency create 3 concepts, one for them, one for the client and another they can throw away. They did well to convince Microsoft of the Seinfeld ads – they deserve an award for just that!
Thirdly, what the hell are the Seinfeld ads all about?
Their seems little point now in explaining because a) they’re cancelled, and b) the agency probably doesn’t have any clear idea either, but I will attempt a breakdown.
But not yet – I need to watch them just a few more times… Lucky me…