The Mac revolution: Blip or Paradigm?
Is it just a blip, or am I noticing the Mac starting to become the “i want” of next computers for more people than ever before? I know my next computer will be a Macbook, and I seem to hear the same thing from more and more people all the time. Matter of fact, I can’t remember the last time anyone told me they were thinking of getting a new PC. Duaner’s post the other day about installing Vista kind of sealed the deal for me. I’ve been thinking for a little while now that my old gaming machine that i built 4 years ago is needing replacing, and more and more i’ve been leaning Macwards.
This first started back in the fall when we were recording, and I got to thinking it would make sense to get a Mac with protools for doing music. My original plan then was to buy a PC laptop and a G5 with protools desktop. Ahhh good old wishful thinking… shortly after planning these things i took several large financial hits in a row, and my plans were forced to change. I got to thinking that I don’t do THAT much home recording, so maybe just a mac book with pro tools lite or LE or whatever it’s called. I still wasn’t convinced at this point, and spent a couple months waffling between Mac and PC laptops. The PC is cheaper, and has lots of stuff for it. I was still thinking gaming wise, so the PC still made sense.
But… I don’t play games much anymore (except maybe civilizations, which I know is available for Mac)…I haven’t for a year or two and don’t need it for that software. Yes, I like MS Office, but that’s available for Mac too. And then I started seeing Ruth, and she swears by the Mac (she jokingly told me one day she can’t date a PC user…er…I think she was joking…). Then I started hearing from the guys at work that this person or that person wanted to go to a Macbook. These guys are hardcore…they’re engineers and coders and such…people who know alot more about and have much heavier usage needs on a computer than I do. These are people who’s opinions i much respect. So the coffin was closed a bit tighter on the PC. Then Duane’s post yesterday kind of sealed it… it just makes sense to go Mac. They are cooler looking, I’ve never disputed that even when I wasn’t thinking about Mac. They have way less security issues, can stay running without reboots, and are generally easier to use. And then today I read this post on Luca Filigheddu’s site… so the decision is made for me. Now…do I wait for the new OS due out in March, or do I jump sooner? It’s really money I shouldn’t spend, so maybe i’ll wait a bit.
I have to wonder if the era of the PC is starting to wane? Apple has definitely created a base of fiercely loyal users and fans, and Microsoft has pretty much pissed everyone off at one point or another. It’s not a new thing that a disproportionate number of executives at companies use Mac’s, even if their company is PC based. Are we on the cusp of a mass change in consumer thinking for their computing needs? Did this come from the success of the iPod, and people saying “hey this stuff just plain works! Plus it looks cool!” Or is it a corporate top down osmosis of technology wants? Or are we just tired of the same old heat lamp warmed burger and want to branch out? Either way, it seems to me that the market share is on the verge of shifting.
I don’t know that the Mac will ever outsell the PC; it’s more expensive and less well known and maybe doesn’t pass the “grandma test” as well. But it’s nice to see competition for MS. Guy Kawasaki had an interesting blog post today where he spoke with Michael Raynor, author of “The Strategy Paradox”. One of the questions Guy asked him was why Apple didn’t beat Microsoft, even though they had a better product and an earlier foothold. Raynor’s answer (directly lifted from Guy’s page, hope that’s ok..) :
“Apple continued along the path that it had blazed with the Apple II and the Macintosh: very cool, very high-performing products built around a proprietary architecture of hardware-software integration. This was a perfectly reasonable bet to continue, but it happened to be the wrong one in the personal computer market of the late 1980’s. Like a broken clock, a strategy that never changes gets it right sometimes, though statistically it is wrong more often than not. The iPod is Apple’s latest hit, and it’s more of the same: a cool device built around a proprietary architecture. Apple’s clock hasn’t changed; it still reads twelve o’clock. It’s just that it happens to be noon again.
By contrast, Microsoft built a series of strategic options that positioned the company for success under a variety of different outcomes. Microsoft had what turned out to be a better strategy only because it didn’t commit itself to a single strategy. For example, when IBM began aggressively creating a competitor to MS-DOS and Windows, OS/2, Microsoft collaborated with IBM. The Windows development effort is evidence of Microsoft’s belief in GUI OS’s, but Microsoft was also getting a foothold in applications development for GUI-based systems by writing Excel and Word for…Apple! Corporate customers seemed to think that UNIX had a promising future, and so Microsoft was investing in UNIX too even as it released new versions of the by-then venerable menu-driven MS-DOS.“
Now, this makes nothing but sense to me. Basically, the reason we all suffer thru PC’s instead of Mac’s is that Apple missed the boat and focussed on something that missed the people’s mindset. So now the question is has the mindset shifted around so that Apple is in the right place? And then the follow up question: Can Apple maintain that momentum by being able to shift gears as needed moving forwards? It will be interesting to see if it IS just a blip, or if the Mac will become a serious player in the home/business users arsenal.