Silverlight will sell a lot of macs, and that is very cool

by Jesse Liberty

Within one week after Mix and an intensive study of Silverlight and some thought about its implications, I did two things:

1. I partnered with Alex Horovitz, (formerly of Apple and Next ) and my co-author of Programming .NET 3 to form Silverlight Consulting, LLC and...

2. I bought a Mac Powerbook 17" and, most important, Parallels Desktop for Mac along with the book Switching to the Mac The Missing Manual by David Pogue.

[Editorial note: It is actually a MacBookPro 17, as is pointed out in a friendly comment below]

Here's what it is like to buy your first Mac.

1. The number of purchase decisions are far fewer
2. It arrives in a beautiful box. You slip it out of the box, set the instructions aside as unnecessary, plug it in, turn it on. The machine is very beautiful. It asks you your name. The fonts are very beautiful.

Then it works.

Mac people laugh at you if you buy a book about how to use it; the culture is; use it, poke around.

Parallels lets you run XP and/or Vista on your Mac in a window or full screen; it is one of the easiest, fastest and nicest VM software packages I've seen.

I plugged my 500Gig external hard disk into the mac, formatted it and it worked (3 minutes). I plugged my two button optical wireless mouse in, worked great. I plugged my monitor from my Dell laptop in, worked instantly. I plugged my network in, worked perfectly, instantly and with zero setup.

The kicker was that setting up XP through Parallels on the Mac was faster and an order of magnitude easier than it was on my Dell. Cracked me up; the Mac answered all the questions for me; I just sat back and watched it work.

I hear the Mac folks are afraid that Microsoft is selling Silverlight as cross-platform today but might "walk away"from the Mac at "any moment." But I just don't buy it; the Mac is too much fun, and once a lot of Vista and XP users get our hands on it, using Silverlight applications that run both on Vista and on the Mac -- well, I wonder if Silverlight won't eventually sell more Macs than it does Dell machines.

Niftiest program so far: video conferencing through AIM; there is something very nice about seeing the person you're talking to, for free, with very solid full motion video. Yes, it takes a very big pipe, but FIOS is cheap these days, and the Mac makes it painless.

Meanwhile, the more I program with Silverlight, the more impressed I am.




10 Comments

Michael S. Scherotter
2007-05-21 17:16:10
Jesse,
I'm having lots of fun working with Silverlight as well. For me, the programming model is very straightforward and makes it possible to do some pretty cool stuff in my favorite language, XSLT.
Michael S. Scherotter
2007-05-21 17:16:33
Jesse,
I'm having lots of fun working with Silverlight as well. For me, the programming model is very straightforward and makes it possible to do some pretty cool stuff in my favorite language, XSLT.
Michael
Non-buyer
2007-05-22 17:47:21
You didn't buy a Powerbook 17", you bought a Macbook Pro. Powerbooks were PowerPC-based. If you did buy a Powerbook, you didn't run Parallels on it.


You say: "I hear the Mac folks are afraid that Microsoft is selling Silverlight as cross-platform today but might "walk away"from the Mac at "any moment" but I just don't buy it; the Mac is too much fun"


This flies in the face of reason and history. Microsoft doesn't make products for "Fun". They make products for profit (and to monopolize markets, from time to time. Hey, they've even been convicted for it). The current legal threats against Linux are yet another example of the kind of "fun" Microsoft has.


Microsoft also so steadfastly "supports" Rotor and Mac Office because Macs are fun, eh?


Silverlight is merely another Microsoft attempt to knock off the established leader (in this case, Flash). First they claim, and even may release preliminary cross-platform versions to show how "open" they are. Once they get that niche, they then abandon non-Windows platforms and laugh their way to the bank.


No thanks, I'll bet on a company that doesn't have an established track record of screw tactics.


Your baseless comment that Silverlight will sell more Macs was the best laugh I've had all week. Thanks.

Jesse
2007-05-22 18:33:17
Mr. Non Buyer,


Yup, I called it a Powerbook; take it as a sign of how much of a Mac ignoramus I really am. You are right, I bought a Macbook Pro (not nearly as good a name).


"Microsoft doesn't make products for "Fun". They make products for profit" - Yes, of course they do, that is their corporate responsibility. But you misunderstand me; I meant that I think their users and developers will be having too much fun, and thus the demand will be there and thus the profit will be there.


"Silverlight is merely another Microsoft attempt to knock off the established leader (in this case, Flash"


I'm not sure what you mean by "knock off" but if you mean "compete with" then I heartily agree with you, though I think you have the product wrong; at a minimum Silverlight will compete with Flex/Apollo, but I personally believe it will go well beyond that. But what is wrong with setting out to compete with established products? They did so with Excel and it beat out Lotus because it was better. Other times they won because their suite was better overall, or their pricing was better, or they allegedly cheated, or they out-marketed; but in principle, competing with the market leader is what they are supposed to do, no? The good news is that others compete with them, and that makes for better and cheaper products for consumers (usually, when things work out according to plan)


"First they claim, and even may release preliminary cross-platform versions to show how "open" they are. Once they get that niche, they then abandon non-Windows platforms and laugh their way to the bank." -- To what advantage? If Silverlight can run on the Mac, and if that represents a market advantage, why would they abandon it?


If it turns out that it costs a lot to keep up the cross platform support and they're not making enough money on it, I'd expect them to drop it, but since Silverlight is a browser plug in, I'd be very surprised if the incremental cost wasn't overwhelmed by the profit of creating products that can be delivered with little extra effort on both platforms. Besides, I think you're missing the point. It isn't that they want to pull back to Windows, it is (in my opinion) that they want to go well beyond Windows or the Mac, leaping off the desktop onto PDAs, telephones, and then to your TV and ultimately your toaster.


"No thanks, I'll bet on a company that doesn't have an established track record of screw tactics."


Ah, wish I had read that sentence first; now I get it. The evil empire. Sorry, I don't fight religious wars. I just write code, tinker with things I know only a little about and try to stay out of the way when people start talking about how Betamax was better than VHS.


Take care.


-jesse



David Coletta
2007-05-25 06:13:03
Hey Jesse, welcome to the Mac fold. You're going to love it. (I see you do already, but it just gets better.)
MadClown
2007-05-25 08:43:58
You never explained your titles statement.
How is silverlight going to sell more Macs?
Also you bought an over priced laptop to put windows right back on it. Are you retarded? A Mac Pro runs $2,799.00.
You could of bought like 3 dell laptops for that price.
I cann't wait until this whole Mac bull crap fad goes away again.
People are getting ripped off by Apple and all this Mac fandom.


Also Sliverlight is the shit and will probably take the place of flash.


2007-05-25 17:28:17
Microsoft does not support Rotor; in fact it is distinctly unsupported.


Some of the best features of Outlook and Office are not supported in the Mac version. If they would just get SharePoint integration to work in Office 2008 I'd be a very happy man.


I suspect that MS will keep Silverlight around working on as many platforms as possible. But the development tools will only run on Windows...

Jesse
2007-05-25 21:00:29
>>How is Silverlight going to sell more Macs?<<


The point is that when, down the road, rich applications can be delivered on either platform, many folks will choose to have them delivered to the mac, rather than to their PC because the Mac is so much "better" in many ways (a subjective evaluation, to be sure).



>>Also you bought an over priced laptop to put windows right back on it. Are you retarded? <<


Please do not post personally offensive comments to me on this blog. You are, though might forget it from time to time, talking with another person, and this is not how I choose to engage in technical discussions. Further, the term itself is insensitive and not one that contributes to the conversation.


As for the substance of your comment, you miss the point. I didn't buy the Mac to put Windows on it, I bought the Mac because I'm a developer and a writer, and, among other reasons, I need to be able to take the entire Silverlight experience, from development to delivery "on the road" with me for presentations. I'm quite aware of the economics, and for what it delivers I don't think the Mac is overpriced.


I am very reluctant to censor any comment here, but I will ask, politely, that you conduct a professional conversation. That may sound very silly to you, but it does help us keep the signal to noise ratio at a high level, rather than breaking down into the "oh yeah? yeah!" conversations that nearly destroyed news groups not that long ago.


Jesse
2007-05-28 15:22:15
This just gets funnier and funnier. I went to give my presentation in Milwaukee on .NET 3/Silverlight, and so I brought my new Mac. They were rather annoyed that the slides were in Keynote ("we can't print slides from a Mac!")


They assumed, without question, that I would bring slides (first of all) and that they would be in PowerPoint. They *freaked* at the idea of Keynote. Okay, fair enough, I have no idea what the market penetration of Keynote is, but what cracked me up was that having owned a Mac for all of 3 days I knew that there would be a solution, and it took me 5 minutes to find it. "No problem, would you like these exported to PowerPoint or to PDF?"


Their projector worked. Their mouse worked. They really were annoyed at how well the Mac worked, and they couldn't stop grumbling that they hired me to talk about Windows software and I showed up with a Mac, but that was the point.


Maybe I'm the only one who thinks it significant that Silverlight runs on the Mac, but I think it is hugely important. Why? Not because of the Mac - there are only about 50 macs out there in the real world (okay, have I ticked off enough people yet?). But if it can run on the Mac, then it can run on my phone, and on my watch, and on my car's Navigator, and on my refrigerator. And that is the point.


The interesting questions about Silverlight are not questions anyone can answer yet, but it is time to tart making a list. See my next blog post. :-)

Jesse
2007-05-28 15:22:31
This just gets funnier and funnier. I went to give my presentation in Milwaukee on .NET 3/Silverlight, and so I brought my new Mac. They were rather annoyed that the slides were in Keynote ("we can't print slides from a Mac!")


They assumed, without question, that I would bring slides (first of all) and that they would be in PowerPoint. They *freaked* at the idea of Keynote. Okay, fair enough, I have no idea what the market penetration of Keynote is, but what cracked me up was that having owned a Mac for all of 3 days I knew that there would be a solution, and it took me 5 minutes to find it. "No problem, would you like these exported to PowerPoint or to PDF?"


Their projector worked. Their mouse worked. They really were annoyed at how well the Mac worked, and they couldn't stop grumbling that they hired me to talk about Windows software and I showed up with a Mac, but that was the point.


Maybe I'm the only one who thinks it significant that Silverlight runs on the Mac, but I think it is hugely important. Why? Not because of the Mac - there are only about 50 macs out there in the real world (okay, have I ticked off enough people yet?). But if it can run on the Mac, then it can run on my phone, and on my watch, and on my car's Navigator, and on my refrigerator. And that is the point.


The interesting questions about Silverlight are not questions anyone can answer yet, but it is time to tart making a list. See my next blog post. :-)