Why switch to Mac?

by Steve Anglin

Related link: http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/business/6322053.htm



Why switch to Mac? According to this San Jose Mercury News article: "Few customers switching from Windows:
New ads haven't helped Apple gain market share."



I can think of the following reasons why this is so:



1. Most people are already comfortable with an IBM compatible PC with Windows OS. An Apple Mac with Mac OS X may be easier to learn, but if you are already familiar with a PC with Windows, why switch and deal with a learning curve, even if it's nearly flat?



2. Looking at PC saturation into most homes and offices, these homes and offices are not going to go out and buy a second computer, even if it's a Mac.



3. Looking at the economy, few have the disposable income to purchase a Mac as a second computer. Although the Mac computers are more economical than ever, look at the added costs of proprietary Mac software, additional Mac hardware, and accessories.



4. What about digital photography and graphics? Well, the PC has hardware/software options thanks to HP scanning technology and Adobe Photoshop and other software for Windows. Again, Mac users will argue Mac is a better platform. They may be right, but the PC does offer viable options.



5. For developers, the PC is the preferred platform, with or without Windows. Most developers are developing applications to run on the PC or related Servers. Still, few are developing Mac applications, where having a Mac would be beneficial or necessary.



Why switch to Mac?


336 Comments

anonymous2
2003-07-17 13:32:38
"IBM compatible PC" is outdated term
The term "IBM compatible PC" is outdated, as IBM no longer sets the direction (at least as much as it once did) of Wintel PCs. I would use Intel-based PC, Windows PC, or Wintel PC. Just a nitpick.
anonymous2
2003-07-17 13:35:03
Mac/PC can do anything Mac/PC can do
A PC can do anything a Mac can. And a Mac can do anything a PC can. The Mac can do them better. A PC can do them cheaper. Unforunately, most people dont care about better.
sanglin
2003-07-17 13:53:45
"IBM compatible PC" is outdated term
It's a good nitpick. Intel-based PC would probably be better to use. Wintel or Windows PC would discriminate against PC's that run Linux, BSD, MS-DOS, or other OS.
anonymous2
2003-07-17 14:27:11
"IBM compatible PC" is outdated term
I would still call it a "Windows PC" since it is what they are comparing here to a Mac and not a Linux based PC. And since many Windows PC's are using AMD processors and not Intel's... then the Wintel or Intel-based PC doesn't sound that appealing either.


Anyway, I am a multi-platform user since 1983. Had the original IBM PC and an Apple IIe. Nowadays I have several Macs and several PCs at different speeds. I am always a LOT less frustrated with a Mac. I can get some work done with the PC but I spend too much time trying to tweak or fix things on it. The Mac is always pretty solid. OS X has made it now rock solid for sure. Viruses and spyware has kept me avoiding using the PCs for internet or email for the most part. I never have to worry about those problems on my Macs and can get my work done much faster because of it. Most of my MacsI can still do real work with after 4 - 5 years. Any of my PCs that is older than 3 years is barely usable.
Lot of home "young" users keep getting PCs for gaming... I just decided to get the three major consoles with some games and still had some money left when compared to the price of a "good" PC gaming machine. Sorry, but it is not worth the money an effort as a gaming machine.
Anyway, each has its pros and cons. I find the Mac way more productive and fun to use. It just changes your view on computers completely.

anonymous2
2003-07-17 14:33:22
Mac/PC can do anything Mac/PC can do
"Unfortunately" some of us do. I'll go for better any day. It will produce much BETTER results too.
anonymous2
2003-07-17 14:45:46
Mac/PC can do anything Mac/PC can do
A PC CANNOT do them cheaper. We just completed a study showing that each Mac in our company was $5000/year more productive than each PC.
anonymous2
2003-07-17 14:47:00
thinking different?
These are valid points that aren't going to go away any time soon .. if ever.


But, Apple have been pretty canny about their strategies of late. Look at the Xserve, this was billed as a 'media server' but it has consistently proven to be a powerful server worthy of the attention of ISP's looking to reduce cost and maintenance.


Apple shrewdly undersold this little beastie, knowing only too well it would sell itself outside of it's designated market. How many corporate IT departments would have bought one just so they could 'kick the tyres' and have since gone on to buy more? With favourable reviews from the likes of eWeek: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,1135090,00.asp who could blame them?


The range of Apple laptops are fast becoming a nerd / geek fashion item. The G5 _is_ everything "Joz" said it was: http://www.macobserver.com/article/2003/07/16.16.shtml


Should I mention the iPod and the anecdotal evidence of people buying iBooks and iMacs just so they can hook up their iPods? I just did.


Apple are selling in different ways. They are now approaching both tried and tested as well as brand new markets in angles and ways both acute and obtuse alike.


For me, Apple are thinking very differently...

anonymous2
2003-07-17 15:17:42
Consumer vs. business market share
Actually, I believe Mac OS market share is up for consumers. But is declining for business users. Mac OS X does everything Windows can do in a better-looking, more elegant fashion. But in education and businesses where institutions, not individuals, are making the purchases, better-looking, more elegant and easier to use doesn't carry as much weight.


Take iApps for example. Can cause a consumer to switch, but a corporation isn't gonna care.


Best,
-jimbo

anonymous2
2003-07-17 15:23:03
Apple has to keep their pace
People aren't switching in droves, as the article says. Once you start loosing ground the way Apple did, it is incredibly hard just to stop the trend, let alone reverse it.


I believed Apple has stopped the down trend. I also believe they are about to start an uptrend, although it will be somewhat slow at first. And more important, they have to keep the pace and do better and better all the time.


I think Apple is in the process of growing roots. From the people I know, I've seen everything described in the article.


I've taken friends and co-workers to the Apple store. They are always very impressed, and most have/had no idea Apple was so much better now a days. The majority are still not switching, but I can say that the fact that they were impressed, is a lot of progress.


Their reasons for not switching is usually a combination of price, and the fact that they feel very comfortable with Windows and PCs already.


Business is a different story. Wintel has a lock here. The current investment on wintel technology by the big companies is so big, that I don't see how Apple can make significant progress. Standarization is also something that hurts here.


The young people I know have embraced the Mac enthusiastically. They have no wintel attachments, and their parents probably pay for their computers :)


I also think that developers that like development and technology for the fun of it, are switching to the Mac.


So it may take a while, but if Apple keeps the pace, they will do very well once again.

jmincey
2003-07-17 15:34:32
Multifaceted Marketing Strategy
I think Steve Anglin misses the point. Apple's marketing strategy involves several initiatives which are intended to operate together. One who slices and dices them into their components and then evaluates and measures them in isolation of each other will get a distorted picture of Apple's prospects.


The switch campaign, the retail stores, the peripherals (like the iPod), the digital hub and iApps, the iTunes Music Service, the increased focus on developers (including overtures to the established Unix community), the push for laptops, the increasing focus on the enterprise and the XServe, the company's most aggressive pricing in history, etc -- all TOGETHER make up Apple's strategy. They are each an essential piece of the puzzle.


Now it's true that the economy has tanked and has been problematic for at least three years. Likewise the market share of Windows computers is nigh over 90 percent (on the desktop). But these conditions were present from the outset -- so what should Apple have done -- dissolve?


In respect to the switch campaign specifically, Apple needs to be aggressive in its marketing; it can no longer rely on vague "concept" advertising but rather must attack its competitors head on. Thus the switch campaign. Thus the new G5 ads which advance the claim of the world's fastest personal computer. Will the overwhelming majority of existing Windows users stand pat? Yes, of course. We know that going in -- do we not? But this does not argue against the strategy, or if it did, then Apple might as well liquidate and be done with it.


I don't see the economy and the market share of Windows computers as elements of Apple's marketing in any event. Rather they are conditions to it; they are part of the landscape. So it's in THAT light that Apple's marketing should be evaluated. For example, how do we measure the success of someone who runs a foot race in the rain on a muddy track? Do we compare the athlete's time against those which occur under ideal conditions, or do we not measure the performance against the given circumstances?


For my part, I shudder to think where Apple would be if it had not taken all the initiatives I outline above -- including the switch campaign. And the issue isn't the percentage of the Windows installed base which has switched to a Mac. Rather the issue is that -- of those Windows users who DID buy a new computer -- what percentage of THEM bought a Mac instead of a new Windows box? THAT is the issue -- if we must look at this campaign in isolation of the other marketing initiatives.


Now even by this measure, I have no doubt the number is very small -- BUT, how many would have switched without the campaign Apple waged? It takes time to prepare the soil and sow the seeds for a significant gain of market share. I think it quite plausible that even with the switch campaign long since over, the friends and family of the switcher pioneers will now -- as the economy turns around -- be more disposed to consider a Mac and these ripple effects may well be greater than the initial gains themselves. For this reason it is premature to perform a post mortem ROI on the switch campaign. (We can also be sure that this campaign influenced the purchase of Macs among first-time computer buyers.)


Clearly Apple seeks to shore up its niche market strengths and to expand into new markets -- both at the consumer and corporate level. This includes the graphics and prepress industries as well as education and scientific. What else would you have them do?

refried_glory
2003-07-17 16:39:19
Mac isn't going the right way
PCs in my opinion are better, I can list a lot of reasons why but there is one thing I can agree, it is somewhat harder to fix and it isn't as user friendly as MAC... But nevertheless PC are better, and don't say Windows is the only SYS OP, I know about 35 people off hand who perfer Linux. Mac is only superior in making grahpics, THEY DO NOT MAKE GOOD SERVERS, WIN SERVER 2K3 IS BETTER... TELL WHY IT ISN'T... AND GOOD REASONs, Mac is losing money because it is trying to tap in to markets that they souldn't get in to, trying to get to people that personally grew up around DOS, QDOS, windows, etc., people are happy with PCs because they can use them right, and since complete networks are based upon PCs and most people grew up around PCs and/or used them for years they aren't going to change because of costs, Apple should stick with that 5-7% market they got. Now I grew up with the PC (maybe that why I like PCs more >:) ),but I can also use and fix Macs. Macs have a flaw, only MAC one OP and people who used Macs for year know thats OSX is F-ed up (sry the only way I can put it) and it makes as much sense as the lost of SFC...(You Old Schoolin PC users know what Im talking about) Now to all u mac users out there, PC are cheaper but they take more effort and more time to control and master. Thats why some people perfer Macs but when u get outside that shell, u should all relized PCs have more compiable hardware but thats where it is flawed yet Super POWERED! You should all know why... Macs are harder to upgrade. So if ur a complete dumbbell or u just want to get something easy to master, go Mac, but if u want more compliablably and more software, cheaply, go PC, thats why Dell is kickin Apple's butt in this, and so in a market that say I want this, this , this and uhh this, market. Apple can't do everything a PC can, but thanks to many things being created on PC, a PC can almost do everything a Mac can, but it require some intellegence and time. So before O' reilly bans this account, I know how much time they spend supporting MAC. I will always go Dell , and NEVER GO G5! Unless for some reason I will need it to save world.
refried_glory
2003-07-17 16:39:55
Mac isn't going the right way
PCs in my opinion are better, I can list a lot of reasons why but there is one thing I can agree, it is somewhat harder to fix and it isn't as user friendly as MAC... But nevertheless PC are better, and don't say Windows is the only SYS OP, I know about 35 people off hand who perfer Linux. Mac is only superior in making grahpics, THEY DO NOT MAKE GOOD SERVERS, WIN SERVER 2K3 IS BETTER... TELL WHY IT ISN'T... AND GOOD REASONs, Mac is losing money because it is trying to tap in to markets that they souldn't get in to, trying to get to people that personally grew up around DOS, QDOS, windows, etc., people are happy with PCs because they can use them right, and since complete networks are based upon PCs and most people grew up around PCs and/or used them for years they aren't going to change because of costs, Apple should stick with that 5-7% market they got. Now I grew up with the PC (maybe that why I like PCs more >:) ),but I can also use and fix Macs. Macs have a flaw, only MAC one OP and people who used Macs for year know thats OSX is F-ed up (sry the only way I can put it) and it makes as much sense as the lost of SFC...(You Old Schoolin PC users know what Im talking about) Now to all u mac users out there, PC are cheaper but they take more effort and more time to control and master. Thats why some people perfer Macs but when u get outside that shell, u should all relized PCs have more compiable hardware but thats where it is flawed yet Super POWERED! You should all know why... Macs are harder to upgrade. So if ur a complete dumbbell or u just want to get something easy to master, go Mac, but if u want more compliablably and more software, cheaply, go PC, thats why Dell is kickin Apple's butt in this, and so in a market that say I want this, this , this and uhh this, market. Apple can't do everything a PC can, but thanks to many things being created on PC, a PC can almost do everything a Mac can, but it require some intellegence and time. So before O' reilly bans this account, I know how much time they spend supporting MAC. I will always go Dell , and NEVER GO G5! Unless for some reason I will need it to save world.
refried_glory
2003-07-17 16:51:12
Quick Reply
Sry B It won't let...
jmincey
2003-07-17 16:52:50
Quick Reply
Your post is unworthy of refutation. (You might consider deleting the duplicate; one is quite sufficient.)
refried_glory
2003-07-17 16:56:33
Quick Reply
whoops I press enter.. me was the last word, I press refresh that why its double
anonymous2
2003-07-17 17:02:43
How many switchers equal success?
There ARE lots of reasons why the vast majority of PC users will not now, or ever, buy a Mac.


But that doesn't mean Apple shouldn't try to lure such users, via its Switcher ads or other means (e.g., PC user floor traffic at Apple stores).


Apple's current market share is around 2-3%. PC market share is what, 85-93%? If Apple could get get a percent or two of PC users to go Mac, it would boost total Mac market share by over 50%! So the payback for Apple from even a small percentage of converts is huge.


Bottom line is, Apple doesn't need a LOT of switchers for its campaign to be a winner. I suspect that the ad campaign would have been more effective had not a poor economy depressed tech sales, aleading to PC price cutting which Apple is not going to match. But if the economy does heat up, the bug will be in buyers' ears, and maybe Apple will profit from this.


PS: By Apple's own admission, lackluster sales of the Power Mac have been a big problem. But, with top apps going OS X only (Quark Xpress, Photoshop 8, ProTools), and the promise of high performance from the G5 machines, Power Mac sales might rebound. I suspect this is Apple's best chance to boost sales/market share in the short run (next 18 months).

anonymous2
2003-07-17 17:09:25
How many switchers equal success?
you're wrong about the market share, but the misconception is common ;) the installed mac user base is about 10% of the pc market. apple typically has between 2-4% of the quarterly *sales* of pc's, and it is this statistic that is frequently reported for various reasons. the simplest reason for this is that mac users retain their kit's longer than their pc counterparts.


IDG, Gartner, and the myriad other PC industry analysts provide the numbers cited above quarter after quarter, year after year.


the relevant issue is that the mac market is stabilized at about 10%. what should be reported is that this is sufficient for apple to remain viable, healthy (look at today's numbers in a crap economy!), and innovative: they aren't going anywhere...

refried_glory
2003-07-17 17:13:08
How many switchers equal success?
I know what u mean but all the PC users I know would never ever ever touch a mac much less buy one but u do have a point... I remember back in Old Skool Mac was going to go out of buisiness in 2-4 years but thanks to the iMac, it lived... I think that it since it is going for graphic sales, it should look stylish... but make kind of mix with enviroment I like the G4-Cube... but didn't do to well, but if came out about the time of Gamecube, and kept it at reasonable price. It would have sold just because of the viewable market, don't ask me why the comsumer is like this but you know how society is... Bush is STILL support by the majority of the population... Mac needs to interact more with the market than those crappy little commerical about why Macs are better... just because of them, I know 3 mac users that went PC (seriously), So if Mac puts some style on their systems because if goes in the graphic area of the market make the system look nice too, and you'll get the sales to bounce up
anonymous2
2003-07-17 18:25:00
"IBM compatible PC" is outdated term
I just always call the IBM breed "generic PC's".


best,
Neal

anonymous2
2003-07-17 18:35:00
Critical flaw of reasoning in SJ article
The San Jose article's critical flaw is that the percentages of sales in a given month (or even year) cannot and do not express who those sales are to. By the very definition, a "switcher" would be a person who purchased a machine in the PAST, not compared with others buying machines today.


If EVERY sale of a Macintosh this year was to a prior Windows user, but *overall* sales of computers is up, the Mac will appear to have "lost" sales when in fact it may be moving aggressively into Windows territory.


These numbers do not represent the quality of a sale (is the computer sold to an end-user looking to buy software, or is it a drone running a POS application in a retail store), nor do they represent purposes. They also fail to take into account the disposable quality of an intel PC. I replace my intel based Windows computers at least yearly, usually every six months or so, and I know most of my contemporaries do as well. A Windows based intel machine that is a year old quickly becomes a relic. Macs seem to hold their value much longer, and remain *usable* much longer.

refried_glory
2003-07-17 18:39:13
"IBM compatible PC" is outdated term
Well is not genernic PC... back in old skool, IBM finally perfected it own computer and name it Personal Computer, and that is why it is called IBM compaible PC but another reason why is because also Back in old Skool, IBM let anybody devolp on their system... but apple was stuck in the dark devolping everything themselves... Im not sure which one it is but it has to be one of them...
but IBM compatible PC is not technetically outdated because it related to all PC that have that style because what else u going to call it Wintel or Windows PC... like I said before Linux consumes about 5% of the consumer market and lots of the work enviroment, enough to not call it that and what else u going to call it 640K sys BIOS... not quite a catch
refried_glory
2003-07-17 18:46:32
Critical flaw of reasoning in SJ article
No computer that are only a year old rule is not true anymore, I know people who had the same PC since mid-00 and they still play all up to date games, Enter the Matrix looks sick on it. But on Macs they hold their value longer but they take longer to update, and their isn't as much advance software there is for Mac therefore it lasts longer than PCs and if someone buys a Mac at a double price than a good PC then later u can swap HD when u get a new one... so PC have the better deal but Macs last longer in their value
anonymous2
2003-07-17 19:55:57
GIGO
People who love PCs -- I mean really LOVE them -- tend to be input-oriented people. They love the process. They love lifting the hood and tweaking that engine to get a little more torque or RPM.


People who love Macs -- most Mac users, in fact -- are output people. The Mac is a helpful friend. The Mac allows them to out-put whatever it is they're creating.


I remember a discussion once with a PC guy who told me what wimps Mac people are because they don't KNOW their machines. They can't fix them, they can't customize them, they can't make them do things they weren't designed to do. Mac users are wimps, he said.


My reply was, if you have to hold the door onto the car as you drive, your arms are going to get really muscled. Still, wouldn't it be easier if someone invented hinges?


I don't know about you, but I use a computer to create non-computer-related things. The Mac gets out of my way; PCs get in my way.


That's it.

anonymous2
2003-07-17 20:10:47
Mac vs PC
Steve,


It would be nice if everybody were using the same kind of computer, the same kind of car the same kind ofÖ This is an old and ridiculous debate "Mac vs PC"?


You should hope for a new OS or/and a new hardware platform instead. That would stimulate our industry and would produce really innovative technology.


This kind of debate causes much comment but these comments are never positives and creatives. Donít lose your time writing this kind of stupid thing.


jmincey
2003-07-17 20:11:01
Mac Mythology Dies Hard
What you say here stopped being true as of three years ago. The Mac OS is now a Unix variant -- on the BSD branch -- and there is no OS in the world more beloved by tweakers, hackers, and bit twiddlers than Unix. So in some respects the Mac has the best of both worlds -- a good GUI (though with room for improvement), and all the customizability that the Unix CLI shells afford.


Still, I agree with your main point which is that a computer is a tool people use to get a job done. The best computers are those which get that job done without getting in the user's way. Just as I want to be able to drive a car without having to be an auto mechanic, so do most people want to use computers without having to be a hacker or software engineer -- and rightly so.

refried_glory
2003-07-17 20:20:50
Mac vs PC
what makes it so stupid?
serious he make a completely valid point
anonymous2
2003-07-17 20:47:59
Critical flaw of reasoning in SJ article
I hope I am reading this wrong. I can't believe people still believe a Mac is not upgradable. Not only can you swap out the Hard Drive with the latest 250 GB WD or Maxtor off the "PC Dealers" shelf, you also don't have to fight BIOS limitations just to get the OS to recognize it. From tearing into a new box to copying files to a new drive averages me about 5-10 minutes (most of which is spent clearing adjacent debris away from the side of the computer!). I recently installed a CD-RW DVD Combo drive (ordered off a PC only shopping site for $69) into a 1999 BW G3 without skipping a beat and without installing any drivers! As for your "advanced software" I am sure any Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, Lightwave or other high performance users would love to argue that point. Usually the reason those people have the latest hardware is because they were used to investing $50,000-$100,000 in hardware before they switched to Mac so a couple $1000 to get the latest and greatest is still a steal to them.
anonymous2
2003-07-17 20:51:28
Mac isn't going the right way
I am so glad this person belongs to the PC camp. I would refute this post but I am not fluent in gobbledygook.
anonymous2
2003-07-17 20:56:20
Mac isn't going the right way
>> THEY DO NOT MAKE GOOD SERVERS, WIN SERVER 2K3 IS BETTER... TELL WHY IT ISN'T... AND GOOD REASONs


Sure. i can list one reason: UNIX.
UNIX has been around for 30 years now and is the tried and true workhorse of the important parts of the business sector. No, and i do mean no, serious company besides Microsoft runs win2k3 server as their mission critical database, or webserver. And if they do, then they deserve to be put out of business for running such an unscalable, license ridden, insecure operating system.

anonymous2
2003-07-17 20:56:58
"IBM compatible PC" is outdated term
Is this a rap music discussion? "Skool" is not a word. Obviously you do not have spell check integrated in the browser you use, or you have chosen not to use it (what a rebel).
anonymous2
2003-07-17 21:01:26
"IBM compatible PC" is outdated term
Actually, considering that IBM has had a hand in the PowerPC chip since 1993, it would be fair to call all Apple PowerMacs an IBM compatible computer. Anyone remember CHRP and PReP?
jmincey
2003-07-17 21:14:44
Missing the Point
Steve can speak for himself obviously, but I don't think his intention was to spark a debate about which platform is more meritorious. If this is the lens through which you read his words, I think you are missing the point. Rather I think he meant only to highlight possible reasons which moderate against a user's switching platforms at this time -- regardless of which platform may be better.
anonymous2
2003-07-17 21:15:28
Mac isn't going the right way
Obviously this person knows nothing about BSD, Apache, Samba, Gimp-Print, Cups, Apple Image Capture, etc.. I don't care what drivers are available for my computer, I want to plug in a Camera and have the OS say: "Hey, we noticed you plugged in a camera, would you like to download the pictures from it?" or "Hey we noticed you plugged in a new printer, we went ahead and installed the drivers and added it to your printer list."
The Internet itself and most corporate networks are running the TCP/IP protocol, which was developed and improved on UNIX based systems for almost 30 years. NeXT was the first platform that had well developed GUI based internet applications running on it. NeXTstep is now fully integrated into OSX. That is the true "Old SCHOOL"!
anonymous2
2003-07-17 21:25:55
I switch but for non of the reasons that you mentioned.
I made the switch from the PC to the Mac, and you know what? I didn't do it for any of the reasons that were mentioned. I've been a long time user of Debian and Windows, and I still have two PC's one running Windows, the other running Linux. The reason I chose to Switch was simply because I love computers and was both curious and non biased. I'm so glad I took the risk! The two main reasons (especially for a novice user) that I love this thing is that Mac OS X is incredible. Out of the box It does everything a computer should do with out the need to search for additional software, to help improve the experience like Microsoft Plus, Music-Match, or drivers for this and that which was completely unnecessary with the Mac. And well you don't necessarily use Linux for the interface experience But let me tell you how long it takes to get Linux configured the way I like it. In essence It makes sense, it's clean and it really is the way an OS should be, nothing but an enjoyable experience. Secondly and more importantly, its a mainstream OS that supports open standards. On my network the Mac plays more fairly than any of the other computers. I NEVER have any problems transferring and opening a file created on the Mac to any other system, where as I have trouble with Windows files, especially when it comes from a Microsoft product like Office. Plus Apple's contribution to the open source community has been amazing. Contributions like zoreconf improvements, HTML parser SDK, and many others has incredible implications for the Mac and Linux community and even Windows if developers swallow some pride and use these open programs. I do think that the price seems a little steep, but I got to tell you that the experience more than compensates for it. One other Mac myth, there is more software available for Windows than Mac. This simply not true. Mac has both software from its BSD roots and its Mac apps plus the ones that I have used are more robust than on the PC especially when it comes to things like DVD authoring, and development of any kind. I can write and compile an application for Mac, Unix, Linux, and Windows all on my Mac! The real problem is to much misinformation, and uneducated harping on the Mac. and the Mac is truly an equal and definitely shines with the best OS of any platform to date. Any body that gives the Mac a one month test drive would never turn back!
anonymous2
2003-07-17 21:44:14
Switchers I've known
I am a software developer, and so are most of the people I know. So my observations are from a narrow sample. I know 6 or 7 "switchers" in my extended circle. Only 1 switched from a Windows PC to a TiBook running OS X. All the others switched from Unix and Linux. OS X is Unix underneath and a set of consistent/integrated apps on top. For these users OS X (especially on a portable) is just a better Unix development environment. Programmers tend to upgrade equiptment more frequently than the general business or home public. When they upgrade, they tend to go for most powerful machine that satisfies their other needs. From that perspective, I expect to see a crop of dual G5s popping up.
kollivier
2003-07-17 21:56:15
The ironic part is...
... that this issue is even being debated at all. 3-4 years ago, no one was talking about Macs - it was like they no longer existed.


Now, I see market share debates everywhere. At the very least, it shows Macs are winning mindshare. They have regained a position as part of the 'computing/technology culture'. Think about it. The fact of the matter is that it will take a long time before you will see large gains among Mac users - point #2-3 are probably the most compelling reasons for the current situation. The market is saturated with PCs, and truth be told if Macs got an extra 1-2% of the market, that would be a significant gain considering the saturation of the market and the 'barrier to entry'.


#4 is true to a point, but I think this is actually part of point #3. That is to say, the improved interface and ease of use may allow the average user to get more out of their (video) camera, but the strain on the pocketbook is just too much. *Plus*, and even more importantly, most people don't know a friend who has a Mac.


And #5? Maybe *for some developers* PC is the preferred platform, but I'm a "switcher" who now owns two Macs and am very happy with them. And Panther will give me things like distributed compiling, and if you've ever had to build Mozilla, you'll know how exciting that is.... ;-)


Personally, I think PC vs. Mac is not the appropriate way to look at 'preferred' development platform. I think Unix/Linux vs. Windows is a better light to look at things in. I've moved from proprietary Windows tools to mostly open source *nix-based tools, and I've found Mac to be the best of both worlds. I think people are moving more to *nix/open source as Windows keeps getting hit with worms, viruses and other such things. (Quite honestly, after dealing with VB and trying to work around all the quirks that the various "COM" components had, I found that open source was very refreshing. I could find and fix any bugs that plagued my program!)


There will not be any more Microsoft-like success stories because the market has matured. But Mozilla, Macs, Linux, OpenOffice and other applications (wxWindows/wxPython - woohoo! =) are starting to break up the "Windows/Office" monopoly, they just aren't doing it the way people keep expecting to see - some massive exodus of users. Instead, they're doing it one user at a time. But I think that because of this, 3-4 years from now the computing world will be a very different place. Macs won't ever have a majority marketshare, but so long as they're making a profit and keep innovating, they'll keep making inroads just as Linux has into Microsoft-held markets, little by little. The train has left the station folks, enjoy the ride. ;-)

jmincey
2003-07-17 22:04:15
The ironic part is...
Excellent post, if I may say so. Many good points. Let me add only that for an increasing number of Java developers, the Mac (and OS X) is the platform of choice -- much preferred over Windows.
jmincey
2003-07-17 22:10:36
Open Standards - Open Source
I want to echo what you say regarding standards compliance and support by Apple with its Mac and OS X platform. So many people continue robotically to recite the long obsolete mythology that Windows is more "compatible." But compatible with what? Itself? Any company becomes de facto "compatible" when it gains over 90 percent market share.


There was a time long ago when the "not invented here" mentality did indeed prevail at Apple; but that time is long past, and now -- as you point out -- Apple embraces open standards and is a great champion of them. It supports Firewire (1394), Zeroconf, USB, PCI, Java and Javascript, and virtually all of the internet and web communication standards and protocols. In contrast, Microsoft seeks to undermine standards in favor of its own proprietary offerings.


You are right also to point out Apple's generous support of open source -- via Darwin and its Safari web browser (among other things). If this is a compelling issue to a prospective buyer of either platform -- namely compliance with open standards, then OS X is definitely the way to go (over Windows). In contrast, if you want to help defeat the platform-independence of the web, then Microsoft is the company for you.

anonymous2
2003-07-17 22:25:37
How many switchers equal success?
I understand the point you're making, but I do believe you're mis-using terms, and perhaps, mis-stating facts.


When people say "% of market share", they mean "% of current sales." By that common definition, the mac has a 2-3% market share.


I do understand your point, that "% of sales" does not equal "% of installed base."


But what makes you say that macs have "10% of the installed base"? I read mac news on a daily basis, and i've never seen that number. If you have a link for this, i'd love to see it...


Also: mathematically, I don't see how this could be true. The number of macs sold by Apple the past three years has declined in absolute terms, and they are less and less a share of all pc's sold. This implies that the macs share of the installed base is declining... unless pc users are discarding their pc's after 6-12 months of use, which i doubt. (As an aside: I wonder if the pc sales figures include all the pc that are built from pc kits by the do-it-yourself crowd?...)


Bottom line, it appears to me that the mac's share of the installed base is shrinking, not stabilizing... but that's how it appears to me... I don't have any evidence of this one way or another...

anonymous2
2003-07-17 23:13:28
Mac isn't going the right way
Dude, if you are going to babble some kind of perspective, here is some advice:


1) Use the language that the rest of the posters are using. I don't care what language you *think* you just used - it was mostly not English, and babelfish doesn't recognize it at all either. Pick a language that people on the planet Earth understand.


2) The pieces that were vaguely similar to English were very, very, very disjunct and badly organized. Take a high-school writing course again, and learn how to organize your thoughts and present them so that you come off as something other than a 17 year old who just got done huffing gas.


I don't mean to be harsh with this assessment, but, really, what do you expect with a posting like that? Regardless of your perspective (my guess is that you like PCs more than Macs, but it is hard to tell because I haven't spoken Betelgeusian in a while...), people won't listen to you or respect what you have to say if you can't say it in a manner that is intelligible. Proper language syntax and usage is not optional if you want to communicate with somebody or something like a compiler.


FYI...

mp_nl
2003-07-17 23:24:00
Reason 3 is narrow-sighted
Last time I looked at the word in a dictionary, "proprietary" is used to describe something which is seperate unto itself, indicative of a closed system.


You'll excuse me, but isn't Windows the more proprietary of systems? I would think that with a Unix core, the Mac would be closer to Linux in your comparison.


It does seem that no braincells were killed to write this "report" - just rote mumblings of years' past...

anonymous2
2003-07-17 23:35:55
The ironic part is...
And let me add, that for me as a Java developer, it isn't. Why? Because Java is still relying very much on processor power and my 2.8GHz PC just performs much better than my dual 1.4GHz Mac. And that's another point why many Windows users don't switch.
anonymous2
2003-07-17 23:48:55
The ironic part is...

Well, that's a moot point after the G5 comes out swingin'.
jmincey
2003-07-18 00:14:47
Misplaced Java Support
Your point only argues in favor of Intel over PPC. It has nothing to do with Windows over OS X. I don't know any Java developer who thinks the commitment to Java by Microsoft is remotely equal to that of Apple. Quite the contrary, Microsoft -- having appropriated and adulterated Java as its own C# -- is doing everything it can to undermine the development platform.


Today the top three technology companies most behind Java are Sun, IBM, and Apple. If you wish to use Pentium or Itanium chips, more power to you, though I do think the G5 is most promising. But if you think Windows, under the stewardship of Microsoft, has a great future as a Java development platform, then we strongly disagree.

anonymous2
2003-07-18 00:23:47
Market share, pah!
Market share stats are totally subjective.


Lets look at the CPU market for a moment - did you know that in the industry AS A WHOLE, intel has a 2% market share. Sure, if you are talking just PCs then their market share in enormous, but once you factor in the CPU in your VCR, your car, your phone, your optical mouse ... well, you get the idea.


I am a very recent Switcher. I agree with the input/output point above - I wanted my workflow of capturing/editing/producing DVDs to be uninterrupted by IRQ_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL bluescreens.


I also strongly agree with the point that no-one seems to know anyone else who owns a Mac. I work in IT so might've expected to be able to find a Mac owner but nope. My decision to buy a PowerBook was based on web reviews (I could not find anyone with a bad word to say!) and a play in PC World - my criteria was "if I can find the GUI dialog to change TCP/IP settings this baby is mine"


The rest is history. I've used windows, like, forever, I've had an affair with Linux and now my main PC is a Mac - yes, Macs are Personal Computers too!


OS X has all the benefits of Linux with slick multimedia all ready and waiting.


Unless something really bad happens to Apple, I expect my next PC will be a Mac, too.

jmincey
2003-07-18 00:25:01
IT Mentality
Actually, IT personnel are among the most UNLIKELY to be open to trying a Mac because they are raised in the corporate milieu in which Microsoft is the only acceptable religion. Even today, if the average IT person hears the word, Mac, they are inclined to pooh-pooh it as a serious platform -- never mind that it's a de facto Unix workstation and server.


So you are a very rare bird indeed -- and this is a good thing.

anonymous2
2003-07-18 00:41:45
Misplaced Java Support
PPC is the only viable platform for OS X, and i386 the only viable platform for Windows. Thus the point is by extension valid for these operating systems.


Microsoft is not the main purveyor of Java VMs for Windows, and their strategy regarding Java vs. C#/.Net does not set the pace for the Java industry. There are several different non-MS Java VMs available for i386, and they seem to be better optimized than their PPC counterparts.


I've had the opportunity to run the same Java apps (MagicDraw, XMLMind's XXE, JBuilder) under OS X as well as Windows and Linux on comparable machines (a P3/600 and a G4/667). The Java VMs are probably comparable when it comes to raw speed, but the user interface is snappier in Windows than in Linux, and OS X is the worst of the bunch, verging on being unusable.

anonymous2
2003-07-18 00:42:31
Because...
Because it's a Mac, baby.


De La Soul use 'em...

anonymous2
2003-07-18 00:51:56
Critical flaw of reasoning in SJ article
To be frank, it still isn't as easily upgradable as a PC. Switching out the CPU is a pain. Motherboard upgrades are pretty much impossible, adding a new video card, if not manufacturer by Apple is a nightmare, if not impossible in most cases and if you try popping a non-Apple DVD writer in there, it simply won't work, because they are trying to protect their own product lines. So yes, you can add hard drives and memory, but that is it for most of the easiest upgrades.


I mean, for heaven's sake, if you need to replace the power supply (where I live, we get extreme temperatures summer and winter, leading to lots of dead PSUs/PSU fans), although it's an ATX power supply, you can't buy a new one, because Apple swapped some of the ATX connector lines, so a generic PC ATX PSU will kill the mobo. I'm sorry, but that is just being stubborn to the point of stupidity.


And with respect, your comments about hard drive install and CDRW install are the same under Windows and Linux. Just shove the drive in and boot it.

anonymous2
2003-07-18 00:53:24
Reason 3 is narrow-sighted
Windows would be the more proprietory of systems, if Apple released stuff back to the community. As it is, they've only really released Safari hacks back, because the GPL forces them to.


I think most people examining that question from the free software world are currently unhappy with Apple, but would like to see Quicktime player released for alternative OSs, which would fix many things.


What we really want in total:
- Quicktime
- Rights to use Apple's font anti-aliasing techniques (may be moot, current Linux AA techniques are very good, not sure whether they are on a par yet)