Microsoft’s greatest trick: convincing the public that the Wintel PC platform is open

“I don’t think there’s any easy way for Apple to overcome [the Windows] familiarity factor, and I think it’s the single biggest impediment to would-be-switchers. However, I do think this — those who are aware of the Mac and suspect it might be a better choice, but who are reluctant to try because they’re so familiar with Windows — is one group of people who are perhaps likely to switch because of the so-called ‘iPod halo effect.’ Through their iPods, they become familiar with Apple hardware and software (iTunes), and, in many cases, familiar with Apple retail stores. I think in some cases they just need to see existence proof that Apple kit isn’t ‘weird,'” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball.

Another “commonly-held knock against the Mac: …the Mac is controlled by Apple, that switching to it is risky because it puts your computing future in the hands of just one company. I.e. that PCs are open and Macs are closed, and open is somehow safer,” Gruber writes. “But while PC hardware in and of itself constitutes an ostensibly open platform, somewhere around 90-95 percent of all PCs sold are, in fact, Windows PCs. And while, yes, Apple controls the entirety of each Macintosh, both software and hardware, Microsoft controls Windows every bit as much as Apple does Mac OS X… If Mac users’ eggs are all placed in Apple’s basket, I fail to see how Windows users’ eggs are any less all placed in Microsoft’s. And which company of the two strikes you as more likely to abuse the implicit trust placed in it by the customers who have grown dependent upon its operating system: the one with less than three percent world-wide total market share or the one with a monopoly position which it has already been convicted of abusing under anti-trust laws? …The greatest trick Microsoft has gotten away with is convincing the public that the Wintel PC platform is open.”

Full article here.

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
Let’s give him a nudge: liberal blogger teeters on edge of switching from Windows to Mac – March 02, 2006


  1. John has a point, and is a excellent writer.

    But on the PC side the stranglehold is considerably less than on the Mac side.

    There is more choice of hardware vendors, if Gateway starts being a @$$, you go to Dell,
    if Dell starts being a @$$ you go to HP,
    if HP starts being a @$$ you go to eMachines,
    if eMachines starts being a @$$ then perhaps your the @$$.

    Regardless of who’s the @$$, the hardware will work together.

    Now what happens if Apple becomes the @$$? Your stuck with a boatload of software with no hardware to run it on.

    Now you might say “What if Microsoft becomes the @$$?”

    Well there’s Linux, FreeBSD etc. even OSX86

  2. “Now you might say “What if Microsoft becomes the @$$?””

    What if? They have been the @ss for a long time, and most people have not switched to Linux.

    Also, excuse my ignorance (as I have not tried Linux for myself), but I don’t think you can run all your windows software on Linux. If that’s the case, you once again are stuck with a whole boatload of software that won’t run on your computer.

    ANY OS is to a certian degree a closed system.

  3. MacDude: “John has a point, and is a excellent writer.”

    “Your stuck with a boatload of software . . . ”

    Unlike yourself, who is not “an” excellent writer.

    In fact, “you’re” a troll.

  4. Regardless which OS is better or worse, it is unhealthy for one organization to be in control of 90 – 95% of all the computers.

    Most people don’t change because most people are not bright enough to understand what they are doing.

    Mac users are on average a brighter group of people and PC users would typically be much like reglious followers. Lemmings – “Just tell me what to do and god forbit that I have to think for myself.” It’s just the new American way. It’s why our jobs are being shipped to India. As long as Windows is the primary computer OS, those jobs will continue to fly overseas.

  5. “The greatest trick Microsoft has gotten away with is convincing the public that the Wintel PC platform is open.”

    Sounds a lot like this line: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” — Verbal Kint

    I wonder if it was intentional. After all, Bill Gates is Keyser Soze without the charisma, and Ballmer is Soze without the brains.

  6. Windows users are not stupid by any degree. Most of them, well, at least on the tech side of it, just love being able to tinker with the box a lot. Just like a car machanic who buys a car. He wants to open it, take some things out, maybe replace a few other things with this and that. Yet, also another majority of them are just unsure of, or have no idea, what MAC is about. Being your average MacHead myself, I am always telling people I know about apple. I have 5 people at work all considering it, yet there is that fear of change. They are comfortable, even if it doesn’t work all of the time, it doesn’t crash everytime. So in the end it works, so its good enough for me. In time, as long as all of us keep our heads on our shoulders, and treat windows users with respect. We will acheive a better MacWorld to live within. Most of them just don’t know any better, and who can honestly blame one for being scared? I made this post way to long haven’t I? Ah well, time to go mix sum kool-aid to go with my Popeye candy cigarettes 😀

    MDN MW “Anyone”
    Be nice to them, have patience, and you may convert just about anyone.

  7. Plz, ignore my above post I was going to say something, then accidently pasted a link that I was going to IM to a friend, then hit return. I screwed up so I’ll shut up. I’m never drinking vodka again!

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