Windows portion of PC industry has serious issues while Apple’s Mac thrives

“The computer industry, or the Windows portion of it, seems to have come down with a case of the Mondays. Across much of the business, profits are flat or dropping and stock valuations are crumbling, and the rest of this year seems only to promise more of the same,” Rob Pegoraro writes for The Washington Post.

“Even if [Microsoft’s Windows] Vista were to land on store shelves two months from now, and in perfect quality, the PC industry would still have serious issues to address. They all revolve around the basic theme of any business built on mass-produced electronic devices: the inevitable shift of a product from luxury to commodity,” Pegoraro writes.

“Computer manufacturers all know how to sell a luxury item, whether it’s a $2,000 Sony Vaio laptop or a $3,000 Dell XPS gaming rig: Throw in every possible feature, and spend some extra time designing a shiny case that sticks out in a crowd,” Pegoraro writes.

“Most of these companies also know how to sell a $300 bargain-basement desktop: Build the thing out of the cheapest available parts and make sure it’s easy for customers to find in the store,” Pegoraro writes. “But what about the computers in between — the models that will allow a computer manufacturer to build a thriving business, instead of selling only to pricey niches or grinding out a living at the low end of the market?”

Pegoraro writes, “Many of these middle-of-the-road models combine the least appealing parts of these approaches: one or two high-end components mixed in with average hardware, all packaged with a total absence of style. There’s little that is interesting about these machines unless, perhaps, you’re a corporate information technology department.”

Pegoraro writes, “Put it this way: If it weren’t for the occasional battery bursting into flames, what would make a Dell laptop uniquely Dell?”

“It’s not that customers don’t have clear needs. Most have a pretty good idea of what they’d like out of their next computer — but manufacturers typically are either unwilling or unable to deliver those things,” Pegoraro writes. “They keep bundling the same operating system, so they can do little to fix two of the problems people complain about most often, security and maintenance.”

Pegoraro writes, “There is one area, however, that computer vendors control completely, and that could set them apart from competitors: tech support. In most other businesses, interacting with the customer after the purchase is not only considered a normal part of the job, it’s one of the primary ways to build repeat business. And it can be done in the PC business, too: Just ask Apple, which has people lining up to talk to the tech-support “geniuses” at its retail stores.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple, of course, is the only personal computer company that also offers a totally unique experience: one that actually works for the user while still allowing users to slum it with the odd Windows application if need be. Hopefully, more and more people will figure it out before they again waste their money on a Windows PC.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
AP: Time to think different, Apple Mac beats Dell on price, software compatibility, and more – August 23, 2006
Survey shows big jump in consumer interest in buying Apple Mac; Dell takes steep slide – July 06, 2006
Dude, you got a Dell? What are you, stupid? Only Apple Macs run both Mac OS X and Windows! – April 05, 2006

13 Comments

  1. “Put it this way: If it weren’t for the occasional battery bursting into flames, what would make a Dell laptop uniquely Dell?”

    Or, as we say in the People’s Republic Of Guildford…

    Q. What’s the difference between a Dell and a 10-gallon bucket of horseshit?

    A. The bucket

  2. Forgetting all the advantages of Apple, one of the things that pushed me to get a Mac was the way PC’s are sold to the public. In the UK (at least) there are all these ads for PC World (and the like) that highlight a machine (that they have an offer on) and rattle off all these buzzword specs then in a hilarious bit of acting have members go “Intel Core Duo Technology?” to which the salesman replies: “Lets you do more than one thing at a time, like surf the web and download tunes.” The customer then acts amazed and immediately buys one of these cheapo pieces of shit. Forgetting OS X but I’m pretty sure that any PC on sale at the moment can do minimal multi-tasking like that. Could they be talking bullshit? Never!

  3. If Windows runs at 85% efficiency on a Mac under Parallels Software and you can sandbox it and keep it completely safe from external dangers, does it run as fast as Windows fully exposed in Boot Camp with several free anti-virus programs protecting it and stealing processor cycles while they are doing so?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. “Put it this way: If it weren’t for the occasional battery bursting into flames, what would make a Dell laptop uniquely Dell?”

    Freakin’ hilarious!!! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  5. Dell Customer: I can’t print anymore.
    Dell Rep: Why, what did you do wrong?

    Apple Customer: Is there a way to share my stuff with the rest of the world?
    Apple Rep: Sure, let me tell you about…

    There is a very distinct difference between the computing experiences of Macintosh and all the rest.

    In the PC world it’s a constant struggle to stay ahead of the gremlins. To put it in GWBs vernacular, in the battle for your computing space, you have to be right 100 percent of the time, whereas the gremlins only have to be right once.

    On the Mac platform it truly is a quest of enlightenment and unfettered by threat, one is left to pursue a world of discovery.

    In fact, the Mac ecosystem is so utopian and scientifically precise, it’s complexity, fit and finish, leaves many of us amazed while pondering whether the macro we just uncovered was serendipity or science!

    That for me, is what computing is about and not staying one step ahead of the thieves.

  6. “How many processor cycles have been lost in anti-virus scans since Windows was released?”

    What process uses most CPU time on the average Windows PC? the System Idle Process. Yes people even claim that’s using up all their CPU and wonder how to kill it.

    For most people and most applications antivirus adds no perceptible overhead.

    “In the Mac platform it truly is a quest of enlightenment and unfettered by threat, one is left to pursue a world of discovery.”

    Yeah man, my hands are so big, look at all the colors, wow man.

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