You want back into the Mac market?  Apologize to Mac users first

By SteveJack

The dirty little secret of personal computer market share is that Mac market share is really much higher where it matters than many realize.

When you throw out all of the Windows PCs plopped in office cubicles doing nothing more than Outlook, IE, and Excel (while sitting idle at night and weekends) and all of the cash registers, servers, and other dumb terminals, you’ll see that the Mac’s share of “PCs that actually matter” grows.

And this fact is important when your business exists to serve computer users. Yes, Kim Komando, I’m talking to to you. In fact, I’m not just talking to the self-proclaimed “Digital Goddess,” I’m talking about Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears, and every single retailer, computer magazine, and software developer who dropped Mac support in the past.

We’re still heeere!
Why am I talking to you? Because I can see what’s happening today: PC Magazine adding a column about Apple Macs, rumors of Circuit City to again carry Macs, Best Buy running a pilot program selling Macs their stores, and, yes, even Kim Komando, after years of pretending Macs and we Mac users didn’t exist, once again deigning to mention Macs (even if she does get things totally wrong, for example: “Generally, Macs are more expensive than Windows computers with comparable specifications”).

Why all of this sudden interest in Macs by these fair weather friends? It’s simple: Apple’s Macs are kicking ass and taking names and these bandwagon hoppers see the writing on the wall. They see that Microsoft’s Windows Vista is yet another bad imitation of Apple’s Mac OS and that it’s still Windows to the core: DLL hell, the Registry, etc. Nobody’s excited about Windows Vista, not even Microsoft employees.

So now, all of a sudden, these media outlets, retailers, and software developers want to include Apple Mac in their formerly Windows-only world. You know, the world where they ignored and/or denigrated Macs and us for years. And they did denigrate us. Those of us who remember asking about Macs or Mac software in, say Sears or Circuit City, for example, got some really nasty looks and comments. Those of you who remember that type of treatment will know why I am writing this today.

They left us for dead, now they want us to patronize their businesses?

Retribution required?
The big question I have for Mac users is: Do we just let them hop back aboard the Mac train? Do we simply forgive and forget? Or should they pay some price exacted by the Mac faithful? How about apologies, at least?

For example, I’d have no problem shopping for Macs at a retailer who dropped Macs because they (and Apple) couldn’t figure out how to sell superior personal computers running a superior operating system to people back in the late 1990’s, if and only if, they first said something like, “We at Mega Computer Outlet today announce that we are correcting a mistake made back in the late ’90’s when we dropped the superior Mac platform. We miscalculated. And we sincerely apologize to the 25+ million Mac users we failed to properly serve for the past eight years. We did not foresee Mac OS X at that time. We now realize that in order to be considered the best personal computer retailer in the world, we need to carry the best personal computers, Apple Macs. Starting today we will stock the full line of Apple Macs, including all Mac mini, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro models. Blah, blah, blah.”

If they don’t apologize first, I really can’t see shopping there.

If I were to, God forbid, suffer a cataclysmic brain injury, I’d probably have no problem listening to Kim Komando’s radio show if she first said on-air, “I blew it. I thought the Mac was dead and I was so very wrong. I made a bad bet. I am so sorry about wasting years of your time by recommending Windows anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, registry tweaks, and so many other convoluted and expensive fixes to a platform that even Microsoft admits can’t be fixed. I should have been telling you all along to dump that Windows box; that you made a mistake; that you should’ve bought a Mac. I am truly sorry. Please forgive me.”

If she dosen’t admit her mistake first (and I don’t, God forbid, have an accident that shaves more than 100 points off my IQ), then I can’t imagine ever listening to her radio show.

Time to don the robes?
Supposedly, we’re one big cult (and growing each and every day), so perhaps we should start really acting like one? Don’t you think we should throw on the old robes, light the candles, band together, and demand some dues from these businesses that once dropped the Mac and now suddenly want back into the club?

Or do you think we should just bury the hatchet, forgive and forget, and welcome them back with warm embrace?

I think we should come up with a plan that’s a balanced mix of the two. We’ll take you guys and gals back with semi-open arms, but we want to hear some contrition first. And how about promising not to abandon us again at the first sign of a bit of rough road? I think we deserve at least that much upfront because we longtime Mac proponents were right all along and you fair-weather Mac friends were wrong. I need you to apologize before I can forgive you.

[Note: I am not talking about former Mac users returning to the Mac. To returning Mac users I simply say, “Welcome back!”]

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.

110 Comments

  1. There are only 10 reasons to be in business. The first is to make a profit, and the other nine don’t count.

    Anybody that went Windows only made a business decision to do so, just like those that produced Mac products. There is no room for emotional decisions in business.

    That firms are coming back to the Mac platform should be celebrated, not denigrated, because the business case for developing Mac products now makes sense.

    This is good news for Mac users and investors alike.

    MDN MW = size, as in size of market share is very important to those making Mac products. That share is now growing. Welcome it, and those that are changing their business model to exploit it.

    In the end we all benefit.

  2. SteveJack: “We’ll take you guys and gals back with semi-open arms, but we want to hear some real contrition first. And how about promising not to abandon us again at the first sign of a patch of rough road?”

    I agree. Ithink we deserve at least that much, too.

  3. Apple Stores do exist every other retailer does not make in my radar. Not only that, I actually have started to reply differently than before to MANY Windows users how life is on a Mac and if they should switch now that Mac NOW looks really good.

    What I say to them is that they must have suffered Stockholm syndrome for years, this is the only explanation for their will to be screwed and screwed and screwed repeatedly without even considering that since we Mac users were VERY happy with our experience there must have been something in those Mac platforms and OS. OS X is out since 5+ years. We still have to see a malware that deserves to be called malware and not doobie shit good for morons, err, Windows average users.

    I reply that they spent so many years with Windows I do not believe they should switch now. They deserve to die with Windows. They always look at me now with a very funny look and I explain them: Look, I have been talking to you about Mac OS X and trying to really do you a favor by taking you out of your misery. I now do not care if you do switch, actually, it would bother me you would switch now. I am convinced that after having drank pee for so many years you could not understand champagne. So I am really tired from trying to make you taste champagne for so many years. Do what you think but do not bother me. Mac did not need you (general you) as customer before, it shows it does not need you now. What Mac will enjoy is new users, new comers, people not corrupted by Windows so long as you are. Stay on Windows, you deserve it!

  4. Yeah, that would be smart-just when Apple has made its case, and made the world see how great Macs and OS X are, we current users should act like jerks towards people who show renewed interest in the product. Smart, real smart.

  5. I’ll take a wait and see approach ’cause it’s too early to see how this plays out. But in the mean time I say we still hold their feet to the fire by pointing out the flawed thinking in their rhetoric and factual errors in their talking points.

    When they can talk the talk then they can begin the walk…

  6. The first time I went into a Circuit City store was in 1998. I didn’t realize they did not carry Apple products. When I asked a salesman to show me the Macs, he gave me a disgusted look and said “We don’t carry that crap!”. Needless to say, I walked out and never went back. And I think it’s safe to say that I never will.

  7. Not at all. This isn’t a cult. If Windows was a better system than Mac, I’d use it.

    In fact, as with all “chosen people”, we will wind up doing the heavy lifting to help the hapless newbies incorporate. Fortunately, that’s relatively easy on a Mac. I’ve done it on almost every system I’ve “sold” – it takes a couple of weeks until the recovering Win user starts walking for him- or herself.

    We destroy our enemies by making them our friends. Each copy of XP that goes dark and inactive is a victory and a burden at the same time. The world becomes a (slightly) better place.

    The ignorant leaders of the ignorant masses will carry a special shame – having to play catch-up. Kommando and Dvorak and all their ilk look like fools every time they open their mouths vis-a-vis Mac. That’s $, folks. Likewise, the fools in the box stores who are missing the resurgence of the Mac market.

  8. Of course we let them back in, and we won’t be smug, smart asses about it either, otherwise we just prove them right. Mac users should be out rejoicing over all the converts, not demanding retribution. A happy convert often makes the best evangelist, just ask Paul.

  9. It’s a fuss about nothing.

    Those who don’t already know about Macs aren’t buying them because they’re not on sale in ordinary stores. Therefore they’ll buy what’s on offer and it isn’t a Mac.

    Unless Macs are sold in a variety of outlets there will be loads of people who don’t come across an easy opportunity to buy one. There needs to be a broad mix of outlets, mail order, Toys-R-Us, major department stores, big supermarkets and computer dealers, specialist Apple stores and all the others too.

    Mac die-hards might not like the buying experience that they would get if they carried a boxed Mac to a supermarket checkout, but such customers already know where to buy Macs. So long as a broad mix of outlets is provided, each customer can buy in the way that suits them best.

    Of course it would be wonderful if everybody who could benefit from a Mac got to purchase one from a fully trained Apple specialist, dressed in a smart black outfit with a stylish logo, inside an air-conditioned temple to all things Apple, but ultimately it’s much more important that they buy a Mac somewhere than simply get another PC because it’s too hard to find a Mac.

  10. SteveJack,

    Not just beautiful writing, but an excellent question:

    They left us for dead, now they want us to patronize their businesses?

    Really, should we Mac users just run back blissfully thankful that they’re back to the Mac or should we expect something from companies whose representatives once sneered at or ignored the Mac platform for so long?

    Maybe we should just spend our money at Apple Retail Stores and with others who kept the faith instead?

  11. Let’s not lose the real point of this article:

    They left us for dead, now they want us to patronize their businesses?

    I have been mistreated for years as a Mac user. Literally laughed at buy co-workers, friends, family, retailers, media outlets, etc. for using a Mac. I, for one, cannot so easily forgive.

    Best Buy, Circuit City, PC Rag, Komando, etc. would do well by me to be a little contrite as they announce they’ll be catering to Mac users again.

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