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.

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