Computerworld: Microsoft should fear Apple

Apple Store“Should Microsoft fear Apple’s Macintosh? Maybe not quaking-in-your-boots scared, mind you, but Redmond should certainly be concerned,” Scot Finnie writes for Computerworld.

“I’ll tell you why. Apple has gotten smarter about how it competes with Microsoft. Clearly the underdog, Apple has to make moves that can be seen as both supportive of the Windows marketplace and good for its Mac customers at the same time,” Finnie writes.

Finnie writes, “The switch to Intel was just such a chess move. Intel hardware makes it easier for Microsoft to create apps for the Mac. It solves a performance problem Apple had. It creates a better experience for Intel-Mac owners because it better supports Windows applications. The CPU architecture also puts Mac and Windows hardware on an easy-to-understand, level playing field. Perhaps most significantly, though, all these advantages appeal to potentially millions of Mac-curious Windows users because it makes the Mac more familiar.”

“For the first time in its 23-year history, the Mac is finally able to move fluidly into and out of the world of Microsoft Windows and its applications — both in the workplace and at home. Microsoft’s own Office suite plays a big role in that. Microsoft’s commitment to Office 2008 for the Mac lends additional support,” Finnie writes.

“OK, so full disclosure: I am a recent Mac convert. But before you chalk me up as an apple-eyed Mac fanboy, I’m not your average Windows-to-Mac switcher. No one knows better than me (well, maybe Microsoft’s accountants) how firm a grip on the computer industry Microsoft has. As a Windows reviewer since almost the beginning of Windows (my first tests were of Windows 2.11), I have no illusions about Microsoft’s market lock,” Finnie writes.

“If the Mac or any other desktop OS were to truly put a dent in Microsoft’s desktop market share, it would take 15 years for Windows to ‘die.’ And that’s assuming Microsoft stood still and did nothing. In other words, it ain’t gonna happen. I also don’t hate Microsoft. I’m not a fanatic. I’m just someone who recognizes a good thing when he sees it. I undertook a simple three-month trial of the Mac last autumn, with no intention of sticking around, and realized four months later that I wasn’t going back,” Finnie writes. “But here’s the kicker: I am very definitely not alone.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Excellent article, highly recommended, but, one quibble: things can change faster that Finnie seems to realize. Embrace and extinguish works exponentially.

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  1. He’s right. I started a thread a while back on a different site and referred to a tipping point, when Apple sales would somehow just hit the right level and be qualitatively (and likely quantitatively) different.

    I think the key is having certain trusted figures turn mac. I was that figure for several others. In business, it’ll be the higher-ups he mentions. People will follow, some blindly, some because if the boss has it, it’s tacit approval that they can do it too.

    This year will be big. I’m so interested in Leopard to come out. I do think there are some important “secret features” that we’ll all complain about, but will help many others to pull the lever and get a mac.

    Here’s to good times. Cheers.

  2. While Apple and Macintosh users have proven that their success is not related to Microsoft… although it can be accelerated by their incompetence… Microsoft not supporting scripting in the Mac Office `08 will be a problem in the commercial environment. If I can’t take a document from a Windows version of office that contains macro’s and use it on my Mac, I will be limited in using my Macintosh for work purposes. I am sure that I am not alone.

  3. Performance problems? They have pills for that I think…Who says Apple had performance problems before switching to Intel? I admit that getting the G4 out of the laptops was really big news but as a video editor on a dual G5 I was very happy with my Mac performance. I sit next to a 3D Studio Max designer working on a Xeon Dell and I can tell you that I had no performance envy. It is true that my new Quad Xeon Mac Pro is a performance boost but I certainly never thought of the G5 as lacking performance…

  4. What if Apple comes out with their own office suite that will cross-platform with MS Office. Is it possible – I don’t know but one can speculate. Imagine what impact that would have on converts.

  5. Indeed, the factor of change happens more rapidly than Scot understands.

    When internal employees I know at certain high-tech companies Apple uses (and others as well), claim they see Apple owning 50% market share in 5-7 years, and they are not joking around, you’d better understand what is coming.

    Two major factors will propel Apple into this type of giant.

    1. iTunes: Some are finally understanding iTunes is a platform, and it will gain iTunes mobile soon enough. Microsoft has blown it with it’s “Home Media Server” where people get to manage another piece of HW with ever growing hard drive requirements, with Windows slapped on it… Who is into that beyond those kids in Redmond?… Apple has the model coming where you purchase or rent, and you can choose to download into iTunes or not. Apple keeps a nice record of what you own or are renting, and you can access it (via streaming) anywhere, any time. iPod, iPhone, AppleTV, computer. iTunes will allow Apple to become a monster in mobile and home entertainment, while M$ stumbles around with XBox 360 and Live whatever…

    2. Mac OS X: The OS is the perfect rabbit hole. Once people start buying SW for a platform it is really tough to get them to move elsewhere. The Intel switch was phase one of the game. Phase two is Leopard and virtualization. Phase three will be about seamless application use of Windows or Mac – on a Mac – Parallels need not apply.

    Apple’s goal here, along with the open source community is, ironically enough, to make the OS irrelevant. Buy software, any software, and it will just run, and isn’t that they way it should be? Of course, but Redmond won’t play this game – ever, and that is Apple’s endgame, and key advantage. While their OS will make the OS irrelevant, it will make OS X the must have OS to do so! Ironic isn’t it.

    Redmond once thought this way, and figured it would be the end all to crushing all other platforms, but quickly pulled it from Longhorn, as every other platform would be sure to follow, and M$ would have made their OS irrelevant for running all that Win only SW…

    The shoe is on the other foot, and Apple can only gain from doing this, while Redmond will only react to such a move as a last resort, and with the difficulty there is in doing such software, count on Redmond being 5 years late to the game, with a spat of softare issues ta boot.

  6. I think we’ll see some big changes at Apple in the next 5 years. With the release of Vista and Office, Apple has a wonderful opportunity to create an Office compatible package and start gunning for the corporate world. MS will lack the time to screw with their code and ruin the compatibility without being too obvious. These days are different. Sure most of us surf and e-mail more than we do anything else but more and more people hate MS to include the Euro-Union and anti-trusts in the US Gov. Apple needs to move because nobody’s excited about Vista and the software market will open world wide. I would hate to see another country produce another MS for Americans to throw their money to.

  7. …that’s so true mdn. things can happen faster than you think.
    ….I remember once going to sleep on a Sunday night and then suddenly I was all grown up with my very own razor and shave cream.
    At some point in the near future Microsoft will go to sleep on a Sunday night and wake up in a halfway house …a special home for the halfass …with bad hair and a v-neck sweater.

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