How and why Apple is beating Microsoft to a pulp

Amid much about Apple platforms reaching parity with Microsoft’s (interesting stuff; see the full article), Horace Dediu writes for Asymco, “We have to understand that the Windows advantage itself came from the way computing was purchased in the period of its ascent. In the 1980s and 1990s computing platform decisions were made first by companies then by developers and later by individuals who took their cues from what standards were already established. As these decisions created network effects, the cycle repeated and the majority platform strengthened.”

“But it was the large companies who made the core decisions. In the 1980s if the Fortune 500 companies all standardized on Windows then their suppliers and customers would also standardize on it. Add governments and other institutions and 80% of the market is probably decided,” Dediu writes. “There was concentration in decision making. In other words, in the 80s a platform could win by convincing 500 individuals who had the authority (as CIOs) to impose through fiat a standard on the centers of gravity of purchasing power.”

“Today, with mobile products there are billions of decision makers. 500 decisions mean nothing,” Dediu writes. “The decision making process for buying computers, which began with large companies IT departments making decisions with multi-year horizons, has changed to billions of individuals making decisions with no horizons. Companies have become the laggards and individuals the early adopters of technology.”

“The fundamental shift is therefore in the quantity of decision makers and the quality of those decisions. Those who buy are also those who use and their decisions will be perhaps whimsical, maybe impulsive and not calculated, but fundamentally, in the aggregate, wise,” Dediu writes. “Ultimately, it was the removal of the intermediary between buyer and beneficiary which dissolved Microsoft’s power over the purchase decision. It’s not just unlikely that this situation will be reversed, it’s impossible.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Regarding this subject, here’s a small, random sample of what we’ve been saying over the years:

• Note to CEOs: your IT department should not be making final hardware and software purchasing decisions. They should be supporting your company’s technology needs. You should get independent viewpoints (find people who recommend Macs and make them explain why) and retain the decision-making role for yourselves. Don’t settle for Windows-only shackles. A marked increase in productivity and reliability for your company is there for the taking. You can get Macs and seamlessly integrate them into your business – even if all you do at first is run Windows on them. You can explore Mac OS X and better ways of doing things according to your own timeline (hint: start by using Keynote instead of PowerPoint for your presentations and watch your audiences perk up). Just don’t expect your IT people to ever recommend Apple, as they may have ulterior motives for sticking with Microsoft.MacDailyNews, January 1, 2007

• One device, Apple’s iPhone, is far more evolved than anything else on the market today. The IT dinos will be — gasp! — forced to accommodate the employees; a rarity, we know, but watch and see… The IT guys are in for a rude awakening and the iPhone is only the beginning. They will have to accommodate the iPhone. Too many important employees will demand it and IT won’t be able to stem the tide. The fact is that business people will decide which device they want to carry and their businesses will adapt to it. Just as they did with “Microsoft-incompatible” Research In Motion’s Blackberry. Apple’s iPhone will be a success with business users whether the IT guy wants it or even whether AT&T and Apple tailor marketing to businesses or not.

Note to CEOs: Who runs the company, you or the IT guy? It’s your job to make the decisions and it’s the IT guy’s job to implement your decisions that relate to technology. Just as with Macs, you need to educate yourself instead of relying on someone with their own, possibly hidden, agendas to make extremely important technology decisions for your company. Most of you could be saving a LOT of money right now, but you aren’t because you’ve delegated an important part of your company’s decision-making to people who, frankly, in our experience, aren’t capable of making good, sound, strategic, long-term decisions. Most IT guys (and we know many) are not open-minded enough to be able to consider new, better, more efficient, more effective options that would benefit your company. In fact, most IT guys we’ve met will throw up road blocks and repeat myths until they’re blue in the face in order to avoid change. Especially change that might make their department less critical or smaller. Bottom line: most of you CEOs have given the IT guy way, way, way too much power. It’s time to take it back.MacDailyNews, June 16, 2007

• Shouldn’t IT people be out front, trying new things, pushing the envelope in order to drag their companies kicking and screaming into the future in order to boost productivity? Unfortunately, they’re all too often the complete opposite: erecting artificial barriers built on shaky or nonexistent foundations, resisting change at every turn…MacDailyNews, March, 17, 2010

• Mr. IT Doofus: Lead, follow, or, finally, GTF out of the way. Luckily for world productivity, many of the most myopic IT idiots are retiring or soon will be. Here’s to the disappearance of entrenched, unreasonable IT morons dedicated to erecting walls to progress!MacDailyNews, November 11, 2010

• In our experience, the number one prerequisite for holding a job as an IT doofus is the ability to execute “perverse land grabs for relevance or job security.” That’s why they wedded their hapless companies to less-productive, less-reliable Windows PCs over Macintosh in the first place. That they continue to try to block out Apple’s iPad is hardly surprising. The good news is that they are being replaced by new blood as you read this, so IT-retarded/Microsoft-handicapped businesses are exiting, or about to exit, the dark ages and get a lot more productive!MacDailyNews, September 9, 2011

• Get ready IT doofus, whether you like it or not, your little insular world is about to be turned right-side-up from the outside in.MacDailyNews, January 5, 2013

• There’s nothing worse for workplace morale than enlightened employees handcuffed by intransigent IT doofuses.MacDailyNews, April 19, 2013

Related articles:
Gartner: Apple’s U.S. Mac sales surge 28.5% as Windows PC market drops 7.5% – January 9, 2014
Hey, Microsoft-clinging IT doofus: You need to let it go already! – April 19, 2013
Microsoft partners say Windows 8 caused ‘millions of customers’ to switch to Apple – April 18, 2013
Stick a fork in Microsoft’s Windows, it’s done – April 17, 2013
Steve Jobs’ revenge – April 12, 2013
Microsoft’s stock takes beating after putrid Windows PC shipment reports – April 11, 2013
Apple Macintosh on the rise as Windows PC market plummets – April 11, 2013
Apple’s revolutionary iPad presents quandary for resistant corporate IT doofuses – January 5, 2012

51 Comments

  1. The sad thing about MDN’s portrayal of a business’ ‘IT people’ is in large measure untrue. Perhaps it’s true at the ‘IT people’s’ management level, but here in the trenches, we’ve been yelling at those asleep at the top to use Apple’s products for years.

    Some day, hopefully, they’ll wake up and realize we were right.

    1. Well you are a rare beast IMO. I worked as part of a team installing Xserve media suites in many large corps and without exception met with ridicule, underhand tactics and even sabotage. It got better as Macs and OSX proved themselves but my overall memory is of general hostility and a total lack of interest.
      I really miss the Xserve/Xsan.

    1. Yes, but imagine the economy of scale concept.

      If there are billions of users now, say millions of users back when 500 douche bags were responsible for 30 years of darkness then it’s not a great leap of the imagination to conceive of one singular douche bag being responsible for 2000 years of darkness.

      The sun one way or the other is coming.

  2. It’s hilarious and at the same time rather sad to see how Microsoft supporters refuse to hear any of this. This keep insisting that you can only do ‘real work’ on a PC and try to laugh off any situation where iPhones or iPads are used in industry. They obviously imagine that they’re fighting a battle, but haven’t noticed that the war is already over.

    PCs aren’t going to vanish for a while, but they are no longer the future, while other platforms are becoming more widely used. Careers within the IT support industry will be changing dramatically and there will be fewer and fewer jobs for Microsoft specialists and least of all for those that reject alternative products.

  3. Everyone is beating MS to the pulp. There is obviously Apple, for the sophisticated among us, and then there is Google and Samsung, for the ignorant among us who thinks that NYC is a terrible dump when your trailer trash park is no better. I’d rather be in South Bronx than in some hick trailer park being surrounded by ugly people with ugly Fragmandroid “phones”.

  4. Sure I could switch everything to Apple devices, but then I would have to rebuild everything else. All of our back end systems run on Windows based servers and their associated clients are also Windows based. Until that changes our end users will also run windows. Of our Core apps there are none that run as well or have nearly the functionality in the mobile space yet, if they have a mobile client at all. We support users on mobile devices, all mobile devices, be it windows, android, or ios based, but until the systems that we rely on for day to day operations have better mobile support, it’s a Windows world for our enterprise.

    1. This is the typical myopic view. We have a lot of processes in place that depend on Windows, with no corollary in the Apple world, and customers who use Windows who would incur huge overhead for re-training if we were to move to Apple, so we are where we are. What will happen is that more nimble startups will use the technology that makes sense and create what they need, and those entrenched in prehistoric technology will continue to slide into obscurity. Death is life’s greatest invention. Try it. You may like it.

  5. IT began making the decisions to a large degree because things needed to ‘work together’ and that was not always the case with older computing hardware.

    These days it is not much of an issue and you can standardize on certain processes and use a multitude of hardware and software to get the results.

    times are changing and have changed for the better.

  6. I hated MS when they were a rapacious monolith and the only game in town, but now that they’re more a pitiful helpless giant that’s lost its way under “the other Steve,” I have some pity for ’em.

    I also love real competition in the tech industry (altho’ it’s making product – and ecosystem – choices more and more difficult with more and more wrinkles to choose from).

    So with that in mind, I’m starting a personal campaign for MS to hire John Legere (T-Mob’s brash CEO) and really shake the whole industry up.

  7. This is hard to believe since I am having trouble recommending a laptop from Apple to a cousin of mine. She says she wants an Apple laptop but she also found a Toshiba with i7 quad core, 8gb ram, 1Tb HD, 15.6 inch screen for $590. I told her all about the benefits of better OS and resale price and no virus’s and support etc. But I myself need more convincing for that price. Any suggestions from the people here…….would be very very appreciated.

    1. Try this. I’m writing this on my 2006 MacBook Pro. So $2000 / 8 years = $250 per year with only a free battery replacement needed. Prior to that I had two high end Dells each of which lasted two years = $1000 per year.

      1. Did I mention I myself ( plus kids) have two MacBook pros and just recently bought a MacBook Air? I wouldn’t buy anything else. I know most of the hidden benefits of buying an Apple product (but maybe not all of them). Which is why I am being asked for ADVICE by a cousin. You got any?

        1. How about the 1TB drive vs a solidstate or PCI-e for that matter?
          Is that Toshiba used?
          How about the fact that a Windows OEM OS is preloaded with bloatware, constantly requiring updates.
          Surprised she didn’t like the customer support. Does she use an iPhone and iTunes? Makes it all the more better.
          Oh, don’t forget TimeMachine for backups. 🙂

          1. I believe new Windows laptops tend to come with a basic Office suite for free that can be upgraded via paying for a license key. As far as I can see the basic Office suite is a bit more feature rich than the currently offered iWorks w/ updates..

            1. “Feature-rich” and “usable” are two different things. “Features”, like “specs”, don’t mean diddly squat if they aren’t usable or used to their full potential.

    2. What you need to be able to explain to her is Total Cost of Ownership. Mac blows away Windows in that respect hands down. Try looking up some good articles on that and if she doesn’t want to go for it, then she is not ever going to be in the market for a Mac. Sorry, I don’t have any links but you certainly can find it out there.

    3. Sorry, but I find it hard to believe that you own Apple products, and yet you trot out spec comparisons as reasons against a Mac purchase.

      Anyone who has owned an Apple product quickly comes to regard spec comparisons in the same light as someone who chooses not to buy a lawn mower even though it is powered by a 12-cylinder Cummins Diesel engine.

      Maybe you are not, but you smell like a Troll.

  8. There is a perception that Bill Gates is a technology genius. There is a perception that Microsoft has been innovative, an industry leader.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, Microsoft is the world’s greatest industrial accident. Gates may have written some code back in the day, but that all ended the day that he bought DOS and leased it back to IBM. At that point he effectively poked a hole in the IBM money sack and cash began to pour into Microsoft. Not because Microsoft was innovative or created anything, but because MIS people trusted IBM.

    When MIS began installing IBM PCs few if any paid attention to the Microsoft copyright when DOS started up. No one realized that MIS was creating a monster.

    It was all about believing in IBM. Back then there was a saying: “No one was ever fired for choosing IBM.” Those of us working for companies that competed with IBM saw IBM as the big threat also. No one paid attention to Microsoft.

    Even Apple and Steve Jobs saw IBM as the big bad. Think of the 1984 commercial. That was targeted at IBM, not Microsoft.

    One day we woke up but by that time DOS was everywhere and Bill Gates was the richest man in the world.

    From that point on Microsoft used their desktop presence to leverage the success of any of their products. If they couldn’t buy a competitor, they just built something that was a “good enough” copy and gave it way with DOS, and subsequently Windows. People would not buy the competitor because they got a good enough product with the Microsoft OS. They tried to buy Netscape, for example. Netscape was going like gangbusters and refused to sell. MS built a crap browser called Internet Explorer. It sucked, but it was free. Netscape basically died.

    Well now they can’t do that. You can’t just build an iPod copy or an iPhone copy or an iPad copy and give it away with Windows. You have to build something that’s not just “good enough” but at least “as good AS.”

    And this is where they keep failing. They’re stuck in the mindset of leveraging Windows, while consumers of technology no longer care about Windows.

    In my humble opinion this is where Jobs got it wrong as well. He predicted the end of the PC. We are not witnessing the end of the PC, but the end of Windows.

    The iPhone and iPad and Cloud Computing have been major slams to Microsoft. In this brave new “BYOD” world, Windows is less important than browser compatibility!

    Goodbye Windows. I no longer want to deal with hyper-expensive OS rollout costs, indecipherable licensing, too many versions of Windows, and so on. I can do pretty much anything I need to do on an iPad. You don’t have an OS that competes with iOS let alone Android. No one is rushing to embed Windows in their cars. It’s not exactly a selling point.

    1. Yes, you raise a very important point. The great leveler has been the internet and the global establishment of internet standards. Microsoft was well on it’s way with internet explorer to developing proprietary standards that would have locked in most users to windows and Microsoft.

      Internet standards have rendered the OS to a much more inconspicuous area of software. The OS doesn’t matter, being able to seamlessly access internet services with the best form factor does matter. It matters a lot.

  9. While it would bew nice to see Macs everywhere, it’s just not the thing to do. We have many support people here whose primaryt purpose is Word Processing and the like. A Mac just isn’t needed here, unless Apple decided to make a truly affordable machine.

    We deploy hundreds of machines at as time and even if a Mac were only 5% more, we would be forced to deploy less and get less done.

    I don’t think Apple gives a hoot about this portion of the enterprise market.

    1. It isn’t just the sticker price—it never was—but the added benefit of better hardware longevity, lower support costs, lower licensing costs, better productivity etc., etc.

      The TCO of Macs have been lower than an equivalent PC for years—get educated!

      =:~)

      1. Seems MDN’s view is that IT has total control of not only decisions but also the budget to make it possible.. I understand iWorks was a good product until the recent upgrade that forced documents opened into the new format unreadable by previous versions of iWorks and Word in addition to ‘simplifying’ the suite by removing arguably features less used by a home consumer but nonetheless important to some business users.

    2. Terry, I would beg to differ, I am working on a project where all I need is a basic computer to connect to the Internet and a browser. I had to put together costing on this so I went to our IT department with my requirements, they came back to me with what they called our standard PC at a cost of $780.00 per unit. I did a cost comparison and I could get a low end Mac Mini at our corporate rate for $563. Long story sort, the IT department decided we should get the $780 POS HPs.

  10. In the mid to late 80’s in the UK there was quite a lot of choice in the Personal Computing world – Amstrad, Apricot, BBC micro etc. but MS gave away the software to PC assemblers and aggressively bundled the Office suite. – that gained market share and also had early adopters recommending PCs for their office situations.

    MS therefore had lots of impetus from those that were recommending a break from rhe slow corporate systems. Once schools in UK adopted MS as the basis for teaching office suite use inthe classroom the cast was set and Apple software found itself in the bargin bins.

  11. It’s weird, but I just don’t care about Microsoft anymore. They’re pretty much irrelevant, as far as I (as an Apple fan) am concerned. Sure, they still have the big majority in desktop OS, but so what? That market is less important every day. Tablets and smartphones are what’s important, and Microsoft is a huge hilarious failure in that area. (And even if did care about the desktop market, Mac sales keep growing while PC sales shrink.)

    So Microsoft is a lot like the guy who bullied you in school, who you later see working as a janitor in your office building. Sure, it’s a little satisfying to see him brought low, but after a while you just move on and forget about him. He just doesn’t matter any more.

    It’s Samsung and Google that I focus my ire on these days.

    ——RM

    1. The dominance of the Windows platform is slipping away all the time. 10 years ago, Windows PCs were outselling Macs by about 60 to 1. Last year was around 18 to 1 and while annual PC sales have slowed by around 15% in the past couple of years, Mac sales have only dipped by about 5%.

      Add that to the almost non-existence of Windows as a mobile platform compared to the massive market and – more importantly for Apple – usage shares of iOS and Android and Windows is becoming less relevant by the day.
      Check out asymco.com for the details.

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