Mac versus PC

While taping a web show with Jerry Liao last week, Jerry asked me what advice to give viewers who intend to buy laptops. I said my advise is simple: buy a Mac!

I keep telling this to everyone who asks me now, because eventually these are the same people who will approach me for advice once they start getting malware and viruses. So I tell them to just get a Mac instead. At least less and less people have been approaching me for tech support :)

One of our guests (Pao Manzano of HWMagazine) shot a question at me. He said if Macs are really that great, why is Windows still number one in market share? I should have given him a simple answer. Instead, I rambled on about the mechanics of first-mover advantage, pricing, and how people are naturally resistant to change, etc etc.

I should've said, "What is right is not necessarily what is popular."

Here are some readings that I recommend for those who want to understand the Apple phenomenon.

  • Non-Apple's mistake: this guy actually digs why Apple makes great products. The funny thing is, he's an Apple hater but he admits Apple products are great and everyone else is being duped to accept substandard PC software. Read it in full.
  • The Big Bite of the Apple: maybe we need to see it from the big picture, as GigaOm does. Apple's market capitalization (a measure of company value) is now closer to Microsoft and way above Google, Dell, and Palm (which is up for sale after PalmPre failed to compete successfully against the iPhone). Read it in full.
I devised a simple test called the Cafe Test to check the rising popularity of Macs. Go to a cafe and if you see at least one Mac, then that's a good sign. Why? Because two years ago, Macs were deemed pricey and unattainable by the rest of us. They have steadily grown cheaper and more accessible since then and, despite that, they retain their status as a product whose design respects the ordinary user. 

I asked Pao why he decided to stick to PCs. He said that unlike others who want something pretty, he wanted something that simply worked. Too bad, I thought. Pao never used Macs long enough to know that they do indeed just work -- right out of the box, you could start being productive with a Mac. Which is something I could not say for PC/Windows (and I used them for 20+ years!). Using a Mac, I was released from the annoyances of being asked pointless questions on whether to overwrite this older DLL or let it stay, the drudgery of daily scanning for malware that caused Internet Explorer to pop an endless amount of unwanted ads, the headaches of installing and deleting software, migrating my data and software when I changed laptops, etc etc. Life with PC was paranoia. Life with Macs is liberating.

Although PCs and Windows are still dominant in the PC market, it does not necessarily prove that they are the better products. PC/Win users will never really understand this until they try it for themselves, suspending early judgment while they adjust to the different paradigm of the Mac OS interface. 

The success of Apple speaks for itself -- in the fields of music (iPod), telecom (iPhone cornered a significant market share in its first year) and now slates (iPad). In comparison, the rest of them really just follow Apple's lead.

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