Microsoft doesn't think "it is sitting pretty because Best Buy has a 17-inch Dell for $650." I can assure you that internal talks at Microsoft include very worried discussions about how they're going to deal with Apple's quickly growing market share.
Microsoft's response to "Macs are better" is "PCs are cheaper", not because they think more PCs will sell because of these ads, per se, but because they want computers to be cheaper. They want to frame the buying decision in terms of price so they can drive prices down further. Oddly enough, this kind of worked. Apple lowered their prices.
As Joel Spolsky says, "Smart companies try to commoditize their products' complements... Microsoft's goal was to commoditize the PC market." (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/StrategyLetterV.html)
Microsoft does not think that it's OK to be inferior to Apple as long as they're cheaper. They just really really want computers to be cheaper. They always have. That's how they've made billions of dollars over the years. They tie the success of their software business directly to falling prices in the computer hardware industry. If they see any hint of that trend reversing (rising prices in hardware), they're going to fight it tooth and nail.
I think what they really need to understand is that the race to the bottom in the computer hardware market is generally over. We've arrived at (or near) the bottom. People can afford just about as many computers as they could possibly want now. If they want to further commoditize the personal computer, they should be doing what Google is doing and writing a stripped-down OS that runs on much weaker hardware but relies on the web for processing power. Insisting on machines that are both cheaper and more powerful than the PCs of yesteryear has reached the point of diminishing returns.
And the computer at the bottom are netbooks and smartphones, markets that MS is not strong in.
Was that a serious comment?
> As of January 2009, over 90% of netbooks are estimated to ship with Windows XP
Also, count me as a person who bought a netbook that shipped with XP and immediately installed Linux on it - the company no longer offered the model I wanted with Linux. So as always Microsoft is pushing Windows on people whether they want it or not and then turning around and screaming MARKET SHARE MARKET SHARE!
One market Microsoft is weak and being forced out (phones), another is very low margin, and dragging down Microsoft's overall revenue and profits (netbooks).
Though I didn't know MS's share was over 90%. It will be interesting to see what Windows 7 brings to this.
As for windows mobile - the less said about that the better.
I think Microsoft should do two things:
1. Push Windows 7 as superior. In my experience and that of others who have used it, so far it really is. (NB: The people that have used it were not die-hard fans either way, so naturally there will be Mac fans who disagree but this isn't the point).
2. Offer a Mac-Only version of Windows at a cheaper price to get more windows installs on mac (price of Windows OS for someone using it as a second OS is quite prohibitive).
When you add Linux snapping at their heels with a free desktop, I think they've got real problems. Especially when Shuttleworth is calling on Linux developers to make something prettier than OSX. They won't necessarily succeed, (although I hope we do), but simply playing in the space greatly complicates Microsoft's issues.
I'm not sure Linux will ever pose a serious threat to the "home-user" market - even developers I know tend to agree that Linux has never taken user-interaction seriously. It might be prettier these days but that isn't the concern, it's genuine "getting things working" and "using this day by day" that is the problem. Most Linux users live by the terminal but home users moved to the GUI a long time ago and aren't going back.
OS X success is not about "pretty", not in a fonts, colors, and visual design kind of way. I'd warrant Vista is much "prettier" in that regard.
What is "pretty" about OS X is the capital D design of the overall user experience. Achieving this requires deep integration of goals between developers, ui experts, product managers, and yes, visual designers.
Otherwise it will only be like, shall we say, lipstick on a pig (a very tasty and fine pig, or good pet pig if you aren't into the swine flesh, at that).
The first argument would be terribly hard for them to win, but the second they might be able to credibly argue. I don't think there are many who dispute that Win 7 is better than Vista, the only issue is if it's better than XP. That likely depends partially on the hardware you run it on.
Microsoft has been pushing the xbox to game studios like crazy. In effect, that move alone might help in their decline; if individuals who would otherwise play games on Windows have no real need to play games on Windows (they have a console), they have no need for Windows, either!
So, perhaps MS' game division is culling the OS division.
Microsoft's Revenue Drop
* PC buyers care about their computers less than Apple buyers, so in a global economic downturn, they cut back on new computer purchases moreso than Apple buyers
* PC buyers are waiting on Windows 7 (mentioned in passing by Gruber)
* PC buyers feel higher levels of satisfaction with their computers than in previous years, and feel an unusually low need to upgrade
* PC buyers have consolidated their personal inventory, perhaps owning only a single laptop (maybe work issued) as opposed to a laptop and a desktop
* Microsoft is not attracting first-time computer buyers as much as in previous years
* PC buyers are switching to Apple
Apple's Growth in >$1,000 Sales
* There are fewer PC competitors in the market
* PC buyers feel that equal or greater value is achieved in the <$1,000 market
* The >$1,000 market has contracted around Apple
* Apple is attracting more first time computer buyers than in previous years
I don't know how probably true these explanations are, before or after reading Gruber's article.
I've also assessed things Apple/MS in a post of my own. I don't think it's become public realization yet, but Microsoft is scared. Apple poses a serious threat, and they have recent experience in starting the long and dreadful decline in the browser space to help them get a taste of the backlash that's coming.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Windows 7. It's a good chance for them to turn around the bad image that became associated with Vista. This doesn't necessarily need any technical bearing.
Windows Mobile, to me, seems like a pretty dead platform. I've gone through a couple of WM phones and I have no intention of going back, either as a developer or a user.
Gruber’s right that MS have lost the enthusiasts and yes, they’re now a bit player at the top end of the market. But then again, so is Toyota. People who use Windows are like people who have a car to get from A to B. MS have always been about the mass market and that’s not changing. There’s still substantial advantages in being the dominant platform – especially as the default business desktop. I think Windows 7 is good enough that the great, unwashed hoards will switch from XP in surprising numbers. But we’ll see…
The challenger of Windows Vista is not MacOS X or Linux, it's Windows XP.
(see also VW/Audi, Nissan/Infiniti, Honda/Acura, etc)
I wish this all weren't the case. Competition benefits everyone, and Apple's had fairly free reign over the improving-your-consumer-OS space for quite a while now.
(The working title was ‘Microsoft Is Fucked’.)
Judiciously edited, I'd say. ;)
Microsoft may be in a long, slow decline in the consumer marketplace, but you'd never know from those 100 million desktops.
Do you think that maybe Microsoft was smart enough to foresee this so that's why they're so locked in in the enterprise?
It's also an intensely cyclical business, which is no doubt a big reason why Microsoft's financials are so screwed.
The moral of this story is that the notion of Apple vs Microsoft is more stale than it has ever been. They aren't even in the same industry anymore. You could imagine investing in both of them at once and calling it diversification.
Meanwhile, there are businesses that still want to run full screen 16-bit DOS programs in emulated Windows XP on 64-bit Windows 7. Windows has become a metaphor of the Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls.
I'm not sure I agree about the furniture implication. Maybe practically nobody cares about furniture, but the suppliers do. If they sell 90% of all office furniture at a great margin, they are a successful company. Commodity implies close to perfect competitive markets. That is not the case here.
Anyway people buying servers care. They may not be cutting edge, but they care what they use.
Frankly, I'm not sure I agree either. But I decided to write it down anyway and see how it looked on the screen.
Also, while most offices are wall-to-wall PCs, I know that new PCs at our office are budgeted in the $700-800 range for mid-range officefolk (a little but not much more for developers, a little less for simple clerical users). All such purchases this year fall well below the $1000 price point.
FWIW, our developers do tend to buy Macs, and we also tend to get a Windows license for those machines. The Macs obviously cost more than $1000 per box, even with the minor discount we get from Apple.
Tell that to Herman Miller.
"It's also an intensely cyclical business, which is no doubt a big reason why Microsoft's financials are so screwed."
This is exactly why people staying on XP is such a huge problem for them. If people only "upgrade" when a computer breaks or buy another license when they get a new employee, then the the office furniture business fits Microsoft pretty well.
To be sure, MS is certainly doing a lot in the enterprise space: SQL Server, Sharepoint, Outlook, and IIS just to name a few. But little (if any) of that stuff translates especially well to average consumers who have no need for such products. In spite of that, MS persists in having all these consumer distractions that are money losers and sap time and resources to support and promote (see: Zune, Xbox). But frankly, that's not really what they're good at as a company. I mean that as no disrespect to the people on those teams, but the company itself is just not consumer oriented. The consumer side of MS products always feels "bolted on". It's just not part of the culture. They just need to start being OK with that.
If MS could realize that they don't need to dominate every corner of the computing world in order to be a competitive company, it would be a huge start to getting them back on the right path. Remember when they wanted to buy Intuit, and then came out with MS Money to compete against Quicken when that fell through? That sort of thing makes little sense, and collectively those small things distract a company from its mission (to be fair, they recently killed MS Money, so there is hope).
Here's hoping they turn it around. The marketplace needs competition, and a toothless Microsoft wearing a "kick me" sign is not helpful for the industry as a whole.
There are only 6 million businesses in the US?
I thought that the "over 90% of the desktops running Windows" is an old figure from the (Microsoft backed) Gartner Group. The large firm I used to work for was partially bought out by Microsoft, and so we used Microsoft. How about a more realistic (and up to date) figure of how many Windows machines vs Linux/phones/game-consoles/Google/Apple/etc machines?
As for "The Enterprise", beam me up because the majority of servers are Linux.
The only reason to buy Apple would be to woe the employees, at a significant cost. Linux would probably not make many employees happy, and would not save that much money either. So which companies would make the switch? Except for designer shops, of course.
But think about how astounding that figure is. 10% of systems in a company being something else in an environment utterly hostile to non-Windows systems. That would have been 99% just five years ago...
Looking at Snow Leopard features, it's finally a desktop that I would prefer to use over Windows in a corporate environment just because of better exchange integration alone. Apple is doing things that enable that percentage to grow significantly, and that is aided by a push from within by many people that have started to use macs at home and now would rather they use them at work as well.
And that's where the metric of "people that love computers" comes to be of such importance, because those are the people that make macs work at work, then the casual users can and will follow.
Frankly I think the healthiest situation would be a good mix of a variety of desktops in the enterprise, the Windows monoculture is a dangerous thing and lets internal apps really get mired in overly targeted technologies that don't allow use from other platforms - which eventually leads to issues in upgrading the platform you do have down the road.
Even then, MSFT makes an disingenuous argument since they make no PC hardware. So it is all spin.
People are buying solutions, not hardware. This is partly why the iPhone is so successful even though there are literally hundreds of cheaper phones on the market.
To extend the GM analogy, it is like comparing sports cars based on horsepower alone. You can get an American muscle car with a ton of power cheaply but it will handle like crap or you can get a more expensive sports car with less power but is actually pleasant to drive.
If you want to impress your friends about how much better your purchase is, then get a Mac.
You said Macs only sell because of marketing but don't have features to justify price. But you named all the features Macs contain in one package and said it takes multiple PCs to get the same features. So I argue that they do justify the price.
Whether those features appeal to you personally is yet another argument, but Apple knows thier target customer appreciates those features and will pay for them all in one computer.
And yes, Macs also break. Although they're rated at the top in customer-service and repair every year.
Although they're rated at the top in customer-service and repair every year.
Depends how you rate it, in fact I'm not surprised at this rating because Apple makes a business out of it more than any manufacturer Not only that but for some things they don't even service things, such as iPods. iPods/iPhones are the most disposable piece of hardware never considering they just throw out the "broken" one and give you a new one. Some people would call that service, I call that waste. I will concede they have a great service plan, give customer under warranty a new one, repair old one and sell it for a smaller profit as a refurb.
At the time I wanted none of those.. I just wanted something small that could run OS X (this was before OS x86 and hackintosh obviously) as I thought it was a cool OS and had previously only used OS8-9 and not much OS X in high school. As for "social pressure aspect of Apple's Marketing technique", I guess you could pile me into that group but in a different way. Most of my friends were hardcore linux types, and some just happened to have Macs as their weapon of choice.
I could go on, but I don't feel like starting a huge Mac v PC war again. I'm happy with my decision and that's all I care about. :) As for why I use a Mac now in 2009, well I do lots of Rails and design stuff and there are just so many great, small Mac apps that help out with this.
Mac isn't Linux with a "more polished" interface, it's a closed system with the stability of *NIX but none of the benefits of decent package management, and a less developed system interface.
But for me, being a web developer who doesn't do much in the way of kernel hacking or other deeper system type work, OS X really is effectively Linux (or Unix as the case may be) with a more polished interface. I would never have considered getting a Mac if OS X was not based on Unix.
I am much happier with a combination of OS X on my desktop (used for work plus multimedia entertainment) and Debian on my laptop (used for work) than I was with Windows on my desktop and Debian on my laptop.
Example: I have a Hauppage HVR 1600 TV tuner with on board MPEG-TS transcoder. What linux allows me to do using the character device /dev/video0 either through netcat or through SSH stream the device across the network to another computer, effectively creating an MPEG stream of live TV. I can change channels using V4L2 architecture.
Thus when I'm in college my friends can record shows through my computer through the network onto their laptops (obviously the same channel at a time) simply by tapping the stream.
And because Mac doesn't have a great package management system you probably spend more time than you should upgrading libraries you use (depending on your setup obviously, I've never used Rails so I don't know what goes into that but PHP could be a bear).
Personally I like the expose feature of Mac and I was upset that it took either retarded compiz or a half broken hack to get it working on Linux. Then kwin came along, which does all of what finder does and more. And I will give Mac props for inventing that because it's one of the most useful window management techniques (I find taskbars outdated), but when I look at their system I can see that while I get stable polish, I get overall less features, turning it off, then turning it on kills plasma rendering properly).
But in terms of raw features that are really nice and extensible albeit crashy, commercial OSes, Mac included are always behind. (I mean seriously no one has addressed dependencies and dynamic library management like Linux has.)
Open source web dev tools are great on the Mac though. I get by just fine using Ruby Gems for all my Ruby/Rails package management needs (the Ruby Gems system actually makes sense on OS X where as on Debian, it just felt redundant at best and annoying at worst) and I prefer to compile Ruby, MySQL, PHP, Git etc. myself in /usr/local anyway. I feel like I've got more control of where everything goes that way. When it comes to using these kinds of open source tools, I very much prefer to have a Unix style terminal to work in rather than what passes for a terminal in Windows.
I'll never totally give up Debian for OS X, but if it's a choice between Windows and OS X for my general work/entertainment machine, I'll choose OS X.
Out of what you mentioned: Tough, decent battery life, good performance, thin and light, decent screen size and resolution and graphics card, nice keyboard, in one package.
A t400 does the same, it's arguably as tough as a MBP, it's got better battery life (compare 10.5 hours vs Apple's advertised 7), the t400 is already thin and light, but the t400s takes it a bit further(albiet costing battery), screen size and resolution is the same even with LED, and switchable graphics are on all high-end laptops. Keyboard just depends on what you like anyway. Not to mention, with a Mac your portability and serviceability for your machine is greatly affected, ie, I can hibernate most modern PC's and change the battery while you can't. I can replace the battery when it dies and you can't without voiding warranty. You can't replace ram, keyboard, or anything without Apple service or risking a void warranty.
So I take back the implication that the t400 is not well designed. ThinkPads have a good reputation for hardware design, which I assume is well earned (have not owned one myself). The same cannot be said for all PC laptops. And software is a whole other matter altogether, of course.
As for customization, Apple deliberately restricts the options for customization relative to other vendors. They definitely have an attitude of designing a few models that fit the needs of a many customers, as opposed to many models each appealing to smaller, more specific groups.
It does, look at the installed ram and the sticker on it.
As for the theory that of many fits one, fact I feel that that is false. I could have bought my college's laptop which is gaurenteed to fit everyone, but I found it wasteful. Yeah the tech specs are better than the laptop I bought but it wasn't good for me, not enough mobility, too big, useless features such as the high end processor that isn't worth the cash tradeoff, etc. I don't need that. Customization is good, example Apple's displays aren't changeable to a higher resolution. That pisses me off 15.4 inch laptops should be able to handle 1680x1080.
2. The sticker refers to ITSELF, not the RAM module. I've seen it on numerous third-party computer components, including RAM and hard drives. It contains information on the date and location of manufacture, and the manufacturer of the part needs that information to track consumer-discovered flaws.
Were Apple to put a removal notice for the RAM component itself, it would attach to both the RAM stick and the motherboard, so that removal would be evident.
3. Apple specifically states that HD and RAM upgrades may be done by consumers without violating warranty.
I have a new MacBook Pro (the SD card one) and it has instructions in the manual IT CAME WITH on how to replace the RAM and hard drive. Apple wouldn't give you explicit instructions to void the warranty. Replacing RAM or hard drive does NOT void the warranty.
There are the people that just grow out of it (I am one). But the big factor here is that consoles are taking over gaming. It used to be the fact that PCs were way better for gaming than any console, but now that consoles have caught up, PC gaming is becoming a niche. (BTW, I now have a PS3 which is gathering dust, as I just don't have the time to play it)
Microsoft does deserve some credit here, as they do have a big stake in the console market with the XBox.
But I think it also depends on what kind of games you're into. For me first person shooters are best played with mouse and keyboard where as fighting games (like Street Fighter) or sandbox-style action games (like Prototype) are best played with a controller. I know you can interchange your interface devices these days, but I find myself still thinking, FPS? I want to play that on a PC, or sand-box style action game? I want to play that on a console.
Except for the case mod.
To me, having to deal with hardware just gets in the way of letting me do what I want, which I feel many people can relate to.
Apple had 14% of the US retail PC market in Feb. 2008 -
This article claims the number was 8.7% in the 2nd quarter of 2009 -
According to this article on theappleblog.com, Apple has 4% of the global PC market as of July 2009 -
If anyone has more, I'd be very curious to see them (especially the ratio of sub-$1000 retail PC sales to $1000+ retail PC sales).
Percentages are really, really, easy to lie with. And for people who only quote percentages, this is usually what they are trying to do. Spin.
In case you were not aware, Apple's market cap is higher than Dell and HP combined who together sell over 50% of the domestic units in the US, which is Apple's strongest market.
Businesses are ultimately formed to create revenue and profit, not shift widgets. Microsoft has apparently taken their eyes off this fact after 2 decades of easily collected fat profits, but monopolies can be lost if you sit fat and happy on them.
People often talk about Apple's "market share" in terms of widgets, but how often do you hear the media talk about Apple's "market share" of the total revenue in the computer market? I've never heard it mentioned once* in decades of following the computer industry. Profit is what matters, not widgets.
*by mentioned once I mean the main stream media, I've heard it mentioned on Mac blogs. But I've never seen the media show a break down of the exact % of the profit Apple pulls out of the computer industry. I'd love to see one.
It should be noted that one of Wal-Mart's greatest advantages is that it manages it's resources more efficiently than it's competitors. Being always willing to risk that you can do a satisfactory job cheaper than anyone else is a great attitude for a company that can out innovate its opponents. I can't think of MS in those terms with a straight face.
I don't want to sounds like a snob, I use macs for 20 years (I am a designer) and I never go to Wal-Mart, but we have a Prius. Low price is never the first priority for my family to choice any kind of product, and we try to not purchase anything influence by marketing/advertising.
I do use VMWare with XP on my mac. Honestly I was very happy when Apple switched to Intel so I never have to buy those not so well make hardware again.
There will always be people that shop everything at Walmart, and people shop at target/traderjoe, and another group shop only at Wholefood. We all different but I am happy that we have different choice.
Can you imagine if Apple died in the 90s and nongeek like me now have to choice between Windows and Linux?
* Circuit City going under
* Best Buy now stocking Apple merchandise
* Wal-mart going almost entirely sub-$1000
* No one wanting a computer that comes with Vista (even my Mom bought a laptop the other day b/c it was $400 and came w/ XP)
* More Apple stores, meaning more free tech support (which is why Microsoft's going down that route soon)
I suspect, if you were to go into Best Buy or Walmart, you would find only a handful of non-Apple PCs for $1k+, if any at all.
Apple is doing well in the high end because they've successfully resisted commoditization in a way that none of the other manufacturers have. (Sony has tried hard, but they're not half as cool as they want to be in the eyes of the average buyer.) Toughbooks are probably the only other brand that stick out as demanding a premium and being likely to get it, but they're a specialty product.
And then it turns out they were right. The netbook has absolutely gutted the over-$1000 PC market to the point where Apple is now the only real player. Margins are thinner than ever and I would not be surprised if manufacturers start keeling over from selling too many netbooks.
I mean, that's what happens when you give up the business of selling kobe beef and get into the business of selling grade-D ground beef...
If you're looking for Microsoft's decline you must look at the sectors they actually dominate. And considering this whole question by way of intense californian navel gazing is not going to predict anything in a world where 100% of growth happens in Asia.
Personally I don't get the kind of collective, almost supremacist, enthusiasm for the quality of Apple products. I've been using some Apple products pretty intensively (MacBook/MacOS X, iPod, Xcode) and I remain largely unconvinced.
I love computing. I love what I can make computers do in terms of analysing and transforming data. But I don't like computers.
So when the first thing Apple tells me on their homepage is that some hardware thingy is now "unibody" they get blank stares from me. I guess people are just very different in that regard.
The one area they can build on is the Xbox platform as a general purpose set top platform that might serve some of the same functions as a traditional desktop PC. For example: It could be a file server, print server, home automation controller, media store, shopping front end, etc, etc. No other company is in a good position to control the living room. Apple isn't interested, Sony is patiently waiting to die, and Nintendo is firmly a gaming company completely incapable of making a general purpose platform. Most importantly the Xbox is one of the only new Microsoft products in the last decade that has really caught on with consumers. Eventually they can probably build on the success of the Xbox platform into mobile devices.
Give me a break ... Design ? Yes. Build quality ? Hardly. The Macbook (not pro) is a plastic toy. Its quality is just the same as of those Dell's Inspirons. The Macbook Pro unibody may made a difference in build quality, but definitely not the Macbook.
My comparison was HP's, Dell's, and even an IBM that all ended up falling apart with only a few years of regular use. With the Macbook this was not so.
If you want a PC manufacturer that's comparable, look to Lenovo, not Dell.
Monday I came in, put in the battery, turned it on, and everything worked fine. And I mean everything, even the CD drive. I'm typing on it now. For comparison, a guy I know had the same thing happened to his thinkpad with a cup of plain water, and it just died.
I'm also not really sure what DF's aim is here beyond recycling the favorite talking points of Apple fans.
Vista sucks - check.
Windows 7 is a do-over - check
Consumers love Apple - check
Mac's can run Windows - check
Laptop hunter Ads are lame - check
PC's are $700 pieces of crap - check
There's nothing really new here. Just some viewpoints with questionable objectivity while conveniently ignoring the fact that a) The vast majority of computers sold do not fall into the "$1000+ at retail" category and b) The majority of users are perfectly happy with both Windows and their sub $1000 machines.
Did you notice the part about the financial results? The historic financial results? The point of the entire article?
Microsoft's year-over-year revenue has gone up since before I or Gruber knew what a computer was. So this is big news. Maybe not as big as the terrifying numbers would suggest (the last year did also feature the worst possible coincident timing of business events in Microsoft history) but still big.
b) "They still dominate in terms of unit-sale market share, yes, but not because people don’t recognize Windows as second-rate, but because they don’t care, in the same way millions of people buy metric tons of second-rate products from Wal-Mart every hour of every day."
a) Well, honestly, did you even read OP?
Ever tried a ThinkPad? The only thing ThinkPad's haven't got, I wish they had is MagSafe.
I'm actually curious. BSD? Linux? The only things that have kept me on OSX for so long (steep decline since Panther) are Finder and Photoshop. Well, those and that I'm hopelessly tied to the key since I've only used Macs...+Option+O will never cease to please me.
But mainly it's Finder. Why won't other desktop environments copy Apple's excellent combination of +Tab and +`, opting for the inefficient, app-flattening Alt+Tab?
I hate Finder with a passion. Finder and iTunes. It's clear that both these apps were built carefully so that your average PC user wouldn't get confused. Problem is, most Apple users are not what you'd call average.
The Finder team still hasn't figured out whether they are building a spatial file manager or a browser-based file manager. The tree view sucks (and that's putting it mildly). Moving files around is a pain because (1) there's no cut-paste and (2) no "Move to ..." or "Copy to ..." context entries. Do Apple seriously expect that I'll open multiple Finder windows and then drag and drop my files between those?
I'd never even dream of using Finder for complex file management tasks (like reorganizing a photo collection). I usually drop into a Terminal when I have to do something like that.
Of course, I might be prejudiced. I used Linux for almost all my life before switching to a Mac one year ago. Also, I use Haiku on my PC, where navigating by right-click is not just a feature, but the recommended way of navigating the filesystem (if you've used BeOS or Zeta, you probably call this feature the "Z-Snake").
And I think you have stumbled across Apple's strategy for managing user files. Instead of improving the Finder for complex tasks, they create whole new applications for managing specific silos of data. The main examples being iTunes, iPhoto, and Mail, of course. Beyond that, Spotlight seems to be their answer. Not that Spotlight is particularly great, but that is where they are putting their efforts instead of fixing the Finder, it seems. Maybe not a bad strategy, if they can continue improving the Spotlight algorithms and UI.
Sad, yes, but that's how things are.
I think Apple's belief since the Lisa has been that activities like organizing a large photo collection is NOT a file system management tasks.
That's what makes a Mac a Mac and not a Linux box.
If anything, the Finder is a fallback.
This is not to say that the Finder doesn't have a huge number of faults, but copy/paste semantics--or worse, cut/paste semantics--are an abominably bad fit for file system manipulation.
And to end the "one mouse button" B.S. once and for all...the Mac OS was designed as a one-button OS. Windows was not. Linux was not. So the comparisons are a #fail. The fact that there are multiple buttons now provides more conveniences, but you'll never find items in a contextual menu that don't already exist somewhere else in a proper app's UI.
The aggressive "switch" campaign is fairly new, Apple-wise. iTunes was available for Mac OS 9 and Finder was designed so that average Mac users would not be confused -- remember, it was a battle to get people to ditch Classic mode...In any case, neither have much of anything to do with Windows.
I miss window shading...is Unsanity officially dead? I wouldn't mind buying this if only it worked for Leopard...
Such revulsion! I bet you didn't climb up on the dinner table Christmas day and take a big ol' steamy dump on the just-carved turkey, either!
Such manners, such propriety! No pooping, no OSX!
In fact, I'm calling it now: Allard's going to be CEO of MSFT before 2020. Maybe before 2015. You heard it here first.
Yeah, apple will keep gaining share in US but guess who will win in the emerging markets like China, India and Brazil. Microsoft will now start reaping rewards for its years of giving OS for free to these markets (basically by not cracking on piracy).
In these countries, its not about coolness or design. Its about the price.
Want an example? Guess how many iPhones sold in India?
And people do buy Macs here (mostly computer enthusiasts or programmers). You can find many Macs at FOSS conventions (I know, ironic).
Hint: why do you think there's so much outsourcing to India?
The one with the best mobile OS?
Unless Microsoft buys Palm, it's not Microsoft.
Sure iPhones are expensive now - but older ones will start reducing in price for markets like India/China - and the iPhone has very good internationalization support, along with a virtual keyboard that is far better at adapting to languages like Chinese for input.
You speak of long term but you are only looking at iPhone prices today instead of the fundametals.
It appears that Microsoft can blame their quarterly's on the global financial thing as that is a valid reason, when you take all other financial data points into account. Saying it is all Vista's fault is a straw man argument, given ALL of the data shows otherwise.
If anyone cares to look at the actual financial data, rather than making wild claims, you would notice that Microsoft's Growth alone last year was about half of Google's total revenue. Sure, Google is doing fantastic, but that's not to say Microsoft is completely F-ing it up (like the Author claims when comparing the two).
Secondly, I won't dispute the figures that Apple are outselling Microsoft in the >$1000 market, because I don't have access to all the figures but I personally would expect that would be the case given that is the market Apple targets. I would suggest that if the Author wants to take a realistic view of Microsoft's position in the computer market, he should look at TOTAL machines sold, not just one market segment.
It would be like arguing that Ferrari dominate every other car manufacturer worldwide because they make the most cars that are red that come from Italy...
[Disclaimer: Not a Microsoft Employee or Fanboy, just sick of propaganda]
EDIT - fixed an error with Google/Microsoft revenue/growth comparison
The core of Gruber's argument is that Apple's market share (not Google's) is growing quickly, whereas Microsoft's is falling.
Gruber also acknowledges that the numbers don't take into account the whole of the PC market, and he brings up a couple of important points you need to consider before thinking that Microsoft is making up for its losses in the sub-$1000 PC market. Quotes:
"What is particularly alarming about Microsoft’s numbers is that revenue from its Windows PC division suffered an even greater year-over-year revenue decline than the company as a whole: 29 percent."
"Even given that NPD’s numbers represent only retail sales, is there any reasonable doubt that Apple’s share of the non-retail market for $1,000+ computers is also growing?"
Also, it's misleading for you to suggest that Gruber implies that Microsoft is "completely F-ing it up" when comparing them to Google. His 'working title' aside, the purpose of the comparison was to demonstrate that other companies in the industry are not falling short of projections, as Microsoft has. He is suggesting that blaming the revenue decline on the economy isn't a strong argument.
You use the term 'propaganda' pretty loosely. Many things written on Daring Fireball are sarcastic and overly-dismissive when it comes to Microsoft, but it's clear that John Gruber put a lot of thought and work into this essay. Try to do the same with your criticism.
You know, I still disagree with you but I think you're arguing from a completely biased standpoint.
I looked through your all of your previous comments and noticed that ~85% of them were on Apple related submissions.
So while I'm not going to blatantly call you a Fanboy, but... where there's smoke...
As for Microsofts revenue decline, they had a bad product with Windows Vista.. they did the same thing before with Windows ME and I'll hazard a guess that they'll probably screw up several OS's in the future.
The fact is, sometimes top tier companies make products that don't gel with consumers.
Recent examples? Microsoft with Vista, Apple and the Apple TV, Google with Knol...
While we're looking at company's failures, lets just ignore Apple's track record when Jobs wasn't there shall we? I mean, its not like they've had any bad products before </sarcasm>
Even still, Vista was released in January 07 (source: Wikipedia) and Microsoft managed to have at least 1 full year of high growth during that time, which is assumed to be during the "bad time" of Vista. So you could realistically argue that this years numbers were a result of recession.
(I'd suggest that Microsoft's OS and the budget PC market is more sensitive to financial downturns than Apple given it's marketed towards people who have smaller incomes than your typical Apple consumer, thus people are less likely to buy Windows based PC's when times are tough. That's just conjecture on my part though)
Microsoft isn't on a long slow decline, it's a bump in the road, plain and simple.
This article was nothing but propaganda (or blatant fanboyism, take your pick).
"The core of Gruber's argument is that Apple's market share (not Google's) is growing quickly, whereas Microsoft's is falling."
He compared Google's revenue growth to Microsoft's (6th paragraph), so I figured it was fair game to compare the two. I never compared Apple's revenue to Microsoft's simply because I haven't bothered to look recently.
I just know these figures when I looked to verify or disprove a Google fanboy's comment previously on HN
The problem with your 'bad product' argument is that Windows is Microsoft's bread and butter. As Gruber pointed out, "Windows is at the core of everything Microsoft does that makes money."
The same isn't true for Apple TV or Google Knol. Neither of these are core products. Its why the article doesn't trot out the Zune as the reason for Microsoft's decline. Also, neither of those products are considered bad, there just isn't a large market for them.
The same can't be said for Windows, the market is huge for operating systems.
This article is something other than propaganda or blatant fanboyism. DF points out a serious problem for Microsoft, that "People who love computers overwhelmingly prefer to use a Mac today. Microsoft’s core problem is that they have lost the hearts of computer enthusiasts."
Yes, it's a blog about Apple. Yes, it's an article about the decline of Microsoft. But he identifies serious weaknesses in Microsoft's business, and he's not spreading misinformation. I don't think anyone who takes the software industry seriously would say Microsoft is down for the count, but they certainly have to start making better software (fortunately for them, Windows 7 looks just that).
Exactly the point I was trying to make. How can anyone suggest that they're on a long slow decline when Windows 7 appears to be the upswing from the short 2 years lifespan of Vista?
It's less of a "long slow decline" and more of a speed bump, which is exactly what I was saying. That makes this article less informative, because it only applies as the result of one product (Vista) in Microsoft's entire suite of products.
Meanwhile, this article only uses data that supports a positive view of Apple (retail in the above $1000 market) while ignoring the data that shows otherwise (every other market).
Propaganda can be defined as "the systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause" and given the nature of the Daring Fireball, plus the deliberate use of information that only supports their view (while ignoring the rest of the data that can show otherwise) means that this article was indeed propaganda.
It's like dealing with religious zealots arguing the merits of creationism. Or a better argument would be trying to convince someone that a tree is dead by pointing at the 5 brown leaves and ignoring the rest of the healthy tree.
That's why I think it's better to use the data as a whole and draw an conclusion from it. I think it is a valid argumentative style and so I think your comment was not called for.
Realistically, the only way we'll know is several years down the track. Will Microsoft be on their "long slow decline" or will this article be more FUD.
My money's on the latter, but I'm happy to be proven wrong.
The commodity feel is not remotely the case with Windows. The manufacturer may have left all sorts of crap over the install (toolbars and the like). I'll need to download or even buy a bunch of stuff to get it to do stuff that for a geek is basic (a pdf viewer and all of them stink, expandrive to be able to mount drives effectively, virus protection in case I get compromised but this makes my system less nice to use, putty so I can get to a real console). It doesn't come with anything approaching an adequate text editor or basic development tools. If it's a reinstall on a Dell the driver situation is very painful, and product activation might require me to make phone calls.
Yeah, but that's probably like 95% of people and companies. Computers may not be commodities for the types of people who frequent HN, but they are for almost everyone else.
Regular people don’t think about their choice of computer platform in detail and with passion like nerds do because, duh, they are not nerds. But nerds are leading indicators.
"It’s not that they need those customers, but that they used to drive the industry’s technical agenda, but now they don’t."
Where is Microsoft really driving anything at this point? It's not on the desktop. It's not in the mobile space. It's not even really in the enterprise.
The whole video tag argument in HTML 4 for example, is really between Apple and Mozilla. Microsoft is not really even a consideration.
If Microsoft is not really driving anything anymore, then they are just another company trying to comply with standards - and that means the inevitable (although slow) end of dominance they once enjoyed. For the computer industry, this is a good thing...
Funding and innovation for desktop development (read: Windows development) plummeted. Sure existing companies continued with their product lines and hobbyists built a huge shareware market. Meanwhile MS got fat dominating the market for software on their own platform, and with the increased PC sales for the ultimate killer app--the internet. They looked brilliant.
BUT... innovation didn't die. It moved to the web. And today, while most computers still run Windows, the dominant platform is NOT windows, it's the internet itself. Cloud computing has some real advantages but real disadvantages as well. But one of the advantages is that it was a workaround for the 80 billion pound gorilla, when every business analysis started with: Does this compete with MS?
Ironically, I see hints of Apple repeating the same mistake in its iphone... a platform that really has the legs to dominate in a way the mac never has. Financially and short term they're doing everything right and making billions. And they'll grow much more, just like MS in the 90s. But their whole app store/review approach is hostile to developers. In fact they're building a market that resembles the modern Windows market--only its 99c instead of shareware. Professional developers and capital and innovation is going away. The PageMakers and Photoshops of this stage of computing are going to happen on another platform. And Apple, like MS, a huge successful company with a strong embedded culture is unlikely to see the cause and effect and change its ways..
In the iphones case it won't take 15 years. But it will take a while. The iphone's current momentum is daunting. However, when you're a platform, your most valuable long term asset is your developers. But when your platform is a runaway success it appears to be too tempting to abuse those developers for short term gain. The absurdity of the Apple case is that Apple would seemingly make more money if they loosened up on the app restrictions. MS at least made serious money putting its developers out of business...
I don't see the App Store process as being developer hostile, at all. Yes there are a few specific areas where it's basically a hostile environment for development. But there is a far wider range of categories where the space is wide open. And that space is wider still now that Apple is finally letting people go hog wild with live video overlays in 3.1 (augmented reality stuff). You only see the contractions, but it's more than offset by expansion... and the contractions we do see, are bound to be temporary if other phones end up having compelling things the iPhone does not because of them (and the inevitable loss of AT&T exclusivity). That's far sooner than the 15 years you give them...
It's a fundamentally confusing, unsafe, and bloated OS with the slightest amount of polish added.
It certainly won't fix their products, but it would reduce the chances of them putting their foot in their mouth, and that might be a starting point for turning their image, then, their products around.
The installed base of a legacy platform is not a guarantee of the health of the platform owner. Other companies that made this mistake; DEC, SUN, AOL.
In ecological terms, MSFT has overshot the carrying capacity of it's niche, and has not been able to exploit or create new habitat as an operating systems company.
"""Gerstner quarterbacked one of history's most dramatic corporate turnarounds. For those who follow business stories like football games, his tale of the rise, fall and rise of IBM might be the ultimate slow-motion replay. He became IBM's CEO in 1993, when the gargantuan company was near collapse."""
From one of the reviews here http://www.amazon.com/Elephants-Dance-Inside-Historic-Turnar...
Like the jump from Dos to win 3.1 or win 3.1 to Win95; Microsoft needs to make something more spectacular than an upgrade to 7; something more innovative and productive.
if it does, than there are another 30 years for msft life.
Actually, they don't need to do anything. Others have already. MS just needs to bow out. You can't be on top forever.
Really? Did he go door to door? Because he missed my house and MANY other people I know..