Why I’m rooting for Apple: not just an Apple fanboy

For years Microsoft has been making huge contributions to the industry.  Much of the world runs on Microsoft products.  The position that Microsoft has gotten to today is a product of building great software and deploying it in a market where it holds over 90% of the share.  The more market share that Microsoft owns, the less incentive Microsoft will have to create great software – people are going to buy their product anyway because they need to in order to have compatibility with the majority of market.  I’m not blaming Microsoft, and I’m not saying that Microsoft has created a monopoly.  What I’m aiming for is increasing the quality of software for the end user.

Distinction between Apple and Microsoft
While Microsoft is always in constant R&D, Apple always comes out with a finished product.  If Apple controls more of the market, there will be a higher standard.  Both companies play a crucial role in this growing market, but how can this market growth be sped up, and how can this growth benefit users?

Apple Vs. Microsoft
There’s nothing like some friendly competition between rivaling companies.  In order for the market to grow there needs to be more competition, and what better way to create competition than having an equal rival?  We can identify this behavior today with the small piece of the market share that Apple has.  Since Apple is the underdog it must fight harder to survive – we’ve seen this with their backdoor entry into the market with the iPhone, which is spurring tons of other mac hardware purchases.  Microsoft on the other hand owns most of the market, and their products needn’t have as much “polish and trim” as an Apple product would because Microsoft knows people are going to buy it.

Many of us remember the CPU Wars between AMD and Intel.  This is the way I would like to view Apple and Microsoft.  They both have their own pieces of the market, but if both rivals controlled equal pieces of the market, they would both have to fight harder to steer the market control towards themselves. 

“Why Should I care?”
I believe that we’re coming to a tipping point where there will be a steep rise in new types of computing interaction.  We’re coming to the point where hardware technology is surpassing what is capable with typical software – multitouch screens and camera inputs are creating a new age in usability and intuitive design.  We’re evolving our hardware and software, but we’re also evolving as computer users: interactions and concepts that were once difficult to grasp and understand are now intuitive everyday tasks that have ultimately made our lives easier.  In order to continue this evolution, we must make sure that our software vendors can keep up with the hardware.  If we can level the playing field between these two industry monoliths, we can enjoy the fruits of the hard work provided by healthy competition.

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2 Comments

  1. Lars Thommas
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Gosh, where do I start? I disagree with almost every point of your article. Microsoft has been making huge contributions to the industry? WTF? Every knowledgeable individual on the subject seems to feel quite the opposite, that Microsoft has indeed retarded innovation in the PC world for the past many years, and that things would be much further along if it weren’t for the stranglehold they have on the PC industry through Windows. Great software, from Microsoft??? Which Microsoft are you referring to. Pretty much everything I’ve seen out of them has been at best mediocre, and usually flat out junk. Spending 300 million dollars to convince people that their latest OS isn’t crap, that it’s just the stupid users is just flat out insulting. I and many others are of the opinion that that 300 M could have been better spent actually improving the product, not creating a propaganda campaign for it.

  2. admin
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Lars, it sounds like you only disagree with one of my points – that Microsoft has been making a contribution to the industry. I can definitely see the “stranglehold” that they have on the market, which is exactly my point. If Apple can level the playing field it will force Microsoft to come out with higher quality products.

    While I was aiming not to bash Microsoft, you have a valid argument with Microsoft’s agenda… Many people, including yourself, are completely fed up with how Microsoft functions (i.e., spending 300 million on an ad campaign when their real problem is the reputation of their products). I agree with you here – BUT The fact that microsoft can’t come out with completely polished and finished products is a matter of economics (which every big company can’t run away from) – it doesn’t make economic sense to build an A+ product when your B- product is already going to get 90-100% market saturation.

    As a software developer that has worked with Apple and Microsoft SDKs, I can confidently say that Microsoft DOES have some great products – though I still think that this greatness is only due in full to the amount of users that use the product. Look at Visual Studio or Microsoft Office – any direct rivals are no match for the amount of features these platforms have.

    The balance here is the issue that I’m addressing – there needs to be a more level playing field. The only way to force Microsoft to make A+ products is to even the playing field.

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