Much has been written about Apple’s amazing ability in marketing. About Apple fan boys (and girls). About Steve. In terms of popular culture it is interesting and in terms of business it is amazing. (Though not easy to emulate.) But my question here is slightly different: Do I have a right or an obligation even to fight Mac lovers anywhere I find them?
Let’s not get caught up in any technical questions. Obviously many people don’t care if it is stupid or not to insist on a mouse with just one button, or whether Safari crumbles instantly in any security competition. And millions of people are happy, even ecstatic, about their shiny Macs and happilly play with them for years. (Well, sort of; they are still not much good if you want to play games.) They pay a hefty price premium for it but that is no problem in terms of the global economy.
Current figures give the global Mac share at around 7% of annual PC sales worldwide. It isn’t much and it hasn’t been growing much either. For someone that has watched this debate for precisely 30 years now it seems almost stagnant. Which would explain why we don’t do much about it.
You see technology is not about lonely geeks behind their monitors. Technology is about platforms. If I really find Skype great, it will be rendered useless if all my friends or associates don’t also install it. If I like to be able to swipe my smartphone from the top down to see settings on Android I will be put back if nobody else does and Android 6 doesn’t include such a feature. And if I like the versatility of Windows I will be devastated if we fall into what I consider the dark ages of Apple straight jacket technology. It is in my interest, in a very simple almost biological analogy, to persuade as many people as possible to use technology like I use it. I liked netbooks and it is probably the iPad’s success that killed off that whole project. If enough people sustain Apple’s premium price, fat margin, business model, I lose out.
Conversely it is proof that Apple technology is in fact inferior that only 7% of customers choose it. A technological product, throughout it’s lifetime is not just about looking cool or doing a few things well. Customers figure it out and avoid Apple. In Greece for example we have extremely bad Apple tech support simply because not enough people know the OS and have access to Apple peripherals. They have a gut feeling that the machine will cost much more over time.
I don’t like iTunes and what it does to my computer’s resources. I love multitasking and all Apple devices don’t. I really don’t understand why we should put up with Quicktime anymore. Flash works fine for a lot of stuff and I am much happier with a mobile device that supports them. I think machines should have plenty I/O devices and these should be as common as possible. I don’t like manufacturers that solder things together for no sensible reason other than their warranty policy. I’m just not built to be an Apple fan boy.
And if Apple was ever to pass the 20% market share mark a lot of these things that I don’t like would become mainstream. So I will fight you in Europe where you are weaker, I will fight you in the forums, I will fight you on Facebook, I will return your Tweets with links gallore. I will never surrender. I shall defend more open architectures whatever the cost may be. I will fight with growing confidence and try to gather like minded warriors around me. And if, which I do not for a moment believe, the world or a large part of it were subjugated and Mac affected, then I will find a further land not yet Mac affected and guarded by the Open Source revolution , will carry on the struggle, until, in good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old…
BTW Here is a link to the great Churchill speech I parody at the end of this post – http://audio.theguardian.tv/sys-audio/Guardian/audio/2007/04/20/Churchill.mp3