Letters to Redmond
June Reader Letters: Mac vs. PC
Redmond readers chime in on why a Windows Admin might want to use a Mac and more.
In a recent Decision Maker column, Redmond contributor Don Jones wrote about his reasons for using -- and appreciating -- a Mac ("Why I Use a Mac," May 2012). Readers responded in support of both Macs and PCs:
I understand what Jones is saying, truly I do. But the issue with this is when you get on a stage to do a presentation with a Mac, even if you're running Windows, people see that glowing Mac logo and think, "Hey, that's cool! Let me get a Mac." And guess what? They buy one and use what comes with it, which is OS X, not Windows.
So although I do like the hardware (and the OS is not bad either), I won't use a Mac because I don't want to contribute to its propagation among the masses. In general I'm not against Apple, Mac or OS X (unlike my views on Google), but from my perspective I feel Windows is a far more useful and extensible environment, at least for my purposes. Another thing I like about Windows (and Microsoft technology) is that, when I have a client with a problem, no matter what the issue is, I'm confident we can resolve it because of the rich extensibility and dev tools available.
I certainly hope Microsoft does not change this extensibility ideology with Windows 8, although I'm concerned about the Metro UI and the Windows Runtime. I'm not happy about the dumbing-down of Microsoft products to the lowest common denominator, either -- this is not what Microsoft has always been about. I just hope they don't "reimagine" themselves out the door. I guess time will tell.
Jones forgot to list the real reason for using a Mac: it's trendy and stylish. Almost every justification he listed would apply to Linux, but Apple is "cooler" and the market leader in personal-use technology right now.
Right now Linux isn't a growing end-user OS, and probably has less penetration in the desktop market than iOS or Android. So, for a consultant, spending time learning the Mac OS and related hardware provides a compelling business differentiator. Spending time on Linux-on-the-desktop, while a differentiator, would provide little real opportunity for a consultant to maintain or grow his business.
[Jones' use of a Mac] is reasonable, and responsive to his customer base. Based on his arguments, if his customers were moving to Linux, I suspect he'd start to learn that more.
Danger in Unification
Mary Jo Foley made the case that Microsoft is attempting to unify its products and business units into a cohesive, compatible whole ("A United Microsoft: How Real Is It?" May 2012). She wrote: "While the ultimate result of more unification is good for customers, partners, developers and the 'Softies themselves, there will be plenty of growing pains along the way." A reader responds:
It's precisely the stupidity of focusing too much on design and look across all products (and compromising on backward compatibility and quality of the same products' earlier releases) that will cause the downfall of Microsoft. In the consumer market, they are dying and Apple is rising. The failure of Windows 8 will establish that Apple now has a far-superior understanding of a quality user experience. The enterprise will continue to hold on to earlier decent versions of the product like Windows XP and, to some extent, Windows 7. Even Windows Server  will fail because of the horrid changes Metro has made to it!
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