People who complain about Apple products running poorly on Windows crack me up. It's Like saying "This Rolex looks bad on my ankle."
It got me thinking about why Apple and Linux are not doing as well as Windows. There's the typical answers, ranging from boring to trite:
- Windows is the market leader and has done a good job of maintaining their established dominance
- Windows uses its dominance in a way similar to monopolies; it uses dominance in one market to maintain or establish dominance in another
- Windows has better support for office applications
- Windows is cheaper
None of these hold water for me.
- Market domination is important, but the numbers haven't budged in decades, indicating it's more than simple momentum.
- The number of markets in which Microsoft dominates is shrinking or losing importance. Example; dominance in graphics processing (DirectX) doesn't really matter much, since OpenGL is good enough for most games.
- Mac and Linux both support great office applications.
- Linux is cheaper.
Despite all this, Microsoft is still by far the most dominant player with market share staying more or less steady. So, let's look closer at Apple. I'll dissect Linux later.
For me, it comes down to a misunderstanding on what is a true qualitative comparison and what is a threshold metric. "Qualitative" means more is better. "Threshold" means that the platform merely has to meet a certain level (the "threshold"). Anything more than meeting the threshold doesn't matter.
In the 2008 primary elections, I read an NYTimes article about Obama's foreign policy experience. The author claimed that Obama will never prove to the country that he's better at foreign policy than Hillary Clinton. But, all he had to do was prove he was good enough, not better, then he can win on the truely qualitative metrics. I believe a lot of Apple's problem is that they're competing on quality when all the market needs is a minimum threshold.
Apple is easier to use
Yes, but this is a threshold issue. If people find Windows easy enough, easier doesn't really matter. It's Windows which has to be so bad that people look for something new.
Apple breaks less
Fewer viruses, fewer blue screens, etc. Again, this is a threshold issue. As long as people are happy to reboot, run a virus scanner, whatever, people won't feel compelled to leave
Apple has better integration
iPhone, iPod, iTunes, etc. Apple has some great web products. But, most run on Windows and none are really compelling enough for people to buy a new computer.
Apple has better user interface design
People love to point out how much friendlier Mac OSX is than Windows. No doubt it's true. But, Windows is good enough for most users. Again, it's a threshold issue and not a qualitative one.
So, how do you beat Microsoft? 1) Attack threshold issues where they fail and 2) Attach truly qualitative issues. Unfortunately, MS has done an excellent job of "good enough" and both approaches will yield limited results. Microsoft has a history of meeting these issues slowly.
So, you can see, most of the people who have attacked MS successfully have done so by attacking new features/requirements before MS had the chance to establish dominance. Like, Google's search, SalesForce's SaaS, Amazon's cloud deployments, etc.
Where is Reliable Response attacking Microsoft? Mass mobile marketing. MS doesn't have a strong mobile play, and where they do it's focused on the Windows Mobile OS. RR plays in the mobile integration for feature and plain phones...those without a smartphone OS. By the time MS wakes up to this as a viable market, we hope to be entrenched.
Unless I advertise my plans on blogger.com :)