I’m not sure what’s wrong with Microsoft these days. They obviously create some excellent devices, the Zune HD got a lot of buzz, the 360 is the console of choice for many gamers, and Windows 7 has been pretty successful according to the numbers. But, they need to brace themselves for something, and if they do it, then this whole Mac Vs. Microsoft thing can finally be laid to rest.
First, the MAC is a PC. So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can focus on something a little more important here. Why is Microsoft threatened by a hardware company? The Cult of Mac folks posted a picture today from a Microsoft event, where 5 out of 7 of the laptops displayed in the picture were Macs. I’m sure Ballmer had a hard time not blowing a gasket when he saw that, but frankly, he should be seeing those machines as an opportunity to sell some more software. To… PC users.
Apple touted the first intel Macs as a machine that was best of the three worlds, it wasn’t because they had the best operating system (which I’d argue they do), but it was because the machines ran OS X, Linux/Unix, and Windows. All three, on one device. Heck, if you really want to get down to the nuts and bolts of it all, Apple plugged Windows in an attempt to get traditional beige box users to check out Apple’s products. Why couldn’t Microsoft do the same thing? That picture from the Cult of Mac could be the perfect marketing tool for Microsoft. “5 out of 7 Journalists are using a Mac, but how many of them are also running Windows 7 on their Machine?” I’d be willing to bet that a large majority of them have a virtual machine with Windows running on their laptops.
The traditional fight over operating systems is coming to an end. More users are realizing that it’s not about the brand on the OS, but it’s about the tools for the job. My job forces me to occasionally use Windows to check browser compatibility, and I’m alright with that. It time Microsoft starts thinking in these terms, and starts catering to consumers hardware choices, instead of this 1980s ideological divide that simply doesn’t exist anywhere but in the Valley and on the internet.
I’m not advocating that we all run out and switch to Windows, but I am advocating using the right tools for the right job, and Microsoft needs to realize that.