Tuesday, June 07, 2005

'Tis Time For A Change

Big F*&ing Deal - is it only me who doesn't quite see what the hooha over Apple adopting Intel processors is? Apple has announced that they will be supporting OSX only on Apple hardware. So, any OSX or newer Apple OSes will not be that easily ported onto that shiny PC you got via a sweet deal on dell.com .

The noise seemed to emanate from two sources:

1. People who don't know much better, and think that this is a bold new move on Microsoft territory. It isn't. At least from what is visible till now. I am no 'visionary' (I never claim to be one). I cannot figure out how Apple can even come close to supporting the amount of hardware that Microsoft does before even trying to compete as an evenly matched competitor( and not as a niche player.) It's not like people were buying Windows because of the "Intel Inside" logo or the Blue Man Group, and they'll suddenly shift to Apple because the Blue Man group will be in silhouettes with white earbuds and silver Powerbooks.

2. People who should know better, are (as usual) hyping the world's classiest designer much beyond what its 2-3 % marketshare deserves. That generally includes "Apple fanboys" on Slashdot and elsewhere, who seem to drool over anything Apple. So far, it was "The PowerPC's better than your lame Intel" and now it will be "Ooo , Intel". These guys would be rubbing shoulders with Steve Jobs to pick up his dandruff.

Of course, Apple designs the coolest PCs around. An iPod' s still high on my long list of things-to-buy. I'd kill for a PC that looks and feels like the Powerbook. But to compare Apple's "my-way-or-the-highway" approach to computing (we ought to be thankful since their way is usually great. I hate to think of MS being that way - elegance doesn't come easily to the Redmond gang - the XBox is the best example) to the "I support a million manufacturers, and a bajillion OEMs" approach of Microsoft is an exercise in futility.

The sad truth is, Microsoft isn't exciting anymore to a lot of people who matter - the young people in colleges learning computer science. Having reached round middle age, the scrappy company isn't seen as cool by the media too (Leave the whole rabid anti-MS crowd over at the open-source end aside - they are dogmatix, not pragmatix, or even realistix, by Toutatis). A business model that relies heavily on two products, on execution over out-of-the-box innovation and a follower mentality in many markets (console gaming, search to name two) has led to Microsoft not being as cool as it should be. I mean, the product that I do development for will be used by approximately 90% of the computer-using population of the world. If that isn't cool, what is?

Apple and Google are the new darlings. Heck, as a student at grad school, I thought working at Apple or Google would be cooler than working at Microsoft, which through no fault of its own, came through as being a 'corporate'type to me than the 'maverick' type (Apple) or the 'hacker genius' type (Google). * And, I'm sure there are lots of people out there like me, who labor under similar assumptions.

That, IM(not so H)O is what is a challenge for Microsoft today. Not the change in processor by Apple. But a change in the way people look at it.

*Now that I've had the opportunity to work here (albeit only for a project, and not as an employee), my assumptions have been *ahem* altered.

1 comment:

Sumeet said...

The fact that Apple wont be porting OSX to PC platforms is good news for an Apple fanatic like me (though I am a fairly recent convert, I dont see myself going back ever again). I would hate to see the exclusive coolness being eroded if everyone would have OSX on their desktops....imagine zenith PCs with their cheesy dabbas running Tiger or Panther...yikes! I shiver at the very thought....
on a related note, I really am a sucker that I went out and bought Tiger...in fact to put it better, I went and bought the HYPE around Tiger, which makes me a sucker...but then being a sucker is part of being a fan of Apple...and I have no regrets ;-)