Windows Defections

As expected, there are lots of comparisons between Mac OS X and Windows Vista.  This relatively recent article by Network Computing takes the two operating systems head-to-head; in most areas, Mac OS X takes the win.  These comparisons are fully to be expected, and I imagine there are as many pundits, experts, and analysts that claim Windows Vista is the best as there are that claim Mac OS X is the best.  It’s just another phase in the Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux holy wars.

What’s more interesting to me are the long-time Windows experts that are defecting the platform for the Macintosh, even as Microsoft is releasing the latest version of Windows—a version that is supposed to represent the next generation of usability and productivity.  Why is this happening?  Why, when Vista is now available, are Windows experts forsaking the platform?

The latest is Scot Finnie, who in this latest article states:

Bye-bye Windows! My three-month Macintosh trial has ended, but my permanent gig with the Mac is just getting started. Apple’s MacBook Pro and Mac OS X are now my computer and operating system of choice.

A while back, there were rumblings that a couple of high-profile defections from Mac OS X to Linux were “canaries in the Mac OS X and Red Hat coal mines” and that Apple should be worried.  When Mac OS X first started gaining ground, lots of “alpha geeks” adopted the platform; but, honestly, most of these were already UNIX-heads or Linux-heads to begin with, and I think they were really just looking for an alternative to Microsoft.  That is, people who were already inclined to a Unix-like platform were more likely to jump ship than those firmly entrenched in the Windows camp.

Now, though, we are seeing the Windows die-hards switching platforms.  This isn’t simply moving from one UNIX-like platform to a different UNIX-like platform.  Mac OS X is nothing like Windows, and switching from one platform to another is a pretty significant effort.  Clearly, there must be a reason why these long-time Windows users are switching.  These aren’t your average Windows users—these are Windows power users, users who have championed the Windows platform for years.  Now they’re switching to the Mac.

I find this very interesting.  I don’t know; maybe I’m just reading more into it than is really there.  But I can’t help thinking that this may be the start of a much larger trend.  When the Mac is winning marketshare from Windows at a time when Windows is supposed to be at its strongest, and when those switchers are the former champions of the Windows platform, there’s something more at play here.

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  1. Frog’s avatar

    It’s two things:

    (1) the release of Vista implies a hardware upgrade (I know it can run on lower-end systems — with a speed hit — but most people won’t upgrade unless forced to or via a hardware purchase, and the power users will want the newer kit anyway); this gives people an opportunity to look around, see what else is out there. Since they have to move on anyway, it’s a great time to a serious look at the Mac.

    (2) Once they look, they can see that Mac hardware is very low-risk commitment; you can now run Windows on it if you need to or want to. And it’s the most modern and reliable hardware available. And there isn’t a “Mac tax” anymore; Apple’s prices are competitive.

    Also, I have yet to see anyone doing a comparison decide that Vista is superior to the Mac. At most, they seem to be considered equals. Usually, the Mac wins for sheer elegance, though. It’s like I missed some.

  2. Tom B’s avatar

    Anecdotally, I’ve have two friends, with NO prodding from me, buy Macs. I am a big Mac fan, from 1989, but more so now that the gap between Mac and Windows has widened with the release of OS X.

    Yet, Apple’s Mac sales weren’t amazingly “off the curve” last quarter. I think it will take some time to see if large-scale switching or “adding” is really taking place.

    Some of it is, no doubt, the internet noise factor. If I have a scratch on my lapop EVERYBODY in the world can know about it TOMORROW, if I post it on a blog– even if most laptops don’t have scratches. Same with “switchers” or anything else.

    As for Mac Vs. Ubuntu– in my view they are both a big step up from Windows; kudos to anyone who upgrades to either.

  3. Mike Peter Reed’s avatar

    The only constant is change. But when change happens for the sake of change, it’s time for a real change. That’s what’s happening. Whether it will reach tipping point and critical mass …. not any time soon. Inertia is a powerful force to be reckoned with.

    Don’t fear change. Change fear.

  4. junkie’s avatar

    Part of what is going I’d chalk up to XP fatigue and people having really bad experiences with viruses. Personally, I think the trend will decrease with Vista on the market. People will want to at least check it out and its pretty cool in terms of look as feel. I still think the Mac is better.

  5. Aanbiedingen’s avatar

    use SP3, I tried it today!
    definately performance increase

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