Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, networking, open source, and cloud computing

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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