So on reading through blogs and on [H]ardOCP I saw an article linked about Apple’s VP of Marketing is seeing Windows 7 as a chance to herd up frustrated Windows users (link here). The guy is pining for frustrated Windows users to just decided to hop on over to their grassy knolls to the cult of Mac rather than just buy a $100 copy of Windows 7. I would like quote the CNet News article:
“We think a lot of folks will look at that as the straw that broke the camels back,” Croll said. “People are tired of the headaches with Windows and this is another great excuse for people to check out the Mac.”
From “Apple sees Windows 7 as an Opportunity to Sell Macs” on CNet News by Jim Dalrymple
This logic is a bit flawed in my mind from an economic standpoint in my mind, because of the fact that Brian Croll assumes every computer owner that is frustrated with the notion of upgrading to Windows 7 will have to do MAJOR upgrades to use it. On top of that he keeps mentioning the idea of users frustrated with the Windows experience and hope they will consider the Mac experience.
Disclaimer: Before I go on, I will make the disclaimer that I hate all operating systems equally as much as I love their foibles. I do own a Linux laptop, a G4 Mac Mini, and Windows 7 Release Candidate desktop machine before anyone wants to make accusations of favoritism.
Point #1: Money is hard to find – A home upgrade is easier than buying a new Mac.
His point that people will get aggravated with the process of upgrading the OS. I do agree, the agony of Windows XP users migrating to Windows 7 will be one that will be a bit vexing, because it does require a full wipe. That can be seen in this chart posted by Walt Mossberg on his blog here. But at the same right the Apple guide just mentions in migrating from Windows to Mac mentions migrating files, not complete system settings… In layman’s terms: It’s like the aftermath of a FULL WIPE! Most folks have a means to archive of files like DVD burners, external hard drives, or (now) network storage devices… so this puts Mac migration right in the same ground of a Windows user doing a full wipe. That’s frustrating no matter how you see it. Most home users considering the Mac migration will probably be eyeing either a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or an iMac. That’s a starting price range of $1,000 – $1,300 before applicable taxes. On the Windows side of things MOST old 32-bit technologies are still supported in Windows 7. This sadly was not the same for G4 Mac users when Snow Leopard came out, so the high and mighty “Windows users will have to make major upgrades to get Windows 7” argument is not quite valid. The basic message that G4 users got was “Want the new OS update? BUY A NEW SYSTEM!” so that argument is back in fair game. The entry price for a Windows 7 32-bit Home upgrade is $100 and various online communities have reported the “Use the upgrade disc for a full install” trick still works. So in hard economic times, $100 and maybe using/borrowing an external hard drive versus shelling $1,000+ and still using/borrowing an external hard drive… I think being economical takes precedance to a foolish impulsive need of some ridiculous need to escape a “user experience“.
Point #2: Users tend to use what they use at work
This is a point that the Linux folks mention a lot of. This is also their rallying cry to push for Linux use in the home: get more Linux machines in the workplace then you will have more people considering it for home use. Apply this concept to Windows in the workplace or academic field… Lots of campuses get better volume discounts on Windows machine versus the Mac discounts. The proof of that is seen in the price of several Dell workstation versus an iMac suite. Also the myth of “Apple machines are just better at any art related tasks” is essentially null and moot because the software exists in the realms of both Windows and OS X versions. Then you also have fields where you don’t have Apple OS X equivalents. If the market share were a little more in favor of Apple, I could see the desire of a change of environment with an equally balanced ecosystem of software for both Windows and Mac. However when you have market research showing that close to 85% of people who own Macs also own Windows PC’s (as seen in this PC World article), the grip of Windows isn’t letting up. The rationale that people at home use what they use at work also is to the respect of compatibility. It’s always a pain to the typical end user to try to force compatibility but also it is much easier not to fight against what the work place endorses. Sure there are also things like Citrix or Virtual PC clients, but usually those require that the IT dept of a corporation to get linked up.
In the end, Windows 7 will still be hot. Those who are willing to upgrade will. I think the correct market Brian Croll is targeting are those who have $1,000 to blow on a PC and want something new and shiny. The logic of the Windows XP users being targeted is fair, but he seems to have disregarded one important fact: the size of their wallets.