Skip to main content

How Apple has come to dominate the PC market.

Recent article in Computer World predicts that Apple will dominate the PC market in 2011. This was a company that had but a fringe of user a just over a decade ago, and Windows seemed like an immovable Juggernaut in control of the whole industry. So what happened?

The article suggest the tablet dominance of the iPad for it's dominance of the market, but I disagree. I don't think that's what's going on here, that's just the symptom.

I think the reason for this boils down to one thing: users, users users!

In a rather popular internet video the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, goes around yelling what windows was all about: "developers, developers, developers." This focus had served the company well. After all Microsoft's early success lay in its business contracts. Few people outside hobbyists had personal computers. Computers were business tools used for spreadsheets, word processing and data processing outside the hands of most users. The world where music, video, photography and reading would happen inside a computer in your house or your hand was years ahead and so Windows paid it little attention.

Apple on the other hand was aimed straight at the user, and to it's detriment at the beginning, it mostly ignored business (and some of it's users like gamers). But while not changing its focus, Apple courted certain businesses rather aggressively, particularly the arts with professional programs like Final Cut that gave Apple a niche and secure market in the arts.

Then came Vista.

While the Mac continued to get better and better in different areas in small incremental steps (adding new applications like Pages, or Keynote) its  switch to Intel processor leveled the playing field.

Vista was a disaster on too many fronts (worth its blog) but it let down the key constituency of windows: businesses. It was expensive, without really any benefit that for the very long cycle of XP companies had not had to already meet with other programs. And this happened at a critical time on the hardware side of the industry.

Finally after laptops being just mere underpowered PC they'd become powerful enough to be the only computer you needed to have. But the premiere manufacturer of laptops was Apple, by far. Windows (and the PC world) had missed the move to mobile computing and user-centered computing. Computers were now media centers by default. And Apple computers delivered on the promise with many bundled applications that made it ready to go. Macs ship with fantastic media apps: iTunes, Garage Band and iMovie. I know people that have edited movies on iMovie with ease.

When the move to mobile moved from laptop to mobile phones (and then tablets as it is now). Microsoft was left behind. And it's still there, unable to figure that it's its focus on business that made them unable to move into this area smoothly. While in the meantime Apple is enjoying the economies of scale it has lacked for most its existence. It can offer one of the cheapest tablets because it sells the most tablets and can buy really large orders from suppliers.

Apple dominates the Mobile market in 2011 mostly because it stands alone. While the giant of Microsoft wasted time and went to sleep, and the Google Android is still polishing itself.

We'll see what happens in 2012.
 (I'm watching HP carefully now, they have Palm's WebOS and seem to be transitioning fast to a post-desktop PC post-Windows world.)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How to configure Ubuntu's keyboard to work like a Mac's

Typing accents on a PC is a complicated Alt + three numbered code affair. One feels like a sorcerer casting a spell. "I summon thee accented é! I press the weird magical key Alt, and with 0191 get the flipped question mark!" For a bilingual person this meant that writing on the computer was a start-and-stop process. With Mac's it a whole lot easier, just Alt + e and the letter you wanted for accents and alt + ? for the question mark. No need to leave the keyboard for the number pad and no need to remember arcane number combinations or have a paper cheat sheet next to the keyboard, as I've seen in virtually every secretaries computer in Puerto Rico.

Linux has a interesting approach to foreign language characters: using a compose key. You hit this key which I typically map to Caps Lock and ' and the letter you want and voilá you get the accent. Kinda makes sense: single quotation mark is an accent, double gets you the ümalaut, works pretty well. Except for the ñ, wh…

Fixing Autocomplete in Github's Atom Text Editor for Ruby

I really like Github's Atom Text Editor. I really like that it's multi-platform allowing me to master one set of skills that is transferable to all platforms and all machines. 

On thing that just burns me of the default set-up in Atom is the Autocomplete feature that seems to change my words as a type them. Because Ruby uses the end of line as a terminus for a statement you usually finish a word with pressing the return button and you get really annoying changes to your finished typed word a la MS Word. I find myself yelling "No that's not what I wrote!" at the screen in busy coffee shops.

I disabled autocomplete for a while but it is a very useful function. Then I found out they changed the package that gave the autocomplete to a new one called "Autocomplete Plus" that gives you more options. All that I needed to change to make autocomplete sane again:

1. Open Atom's Preferences
2. Search the bundled packages for "Autocomplete Plus"

3. Go to t…

Contrasting Styles of Writing: English vs. Spanish

There is interestingly enough a big difference between what's considered good writing in Spanish and English. V.S. Naipul winner of the 2001 Nobel prize for literature publish an article on writing. In it he emphasizes the use of short clear sentences and encourages the lack of adjectives and adverbs. Essentially he pushes the writer to abandon florid language and master spartan communication. This is a desired feature of English prose, where short clipped sentences are the norm and seamlessly flow into a paragraph. In English prose the paragraph is the unit the writer cares about the most.

This is not the case in Spanish where whole short stories (I'm thinking this was Gabriel Garcia Marquez but maybe it was Cortázar) are written in one sentence. Something so difficult to do in English that the expert translator could best manage to encapsulate the tale in two sentences. The florid language is what is considered good writing in Spanish but unfortunately this has lead to what …