Friday, January 04, 2008

Thought: Good Looking PC Or Mac Wannabe?

Quick Question: What do you think of when someone mentions a great looking computer that works well?

If your answer was Apple as was the response from 10 or so friends I quizzed, you are part of the majority. And this is a huge problem for Microsoft and its allies. Every time, a PC maker like Dell or HP unveils a sexy looking desktop or notebook, the media and the consumer seem to think of Apple. This is resulting in buyers asking themselves and their friends asking them: Why not an Apple?

If I were Microsoft or an ally, I would be worried. Very worried.

What should they do? Here are some choices, none of them look like a path to winning:
  • Ignore Apple and pretend the world is flat. Or round. I hate Friedman for killing this metaphor.
  • Build great looking PCs and Notebooks. This is harder than it sounds. And even when companies succeed with products like Sony Vaio and HP's latest Notebooks, they invariably end up only competing with Apple. Also, the PC vendors are limited to hardware improvements. If I am going to pay a premium, why not get the real thing?

1 comment:

Anurag Batra said...

For now, Apple is winning on style points alone.

I've distributed my time about 80-20 between my Windows laptop (for work) and a highly upgraded iMac for home. The main benefit that I get from the latter compared to my old home PC is that I've not been hit with multitudes of viruses and spyware. All the buzz about Apple's software being easy to use is true - only if you use the Mac and Apple's .Mac network for everything. If you want to use your Yahoo mail to send some pictures that have been imported into iPhoto, for instance, good luck trying to find that picture. I'll also take on anybody who tries to convince me that iPod sells because of its ease of use.

However, once you do get a .Mac account, and build your ecosystem around apple, a lot of things start falling into place. That's when the small usability enhancements that Apple has done to their products (like in Mail) start appearing to be so great, you'll wonder how you ever lived without them.

Until then, however, style points seem to be the primary weapon for Apple to take on Microsoft. I am a little wary of the four different types of iPods that Apple has floated out there - too many choices that can kill them. However, I remain a believer and a relatively content Mac user.