For a company as complex and as rich as Microsoft, it's hard to fathom why they couldn't come up with something better than what we've seen on Windows Vista. The eye candy, copycat features is just too strikingly similar to those of Mac OS X.
It's not just about the "copying". I use both Windows XP and Mac OS X at home. But I have little respect and have little pride in using a Windows PC. Firstly, its buggy. I feel like I have to update every week with large patches in order for something so essential to work properly. Imagine using a microwave oven that needed a little tweaking every week? Isn't that a chore? But we've pretty much got used to turning on our computer, expecting the auto update to acknowledge another critical update - much like the computer's greeting (you know, like the Windows chime, the logo and the loading bar). We tolerate this nonsense because universally "it's just how Windows is" But does it have to be?
If Bill Gates can donate billions of dollars to charities (good for him), why can't he invest more of where that money came from to making good, reliable and to a certain extent, original products? To think that one of the world's most richest organizations, with it's strong staff count, aggressive company buying practices, rich in resources and influence is not able to (Mac fans pardon this) THINK DIFFERENT!
Instead having to copy the computer maker with a global market share of a little more than 4%? That's a great compliment... but whenever i get a Windows PC, i sleep at night thinking... what will happen next? Is there a critical update that I haven't installed? A new virus attack? Do I have enough RAM to run the next application I want to install? Why is the uninstall software not removing the software correctly? Why why why.
This is what I've been preaching for more than ten years. It's still happening. There's no stop to the unoriginal, uninspired but universally used Windows system. Perhaps it's the herd mentality, safety in numbers. But YOU as a consumer, DO have a choice. You can buy a Mac OS X that works with your Microsoft Office, read any of the Windows files, surf the web and even DO WINDOWS without any hassle. It's 2006, coming to 2007 already. HELLO? Mac computers can run Windows XP, and it doesn't take a genius to do it. Some shops will even preinstall Windows for you at a small charge. It doesn't take you away from Windows completely, unless you feel you're ready to.
If you get the chance, look at how a laptop PC works. While using the laptop, just take note of how the important information is displayed. How many minutes of battery life do you have left? Will you only know you've been using the LCD at full brightness and sapping battery life too quickly, ONLY after you've received the low power warning? Where the hell is that little blue battery looking thing on the taskbar? Do I really have to mouse over it to find important information I need to be accessible on-the-go? Look at the MAC OS X desktop, clean. All the information you need to know is within the desktop. No mouse overs, no clicking... no hidden icons.
You get battery life. You get wi fi signal strength and one click reveals the available network. How do you do it in Windows XP? The Bluetooth on or off is clearly displayed (transfers get a unique symbol), you get volume levels... right where you need it. To eject a thumb drive, i hit Cmd (apple key) + E. With Windows, i hit the green looking arrow that's lumped together with a gazillion other useless icons, click on it... say i want to remove hardware... then select the hardware from a list of many devices... click stop... wait for it to stop... and wait again for it to tell me it's safe to remove my device now.
What's worse? The development cycles. During the Internet Explorer vs Netscape wars, the developments kept coming. Netscape and Microsoft hit the development panic button and was at war to incorporate plugins, better security, encryption and better interfaces.
Ever since that war was won by the guys with the most money and influence... development stopped. That's the Microsoft way. Until Mozilla Firefox reignited that competitive flame. Now we have IE7. But what happened in between? How many years has passed since IE6? It's not like it's the best kept secret in the industry that Internet Explorer 6 has been horrifyingly buggy and had the security equivalent of a mouse trap. But because the consumers had no choice, they didn't need to innovate. Just patch accordingly, says Bill. Great isn't it? Still want that IE7? I'll stick with Firefox thanks. Even then, IE7 has copied the integrated search bar from Mac OS X Safari and Firefox... not to mention tabbed browsing. When Microsoft conquers a frontier, the development stops.
Look at Palm OS vs Windows Mobile. How much have we heard of the mobile platform since Palm became the minority report in the PDA wars? Do PDA's need a Start button? Why can't it be a totally redesigned platform? Was that laziness? Remember the Palm OS and their Sony Clies? At that time, PDAs looked different... there were sexy Clies, slim Palm M500s, cheap Zires, communicative Treos. There was innovation. There was a passion in owning these devices. The iPod, cliche gadgets as they are, are cultural phenomenons. Look at the Windows Mobile market now. Doesn't that Dopod look exactly like an O2? Doesn't that darn bulky ugly geek-chic HP iPAQ repel women and sometimes even men? Microsoft didn't design them, but this culture of complacency and lack of inventiveness has filtered down to the hardware makers.
Windows Vista. Elegant? I don't think so. Clever? Maybe, if you consider being able to play catch up, copying the ergonomics and design eye candy ala your smallest rival, a form of technological feat. For every five idiots Microsoft hires, Apple hires a genius. What the heck are these Microsoft software engineers hired for? It only takes one guy to walk up to the Apple store buy a copy of Apple's Mac OS X. And thousands of developers and software engineers to emulate it? It almost seems these guys haven't got a clue about a good operating system. They couldn't figure out what could be better than integrating widgets, intuitive search options, 'expose' desktop management, mouse over folder effects and desktop animations on their own? SERIOUSLY, what went through their minds when they got the brief to design Windows Vista? What happened to the brainstorming session between the head of development? Were they staring at a Apple iMac? Was it a blank silence? They couldn't work their fat, Hampton's billionaire brains to figure out something somebody else hasn't?
Sell now, patch later - is their philosophy. Meeting pompous deadlines is more important than plugging the holes and debugging the OS, I guess. Judging from the latest beta of Windows Vista, the future still looks patchy, if you know what I mean.
Bottomline, I find little to admire in a company like Microsoft. Apple sales are said to have grown 22.6% from 2005 - 2006 alone. Increasing their global market share from 2.9 to 3.6%. Nothing much compared to Windows, but i'll stick with whatever works for me. Sure, you might want Windows Vista. But you might as well know that Mac OS has done it first, done it better and most importantly is more secure/stable.
Labels: apple, beta, bugs, copy, hate, mac os x, microsoft, sucks, window xp, windows vista