Stop the Noiz

Copycat Microsoft Has Its Own Reality Distortion Field

Frank Fox - 2008.02.29 - Tip Jar

Leopard is out, and there are a few "trick" features that I was showing off to a coworker. I showed him searching through a folder using Cover Flow and opening a view of a document using Quick Look.

Then he said to me, "Oh! This is like Vista."

"No," I answered, "this is Mac, only Microsoft hasn't copied it yet."

This goes to show how by just copying the look of the Mac, Microsoft can ride on Apple's coattails without doing the work of inventing things.

No, I don't think Microsoft is the great copycat that Apple has played them to be. Truthfully, their products can be so bad at times that we all wished they did a better job of copying. Hell, even Michael Dell wants to sell computers with the Mac OS. (With friends like that, who needs enemies?)

What Microsoft copies is the idea that you are getting something great by matching the look of the Mac OS, but what they deliver is pure Microsoft.

Sadly, this impression is enough for the average buyer. They ask about price, does it come with software (meaning Microsoft Office), and how big is the hard drive. These people are typical shoppers, not computer experts with in-depth knowledge of file systems and processor types. They want a computer to write a letter and surf the Internet. If they have kids, maybe it has to play a few games.

These are the perfect switchers, because they have so little invested in any computer platform that what they buy doesn't matter as much as feeling good about the purchase.

The Other Reality Distortion Field

If Apple truly had a working "reality distortion field", it should be sucking these clueless PC zombies in by the truckload. But it doesn't work that way.

You'd think that after all the viruses and spyware and trouble registering your serial number, it'd be like shooting fish in a barrel to get these typical consumers to switch to a Mac. But no, because Microsoft has every bit of the marketing and business knowledge to keep these people from walking away from Windows.

The fact is that perception is what people believe. Perception/fact: Macs are more expensive. People believe this no matter what. You can cut out an article from a PC magazine that shows the Mac is cheaper than a comparable spec Dell computer.

The PC person will simply say, "I saw an add for computers from Dell starting at $300. That Mac in your ad is three times as expensive."

It doesn't matter that Dell sells computers equally as expensive or that the $300 models aren't the ones most customers want to buy. Don't bother arguing total cost of ownership, better resale value, or being able to do more. All of this meaningless to the Average Joe compared to the low price from Dell.

So what are you left to argue? Well, perception works against Microsoft as well. Perception/fact: Windows is a copy of the Mac, and it has tons of viruses. So for all you PC people who want to claim that Apple copied the forward delete key from Microsoft ("and that proves that Apple copies too!"), I say go suck an egg. Windows 3.11 was a bad copy of the Mac OS, and Vista is another copy, a copy that is only skin deep. (Don't even get me started on Linux: Those bozos are so smart that take the time to copy the look of Windows.)

Lenovo X300I know that all this name-calling is hurtful, especially when there is some truth to it. I paid more for my Macs that I love so much, and calling them "overpriced for the specs" doesn't change things. That souped up Lenovo X300 laptop of yours is ugly, outdated, and, by the way, more expensive than a MacBook Air.

Too bad Microsoft's "reality distortion field" keeps so many from believing it.

Time to sign off again, but don't worry - all those neat things your Mac friend shows you will one day be copied by Microsoft. (At least you can think that.) LEM

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