No, Really, Why Mac? [An open letter to Apple, Steve Jobs, and the Marketing Department]

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I know this may not play well into the ‘MS is our closest friend’ mantra, but…

What ever happened to the “75 Macintosh Advantages” document? I first saw it at a MacWorld as “50…” but both documents were a fantastic side-by-side comparison of common tasks on ours and the ‘other’ platform. I have a PDF of the “75…” version and have shared it with friends over the last few years as they have jumped back-and-forth between Windows and the MacOS (it also served as a nice introduction for platform-crossing users – going either direction).

I even used an old Apple ‘advice’ email address years ago and suggested that the TV ads be used to show a different ‘advantage’ (straight from the book) each week; 52 weeks out of the year – and the ones that play better for TV could be run more than once.

Anyway, a quick review of it today proves it to be grossly out-of-date (it was designed to compare against Win95, not 98/NT/2000/ME, and includes old news such as ADB, SCSI, etc.).

I stopped seeing it published on Apple web pages about the same time MS invested their paltry $150M (and more importantly, committed to providing Office for the next five years). Was part of the agreement that Apple would never again tout the design differences between us and Windows?

At recent Demo Days (I’ve had the opportunity to participate in every one since XMas ’95), I have pointed out the differences between a ‘Shortcut’ (Windows) and an ‘Alias’ (MacOS) to the “Ooooh!”s and “Aaaah!”s of inquisitive crowds including both prospective customers and WinBigot sales people. I run installers and show how files get added (not altered) in the MacOS. I then show the salespeople (we don’t do this in front of the customers, because we guests in these stores, and cannot do anything to harm Windows sales while on the floor) the number of files that are edited, replaced, and moved without the users’ knowledge… making complete application removal a joke. Then we walk back over to the Mac to show them the Extensions Manager and I sort by ‘Package’…

Well you get the picture. This is untrodden territory. None of these guys have even heard of the Extensions Manager, nor do they know why there are no .ini files. It seems all we’ve been able to accomplish over the last five years is to beat down (but not eradicate) the myth that there is no software available on the MacOS. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS THE ADVANTAGES OF THE MAC.

Now, with OS X, we have a grand new opportunity to use what we’ve learned from this lesson in the trenches. Since you’ll want to spend extra effort ‘preaching to the choir’ to move the MacOS masses to X, why not extend that education to the Wintel crowd that still believes that all PCs are by nature held together with Band-Aids and baling wire?

Or, we could stick with the old soft-shoe and say that it’s just ‘prettier’. Or ‘cooler’. Or more stable. Just don’t call MS’s bluff and clue customers in that it’s a miracle that anything with a Windows machine’s poor design can even run at all.

Your choice.

Dan Oblak

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