PCs and Macs. And smartphones.

Having had a go at Google, I suppose it's time to look at Apple. Odd as it may sound Microsoft people don't dislike Apple. iPod's market penetration among Microsoft employees is probably higher than the population as a whole. Ask many of us what hardware we'd choose to run Vista on and a lot would prefer Apple to Dell, HP, Toshiba and the rest. Apple's industrial design is some of the very best out there.

Apple punch above their weight, and nowhere more so than in their advertising. 23 years after it aired the "1984" commercial for the launch of the Mac is still seen as one of the great commercials. I've quoted a piece in the Guardian about the current "I'm a PC"/ "and I'm a Mac" ads - here in the UK they star David Mitchell (PC) and Robert Webb (Mac). A favourite bit reads

[Mitchell and Webb] are best known for the television series Peep Show... ..  in which Mitchell plays a repressed, neurotic underdog, and Webb plays a selfish, self-regarding poseur. So when you see the ads, you think, "PCs are a bit rubbish yet ultimately lovable, whereas Macs are just smug, preening tossers." In other words, it is a devastatingly accurate campaign.

Dell have responded in kind;  and now so have PC pro (PC pro's Tim Danton has a good piece on the subject, too). Their "32 ways that PCs are better than Macs makes a good read"

A couple of times recently my new smartphone has come into its own. Last night, getting off the plane home I picked up a mail which said "was [this] meant to be in a blog post you made". It wasn't, and the web browser on the smartphone let me onto the blog site to make the correction before I got to front of the passport queue. A couple of times I've found myself using the camera as a way of grabbing a  note of something - as distinct from taking a photograph. One example was PC-Pro on the Mac adverts... If you want to know what their 32 reasons are you'll have to get your own copy.

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Comments (11)
  1. James ONeill says:

    Ben, you were the person who enaged me in a really long diatribe about how fantastic Google applications are. Now you’re telling me that how great Apple’s propaganda is – even though some of it’s main tennets are untrue. You should be able to see why I might wonder if you’re engaging robustly (fine) or a troll (waste of time). Perhaps I shouldn’t have wondered out loud.

    To clarify, a computer running the Mac OS is a Mac. A computer running Windows is a PC. If the best benchmarks for a PC turn up on one made by Apple rather than Dell, HP etc that isn’t a surprise. I don’t beleive that anyone makes a claim that to do a collection of normal tasks either OS is markedly quicker than the other.

  2. James ONeill says:

    Ben, maybe I shouldn’t have wondered out loud but you do post "the other side" here quite a lot – there is a line where someone becomes a troll and you haven’t crossed it, but a couple of your comments do make me wonder if you’re trying to find where the line is drawn. I’ll engage with pretty much anyone, but not indefinitely. Generally engagement is good, but engaging with a troll is as waste of time, and I don’t care what *they* think. So … if you want to have chat, that’s fine. Just don’t make think you’re being a troll.  

    Of course a blog is one-sided. It’s my opinion after all. Canon were spreading FUD about a system which showed theirs up. In most people’s minds Google is search. I admire Apples industrial design. For those who want alternative OS for the desktop it’s better than Linux. Their ads are another matter.

    Like I say the security thing is factually incorrect. Ditto the thing about PCs crashing all the time.

    You said in your previous comment that the Editor of Mac World made the argument that mac were cheaper – inspite of the price tag. His argument was that you could run the latest Mac OS on an 8 year old mac. If you don’t need Glass you can run Vista on a PC from 2000. But it’s useless for what I do with a computer today.

    Current mac hardware is effectively PC hardware so it doesn’t surprise me if the fastest machine to run Windows is made by Apple.  

  3. James ONeill says:

    And at Dell, and at PC pro magazine and … you see Apple with (as the register article gives it) 3% market share is actually being pretty rude to the rest of us. As the that article quotes Bill as saying.

    "I don’t think the over 90 per cent of the [population] who use Windows PCs think of themselves as dullards, or the kind of klutzes that somebody is trying to say they are."

  4. James ONeill says:

    Ben, they got the editor of Mac user to put the counter case – in a full page side bar within the 32 reasons article. I said the article makes a good read, and people should read it for themselves. I didn’t quote the text of the article. But once again you feel the need to come and disagree with me. Do you wonder if I’ll stop approving your comments. I do.  

    I haven’t got PC Pro in front of me, but I don’t theink the guy from Mac world ever argued Macs were cheaper, simply that you can run a new Mac OS on an 8 year old mac. The PC I bought seven years ago would actually run vista (twin 400MHz processors and 512MB of RAM). But it didn’t have a DVD burner (or the CPU to master DVDs in under a day), had 12GB of disk space – I shoot about 5GB on each visit to the Studio. An hour of TV from media centre takes 1.6GB. Its CPU wouldn’t be powerful enough to run the latest games – nor would the graphics card. The monitor will only go to 1024×768, and I’ve got a feeling it was the USB on it was only 1.1.

    What use is a PC that old ? In those 8 years if I’d taken what PC-Pro calls service packs for Mac-OS I’d have spent more than the price of a new PC with Vista on it.

    I’m pretty sure he doesn’t claim Macs are faster, even Apple don’t. More secure – read this from macworld (including the lovely suggestion than anyone who thinks macs are secure is in denial) http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/04/30/daizovi/index.php – the best the Macophiles can claim is that as the minority platform they are targetted less. So the mac has less software of all kinds including viruses, and less in the way of hardware choices too.

    Dissing people who work in IT (e.g. Channel 4’s the IT crowd), or PCs, or Microsoft is a good way to get a cheap laugh. The Apple ads add dishonesty to the mix – and whilst the style is popular. I haven’t seen any numbers to say that Mac sales are up.

  5. James ONeill says:

    For most people, Google is a search company pure and simple. For most people Apple is an Music player company. Less pure and not as simple.

    I told people to read the article, not what was in it. But you had to point out that they allowed the Mac side to put their case, keep hammering on about how Microsoft don’t enjoy having themselves, their partners portrayed as "Dullards and Klutzes". You know we get sick of the "Evil Empire" stuff too. See http://blogs.technet.com/jamesone/archive/2007/04/10/we-aten-t-dead.aspx

  6. Ben says:

    Those Mac adverts really seem to be hitting a raw nerve there at Microsoft.  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/05/gates_apple_outburst/

  7. Ben says:

    Since you’re quoting the PC Pro article, perhaps I should balance it by saying that they also have 10 reasons why Mac’s are better than PCs.  Stuff like them being faster, more stable, cheaper, more secure etc.  You know, it’s nice to have a bit of balance. Like Dell installing Ubuntu; the world is a richer place for a bit of variation.

    Anyway, you guys at Microsoft should lighten up over these Mac adverts… I find them funny, original, simple, clever and you have to admit they are hugely popular.  The Microsoft ‘Devil wears Prada’ advert – 2.3k views on YouTube today.  The Dell Mac parody you link has 41k.  I know which advertising company I’d hire.

  8. Ben says:

    Hi James

    I don’t ‘feel the need’ to come and disagree with you; in fact, if you read my comments above you’d see that I haven’t disagreed with you in ANY way!! I have been simply trying to stimulate a bit of debate: I find a few of your comments a bit one-sided and all I’ve tried to do is redress the balance.  I like to think of myself as a loyal Microsoft fan.  I use and like your products, I’ve a string of Microsoft qualifications, my job revolves mostly around Microsoft products and I watch what you guys are doing with interest. In particular, I read your blog because believe it or not, I’m interested in what you have to say.  Some of the technical stuff I have picked up here has been invaluable, so thanks.   Whatever, I don’t really need to comment on your blog about how great Microsoft and its products are; that is your job.  I just feel that some of your posts are a bit one sided against a few things (for example Google, Apple, Canon etc) and I’m trying to bring a little bit of balance to it.  

    The comment on Macs being faster was taken from reason 7 ‘Macs are faster’ in the PC Pro article.  Quote: PC Pro’s own Lab’s tests proved that the Mac Pro, the current top-end machine in Apple’s line up, was faster running Windows XP than any conventional PC at that time.   You’ll be happy to hear that the article does say that it has since been eclipsed, by a PC.   The other stuff about it being more secure, more stable etc are taken straight from the magazine too, I didn’t make them up.  If you have an issue with them, why not take them up with the magazine?  I don’t care about the stuff like USB1.1 or whatever resolution.  I was just pointing out that there was a little more to the article.  I have a Mac and I like it.  I also have a PC and I like it also.  They are different beasts, yes, and variety is the spice of life.  Come off it with the all the ‘dishonesty’ talk!!  The Mac adverts are a just a bit of fun!  You know what they say; laugh and the world will laugh with you.  They have, after all, 3% of the market so why should you be fretting over them!

    Anyways, now I’m a little disappointed.  I thought the ‘leave a comment’ was for folks to leave comments?  I read your blog.  Now, I’ve no idea how many other people read it but I can see that not a whole lot of people leave comments and that of those that do, a quite a few are Microsoft employees.  I would have thought you would welcome a little bit of outside interaction and I thought that was one of the measures of success for an evangelist?

    So, if you want to exercise the ‘power’ and stop approving my comments then fine.  I don’t deny that it is, after all, your blog.  Hey, I’d find it a little bit ironic with your comments on Google’s ‘control freakery’ but that’s about it.  Life’s too short.  Why not disable the comments section altogether have a static page with no interaction?

    But, if you want a blog with a loyal reader and a good bit of interaction with your readers, then why not welcome comments and bring it on, let’s have a balanced chat.  Surely it’s nicer to know what your readers actually think?

  9. Ben says:

    I ‘post the other side here a lot’?! I’ve made a handful of posts to your blog; I think you’d have to be stretching it to say that at a guesstimate <10 times was a lot!  

    Also, I’ve no idea what the fantasy talk of trolls is about!  I’m not trying to find some elusive drawn lines either.  Like I said, I was just trying to intelligently engage with you over your posts on your blog.  I’ve tried to make well thought out and explained arguments to your posts.  If you don’t want to engage, then fine, don’t.  

    Anyway, despite the trolls, I.  Two posts ago, you didn’t believe the ‘mac was faster’ bit.  Now it ‘doesn’t surprise’ you.  Small, but progress…

    Like I already said the rest of the stuff (crashing glass etc) weren’t my points and I’m not that interested; they were in the magazine that started this thread. If you want to take them up with the editor then go for it.  

  10. Ben says:

    My ‘diatribe’ (though I’d hardly call it that) about Google was in reference to your quote that all Google amounted to was search.  I say it’s more but I couln’t get you to see that.  I think the Google apps are great.

    Anyway, my point in THIS thread was that the PC Pro article also contained reasons why the Mac was better than the PC.  Thats it, that was the point.

    As for Macs ‘propaganda’ or as I’d call them, adverts, there is a saying ‘any publicity is good publicity’.  They have you, me and even Bill Gates commenting on them – even if they are all based on a lie, it’s all adding oxygen to their publicity flame.

  11. Ben says:

    Hi James

    I can fully appreciate that you get sick of some of the Microsoft bashing that goes on.  I didn’t watch the ‘IT Crowd’ but I read that article when you posted it.  Like I said, I’ve worked for Microsoft qualifications and I have no interest in seeing them devalued.

    My own view is that you as a company do some really GOOD stuff, and that you should focus on promoting on the stuff that Microsoft does well rather than criticising the competition.  Yes, Apple are doing this in their adverts so why not take the high ground and leave them to it?!

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