Linked by David Adams on Sat 31st Jul 2010 06:05 UTC, submitted by fran
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Microsoft had its annual financial analyst meeting on Thursday, and Steve Ballmer answered questions about what the company's answer to the iPad was going to be, and whether Windows Phone 7 was going to be a part of that product strategy. He said, "We're coming . . . We're coming full guns. The operating system is called Windows." Ballmer and Microsoft so don't get it. I can't believe Steve Ballmer is making me feel sorry for Microsoft.
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Tony Swash
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It doesn't matter, though. Apple under Jobs has more hype than any other business in the world, and still hasn't half caught up to Balmer's "failure", except in the stock market -- which simply means it's twice overrated, compared to MS. Meanwhile, they're doing the exact same mistakes again, locking people into an expensive platform with high TCO and even higher cost of moving to a more sensible platform.

Also, it's now a fashion company. Fashion tends to go out of, you know, fashion. And because their fans tend to be massive wankers who are overselling the product to a ridiculous degree, many people are already fed up. Just a couple of days ago, I read an article in a fucking newspaper claiming Apple's new "revolutionary" trackpad was going to kill the traditional mouse. Fuck Apple and their fans. They're a bit like Brit Pop fans of the 90s, who thought Oasis were the best band since The Beatles. Well, in reality they were nearly entirely irrelevant. And the iPad wasn't the first at anything.

Great example of TAC

The Techie Apple Conundrum (TAC)

The TAC arises often on sites such as OS News because the attraction of Apple products, and hence Apple's huge success as a company, is dependent on features and aspects of product design invisible to almost all Techies. Thus Apples success is mysterious, vexing and ultimately challenging.

Techies for example often focus on feature lists and technical specifications and compare one such list to another and look at comparative prices and cannot understand that someone would pay more for an "inferior" spec.

This of course misses a critical aspect of Apple product design, one of the keys to the success of Apple in the consumer market, which is that for many (perhaps most) consumers having fewer technical features is a positive thing. This seems paradoxical to Techies but this is because they fail to comprehend what the actual experience for the vast majority of consumers of hi-tech products actually is - which is bad.

Consumers constantly encounter products that don't work as advertised, products that squeeze so many functions into an item that using it for its main purposes is dreadfully complex, products that even when their function should be simple (i.e. to play music, to play a DVD, to surf the web, to write emails) require a thick user manual (many of which which are often written by engineers and are thus unhelpful).

Most hi-tec products are user-unfriendly for most consumers. But not to Techies because they have technical knowledge and so can cope with poor/arcane design. In fact Techies like such products because they find technical challenges fun and because it makes them useful (they are always helping people solve their technical problems) and thus boosts their self esteem.

Some kit, almost all non-Apple desktop computers for example, are not just difficult and poorly designed but are positively scary for almost all consumers. Many non-Apple desktop computers seem very complex to operate, go wrong for no clearly understood reasons and worst of all seem to be under constant attack. Watching someone move from a non-Apple desktop computer to a Mac you can often see them slowly losing their awful, and most of the times paralysing, fear of infection and attack. As the fear fades the pleasure of using their computer increases dramatically and people start to love their computers rather than secretly hating them. Thus another mac-head is born.

The emblematic product for TAC is the iPad. Here is a product that comes on instantly, looks and feels gorgeous, is fast, is easy to operate and does (in a fantastically convenient form factor) most of what most people do most of the time on their computer (ie browse the web, send emails, watch movies, play music, read stuff and look at and share photos). Plus it has two huge benefits for most consumers. First it doesn't feel like a computer - this is a good thing for most people because most people's experience of using computers has been bad. Secondly it feels very safe because of Apple's curated computing model, and most users of computers have previously felt unsafe most of the time.

The very reasons that make the iPad such a huge success are the very reasons that Techies don't get it. If one product above all induces TAC its the iPad. Techies say "but Apple has an iron grip and is killing our freedoms" (people want safety much more than some obscure technical freedom), "the iPad doesn't have [insert any number of features that consumers don't care about]", "its not a real computer" (exactly).

So the continuing, relentless and accelerating success of Apple seems almost inexplicable to most Techies, "how could such products be so successful?"

The answer Techies come up are fairly predictable:

- Apple's voodoo marketing: Apple is pulling the wool over the consumer eyes (sometimes this is blamed on media hype).

- Apple's evil lock in: Apple has a locked down and closed platform, once sucked in people can't leave.

- Apple consumers and users are idiots: Fooled by marketing and glitzy packaging the sheep can be sold everything.

Because Techies believe that these are the real reason people buy Apple products (other than the more obvious reason which is that consumers actually like them a lot) Techies also believe that this state of affairs cannot possibly last and therefore the final piece of the Techie response to Apple falls into place. Deranged by TAC Techies often come up with the most delusional statement of all - Apple is doomed.

Reply Parent Score: 3

sorpigal Member since:

I'm not sure whether to say +1 Insightful or -1 Pro-Apple Troll. No question that it's both, it's just hard to say which is dominant.

Either way, bravo.

Reply Parent Score: 2

MissinBeOS Member since:

Very well-written and thought out. There are always going to be exceptions to any effort at simplifying a large audience's opinions or reactions, but this does a very good job at making the attempt.

I seem to be in a minority, at least from the amount of stuff I've been reading over the past several months. I'm a techie, but I happen to own and love my iPad. It does what I want it to, when & where I want it to, without having to wrestle it into submission. (yes, I can already hear the cries of indignation - "You must be a Machead Sheeple! You don't know how to use computers! You've swallowed the kool-aid!" Sorry to not fit neatly into anyone's cherished conceptions. I've been using computers since the TRS-80 Model I in 1980 (could have been early 81 - my memory's a little hazy that far back) - all the way up through Atari's, Commodores, Amiga's (I consider the Amiga to be its own separate entity,) Macs, PC's, BeOS machines ... I've got a pretty good idea of what I want and how to go about getting it. The iPad, for me, fits nicely into a lot of those tasks.

Is an iPad the end-all, be-all uber-device? Of course not. Is Apple somehow holding a gun to helpless, clueless consumers heads? Nope.

Will Microsoft manage to come up with something competitive to the iPad or Android tablets? Who knows! I don't know, that's for sure. I wouldn't count them out of the running, this early in the game. I'd personally like to see them take the Courier concept and run with it - that thing could rock.

Reply Parent Score: 1