Will Utter Nonsense for Ad Revenue

When I started this whole Sunday Eve Column thing, I was painfully aware I was basically doing the same thing as a certain other individual who somehow insists on using the first letter of his middle name (maybe because he thinks it makes him look cool?). I believe that person only writes his columns to make money. And that’s just sad.

Recently, that columnist has repeatedly been making it into the headlines; I am obviously talking about John C. Dvorak. Dvorak (no, not the guy behind that alternative keymap nobody uses) has recently, however, made the wildest claim of them all: Apple will ditch Mac OS X in favour of Microsoft’s Windows.

Now, I am quite an open-minded guy, but some things make so little sense, it just hurts. Dvorak mentioned four key observations why Apple will switch towards using Windows (well, actually someone he talked to mentioned them):

  1. Apple’s Switch campaign has been cancelled (and nobody switched, so he claims);
  2. the iPod lost its FireWire interface;
  3. the iPod was designed to switch people over to the Mac, but they did not;
  4. Apple’s switch to Intel.

Dvorak kind of already explains himself why Apple stopped the Switch campaign: nobody switched. While that is probably not entirely true (I’m sure 3 or 4 people did actually switch because of the campaign), it does explain perfectly fine why Apple ditched it: the campaign was deemed a failure by Apple. And be honest, besides that really addictive theme tune (it’s even my phone’s ringtone), nothing good really did come out of the campaign (ignoring the cool parodies, of course).

And yes, the iPod indeed lost its FireWire connector, in favour of the more ubiquitous USB interface. Again, this is by no means an indicator for Apple’s operating system future; it merely means Apple was smart enough to realise that only three men and a cow have FireWire connectors by default on their non-Mac computers. And since the non-Mac people outnumber the Mac people by a factor of 30, it made perfect sense for Apple to ditch an interface nobody would use. In other words, while every Mac had USB, not every non-Mac had FireWire. The choice to standardize on USB instead of wasting money on maintaining two interfaces for the iPod was simple common sense– and nothing else.

Point 3 is more interesting. The iPod Halo effect has been dismissed by many, but real world observations seem to confirm the effect indeed does exist. For instance, when I interviewed Wim Schermer, owner and founder of one of the biggest chains of Apple retail stores in The Netherlands, he clearly said he saw the Halo effect on the shop’s floor– and I prefer to believe Mr Schermer, who has first hand experience with actually selling the damn things.

That leaves me with Apple’s switch to Intel. Did Apple switch to Intel because they want to switch to Windows as well? Obviously, no. For two reasons.

Firstly, why would Apple invest so much in making universal binaries, Rosetta, maintaining two versions of their operating system, and so on, if they are going to switch to Windows in the near future? Don’t you think it would’ve made more sense to switch to Windows like, now, to save all the money now spent on the things I just mentioned?

Secondly, EFI. You see, Dvorak says that the alleged switch may have been a done deal around the time when Jobs returned to Apple in 1997. If that really were the case– then why will the client version of Vista not support booting off of EFI? If this was a done deal between Apple and Microsoft you’d think Apple would not need to resort to making their own extension to EFI in order to boot XP– no, then MS would’ve included EFI booting as an add-on to XP, and by default in Vista’s client.

Now, if Dvorak’s reasoning makes so little sense, then why on earth does he publish this? As far as I can see, I can only find two reasons. One, he actually really believes his own reasoning. Two, he just wanted to write something controversial in order to get people to link to him which in turn generates ad revenue. Now, since I find one highly improbable (I mean, seriously), I can only conclude he published this column because of two. And I find that sad.

We at OSNews link to him too every now and then (we’re just people, we like a little humour every now and then), and even my own column is about him now– giving him a little more recognition. However, I believe some things need to be said, no matter if that means giving Dvorak what he’s after (ad revenue).

This is one of those things.

–Thom Holwerda

If you would like to see your thoughts or experiences with technology published, please consider writing an article for OSNews.


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