How Do You Get a Macintosh User to Buy a Dell?

It is no surprise to readers of my rants that I own several PCs in addition to several Macintosh computers. I use to NEVER own a PC. And if Apple wants to ensure that I own even more PCs, it will continue to act as it has these past few weeks, basically like a spoiled, rotten child! And that is EXACTLY what Apple is doing these days. As I said before, Dell has THE BEST service warranty in the business (based on my experiences to date) and damn good hardware, and while XP will never be truly a Mac, they get closer every year, and I just need a few more reasons to drop Apple all together. And Apple is sure making it easier every week to hate them.

Lets face it, Unix on the desktop is both a good and bad idea, and while Apple did an amazing job of hiding it from the user behind OS-X, the old Macintosh Computer for beginners is no more. Apple is now MORE complex to use than a PC in many ways, has its share of problems, especially around installing and removing files, and is, I believe, a very short time away from being attacked by viruses on a large scale. Not to mention VERY complex for most users to solve problems caused by the Unix system. On the flip side, Windows XP has become even more user friendly, plug and play technology now works as well on a PC as it does on a Mac, and in some cases even better because more drivers are available for Windows. And the upcoming release of Longhorn will contain even more features bringing it closer and closer to the Mac. So owning a Mac is not the great ease of use advantage is use to be, and if you ever need to fix it, not as easy either. (Not to mention the ability to add all sorts of cool things to a PC!) And lets face it, there are still way many more programs for a PC, including some cool games, than Mac could ever hope for. So what keeps us coming back to Mac? Well, I would say the coolness of the computer and the company Apple are the key factors. Apple makes cool computers. But guess what, so does Sony!

So how is Apple helping out being cool these days? They are not! In fact, I would say they are going out of their way to be less than cool lately. Lets look at a few new ways Apple has hurt customers and potential customers in the last month or so:

1). In many places around the world, Apple distributors received copies of OS-X 10.4 Tiger last week or two in advance of the upcoming release date of April 29th. (see SlashDot or Engadget)

Many of these distributors received these copies WELL in advance of when they expected to get them, so, they shipped these copies to customers that had pre-ordered ahead of schedule. Vendors like PC Mall, Mac Mall, and Club Mac basically gave their Apple’s customers a treat by giving them their long awaited OS ahead of schedule.

So how cool is that? I wish I had received one. You would think making a bunch of customers happy would be a good thing, right? Not as far as Apple is concerned! As one person at said, if he turned down his music, he could hear Steve Jobs yelling from his house! But how did Apple respond to this?

Would you believe that Apple ‘recalled” these versions? They WARNED and THREATENED these customers that these early copies of Tiger will not be “supported” by Apple if they install them, and demanded these customers return them immediately! Of course, no offer to pay the postage from Apple, and no real assurance as to when they would receive a copy they could use. Yea, right! How exactly Apple can tell the difference between a supported and unsupported copy is unclear to me? Maybe if you try and registered early they would know, but I see no other way. But why should Apple even care if these people got a week or two head start? The only reason I can think of is that this takes the wind out of an “Apple announcement” because some people will already know. I guess Steve Jobs really wants his announcement to be the starting gun, and these guys just ruined his fun. Oh, poor baby. End results, a bunch of very unhappy Apple customers being threatened by the company they just gave money. Not so smart.

2). I see no difference between this and Apple’s threats to people and websites who released information (or actually, rumors) about what Apple is doing inside. But only, it seems, if they happen to guess correctly. This pre-release info only made a bunch of people curious, created a lot of interest in Apple and its products, and increased the desire for others to learn more. To me, this seems ALL GOOD, except for maybe Steve Jobs, who was upset because he did not get to make these introductions himself. Again, poor baby. But Apple turns a good into a bad by stomping its feet, banging the table. and putting its lawyers against the very people who keep interest in their product alive. What a bunch of children at Apple these days! And Apple only made the rumor issue worse, because by shutting down only SOME website displaying rumors, they basically confirmed what rumors were accurate themselves. Opps!

As anyone who works or has worked at a company the size of Apple (or larger) knows, a ship like this usually leaks from the top, and when I was at Apple, it was no exception. Apple, check your executives and sales people for leaks and stop picking on people who report them. That said, if Apple leaks info, and the press prints it, APPLE’S bad, not the press. Stop the leaks at the source and not by trying to plug the outlets or news and information about your products, the very same people you WANT to write about what you say at other times.

3). In the local newspaper today is an article about how Apple is pulling all books off Apple stores shelves from Publisher Wiley. Why would they do this? Because Wiley is publishing an “unauthorized” biography of Steve Jobs, and Steve does not like it! So how does Steve react? He has his company improperly throw its weight behind his personal tantrum, and remove all that publisher’s books from HIS stores. Excuse me, but all this does is hurt the customer, and create even more of a demand for a book that Apple would rather no one read. I did not care, but now I will go buy a copy JUST because Steve threw a fit about it.

Wiley is the publisher of a number of Apple and PC technical books, including the very popular “Dummies” and Bible series. Even more strange is that the book about Steve is rather positive, and shines a complimentary light on his accomplishments, battle with cancer, and the turn around of Apple. The publisher seems to have made the error of sending the book to Apple for review a few weeks ago, and Steve became upset because he did not “authorize” this. Quote frankly, Wiley does not really need his permission.

So once again, the spoiled children at Apple, led by the biggest baby of them all, Steve, is taking their ball and going home. If you won’t play the game by Steve’s rules, he will just not play with you at all. GIVE ME A BREAK! This is a business Apple, and Steve’s tantrums should not cause a business decisions that basically only hurts the end customer more than the publisher! Given that Wiley sells many more PC books than Apple books anyway, do they really care about this loss of sales? And any loss on Apple books from Apple’s stores will now easily be made up on increased sales of the new book, called iCon.

So as a result of Steve not being asked if the book could be published, which was not really necessary in the first place, he will penalize customers of Apple stores by removing products that could help customer in the long run, especially new and first time users of Macintosh, who actually need these books. Now there is a customer centric decision. Way to show your concern for the customer first Apple.

So, to answer the question, “How do you get a Macintosh user to buy a Dell?” Here is a list for you Apple. But then again, it seems you already know how:
1) Kick and blame customers when you make a mistake
2) Act irresponsibly when something bothers your CEO, and make a business decision based on it
3) Sue the press and websites for talking about your cool (even if unannounced) products that YOU leak so users can no longer read and follow what Apple is doing on these sites
4) Insult your customers with threats of no support because YOU messed up.

Damn Apple, you are making me appreciate my Dell and Sony laptops a little more every day. Who needs Microsoft to get better when you just get worse? Remember us Apple, we were your customers.

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