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“Redmond, Start Your Photocopiers” – Or not

I’m a Mac user, and have been for almost 20 years, since the first day in 1986 when, as  a humanities undergraduate I discovered the Mac Plus’ in my college computer lab. I later worked briefly for Apple, and have made a living in and around the Mac market for ten years. My last computer purchase was a Mac – the glorious Mac mini, in my opinion one of the best designed computers ever made.

Yet I’m also a Windows user. The last time I needed a new laptop, I found that there was nothing that fitted the bill from Apple. I wanted a laptop that was small, light, and that I could write on – so a tablet from Acer (the C111) fitted my needs exactly. Ten inch screen, weighs next to nothing, and so on. It wasn’t my first Windows machine, but it’s been the one that I’ve used more than anything else – and it’s the one that’s made me learn all about the pros and cons of Windows.

The truth about Windows? It isn’t bad. There’s lots of areas where it’s not as good as Mac OS X, and it doesn’t have the sheer pleasure factor that you get from using a Mac (well, I do at least!) but it’s not the worst product in the world, and generally it works.
Given that they use the best operating system around, then, why do a certain creed of Apple fans have to try and take an axe to Windows at every point? Why do they have to constantly belittle the efforts of Microsoft to make it better? Read the Mac blogs, and you’ll find, over and over again, articles that claim that everything Microsoft does is copied from Apple, or that every Windows machine is riddled with spyware and viruses, or whatever.
It’s weird, because what the Apple sites tend to do is the very thing that they often accuse Windows advocates of doing: spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about the platform. I simply can’t get my head around why they bother, but perhaps that’s because I believe that buying something should be based on informed choices rather than prejudice.
A lot of the time, they show a combination of lack of knowledge about the history of computers, combined with a lack of knowledge about Windows, and a lot of determination to bash Microsoft at all costs. Take, for example, a piece at one of my favourite sites, The Apple Blog. The story, “Redmond, Start Your Photocopiers”. is full of half-researched comments, and it’s worth going through it to show the kind of FUD that, bizarrely, gets spread about about Windows and Microsoft.

As should be clear from the Windows Vista web site (especially this page),
Microsoft is placing great emphasis on look and feel in the new OS,
presumably given that Apple has demonstrated that this kind of thing
really does matter to user, and it appears that Microsoft has at least
been “inspired” by Apple in this area.

You can argue (and I would) that Microsoft has not done a great job of look and feel: But you can’t argue that it’s long known that look and feel is important, and that it’s been improving the look and feel of its operating system since the release of Windows 1.0 in 1985.

Consider the new display model, where all the work of slinging text and
buttons and windows onto the screen is handled by the graphics card.
Vista will have this, and Apple has been working towards it in Mac OS X
since Quartz Extreme in Jaguar (10.2). Tiger has introduced many
refinements, and whilst Apple’s system is still wholly bitmap based
(and thus resistant to easy scaling), it is here now, and it works well
on very average hardware.

This is part true, and part false. Quartz Extreme is a great system, and accelerates graphics very nicely. But the notion of passing off graphics work to the card is nothing new – Microsoft itself does it in both parts of GDI+ and Direct3D. What is great about Quartz Extreme isn’t that it’s a major innovation, but that it’s implemented very well.

A fully vector-based display model is a nice idea, make no mistake
about it (and you could call it innovative). It may well be less
radical by Q4 2006,

It’s more than a nice idea: In a world where we’re finally moving towards true resolution independence, it’s a necessity. But it raises an interesting point: if, in Mac OS X 10.5, released a little before Vista, Apple introduced a resolution independant Quartz, will people claim Microsoft "copied" Apple with this one?

but it does seem that it will leave users of older
machines out in the cold. What of the millions of office PCs out there?

While the previous comment was largely correct, this is simple FUD – and BAD FUD at that. First of all, it makes a classic mistake that Mac users often do when talking about graphics: The assumption that 128Mb graphics memory (the recommended amount for Aero Glass is "top-of-the-range". It’s not. The only machines you ever see these days with less than that are either dirt-cheap PCs or low-end laptops. 128MB graphics cards cost from around £25 if you don’t have one, and 256Mb cards from about £30. If you can’t afford that, you’re unlikely to be spending £100+ on buying Vista anyway.
What’s worse is that final line: "Are they all going to need top-of-the-range ATI or nVIDIA cards just to
run Word?" A quick read through any of the developer stuff about Windows Presentation Framework would tell you the answer: Of course not. If there’s no supported graphics card available, it falls back to using older display methods.

Flip 3D, mentioned below that, appears to be a take on Exposé, whose
simplicity has attracted many users, typically the less experienced
type who find shortcut keys (like Command+Tab) hard to remember. It
will be interesting to see how this manifests itself in the final
version. Thumbnailing for Alt+Tab switching too seems to have its roots
in Apple’s Exposé.

This is just nonsense, as a cursory glance at the picture of the screen grab of Flip 3D at Softpedia shows. Flip 3D is nothing like Expose: you hit Windows + Spacebar and your open Windows appear in a stacked, 3D view that has more in common with a souped-up alt-tab view than Expose. It addresses the same problem as Expose – the need to manage large numbers of open windows – but in nothing like the same way.

Oh, and finally for this bit, Microsoft Gadgets. Ho hum.

Dashboard, anyone?

The cheap response is, of course, "Konfabulator, anyone?". Although Dashboard is based on different technology to Konfabulator, it’s clearly "borrows" the look and feel – something that the pre-existence of Desk Accessories makes no difference to. It’s certainly not the first time that Microsoft has dabbled in HTML-based small applications: Active Desktop, introduced with Windows 98, is a good example. And Gadgets owe at least as much to a Microsoft research project called Sideshow (not to be confused with the new SideShow, which is a method of displaying key information on small devices), which was first mentioned in a published paper in 2001.

Then we get on to Virtual Folders:

New organizational concept?” Who to? By Longhorn’s release,
Tiger users will have enjoyed this functionality for over a year and a
half. It will be interesting to see if this is implemented at operating
system level, like, arguably, it should have been in Tiger (so that
search results could be accessed from the Terminal, etc.). It seems
more likely that Microsoft will adopt the same approach as Apple –
after all, why innovate when you can just copy? It’s less effort.

Virtual Folders are indeed like Smart Folders, in that they’re XML files that contain dynamically-created lists of files from a database search. However, Microsoft’s attempts to do this date back to the first demo’s of Longhorn in 2003, when they were implemented in the interface as Stacks rather than folders. This makes Apple’s "invention" somewhat lesser: The idea of implementing this as a folder isn’t exactly huge.

Internet Explorer is evidently seeing some additions too – tabbed
browsing and RSS feed access, two never-before-seen features which will
put Microsoft ahead of the game. Fair enough, Apple cannot claim credit
for tabbed browsing, which has streamlined the web browsing experience
for so many people, but Safari in Tiger is leading the way with RSS
integration. In Windows, it’s still a year off.

I believe that Firefox had RSS integration before Safari – which means, according to the rules our author is playing by, that Apple must have "copied" it – but that’s by the by. What the author ignores is that RSS integration in Vista goes way beyond the browser, and far beyond what Apple has done so far with Mac OS X.

RSS in Vista is integrated directly into the OS, and available as an API for developers to use. For example, Virtual Folders can be shared via RSS – a really smart feature. Desktop search integrates support for RSS, so you can search RSS (or Atom) feeds from the desktop. Microsoft has also made available a set of extensions to RSS that allow you to represent ordered lists – extensions that the company has made available using a Creative Commons license, in case you think it’s a case of "embrace, extend, exterminate".

The most interesting feature here is what Microsoft is currently
dubbing Metro Docs, which is a clear assault on Adobe’s PDF format and
a response to Print dialogue box PDF creation in Mac OS X.

The second bit of this is correct: Metro serves the same purpose as PDF creation print dialogue box in Mac OS X. But just as that ability hasn’t killed Adobe’s sales of Acrobat on the Mac, so Metro won’t dent sales on Windows. In the words of Microsoft’s Greg Sullivan, "PDF is not going away. We’re solving a much
narrower set of challenges for IHVs (independent hardware vendors) and
ISVs (independent software vendors."

There’s more, but most of it is simply sniping. Ultimately, it all just leaves me a bit baffled. Microsoft is trying to improve its OS. In some areas, it will leapfrog Apple, just as Apple leapfrog’s Microsoft. That, surely, is good for everyone – as it means there’s competition, and competition drives improvement. When Apple was faced with the genuinely poor competition of Windows 3 and 95, it floundered around not improving its OS, making the disaster that was Copland. Once it had real competition, in the shape of Windows NT (which was infinitely more reliable than 95) it was forced to shape up. I for one welcome any and all improvements to Windows – and I’m not going to run around crying about them.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sam

    Regarding vector graphics, it should be noted that NeXTstep used Display PostScript back in the 80’s, so claiming innovation now by either Apple or Microsoft is farfetched.

    The “piles” or “stacks” file organization method is in fact patented by Apple (US patent 6,243,724 and 6,613,101) and was developed in the early 90’s as part of Apple’s advanced research that was going to go into Copeland. Since the original file date is now 14 years old, I assume the patent is expiring and Microsoft is free to use it even if they didn’t already have rights from their $150M investment and cross-licensing Apple deal in 1998.

    As for Metro, don’t believe the Microsoft line… Microsoft wants to own prepress down the road, and it is indeed an initial assault against Adobe and PDF’s dominance. They’d like nothing better than to supplant PDF as an exchange format and PDF/A as an archive format… own the file format and you own the software market, as Office proved. They’re attempting the same thing with audio and video with WMP formats, and, in fact, seem to have a new proprietary, carefully licensed format ready for almost any market in which they want to compete.

  • Don

    Hello, Ian.

    My first computer was a kit (using an 8088) and my second was a DOS beast with a button to put it into ultra-fast “turbo” speed, 10 MHz. I’ve taught both Windows and Mac at a university, as well as applications that run on both. As I repeatedly told students, in today’s competitive world, the better you know more OSes, the more hireable you are. When I wasn’t teaching, I easily got jobs in the computer industry ahead of others because I knew Mac and Windows as opposed to Windows-only. So I’d say I have a similar background to you.

    Even so, I find it difficult to understand why you so totally missed the major point: Windows users tend to simply use their computer when they must. Mac users love their computers. Nobody except a manufacturer defends a typewriter when another in some way attacks it. Everyone defends a loved one when they perceive an attack on it.

    So you have someone you love who spends all of his or her time, money, and energy trying to better themselves. Meanwhile, the big bully who is seven times your size comes by and steals everything your loved one has done. Sure you get sore!

    CNN has said that Vista looks like Mac OS X. Balmer says that aspects of Vista were taken from the Mac (esp. Gadgets). Even in Redmond, the running joke is that Apple is “Microsoft R&D South.” So to many who love their computers (even you don’t say that you love your tablet), it’s like hearing that your sister went out on a date with a rich guy only to discover that he raped her, stole all of her possessions, and now wears her clothes!

    Many years ago, a pundit wrote, “we don’t use Windows because it’s good, we use it because it’s good enough.” Even your comments agree with that. Do you say Windows it great or wonderful? Do you even say it’s good? Nope. You say “It isn’t bad.” That’s like saying “living with cancer isn’t bad when you compare it to death.”

    There’s another aspect, here, too. Microsoft is a monopoly and has repeatedly exhibited monopolistic behavior that is antithetical to freedom and harmful to innovation, originality, and creativity. Time and again they have used their monopolistic power to ruthlessly destroy any sort of perceived competition. They do so not by creating something better, but by using their monopolistic stranglehold and legal maneuvers, as well as FUD (I thought it was very funny the way you accused some Mac supporters of creating FUD about Windows when, in fact, MS has spent years spreading its own FUD about the wonders of Longwait…er Longhorn…er Vista) and outright lies to prevent easy access to alternatives.

    Respectfully, your entire articles sounds like a small boy objecting when he’s been spanked because he was caught with his hands in a cookie jar.

    Why don’t you ask the valuable questions? If competitioni is good–and I would contend that it is–why is Redmond incapable of coming up with something that DOESN’T copy what Apple does? They are seven times the size of Apple. They don’t have to put any money into buying or manufacturing hardware and can focus on software. They should be able to come up with software that isn’t bloated, that isn’t open to thousands of pieces of malware. They should be able to come up with something so spectacularly better than anything Apple could ever do that the world would bow in amazement. And yet, they fail miserably. Does shutting down the computer by going to the “start” menu make any logical sense? Remember “Bob?”

    I marvel at the power of Microsoft and how they have used clever marketing and devious behavior not to create software that would let us all soar, but instead, the best they can do with all their money and power, is to make somthing that, to use your words, “isn’t bad.”

    The only sad thing is that you believe in defending mediocrity.

  • David Koski

    Good points.

    My feeling is that many Mac users who denigrate improvements to Windows are simply insecure about the prospects for continued survival of their preferred platform. If Windows becomes widely perceived to be equal to or better than the Mac, then Mac market share will likely shrink again, threatening the the whole ecosystem we Mac users enjoy.

    With many respected technologists like Jerry Pournelle again praising the Mac, and with more than a year for Apple to “pre-respond” to Vista, I think most Mac users can relax and enjoy the fruits of innovation.

  • cesjr

    Ditto on what Sam said about MS’s proprietary formats. It’s obnoxious, anti-consumer and anti-competitive. We simply DO NOT NEED windows media formats, for example. mp3, AAC, mpeg-4 is fine. WMV and WMA is nothing more than a greedy need for MS, to ensure a flow of monopoly profits over time where they collect rent for not doing anything. PDF is fine (Metro is unnecessary). The new XML Word format is an impediment to competition. We should use the OASIS standard.

  • Alex in Los Angeles

    One point on Smart/Virtual Folders.

    Have you forgotten about Copland?

    Copland demos showed virtual folders as…stacks, if I’m not mistaken.

    So in this one instance, the fact that Copland and Longhorn both used stacks, and then Tiger and Vista use folders indicates to me that Apple Copland/Tiger is the true source of this UI innovation.

    Now, Office 12 is a different matter. And I have no doubt that Microsoft employees smart software engineers and developers. So, I also don’t buy the Microsoft copies everything line.

  • cesjr

    With respect to copying, I don’t see why it matters that many of the technologies or features in OS X weren’t invented by Apple. Apple still decided to put them in the OS or in the included Apple applications. Apple does not put everything that’s out there in the OS or the included apps. MS is copying what Apple decides to put in the OS/included apps. In the end, they’re still photocopying. They’re not advancing the ball. And they’re taking too long.

  • Bruce

    I think you’re missing the point. Almost everything is in some way “copied” from something else. The author of the other blog is pointing out that some of the things MS is promoting as new, aren’t that new. But that’s marketting and Apple is even worse (better) than MS. But the real point is this: It just feels good to be using stuff now that MS is promising to provide for its users in the future.

  • Peter

    First, in regards to vector graphics, Apple has warned developers to get off the pixels. One of the reasons that Apple has officially put QuickDraw to rest is that QuickDraw is tied to a pixel environment with 72 dpi display resolution and it isn’t worth the time and effort to try to bring it forward. (As an aside, QuickDraw GX–from 1995–is not. But Apple chose to dump QuickDraw GX in Carbon because nobody used it).

    Second, I tend to agree about the Microsoft bashing. We can argue all day about who did it first. Heck, take my above example–Apple did this in 1995! But NeXT did it in 1990 or so. It’s childish–sort of an inverse version of “He started it!” Apple will popularize something. Microsoft will look at it, go “that’s a good idea” and reimplement it–probably making a few improvements along the way. Apple will look at what Microsoft did and say, “Hey, that does make it better!” and add in Microsoft’s improvements and maybe a few more.

    One of my favorite examples of this is aliases: Apple had them in System 7. Windows had them in Windows 95–but they were called shortcuts. But one interesting thing that Apple did wrong with aliases was that they identified aliases by showing the name in italics. This worked great in languages that had italics, but didn’t work very well in Japanese. Microsoft solved this by also adding a little arrow to the icon. Apple saw this an did the same thing in Mac OS 8.

    There’s an old quote from Byte magazine that says, “If you want to see what a personal computer will be like in 2 years, buy a Macintosh today.” From what I’ve seen of the specs from Vista, it looks very much like 10.2 and 10.3 technologies with maybe a few 10.4 technologies thrown in for good measure.

    Microsoft has a different strategy in these things than Apple does. Apple released new versions of Mac OS X every year. Then they changed to every 18 months with Tiger. As has been pointed out, Apple will have released about 5 versions of Mac OS X in between the time that Microsoft released Windows XP and will release Windows Vista. Some of this is obvious delays and problems with Microsoft–don’t get me wrong–but some of it also has to do with Microsoft’s product scheduling. A large number of Microsoft customers–namely IT departments–don’t want yearly updates. They don’t want to devote a year to updating all the machines in the company just to have everything change when they get done.

    In short, Apple does the incremental leaps because they can–they don’t have as many customers. Microsoft, with more customers, does bigger jumps.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Folks – lots and lots of good points here, many of which deserve answers. It’ll have to wait until tomorrow though – I need to kick back and relax a little!

  • Matthew

    Peter, you said:

  • MacBuddy

    [Respectfully, your entire articles sounds like a small boy objecting when he’s been spanked because he was caught with his hands in a cookie jar.]

    Further to this point, I’d add that you seem to be a person who – while enjoying your toys from toymaker ‘A’, is actually more thrilled by the business ‘ethics’ of toymaker ‘M’. And it seems appropriate to you, that you reward them for behaving in a way that you secretly admire, regardless that their toys ‘aren’t bad’.

    Torn between two lovers? A man without a country? Here we have a person that won’t choose – Coke or Pepsi; Ford or Chevy. The problem is, is that publicly – he ‘favors neither’ for their ‘good’ points, but only disfavors toymaker ‘A’ (or more specifically, toymaker ‘A’s customers) for their ‘bad’ points. A non-choice choosing.

    Stop ‘pretending’ to be unbiased. Stop rationalizing that your dreaded ‘MacZealot’ has zero complaints against MS. Stop rationalizing that MS is a fair competitor.

    Try it. “I am Ian B. I like Microsoft. Apple may be better, but I prefer Microsoft, no matter what”. It’s not very difficult, Ian. You can do it. (I think you would garner some respect, if you did.)

    And FWIW, don’t bother have me reread that part where you claim to have used Macs since Dec31/86(?). Or I’ll be forced to have to advise you to reread my first paragraph. And I might also have to regale you with my understandings of Windows 1; 2; 386; Presentation Manager; 3; 3.1; 95; 98; ME; NT; 2000; XP.

    Oh, and one last thing… Cha-ching! Flame-baiting works, every time. Dudn’t it? Kudos to you, man. But, you should at the very least endure a few MacZealots, no?

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    MacBuddy, I don’t get your “points”. It’s not an either/or. I like Macs. I’m happy with my Windows machine. Both have their faults, and both have their plus points. I couldn’t give two hoots for either company. And quite what someone who calls himself “MacBuddy” is doing talking about the zealotry of others is beyond me…

    And yes, I’ve used Macs since 86. Those machines might have been 512K’s though – it is, after all, nigh on 20 years ago…

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Oh, and for the record, MacBuddy: your understanding of Windows isn’t all that great if you think Presentation Manager was ever part of it. Pedantry will only get you so far if you can’t back it up with accuracy…

  • macguitarman

    As Steve Jobs had said in a interview years ago, paraphrasing but you get the point,

    “When I say MS is not creative, or interested in creativity, I don’t mean it in a small way, I mean it in the biggest way possible”.

    It’s as if MS freely admits at their heart they are not a company based on originality and innovation.

    And that their only hope is to attempt to block open and / or better technology from running away and thus making people say the ultimate thing MS never wants to hear,

    “Can someone tell me just Why we Need or continue to use Microsoft”

    And the answer is, You Don’t

    It’s like the emperor with no clothes, everyone knows the damn king is naked, but nobody says anything.

    Everyone knows (even the government and testimony proved it) that MS uses and continues to use it’s monopoly power to get companies, markets, etc. to keep using their tech.

    Companies are fearful that since their entire business may be based on MS, (Windows, .NET, Exchange), we don’t want to go against them (MS), etc. because our business could tank. We are therefore vulnerable.

    Funny, I would think this is exactly the reason one would want their company to not be even remotely “Dependent” on Microsoft.

    Many businesses, govt’s etc. are beginning to realize this and more will continue to.

    But nobody says anything, because MS is big business, and big business is big influence, and makes America strong. And just exactly how did MS get to be so big and strong?

    Anti-trust. MS technology strangleholds and fear. Illegal, but no one admits it. It’s the biggest charade going.

    By MS realizing it does not bring innovation or creativity to the industry, MS actually fears Apple’s creativity, always has and always will, because Apple’s DNA is what MS will never be.

    MS hides behind it’s “Wall of Stranglehold”, and then says we are actually better and more innovative, see, We are so Big and rich, we must be.

    Are consumers this obtuse. Don’t think so.

    To illustrate the point, I have no idea why people would choose WMA or Real over MP3, AAC, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, all Open standard file formats.

    And by the way, H.264 (MPEG-4, part 10) was selected as the next video codec (file format) for HD-DVD, not WMA.

    (I was indirectly part of this process while working at Apple, and proud to have had a hand in reminding people of the MS Stranglehold, they saw it, and MS and WMA were out, not selected).

    The media / entertainment industry is afraid and rightfully so of WMA or any idea of an MS Only media file format. They would never let any company (much less the size and proven deviousness) of MS to have any influence in this industry.

    Here is MS at it again, not content with “owning” the computer world, we have to now encroach on the media / entertainment industry, since we don’t innovate, what is left to do in this space.

    “Oh we aren’t going to actually innovate, or bring an ‘Open’ media file format, (where it is not owned), no we want you to use WMA, it is closed, owned by MS, and we can change the specs at any time, It is Our way of having leverage in another business we don’t have any clue about or business sticking our noses in”.

    Not going to work, not this time.

    How long does MS thing this strategy will keep working. I think their time just ran out.

    This leads to being very excited about the Apple / Intel thing.

    It will allow both companies to continue to do what they do best.

    Apple innovate on apps, OS and new devices and will give Intel an actual outlet for their new (low powered) chips, resulting in cool new products, devices, experiences, and new ways people do things.

    And people will for the first time be able to try OS X on an Mac Intel box, of the same general speed and configuration and compare OS to OS.

    In fact they will be able to install Windows on their MacIntel and dual boot, one for OS X and one for Windows apps or perhaps using WINE, run Windows apps while in OS X, no reboot, No Windows, even better.

    I for one can’t wait for this.

    I have made my professional living being around and completely immersed in Apple technology. It gets me excited.

    And I have said before, if it was not for Apple, I would not be in technology at all, or I would have to go make an Apple.

    I go to work everyday and use Mac OS 10 on the latest Macs, my whole day revolves around this and it is so gratifying.

    For many years I have never had to use a Windows PC for my job, and if the time came where I was going to, I was gone. I realized I can create my own life, my own work, that is meaningful to me.(another long topic).

    I always remembered what my passion is and “Followed my Bliss” and went and created new work around Macs (and music, etc.). Creativity that’s the key.

    And choice, we all have a choice, in all things.

    In this new age of tech, real and continued creativity is what will ensure success.

    People will eventually see this, the truth, while MS may have lots of money, they have no clothes, and I think no clue.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    macguitarman: Some good points there, but a few that aren’t so good.

    “‘Can someone tell me just Why we Need or continue to use Microsoft’ And the answer is, You Don’t”

    Want to write on screen with a tablet laptop? Then you have to use Windows. Need to run applications like Visio, Quicken (in the UK) or Project? You need to run Windows. I wish it wasn’t true – but it is.

    “And by the way, H.264 (MPEG-4, part 10) was selected as the next video codec (file format) for HD-DVD, not WMA.”

    Not true, either. H264 is *one* of the video codecs for HD-DVD. Also supported is VC1, which is – yes, you guessed it – a version of Windows Media Video 9.

    This, actually, is a great example of the kind of FUD that *both* companies supporters spread. There is no single standard codec for HD-DVD, yet, if you believe the Mac/MS-Zealots, BOTH are “the” standard.

  • MacBuddy

    Splitting hairs you are. But, this is after all, you’re ‘channel’.

    Yes, while officially PM was not a MS ‘Windows’ product, if YOU have any ‘recollection’ at all – you KNOW that MS developed it.

    My only mistake was including it to be read by someone who’s not interested in making judgements against “real ‘journalists'” and calling them to the floor, but only in crucifying ‘Mac blogs’.

    You have difficulting understanding the ‘Apple fan’ that has an axe to grind with MS, yet you – as a ‘web journalist’ let slide the litany of half-truths, faint-praise, and outright fibs that ‘real journalists – the likes of Enderle, Dvorak, and Thurrot – that contribute to the mass disinformation campaign (uh, FUD) regarding Apple. BTW, they do this sort of ‘reporting’ over and over again. Their continual claim of,


    – are too expensive. (Relative to what?)

    – have NO games like the ‘real business computers’ do.

    – suck.

    – can’t run MS-Office.

    – are ONLY good for graphics. (But, not games)?!

    – aren’t available everywhere, like at WalMart and 7-11.

    – can only use one-button mice.

    – can’t DO the internet.

    – can’t DD email.

    – don’t use Windows.

    – aren’t free or as low as $129.

    – are only use by zealots.

    But you let opportunity – and maybe even duty – to educate (certainly, correct) this sort of FUD, fall to the wayside. You’d rather scorn them evil MacZealots.

    Anyway, thanx for not responding to the crux of the observation – you’re insistance that ONLY MacZealots exist.

    FWIW, I’ll trade you one PEDANTRY for one SARDONICISM.

    Enjoy your day-off.

    And FWIW, MacBuddy is a lousy handle, too many using it. 😉

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Oh, I’m not really interested in crucifying anyone – but I’m sick of FUD, no matter who spreads it.

    To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I read many of the FUDs you mention. I’d appreciate some recent pointers. And I don’t remember saying that only MacZealots exist. I’d love to see some pointers to that, too. Certainly, from where I sit, MacZealots are more vocal – look at the number of comments here, for example.

    And finally, just because something’s made by MS doesn’t make it part of Windows. Unless, of course, you think that Xenix, the version of Unix that MS released in the 80’s, was also somehow wrapped up with Windows :)

  • John

    Both companies do some really good technical stuff. Only it’s nowhere in proportion to the size of each company’s research dollars. And MS marketing is really bad so they have difficulty telling the world about that good stuff. But given that, MS annoyingly likes to trumpet stuff that isn’t its own innovation, but rather a me-too thing. And much of their good stuff is previewed and then never makes it to market in a product or if it does, it’s not until after someone else has already implemented it in a better way.

    I don’t agree with much of The Apple Blog article, but the mainstream media has written Apple off many times (see MacObserver.com Death Knell), and has written many horribly inaccurate and poorly researched pieces that sound like MS press releases. Which are repeated over and over in other articles. Lazy journalists deserve to be rebuked, regardless of their PC or Mac bias. Cheers!

  • macbuddy

    [Oh, I’m not really interested in crucifying anyone]

    …why do a certain creed of Apple fans have to try and take an axe to Windows at every point?…

    [but I’m sick of FUD, no matter who spreads it.]

    Even Enderle, Dvorak, and Thurrot – well know ‘tech’ pundits – and the many others who shovel up the fertilizer regarding Apple escape your radar ? It’s maybe not a question of your distaste for FUD, but which flavor of FUD. Maybe your browser only finds the Anti-MS sites. Anyway, you don’t seem to mind ‘Anti-Mac FUD’.

    [To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I read many of the FUDs you mention.]

    Google may help. Try MacSurfer, too. That’s how I found you. I challenge you to read the tripe that Mac users must ‘fight against’ for two straight weeks. Maybe then you’ll get the points made by ‘peter’ and ‘macguitarman’.

    […I don’t remember saying that only MacZealots exist.]

    You also never denied the existance of the WinZealot. Co-incedence? However, the only time you ever cry foul regarding the FUDmeisters are when they’re Mac ones.

    [Certainly, from where I sit, MacZealots are more vocal – look at the number of comments here, for example.]

    Are any of the comments zealotry? Thus far, I don’t get that impression from even one commentor. That is, if your definition of zealotry means blind adoration – like it does for other English speakers. But, I think – if it’s fair for you to make generalizations that ‘Apple fans’ always seem to have a never-ending axe to grind with MS, then I guess it’s only fair that any number of the ‘Apple fans’ thoughtfully protest.

    BTW, if you’re concerned about the lower number of WinZealots that leave comments on your blog, perhaps you could make numerous generalizations regarding them too. I’m sure your site will be DOSed with hits.;-)

    [And finally, just because something’s made by MS doesn’t make it part of Windows.]

    I thought that I clarified that?

    [Unless, of course, you think that Xenix, the version of Unix that MS released in the 80’s, was also somehow wrapped up with Windows :)

    Well, one could entertain the so-called conspiracy theory, that supposes that the original MS technology, which was eventually sold to SCO could eventually wind up in MS Windows via BayStar Capital. … Nah. 😉

  • macguitarman

    Then you have to use Windows. Need to run applications like Visio, Quicken (in the UK) or Project? You need to run Windows. I wish it wasn’t true – but it is.

    I’ll help you out, you forgot one, AutoCAD.

    But ultimately who cares, there are always alternative applications on Apple – Mac, that will work just fine.

    People committed to MS don’t bother looking for Apple solutions, they continue along and keep committed to their biased mediocre MS solutions / apps.

    Quicken, Visio, MS Project, please, give me a break, these little apps, pretty weak.

    I can see IE, .NET, and Exchange now these MS only technologies will certainly keep companies MS Only.

    Want to write on screen with a tablet laptop?

    We all know a tablet type device running OS X is coming from Apple, soon, opening Word, Excel, PP docs (boring)

    My point exactly, MS is still stuck in MS Office mode, Apple is far beyond this.

    Not true, either. H264 is *one* of the video codecs for HD-DVD. Also supported is VC1, which is – yes, you guessed it – a version of Windows Media Video 9.

    Do you think the industry would only settle on a Microsoft Only, codec / standard. Hell no. So they threw MS a bone and included it, I stand corrected. But interesting it is not the Only one. The entertainment industry will not be dependent on MS. Count on it.

    What do you know about digital video, pro video, pro audio, the actual industry, I am willing to bet not much.

    I actually worked on Final Cut Pro and am willing to bet I know a lot more than you do.

    It is my job here in Hollywood, and I am telling you, the industry does not give a rats arse about Windows Media. It is slightly there, but only Because of the MS Hegemony, not by choice. But the ent. industry is not stupid, they are running away from it, Final Cut Pro, H.264, all the way.

    I also do Apple Research IT management in the medical world.

    the business side, all Windows PC’s and they continue to want to be All Windows PC’s.

    I mange hundreds of research Mac OS X clients on “their” Windows network, and it all works fine, beautiful.


    We are not at all dependent on “their” Windows (only network / attitude).

    Only for Mail (Exchange 5.5) and we use OS Mail App (IMAP) and it works fine. Exchange is horrible even the Windows users complain about mail (Outlook).

    Active Directory, we don’t need it or use it. All the Mac’s don’t need to get to any Windows machines for anything, all data will soon be on on OS X Servers, XServe RAIDS and Xsan.

    The research community is like this, if you won’t allow for our choice, which in this case is Apple-Mac OS X, etc., on your PC “Windows” network, We will make our own Mac OS X network and we don’t need you. I have seen this all the time, and it will continue.

    Now because of the Windows hegemony, 95% of all businesses are MS Only, and I find it interesting in my IT consulting, they and MS work very hard to Keep it That Way, Keep Apple (or any non MS out). Job security and fear I deduce.

    As an example a company does not Need to use MS Exchange, a company (and there are others) called Kerio with Kerio Mail server, can support 100 of thousands of concurrent connections and millions of users and costs 10’s of thousands and not millions as with Exchange.

    The Windows hegemony attitude and days are over.

  • Sam

    In terms of WinZealotry, I think it’s less focused because of its omnipresence– casual comments suffice. (One of my favorite quotes from The Daily Show ever: “It’s beed ‘widely reported’, Jon, and that makes it ‘fact-esque'”.) Go to almost any game forum of a cross-platform game, and you’ll get “Macintoy” and “Macs just aren’t made for games” comments. Businesses will often pay a lot more for a less capable solution as long as it’s not a Macintosh just because of the “differentness” factor, but then try to justify it with vast amounts of unsubstantiated assertions.

    It’s true that a lot of pro-Mac information on the web is very innacurate, often favoring the Mac and often because of pro-Mac/Apple bias. But for that matter so is most other information on the web, and any other news media in America, and to a lesser extent the rest of the free world.

    As for who’s innovative, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is keeping everyone innovative in the future. And for that, I agree strongly with two principals, and sometimes I think I’m the only one that believes them both:

    1. All protocols, file formats, online service UIs, databases and similar technologies that allow the exchange of ideas and information need to be in an open, reasonably documented format that offers up-front priced, irrevecable rights to usage from all owners of the intellectual property involved in the format.

    2. Intellectual property laws need to remain as strong as possible without getting ridiculous. The ability to sell and profit from ideas is the driving force behind the information age, and I don’t think it’s coincidence that the countries with the strongest IP law have been the countries with the most innovation and strongest economies, and that adoption of stronger IP laws have generally improved previously weak economies.

  • http://www.homepage.mac.com/sjpriest Samuel.J Priest

    Oh, how the never ending war continues between Microsoft and Apple lovers. I am an apple fanatic and for some profound reason feel it is my duty to bad mouth the crap that Redmond engineers. so obviously you can see any comments on this column by myself are going to be biased no matter how hard i try, much like the author i guess, or anyone else for that matter.

    As far as i see it, it is better to choose a side to wage war against rather than fence sit. On that note, the one thing that really bugs me about Microsoft lovers is there relentless attack of comparing future Microsoft developement/engineering with Apples current offerings. I don’t see MacZealots comparing Tiger and XP, why? Well why state the straight and obvious, XP is old technology, that is like comparing Tiger and Vista. Here is an idea lets wait to compare Vista and Leopard.


  • Alex in Los Angeles

    Are you OK, macbuddy?


    Gentle with your trolls. I fear for their mental state. I’m actually kind of concerned you seemed to take them seriously.

    Oh, well, take care, guys. Remember you can choose to walk away from anger and bitterness.

  • no

    “Redmond, start your photocopiers” was a tongue-in-cheek slogan Apple itself used to announce Mac OS X Tiger.

  • Paul

    I have a Mac and a PC, but I will confess that I prefer my Mac. In nearly every way, the implementation of hardware and software feels better on the Mac. There are fewer software titles to be sure, but the bulk of PC software is very poorly implemented, so the frustration with my PC becomes finding a decent implementation amongst the alternatives. To me, the point is not so much bragging rights over who was first or who has the most, but rather who is able to best present a new technology in an easily usable way. Apple wins that competition.

    I’m an academic. My students and I do a lot of writing and editing. Microsoft Word should not be beta software. It has been around a long time. Document layout is very buggy, autoformatting drives me to distraction (half useful but half infuriating), the style system is completely opaque and automated table of contents generation is quirky. It is unfortunate that it is the most dominant application in the world.

    Ninety percent of the features of MS Word are window dressing whereas key features are not well implemented. Mac users tend to be intolerant of “good enough” because the frustration is simply not necessary. Apple understands this. (That was a bit of a side rant, but the general thoughts apply equally to the OS.)

    I am an academic in biotechnology, so I rely heavily on the UNIX underpinning of OS X. Much of the cutting edge software is actually UNIX first and windows second, so I do not personally suffer from the lack of software that probably does affect the business community. Most Mac users will not appreciate that Apple’s attention to detail and quality extends well below the visible OS X interface. Xcode, networking and setting up my machine as a server have been joyful and rewarding experiences on my rather old iBook. Trying to accomplish the same things on my (admittedly more pwerful and snappier) PC is a frustration that is simply not worth the trouble.

    Let’s no even go into care and maintenance of Windows except to say that we recently solved the problem by getting a new iMac. The kids use the PC for games and are responsible for dealing with viruses, freezes, etc.