Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Good Business?

Apple has announced today that it's introducing software to allow Macs to run Windows XP. If there was ever an indication that your product is not serving the public well, it would be that you must offer your customers your main competitor's product to get them to remain your customers.

I'm not going to enter the Mac v. PC debate as it has been beaten to death. But, from a pure business standpoint, they have pinpointed a need - the Mac doesn't work with a large amount of the products computer users desire. Their solution for this need is to create additional market for their main competitor's product instead of changing their own product. The added irony is that windows is the very same product dedicated Mac users have badmouthed for years, all the while apparently coveting it if we are to believe the press material.

Apple's thought is that selling more of their competitor's product will increase their own market share somehow. That's an interesting approach. I'm afraid that PC users do not believe in the superiority of Apple products, regardless of how often their executives say it, so I'm not sure that's going to work. I managed to make a living for years as a graphic designer without ever touching a Mac, although to hear some devotees talk, you would think that impossible.

Mac users have an emotional attachment to the product that I don't think is something you can duplicate in the general public. The brand name on my box doesn't excite me in the least. If something comparable had been $12 cheaper, I'd own that now instead. I'm brand loyal to very few products and so far no computer company has done anything to engender my loyalty. Software companies, on the other hand, have managed. I'm running XP, how about you? Apparently nearly everyone wants to run XP - even those who own Macs and despised anything Bill Gates ever touched just months ago. I couldn't have made a living as a graphic designer without Photoshop at my disposal. I don't care what else is available, I want my Photoshop. So, software, yes, I have some loyalty. The box it's running on - as long as it works well I don't care. I don't even care - shock - what color the plastic casing is.

Most computer users are just that - users - we are not into the intricacies of how they work. We just want to sit down and do what we need to do with little fuss. How we use computers has changed dramatically in the last few years. At one time Macs were a tool for largely stand-alone products, used by graphics people, newspapers and print shops - and a wonderful tool from what I understand. That's not how we use computers now - they are communications tools. They have to do much more than create a product that exists in a vacuum. And they have to speak the same language as the other computers. If you speak only French in an English speaking country, you're going to have a hard time fully communicating with most people. Admittedly, they've gotten much better at this in the last few years, but it's still a struggle at times - at least for people I know who have Macs.

When I worked with printers a lot, I was continually frustrated by their inability to use the products I was bringing them, camera ready, because they were on a Mac. I learned to put in the bid that I would deliver the product camera ready on my software and if they had to redesign it on their end I was not paying additional for it and I was not taking responsibility for proofing their work once it was done. They would show up with a proof, wanting me to look it over when I'd already done all that work once. I also stopped trying to export files in a dozen different ways until they found something they could use on their system. I gave it to them in my file format and it was their baby after that. Apparently everyone got tired of that game about the same time because printers suddenly realized they had to move out into the real world with the other 95% of us and use PCs. It's fine if you love your Mac and are devoted to it, but don't make more work for me because of it. It's OK with me if you're still watching betamax because it's the superior format, too. I'll just use my DVD player.

The computer industry has always offered new business models and this is certainly a new twist - promoting your competitor's product - but it worked in "Miracle on 34th Street." I don't have an MBA, but selling someone else's product seems less than profitable to me. But, we've been surprised before and maybe in two years we'll all be happily running windows on our Macs and thinking it's the best of both worlds.


Apple Introduces Boot Camp

Public Beta Software Enables Intel-based Macs to Run Windows XP

CUPERTINO, Calif., April 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Apple(R) today introduced Boot Camp, public beta software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP. Available as a download beginning today, Boot Camp allows users with a Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to install Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac(R), and once installation is complete, users can restart their computer to run either Mac OS(R) X or Windows XP. Boot Camp will be a feature in "Leopard," Apple's next major release of Mac OS X, that will be previewed at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in August.

"Apple has no desire or plan to sell or support Windows, but many customers have expressed their interest to run Windows on Apple's superior hardware now that we use Intel processors," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch."

Boot Camp simplifies Windows installation on an Intel-based Mac by providing a simple graphical step-by-step assistant application to dynamically create a second partition on the hard drive for Windows, to burn a CD with all the necessary Windows drivers, and to install Windows from a Windows XP installation CD. After installation is complete, users can choose to run either Mac OS X or Windows when they restart their computer.

Pricing & Availability

The public beta of Boot Camp is available immediately as a download at, and is preview software licensed for use on a trial basis for a limited time. The final version of Boot Camp will be available as a feature in the upcoming Mac OS X version 10.5 "Leopard." Apple does not provide support for installing or running Boot Camp and does not sell or support Microsoft Windows software. Apple welcomes user feedback on Boot Camp at

System Requirements

Boot Camp requires an Intel-based Mac with a USB keyboard and mouse, or a built-in keyboard and TrackPad; Mac OS X version 10.4.6 or later; the latest firmware update; at least 10GB of free space on the startup disk; a blank recordable CD or DVD; and single-disc version of Windows XP Home Edition or Professional with Service Pack 2 or later.

Tulips Abound

The bulbs I planted in December are doing their thing now. I'm hoping I still have many more to come up because I know I planted many more than are blooming now. I have no idea how these things work, but hopefully more will poke their heads up and bloom yet.

I took time to snap the photo and then went back in the house to get a vase to take some to the office. They were such a cherry thing on my desk all day.

When I got home tonight I decided to pick a few to bring inside. Susan gave me this beautiful Czech glass pitcher when I was at her house.

She collects Czech glass and I admired the beautiful green of this one and she just gave it to me. I told her repeatedly it was not necessary, but she insisted that she would just give it to me later anyway.

Even then I pictured it with tulips in it. It's just as pretty as I anticipated it would be.

I had lunch with Trish today and we had a good conversation. That is a friendship I really treasure. She makes me think. And she's one of those friends who will accept you however you are at the time - happy, sad, puzzled, whatever. There's a lot to be said for that in a friend.

I popped in to see Diana briefly between visiting the bank and going to lunch.

Then I had dinner with Teresa, which is always fun, so it was a nice day of friends. I even worked in a call with Peggy this afternoon while doing some catch up work at the office.

Tonight I've been working on various projects. I'm devoted to the idea of making a living being me, so I'm investing a lot of time and energy in that these days. It's not leaving me a lot of time for other things, but I know it's the thing to do in the long run.