PC users, Mac haters

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Windows XP SP3 sends PCs into endless reboot | The Register: “”

Here comes Groundhog Day again for PC users. This ‘final service pack for XP’ (which will be retired from July) has caused havoc on hundreds of PCs, just hours after it was released as an automatic update. On the Windows XP message board, a user ranted: “After three attempts [to install XP SP3] with different configurations each time, System Restore was the only way to get me out of deep shit.”

Holy Cow! Is there any other category where consumers put up with hell in terms of product quality and yet reward the brand with huge market share? As a Mac user, the pattern I see with Windows users (be it XP or Vista) is this:

– Swear by Microsoft come what may
– Wait for the next Security Update or Service Pack
berate Apple users as insufferable snobs and marginal players while doing so
– Run anti-virus programmes
berate Apple as expensive and ‘poor value’
– wait for Vista to boot up
– berate Apple (‘its no good for gamers’, ‘it does not have a right click’, ‘I hate their smugness’, ‘I hate their ads’)
– Swear by Microsoft come what may

I am not a Windows hater. I am not suggesting that a Mac is the answer for every computer usage. It is not for everyone. Most of the applications available for niche usage like media planning, banking etc., work only on a PC. I too have had problems with my Macbook in terms of apps freezing or the machine getting unresponsive. But in the 10-years of Mac usage (and parallel PC usage), such issues are few and far between. And compared to a PC, experience is seamless across applications. More importantly, I don’t fret about virus, security and machines hanging – I just assume things will work and they do. Now, don’t me that argument about Macs too are vulnerable to attacks. I know. But it hasn’t happened yet in a large scale. Macs too have their fair share of annoyances with terra-byte sized Security Updates.

You will be amazed at the vitriol poured on Apple and Apple users in the virtual world. It is a function of the lop sided ‘mind share’ it occupies compared to the market share.

In India, the exposure to Macs is lesser compared to the West. So the average PC user and the IT Admin Head is not aware of a better alternative. It is quite like this quote on advertising: ‘It’s like marriage. There must be a better way, but what is it?’ They have had very little chance to experience a Mac and hence live with perceptions of it being expensive, ‘not for me’ etc.

In real life and in the virtual world I am amazed at the justifications people come up with in sticking to an OS, despite its relatively higher number of problems. And rewarding it with a monopolistic market share.

Until the next Service Pack, Ctrl+Alt+Del to shut down an application or the next system crash (whichever comes first), ta.

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