I never looked at Apple as a direct 1-1 comparison with Commodore, but I did from an underdog perspective and an ease-of-use perspective. In terms of computers marketshare, I don't think Apple has ever
had over 10% (and if they did, it was very
I had friends who would pimp their PCs out to an insane degree, costing thousands more than any Mac. But they also played a lot of very "expensive" games - games that required cutting edge video cards, RAM and CPUs, etc. Back then - hell, even now but not nearly as bad - the Apple market was ignored for gaming. "Serious" gaming. If it included a polygon or two, chances were it would never even be made for a Mac. New game out that everyone is talking about it? Just nod, and know it wasn't going to be on the Mac. But at that time, I was also entirely devoted to consoles, so I really didn't care. If I wanted polygons, I had my Nintendo 64 or Playstation. Those were far, far cheaper. It left my Macs for what I wanted them for: designing things, writing things, and communicating. That was it. If I wanted to play a game (with the exception of Diablo II) I would move over to my console at the time and fire it up. The only caveat to that was MS Office blew mighty chunks on the Mac back then. If you had a spreadsheet in Excel with any kind of depth, it would slow to a freaking crawl. I often wondered if it was done on purpose...
And I misspoke earlier - I did buy a couple of PCs along the way. When I was in art school a second time (2 art degrees, lots of debt, weeee!) I got a Dell that I relied on big time for 3D work. I think I still have that packed away in a box in the basement somewhere. It's probably running XP. I also bought my wife a Dell laptop at one stage around 2008 or so, which I upgraded off Vista to Windows 7. It's sluggish, but it works. It's my son's now, which he'll use for watching YouTube videos on Minecraft.
One of my best friends is a manager at Microsoft, so I get my Xbox and Win-fix every time I'm at his house. He's completely all-in. I used to be ages ago, but it wasn't really by choice. It was all there was for me, and I was fine with it. But I got tired of being mad at machines that I just wanted to work
, and at the time I was so busy I didn't have a lot of time to tinker. I got so good at dealing with hardware issues, though, I sometimes wondered if I should have been an MS tech (one of my very close friends went that route and got certified). But I didn't want to do that for a living. I was laser focused on being a designer.
My close friend who is a manager at MS finally gave up on his giant yellow Nokia/Win phone and got an iPhone at the end of last year ("the camera - have you seen the camera?"). From what I've read and seen in person, Windows 10 is very pretty and clean, too. But most consumers seem to be sticking with Windows 7, as it simply meets their needs
. Funny how things play out. "Where's the Start button?" I remember hearing. But I love how Google and MS helped usher in a whole new paradigm in design, even if it isn't quite as intuitive. It really shook things up for the better, I think.
When OS X became entirely free, changing the game on OS as a platform for growth rather than a profit center, the adoption of current OSX'es has been incredible to watch. Same for iOS. Marketshare is dwarfed by MS and Android, but whatever the current OS is, nearly everyone has it. You can't imagine how amazing that is for developers and designers, to not have to make every website and app backwards compatible for software that is older than 5 years.
Right now, the vast majority of Microsoft's revenue (and it is massive, don't be fooled) is coming from their cloud
offerings. Windows doesn't hold the clout it once did on Redmond campus anymore in terms of bragging rights. And Office is still a vast treasure trove, but it's changing, too. Nadella is the best thing that could have happened to Microsoft, in my opinion. He's bringing the developers back, many of which had defected to Linux and OSX in the 00s. And those that haven't gone back are at least raising an eyebrow in respect, and waiting for more. I think he's fixing the culture, too, and that's no easy task for a company that size. By gaining the developer's respect back the consumers will follow - especially if they start to really own their own hardware, which they done with the Surface. It's pennies for them in the grand scheme of things, but very cool.
Anyway, I'm not anti-Microsoft by any means. It's literally 35 minutes from my house. What they have finally decided to do with the Surface line has gained my respect big time. And, to be honest, I won't be surprised if in 5-6 years I'm sitting behind one, tapping away on Amigalove.com. If Apple's current vision problems continue for a few more years, Microsoft's recent offerings to the design community
may become too powerful to ignore as they are refined and made more reasonable for every day use. Some of the stuff they are doing is really, really
But I'm currently still content. And I hope (and think) my current setup should continue to rock and be relevant for a good amount of time.