About a year ago I made the switch from PC to Mac. I long ago gave up gaming on a PC because I don’t have the kind of budget required for it, and frankly my XBox 360 is one of the most fun gaming machines I’ve had since the Genesis. I use a computer now for my writing, graphics, and some video. I like having a good machine, but I don’t need a top shelf machine.
I was always interested by the Mac but I didn’t use one or entertain the idea of one for a day to day machine. Now, there’s really no way I would go back. I’ve used Vista and see nothing special about it, it feels mostly like Windows XP wrapped up in glossier clothes. From what I’ve read about it it’s essentially a flop who’s only saving grace is that its installed on every new PC by default.
The Mac, out of the box, does everything I want to. Apps like AbiWord do word processing for free, and the built in iMovie is all I need for quick web video – if I needed to do more I’d spring for Final Cut (which is what we use at Media Matters, which is all Mac in the web production dept. nowadays).
So it’s kind of amazing that the big thing Microsoft showed off about Windows 7 was freaking multitouch. Seriously. I like multitouch on my iPhone, and the application they have that uses it at the Newseum is neat, but it ain’t exactly what I would want to see if I were a Microsoft shareholder or someone who wants to see the company do better. This is Microsoft getting into the sluggish phase of a mature company. They have these tools and applications (like IE) that sort of work, and sort of is good enough for them. In a strange way I’ve always kind of rooted for Microsoft (I was against the antitrust action). I liked when they would get something wrong then Bill Gates would rock like a madman in his chair and get stuff done – like when IE became a legit alternative to Netscape Navigator. They are never going to be Apple and Apple is never going to be Microsoft, but with Apple’s products you get the sense that they are trying. They don’t always knock it out of the park, but when they do the user gets something for the investment.
Right now the only thing Microsoft makes that’s kind of interesting is XBox 360 and besides the giant glaring error that is the red ring of death (I’ve had to send mine back twice), its a good machine with great software, and that’s because Microsoft knows that Sony and Nintendo are nipping at them. In the article linked, Ballmer essentially sees no need to compete because Apple is so much smaller than them. But that’s not the point. Microsoft shouldn’t accept suck.