Since the conception of personal computing, an underlying and perhaps clandestine battle between computer manufacturers has ensued. Microsoft has, for two decades now, taken the upper hand in this technological mêlée. It has dominated the platform battle with a near monopolist rule. Microsoft, using its user-friendliness and low price, has worked its way into many, if not most American homes.
However, consumers are becoming disenchanted with frequently shelling out for the operating system’s upgrades or finagling with its security settings. Windows users have concerned themselves with the security of their computer for over two decades due to viruses, hackers and spy-ware. As a result, Microsoft is land sliding in popularity, as consumers begin to look outside of the confines of the corporate giant.
Apple Computers has seemingly reinvented itself, giving Bill Gates and company a run for their money. Though Apple constitutes a mere three percent of the reported one billion personal computers manufactured, it is emerging as Microsoft’s chief rival.
Riding on the coattails of the MP3 industry, Apple marketed its popular Ipod, opening consumer minds to the simplicity of their products. Recently, the debut of the “Hi, I’m a Mac” commercials have also raised awareness of the company’s products.
One advantage Apple has over Microsoft is, ironically, its lack of popularity. Because it is not such a big target, Apple users have suffered from only one documented virus. Apple developers have been hard at work creating software able to withstand threats without extensive security procedures. Due to Microsoft’s popular use, its clientele has become targets for an estimated 114,000 viruses. Microsoft has also been busy working on security for their anticipated Windows Vista. However effective the new security procedures may be, many Microsoft enthusiasts were disappointed with the constant onslaught of its infuriating dialogue boxes.
Microsoft has become iconic. When consumers think computers, they think Microsoft. Due to the ever-advancing technology market, they are finding themselves sticking to what they know, despite their difficulties. Consumers have become convinced that changing their computers would incur hundreds in other expenses for compatible hardware. Apple has remedied this problem by being fully compatible with any hardware the consumer currently is using, thus eliminating excess expenses.
Consistent with the fear of spending more money is the fear of re-learning the operating system. At first sight, an Apple can be intimidating. However, it has fewer keystrokes and simpler menus. Macs are even able to run Windows for those who are unwilling to learn a new operating system. Apple computers are completely compatible with many of the Windows files formats.
Microsoft-based computers have banked themselves on the economic value of their products, flaunting the fact that their prices are significantly lower than that of their competitors. Apple’s Macbook Pro will cost a consumer nearly $2,000, while a comparative Microsoft-based computer will cost only $900. However, taking into account the positive aspects of Apples, many consumers are reconsidering their choice of computer.
Apple computer has been pigeon-holed to a computer that is great for media-centered consumers, but an overall ineffective computer for the everyday user. However its functionality is beginning to tell the world otherwise. Microsoft, watch out. The Mac is poised for a comeback.