4 Things Microsoft Could Learn From Steve Jobs

What words come to mind when asked to describe Microsoft today? Cool, stylish, revolutionary, and innovative are probably out of the question. However, those words could easily be used to describe Apple. So maybe the brains at Microsoft could learn a thing or two from one of the few brilliant CEOs of our times, who just so happens to be the leader behind Apple’s success — Steve Jobs.

 

Problem #1: Designers, Designers, Designers!

Let’s be real: Microsoft’s products aren’t particularly well-known for their design — they simply aren’t on par with their competition’s offerings. Sure, there was a time when layering in every possible option, button, gizmo, menu bar, and whatnot was all the rage, but those times are long gone. People are looking for something different. That difference is in the design.

People are now willing to pay a huge premium for a well-designed product, and Apple’s fan base (and sales numbers) is living proof of that. But Microsoft hasn’t caught on to this trend. The company has fallen so far behind the times that it has to make one question if Microsoft has had any feasible concept of what design is for most of the past decade.

Furthermore, Microsoft’s focus on developers (developers, developers!) has always been a priority for the company, but computers and software programs are no longer unbelievably complex or used by only the geekiest among us all. It’s now expected that younger (and, in many cases, older) people are computer literate. These people want product designs that are suited towards meeting their needs and getting the job done.

Lesson From Steve

Steve Jobs realized that there is a certain group of people who prefer practicality and beauty over functionality. It might come off as a bit dictatorial, but today’s consumers are increasingly willing to forgo the comfort of control, openness, and customization for an overall improved experience. Apple’s designers have changed the expectations and quality in product design, and Microsoft would be wise to explore these trends — especially if they intend on remaining competitive in the eyes of consumers for the long term.

 

Problem #2: Lack of Focus

Microsoft has a tendency to create many experiments, products, and concepts, but how many of those turn into successful and profitable endeavors? Very few, just like the Kin, the Courier, and the Zune.

Sure, these projects and experiments are interesting — and it is fun to envision the future of technology — but these pet projects are doing little, if anything, for consumers today. More importantly, it’s a drain on the company’s resources and bottom line. If it isn’t generating consumer interest or revenue, what is the point?

Admittedly, Microsoft has plenty of cash to burn, but this money should be considered as a finite resource, especially for a company that is being dominated by its competition in the consumer marketplace. It also doesn’t help that Microsoft’s revenues have suffered lately from the declining economy.

Lesson From Steve

Steve Jobs doesn’t mess around with crazy experiments and unprofitable endeavors. He ensures that his company’s resources are directed towards improving profitable products and creating new products that result in interest from consumers and, most importantly, generate revenues. As iTunes, Mac OS X, Apple TV, iPod Touch, App Store, and iPhone have revolutionized their respective industries, Microsoft has little to brag beyond its impressive operating system share. So it’s time for Microsoft to knuckle down.

 

Problem #3: Product Disparity

Another serious issue for Microsoft is that a majority of their products have little connection to each other. This is particularly true with their Internet-based products. Xbox Live, Zune Marketplace, Hotmail, Bing, MSN, and Skydrive are all great products in their own right, but it requires too much of an effort for a user to take advantage of these services with ease.

If you look at larger companies like Apple or Google or smaller companies like Zoho and Facebook, their products have something in common: they tend to work well together, if not seamlessly. They offer a universal experience that helps keep the user interested in all of the company’s various products and services. But Microsoft hasn’t managed to accomplish this, and until the they do, I fear that consumers will continue to leave Microsoft’s products for alternatives that are offered in a more convenient and unified offering.

Lesson From Steve

Jobs has created a single developer and content platform that holds the core of the Apple’s entire future — it is iTunes. He has been executing a strategy to integrate all of Apple’s products into a single platform that is rich with content. It is, in a word, genius (now we know why Mac OS X hasn’t received much love lately and might eventually be phased out). Digital content distribution is the future, and iTunes is in the best position to handle that task. Microsoft doesn’t need to take it as far as Steve Jobs has taken it with iTunes, but there is certainly an impressive lesson here that could be exploited in the future: a single, unified marketplace that combines desktop, mobile, and Web-based products could be huge hit.

 

Problem #4: Company Image

Finally, brand loyalty is a big part of consumer behavior nowadays. Every company has their loyalists (i.e. fanboys and fangirls), and these people are an integral part of spreading the word about products and services. However, if you asked any tech-savvy teenager or twenty-something to give an example of an impressive technology company, you would be hard pressed to see Microsoft’s name mentioned.

It’s all a perception, and few companies have managed to create an amazing perception of themselves. Apple is cool. Google is cool. Sony is cool. Others, however, haven’t managed to handle their public image: Microsoft is not cool.

Think about it: who actually walks into a store with the sole intention of buying a Microsoft product?

Lesson From Steve

If Steve Jobs has done anything right above all else, creating an impressive image for Apple and himself is it. But Jobs didn’t accomplish this with any one single action: he put in years of effort and consistency to create a company that most can only dream about. Decade-long efforts have constantly produced household-name products year after year, and this is probably the most important lesson that Microsoft could learn from Jobs.

Written by James Mowery

James Mowery is a passionate technology journalist and entrepreneur who has written for various top-tier publications like Mashable and CMSWire. Follow him on Twitter: @JMowery.
SEE MORE ARTICLES BY "James Mowery"

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Comments
  • http://desyna.com Neo

    Super article James and one I’ve been dying to write myself since I got my mac.

    Up until 2 years ago I loved my PC in spite of the sh*& it gave me. I refused to move mostly because of the cost involved in transferring my software and hardware. I decided to make the leap when I figured out I was spending way too much time maintaining my PC at the expense of my design-time . The move has paid for itself.

    The biggest differences for me is the stability of the OS and the UX.
    Somehow Jobs has found a way of making the computer more personable and dependable. What??? A device made for people…with human interaction in mind…no way!

    Now I live by this – “Once you go Mac, you don’t go bac!”

  • mark

    another squabble from a mac lover

    you can’t give full credit to a whole company to one man… nor can you even compare the two being incredibly one sided

    get real macs are over priced and only still alive because of the ipod

    • http://me.com Me

      Marc, you need to go learn a few things before trying to post anything about Apple, especially the Macs. They’ve been gettin it done in the arts and entertainment world since before you were probably even born. Go check out any recording studio or movie production company and see what brand of equipment they’re using.

  • Taylor

    Apple is cool, Microsoft is not. My guess is that its the black turtlenecks, jeans and sneakers.

  • http://molbal.co.cc molbal

    This article has many good ideas in it, but I think the communication of MS is better than Apple’s (You are holding it wrong), this anti-flash thing. By the way, I am more satisfied with MS services than Apple’s.
    Never mind, it was interesting, thanks for sharing!

  • http://peteklein.com Pete K

    3 things Steve Jobs could learn from Microsoft:

    – Give me a “Show Desktop” button. I want it. I don’t know of anyone who specifically doesn’t want it. When I click it Maybe if Apple did any type of user testing whatsoever, they would know this.

    – Play nice with the other big companies. MS ain’t the greatest company in the world at this, but I’m sure if they made a DVD authoring program aimed at media professionals it would support bluray, and if they made a mobile OS (which they do), it would be able to run flash apps (which it does).

    – When others have good ideas, rip them off. Why does windows 7 look good? They took the good shit from OS X and mooshed it with what they learned from designing XBOX 360. If someone else has a good idea and consumers like it, steal it and tweak it. Gates isn’t so narcissistic to think he is the only company on the planet that can come up with good ideas.

    All this will play into a significant decrease in Apple’s market share in the next 5 years. 90% of people still use Windows, and there’s much more than just OS X in the other 10%. I really think Apple lacks the ingenuity and commitment to quality it takes to stay competitive. Did you see the latest iPhone? It features an unimpressively sized screen, reception issues, and limited bandwidth (nice choice of exclusive wireless partner Apple.) Their big innovations were a clearer screen (not noticeably better than the Evo, in my opinion) and video chat that you need to have WiFi access and a person on the other end who also bought an iPhone to use. That’s called Skype, and we’ve had it for years.

    Their restrictive app store policy and low cost, high quality competition from companies like Google will soon push Apple back to the same shadows the were sitting in for most of the 90s.

    • http://www.royalty-club.com Rondell Paul

      To your first point………it’s called “Exposé”. Next time you’re on a Mac hit the F11 key and let the magic leprechauns do their work.

    • Rob

      One more thing to add to your list is that Apple should bust down doors and take legal action for someone reviewing there products before they on on the market. They are getting a bad name for becoming the new big brother.

      And test Hardware so they don’t have calls dropping and then try to say that all phones have problems with dropped calls.

      I have had several different cell phones over the past 10 years and have had less than 5 dropped calls in my life.

      Steve Jobs and Apple use to be cool about 10 years ago or so, but has lost its cool and sux…

    • Ryzo

      1) OSX has “show desktop”. It’s called Expose. I have mine set to “expose desktop” with hot corners by a quick flick of the mouse to the lower right corner of the screen. Works beautifully, thank you. “expose windows” and “spaces” is very useful, natural to use and productive too.

      2) Blu ray is a whole bag o’ hurt ;-) Sorry, couldn’t resist that one. I don’t much care for Blu-ray, so I don’t know much about it, so you might have some kind of point there but I do believe it won’t be long before all physical media will be superseded by “bits in the cloud”, anyway

      3) Arrrggggghhh.

      4) You better update your stats. OSX install base is currently around 11% of all operating systems, not just, to paraphrase: “part of the 10% that isn’t windows”. 10 years ago called, they want their statistics back.

      5) iPhone 4 antennae issues? Yep they sure f**ked up there. Nothing else of what you stated, in my opinion has much validity. Just my opinion though, however I’m willing to be swayed by real facts.

    • madmax

      Here’s someone who doesn’t need an extra button taking up precious screen real-estate. Here’s how I setup “show desktop”. Go to – System Preferences -> Expose & Spaces -> Expose and Select ‘Desktop’ in one of the active screen corners drop down menus. Done. Now if you move you mouse/trackpad to that corner, all you windows move out of the way to expose your desktop.

      Alternatively, If you use a macbook/pro with a multi-touch trackpad, then try swiping ‘four fingers’ upwards. You many have to activate the gesture in System preferences for this to work.

    • http://tiwtter.com/prostophotos Max

      As for the ‘Show Desktop’, there’s such function in Expose in MacOS X. Assign it to any functional key on the keyboard and/or a hot corner, and you’re good to go.

    • http://twitter.com/kimroen Kim Røen

      No “Show Desktop”-button will result in a “significant decrease in Apple’s market share”?

      Wow, better get one.

  • GK

    On #2: the difference between Apple and Microsoft (and just about any other company and Microsoft) is that Apple does these different experiments, they just never show them to the public. The current line of Macs, iPods, iPhones and iPods didn’t emerge fully formed in the shape you see them today. Apple most definitely has experimented with prototypes. What Apple doesn’t do is show them off to anyone. Microsoft seems to do this to establish some kind of “aren’t we smart and cool” cred, but all it does is muddy the waters, dilutes the brand and confuses people. Apple is very obsessive about only showing something in its final form. What we don’t generally see are the intermediate steps, failed experiments and other false starts that got them there.

  • Batman

    @Pete K

    Some points:

    OS X has a show desktop option through “expose”, you can assign a shortcut, mouse button, gesture or screen corner to it. I use this all the time.

    Gates left MS a decade ago so I don’t know why you refer to him as the company. Also it should be noted their stock has flatlined since Ballmer took over, Microsoft have been riding on Windows and Office (their primary earners) for the past decade with little innovation coming from Redmond.

    Apple don’t support blue ray or flash because they’re stopgap technology. Apple are clearly investing in the longterm tech; digital distribution.

    You think win7 looks good? Oh well, each to their own I suppose.

    The iPhone screen is by far the best on the market, no other phone comes close to the clarity and sharpness it displays. Bigger dimensions != better. The device itself is also outstanding, it takes the highest quality photos I’ve seen on a smartphone yet because the optics and sensor were Apple’s primary focus, not just upping the megapixels like other phone makers. It has full HD video editing, a gyro you can’t deny isn’t brilliant, a massive choice of quality apps unavailable elsewhere, very good battery life (it blows the Evo out of the water), an exceptionally well designed interface and an outstanding design to name just a few. The antenna issue is present in all phones (many tell you not to hold them a certain way in the manual) and can be avoided, even so, less than 1% of the already 3 million + owners actually report a problem.

    Yesterday apple reported record profits and growth once again, they’re not failing any time soon, they’ve only just got started. They’ve been innovating since before Microsoft and others were even relevant (don’t forget Apple were the first to commercially introduce the mouse and GUI OS long ago).

  • Batman

    And FWIW I’m not bashing Microsoft, I think they have a lot to offer but Ballmer is not doing them any good at all. Wasting $1Billion on 500 Kin phones should have got him kicked out already. Win Phone 7 certainly looks interesting and it’s good to see them taking a new approach unlike others who have blatantly copied Apple’s approach.

  • Rob

    One more thing Steve Jobs could learn from MS…

    Let your operating system run on other computer systems than just your own proprietary hardware.
    Microsoft can run on a Mac, but Mac OS X can’t run on a normal PC without some work and cracking…

  • test

    I am a mac user, i own an imac, a macbook pro, an iphone and an ipad, and I develop software based on microsoft platforms, and I still think you’re a dumbass. The developers, developers, developers quote was from a dev conference targeted at developers – it has nothing to do with the target market of their non-dev related products. People like you should not even be allowed near a keyboard – just completely ill informed and not even clever enough to disguise it and consequently misinforming the already ignorant.

  • bensjamin

    i have a macbook, i have a laptop and a desktop, my girlfriend has a mac, my whole family has an ipod, and everyone i know expect my self have an iphone… ipods are cool, iphones just malfunction all the time and are just unrealiable, calls allways drop out, phone stops working etc. hence why i do not have one. i use my laptop way more than my mac book… but i love my ipod.
    i think that macs are just hairspray and production but a marketing sucess. i was told that for music macs are awsome. its complete crap, i am a producer and there isnt anything musically a mac can do that a pc cant. if i need logic, ill just run an emulator.
    if you ask, people love macs image and marketing. with out it, its pretty average.

    • Matt

      It has become a trend for people who’s never owned a Mac to keep saying this

  • http://www.ka.com.sg KA

    #6 : Newton ?

  • Pow Wow

    “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But, of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works. To design something really well, you have to ‘get it.’ You have to really grok what it’s all about.” Steve Job

  • http://www.twistedanimation.com.au Cameron

    Google is cool?

  • http://www.mushive.com Nabeel Ahmed

    Really liked the article James. But I agree with @mark that you can’t compare a whole company with one man, Title should have Apple instead of Steve Jobs. It will be interesting to see Things Apple could learn from Microsoft

  • Yvo

    Pete – Wake up from your dream man, I think Apple has no interest in staying in the desktop market any longer. They aren’t interested in competing as hard anymore in the traditional computer market. Their desktop OS has They may only have limited market share in this market but they are a serious competitor in the smart phone market and portable music player market. Next gen consumer computers are ones you carry around in your pocket, not in your backpack, satchel, purse, etc.

    Lastly, say what you want about the iPhone 4, but 3 million sold in only 9 markets. Name one other device that sold that many devices that quickly.

    I’m not an Apple fanboy but I am calling absolute shenanigans on your logic as they completely contradict the current market, financial results and ways things are heading.

    Didn’t think so.

  • Phil

    Apple fanboy much? Apple has the worst company image I can think of, even beating out Toyota and BP. It’s like they don’t want anyone to like them.

  • Matty

    I perfer linux on the desktop but, love my ipod and iphone. But iTunes is the worst program i’ve ever been forced to use not to mention after spending alot on movies and music I can only use an apple device with iTunes. I went to banshee, better than wine/itunes but I still cannot buy from apple this way. Wish they at least had a website alternative to itunes. If microsoft did this people would cry monopoly and evil, ect.
    As far as their attention to developers remember there would be no app store without us developers. Before they switched to bsd it was very hard to find good professional apps that weren’t extremely pricey for a mac. The shareware I used to get was not worth the $10 they asked and the idea of paying 500 for office was crazy.

  • Robby

    3 billion in profits for last quarter….how did MSFT do? Quit hating on a company that obviously knows the mArket.

    Even with all these “problems” the iPhone 4 has, its amazing it’s still the only phone on backorder for a month out of the big 3 (evo,droid, iPhone). 1.7 million iPhones sold can’t be ignored.

  • Reality

    This article should be retitled as, “Dear Mr. Jobs, Can I has a free iPhone 3GS cuz my iPhone 4 no workie?”

  • http://www.eightysixtv.com Matt Finizio

    While I must agree that this is somewhat of a one-sided article, Mr. Mowery brings to light some very good points. I feel as though Microsoft has been relegated to the status that IBM was in the mid-Nineties. Apple executives walk around in jeans and turtlenecks to show us how cool they are, while Microsoft continues to don the suit and tie of a company focused on more of an enterprise-level appeal. Which is better? Who’s to say. Which _looks_ better to consumers? Well, Mr. Mowery already answered that.

    As far as being close-lipped about new designs, it is true: remember the panic when a beta-iPhone when missing? I’ve been a beta and even sometimes alpha tester for so many Microsoft products, going back to _Memphis_, that I have lost count. They just deal with things differently; I don’t know if this is a plus or a minus, per se.

    Finally, regarding the main thrust of the article — viz. Jobs=Genius, Ballmer/Gates=disorganized reactionaries — I think this is too much of a generalization. Jobs and Gates are both masterminds when it comes to this business; take a look at the history of the two companies up until Jobs left Apple, and you see amazing things being done on both sides. All that aside, though, it is true: Microsoft needs to take a serious look at the way they are dealing with _consumer_level_ products. As far as on the enterprise level, I think they are fine; (1) Apple is not concerned with that arena, and (2) MS has a very solid approach to it to the point where Apple’s modus operandi would not be as helpful there.

  • http://www.jahanzaib.info/ SEO Pakistan

    There is no need to learn lesson from Apple! because Microsoft still leads the show

  • Chris

    You talk about about people paying more for DESIGN over FUNCTIONALITY. So am I right that you purchased your Apple products because you got suckered in to their ridiculous PR campaigns?

    Do you also get erections when you are in the fruit and vegetable section of supermarkets when you see an apple?

  • Batman

    Apple hater much, Phil?

    The over–use of “fanboy” has made it utterly meaningless these days when people like you use it for anyone and anything even slightly not critical of Apple or not aligned with your clearly superior point of view.

    For a company with the worst image you can think of they’re doing exceptionally well: record profits year on year ($15.7 billion revenue and net profit of $3.25 billion this *quarter*), record sales year on year (Mac sales up 33% and iPhone up 61%), innovations year on year and amongst the top rated customer service year on year (http://bit.ly/csc4uVhttp://bit.ly/cNM796http://bit.ly/cMCnVf).

    Dismissing this kind of info without a second thought makes one no better than a real fanboy who accepts anything without a second thought.

  • http://- Me Me

    1. Form follows function
    2. Lack of focus? iPad? cmon
    3. The dictatorship of iTunes, shows how developer/user friendly Mr. Jobs is.
    4. Image? Apple: Trendy Wankers, low-tech sellers, expensive. Microsoft: Serious business, high-tech, fair price

    btw, i am working 8 hours a day on a mac, and i do know why i got a pc at home

  • spiltbeans

    I’ve just made the switch from PC to Mac and after a few months I was hoping to have noticed what the big deal is.

    Windows 7 kicks Snow Leopards butt in so many ways. To put it simply anything Snow Leopard can do Windows 7 can do it better. The biggest mac lover at my work agrees. I’m constantly saying ‘how can I do this’ – often the answer is you can’t.

    MAC FAIL #1
    I still cant believe the Mac OS doesn’t have a native address bar in its finder window. It sux having to navigate to folders by clicking… And it doesn’t remember what folder you were in very well. Imagine if the internet was nagigated through folders and not URL’s doesn’t make sense right? Heaven help when I’m trying to access the server or send the location of a document to a work colleague.

    MAC FAIL #2
    Windows management. By that I mean the crazy amount of windows everywhere that dont take up my full screen when I want them too. The stupid green button doesn’t work very well either. In Windows 7 you just have to drag the window up to the top of the screen, it snaps and fill the viewable area… awesome. Showing the desktop hides all my programs nice and neatly ready for me to start fresh but have everything open still… Sure you can show the desktop in mac but click stuff and everything comes back to where you dont want it.

    MAC FAIL #3
    Program accessibility. Not everything I had on my PC is available of my MAC and programs that are available aren’t as good. Adobe products aren’t as good mainly due to FAIL #2, drop downs not being controlled my keyboard and my keyboard shortcuts being buggy – such as making a movie clip in flash (F8) pauses my itunes… lame. Even with Apples awesome program development they still haven’t come close to Windows office – admit it ya Mac lover.

    Meh i could go on but you get the point.

    The short of it is Apple are awesome at marketing and my i7 is the best and fastest computer I’ve ever used but the OS has nothing on Windows 7 functionality, user experience and accessibility. I still love my Mac, iPhones, iPad and will probabaly get and iDog if they realsed one.

    • http://disneyland.com Franz

      As for the address bar in Finder: shift+command+G. There you go.

      And if you (or your colleague) spent 5 secs looking at Finder’s menu, you would’ve found it out by your own.

      • spiltbeans

        We are well aware of shift+command+G – its just not very good compared to Windows but thanks Franz, for pointing out its major flaw of taking 5 secs to find – I thought Mac’s were supposed to be user friendly LOL

        Thats not the point of the article anyway. Microsoft just aren’t as good a marketing as Mac no one can deny that. Maybe if they were a bit more minimal and shiny you would like them.

  • BekBob

    People get in such a fervour when you try to discuss the merits or shortcomings of either MS or Apple. It’s the modern day religion for our society, with many on either side showing blind faith to their god and blind hatred to the other.

    2010 marks the twentieth year that I’ve been paid to work in the I.T. field. I’ve been paid to work on Mac, Unix, Linux and Windows. Even been paid to work on Amiga back around 1992.

    In the last 12 months I’ve switched to Mac in just about every way possible. iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook and iPod. I don’t have an unrequited love for Steve Jobs and I’m not a fanboy. It’s just that I’ve been doing this for 20 years and with my experience, in my opinion, they do it all better right now.

    I’ve owned a Palm Pilots, a Sony Clie, Pocket PCs, a PSP and several versions of GameBoys. Never took to any of them. Then I found my iPod touch indispensable.

    I’ve been given a BlackBerry by my work. Tried it, it’s laughable compared to the iPhone. I pulled the SIM card and use it in a iPhone now. Tried to give my wife the BlackBerry, it was received about as well as a dirty diaper.

    Tried to embrace the promise of Windows Vista and Media Centre a few years ago. Built two full fledged HTPC boxes with HDMI output and dual tuner Hauppage cards. Spent months building and configuring and converting CDs and DVDs. Installed a blu-ray drive in one HTPC. Went through untold problems along the way. Bought Media Centre remotes, bought software to create thumbnails of all my media. Looked beautiful. Ran for a day. Then I tried to add a movie. Boom, it all fell apart. Restarted the PC. Boom, it all fell apart. Spend every day trouble shooting before I could watch one minute of video.

    Sold one HTPC. Gutted the other and made a server for my media. Bought a bigger case and 5 hard drives to create a raid array. Copied 7 tb of media and movies to my server. Box crashed one day with no one accessing or using it. On reboot the raid array started rebuilding. Then it crashed again during rebuild. At that point I lost 7 tb of media, ripped movies and music. Months of work gone.

    Gutted the second Vista box at this point. Bought a standalone Buffalo TeraStation RAID array box. Put the hard drives in this. The TeraStation runs embedded linux. It has run safely for about two years now. Watch streaming movies and music daily from it. Hasn’t crashed once. Haven’t lost a single file. I use three standalone networked media players now on each TV they run embedded linux. Tried several models in the last few years. Started with a Dvico now using two Xtreamers and one Seagate. Love them. about $150 each.

    In 2007 I bought an ASUS R2H tablet PC. Almost $2000. Looked beautiful, promised so much. Took it on a cross county trip as my only computer. Thought tablet life was going to be grand. Carry it around, when you have an idea, hit the power button. I tried this. Was on the streets of some foreign town. Wanted to jot down an address. Hit the power button. Then I waited about 5 minutes for Windows Vista to load. Forgot what I even wanted to write down. Bought MS Streets and Trips to use it as a GPS. Discovered there was a bug with Streets and Trips and this device. I tried to plan routes in advance and save them. But if you opened a saved route, Streets and Trips would lose connection to the ASUS R2H GPS hardware. I’d have to reboot to get it back. So for the duration of my trip I’d have to sit in the car, wait five minutes for the ASUS R2H to boot, launch Streets and Trips and then sit there and plan my stops one at time. No saving the route or lose the GPS. Really, is this a joke? Was there a hidden camera somewhere? Was I being punked? In the hotel and motel rooms, the ASUS R2H did work well to call home with Skype. Once you sat it down and waited five minutes to boot. On the road home from one trip I had the GPS running and music playing from the tablet, the audio output plugged into my car stereo. I had a custom bracket holding the ASUS R2H up over my glovebox to see the GPS screen. Maybe tablet life was going to work out after all. About 30 minutes from home the audio started to go distorted. Then my car started to act up. The power adapter I was using to power my ASUS R2H tablet had fried my alternator. Car finally died on the side of the highway about a ten minutes from home. So close. Put the ASUS R2H on eBay and sold it for about $800 less than I paid.

    Last year I bought the Navigon app for my iPhone. Have a $5 bracket clipped on my air vent. It’s been my only GPS for a year. It’s plugged into my car stereo. Music plays through iTunes, GPS runs, phone connects through bluetooth. It just works. I can even save routes and addresses.

    When the PSP was released, bought it at midnight the day it was released. Took it home and realized I couldn’t use a single one of my hundred Mini-Discs. Sony had shaved the corners off the Mini-Disc and rebadged it the UMD. Effectively orphaning all the loyal mini-disc consumers of the last 10 years. Tried the clunky conversion tools to re-encode movies and store them on memory sticks. Tried to copy music to memory sticks. Clunky and troublesome. Gave up and gave the PSP to my nephew.

    The GameBoys I’ve had have been fine. But at the end of the day they just played games well. I liked them but I don’t carry them around. With my iPhone I can play games, listen to music, play video, buy music, buy video, buy games, check email, surf, use GPS, take pictures, record video, upload pics, upload video, book meetings on my calendar that syncs everywhere and make phone calls.

    With my iPod touch and iPhone. transferring music is simple and quick. I can sit in bed and surf the net, check email, listen to music and watch videos. Everything works great. I’m out walking the dog, a song pops in my head, I use my iPhone to buy it for a buck and I’m listening to it in 2 minutes. A wonderful experience.

    This spring I bought the iPad for my wife. Wonderful device. I have an idea, hit the button and it powers up in half a second. Apps are great and affordable. Interface and OS is great and stable. It just works like it is supposed to and in most cases better than I expected. i’ve bought videos and TV shows for the baby on it. Quick, easy and works. The baby wakes up and reaches for it, watches Dora with her morning bottle. Constantly over achieves, whereas Windows devices constantly under achieve.

    Tried again last last year with Windows. Bought Windows 7 and built a new quad core PC. Had to pull out and use my engineering degree to get past windows homegroup and actually see my files from my media players and Macs. Then we’d be watching a movie streamed from the windows 7 box. An hour in to would just disappear. Have to walk over to the box, mess around with it, reboot. Start watching the movie again, once in a while it would disappear again. Other problems and bugs and incompatibilities. A hard drive failed, replaced it. Then windows pops up a box, you must reactivate now. Same as every experience in the past. Turned the Win 7 box off about a month ago. Going to gut it when I have time.

    Running all Mac at home now. A few old G5s, an iMac, a MacPro and a MacBook. All just work. The interface, the UI, the OS, the hardware, the software all perform better than I’d expect. Constantly surprises and overachieves.

    I have 20 years experience in I.T. and computer support. I can repair and configure windows, but why would I choose to everyday of my life at home. I don’t feel proud of myself when I spend hours getting windows to do something. I feel embarrassed for buying it. If I wanted to spend more than half of my life fixing things, I’d buy a 100 year old house, a british sports car and Windows devices. I’d rather just enjoy my life and experiences. I come home, fire up my Mac and upload pictures of my baby. Then maybe I edit some family videos. After that I watch my daughter learn and make music. It all just works. Better than I expected, but just what I deserve.

  • skittles

    BekBob: TL/DR

    The only reason Apple has better product integration than Microsoft (which is debatable) is because MS gets slapped with an antitrust suit every time it tries.

  • http://www.iaido-nord.de ConnyLo

    Microsoft shouldn’t learn to much from Apple.

    Could you imagine people who prefer functionality only? They need no design perhaps they reject it because it disturbs. Why is Windows XP so successful? Functionality, no irritating Tools, just pure. Break design down to the root is also a possibility.

    Sure, it looks not good. Shure, it sucks. Shure, no image.

    Therefore I love my Apple machines/OS which tells me of a better world.

  • gjhgj

    Problem #2: Lack of Focus

    :D:D:D the only reason microsoft exists, the arent afraid of experiments.

  • Nikka

    You know what we can all do? Accept that both companies have their flaws and Apple is not better than Microsoft and vice versa. Everybody can learn from everybody else. Great article, but i’m not someone who’s interested in one sided arguments.

  • http://www.artmetaldesign.bg ковано желязо

    These 4 problems are basic for M$… If they don’t take a lesson from Apple they will loose and me like a client…

  • N/A

    If you are mentally challenged and you like to do your work only by mouse – that’s fine, blame Microsoft for being developer oriented. Ffs, why do I even have to think when I use a computer? For example, i think most Mac users would now blame Techi for this anti-spam system – better use your iPhone calc app to do the math.

  • http://adlankhalidi.com Adlan Khalidi

    such a good article but its kinda bias because its like you are worshipping Steve Jobs.

    if you see how the market and business works, one day Apple will go down and another brand will come.