Windows guy buys a Mac

Greetings Macfriends. Since this is my first article for MacWrite, I think a little housekeeping is in order. I am a Windows guy. I have been using Windows since version 3.1 and continue to do so, albeit with less and less frequency. As the title of the article suggests, I have recently procured a G3 iBook. MacWrite thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of someone that is new to the platform. I guess you, good readers, will be the judge of that. So without further ado, I present you my first MacWrite article.

Up until about a month ago, I was a Windows-only computer user. I was aware of Apple and had a general understanding of what they were up to, but had never really considered becoming a Mac user. Like most people, I have some Mac user friends. They have always preached to me from the book of Woz about the benefits of joining the Apple church. It never really took. I would poke around in OS 9 and kind of give it an Ellen Feiss-like "Huh." Then about a month ago, brother Ditch of the Seattle diocese fired up his trusty G4 running Jaguar and said, "Take a look at this." I knew about OS X, but had never really seen it in action. My curiosity was piqued.

Only a couple of weeks later, this led to the purchase of the iBook I am tapping these words out on. I plan to write about the search for budget Macs, and how that led to the iBook purchase. That'll happen at a later date. For now, I would like to discuss Apple's market share and why more Windows guys like myself are not making the change.

Currently, Apple's market share seems to be hovering around 3 percent, depending on who you ask. I don't think that number has anything to do with Mac's, but everything to do with Apple.

Looking at the recent Apple marketing strategy, it seems that they are doing a very good job of selling Macs to Mac users. It is almost like they are trying not to sell to the other 97 or so percent of computer users. The biggest offender is, of course, the infamous "Switch" campaign. Come on! Does anyone really believe that crap is going to convince Joe Lunchbox to buy a Mac? If Apple truly wants to convert people to the Mac, they need to take a long hard look at who those customers are. Those other non-Mac users are not hipster artists, musicians, or misunderstood geniuses. They are the masses that have made Wallmart the sales juggernaut that it is. They are the people that keep tuning in to all that reality TV. They are all those Windows users that you, as a Mac user, are constantly surrounded by.

The marketing should reflect an understanding of this. And if Steve Jobs wouldn't mind talking to a cow, it couldn't hurt. These uberhip Switch commercials miss the mark.

For starters, if you want someone's business, don't start your pitch by insulting their intelligence. As a Windows user, I viewed the Switch commercials as almost laughable. Blue screen of death...the camera wouldn't work...blue screen of death...windows ate my paper on the renewable resource hemp...blah blah freakin' blah!

All I could think was: XP has never crashed on me...tell your dad to read his damn manual...XP still hasn't crashed...and just say, "no honey". Am I the only one that found it odd that Apple spent all this commercial time showing people we have no reason to care about when they could have been showing what is truly elegant hardware? Not to mention OS X.

As an example of what I am getting at, last Thursday I had my iBook setting on my desk at work. Everyone that passed by my cube stopped and had to get a look. To a person, everyone was amazed at how they could open the lid and it just woke up ready to go with the browser already running. Then they would run the cursor across the dock and see all the little icons pop up. You could see it in their eyes. This is a very cool unit. I had to test some monitors that we were shipping out so I grabbed my video out dongle and loaded up "The Fast and The Furious". Again, everyone that came by thought it was so cool. This is the kind of thing that Apple has to show people. Show them that they can do all the things they do with their Windows machine, with the added benefit of having a beautiful computer and operating system to do it on.

Well, the hardware is beautiful with one glaring exception.

The eMac is a dorky unit. It also represents what is a glaring hole in the Apple line. There is a huge market of consumers that are buying low end PCs in that $500-700 range. The only unit Apple has to compete with that is the eMac. Now someone somewhere might think that is a good option, but I haven't met that person.

What Apple needs for this market is a low-end tower. Potential switchers should have the option of buying a mid tower with the eMac specs (800Mhz G4, 128MB RAM, 40GB drive, CD) for $600. If you are trying to get people to switch, it kind of goes without saying that they already have a monitor. A low-end tower would let them get into a Mac at a more attractive price while retaining the equipment they already paid for.

It's not an impossible task. They got me to come over to the Apple side after years and years of Windows, and I'm a stubborn guy. It did end up taking one of my friends to show me what I was missing, but I did make the change. There's my two cents on Apple marketing. Your comments are welcome. I'll see you on the boards.

-Doc