Allchin’s PCs vs. Macs Rant

    December 13, 2006

Jim AllchinWindows Vista Team Blog : Setting The Record Straight. Jim Allchin responds over on his blog regarding a recent news report quoting him as saying that he would have bought a Mac if he weren’t working for Microsoft in an email to Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates.

The email surfaced as part of an ongoing trial between the State of Iowa and Microsoft, one of the last remaining state anti-trust trials that Microsoft is defending. Allchin says that the email was taken out of context and that he was being purposely dramatic in order to drive home a point.

Recently after 15 years of using PCs I switched to a Mac. My decision to switch and the articulation behind my switch got a lot of attention, ending up on dozens of blogs and even ending up on Apple’s main home page.

So far I’ve only been on a Mac for about a month now but I will say that the difference between Macs and my old Dell laptop running Windows XP is like night and day. There is simply no comparison as to how superior a machine the Mac is to my old Dell. And I think this is at heart what Allchin was talking about. Macs just work. PCs running Windows don’t work. They are broken in very fundamental ways. Allchin reportedly in his email said that Microsoft had “lost sight” of customer’s needs.

This said, Macs are not faultless. My friend Kristopher Tate recently had to send his in for repair and my friend Tantek Celik has pointed out problems that he’s had with his Mac in the past. But despite these problems, overall, in general, they just work. They are a tool and because the tool works better, that makes me a more productive blogger, photographer, father (yes, getting things done faster on the Mac leaves more time for the family), and CEO.

I believe despite Allchin’s claim that his statement that he would buy a Mac were he not a Microsoft employee was for dramatic effect, that there is probably some truth in what he was saying.

So the challenge for Microsoft, and in some ways to an even larger extent Allchin himself personally, is to ship Vista in a state that is as bug free as the Mac.

Vista is Allchin’s final legacy at Microsoft. After a long successful career this is his last hurah and in order to be successful it simply must be perfect.

Allchin writes, “2-and- years later, Windows Vista has turned into a phenomenal product, better than any other OS we’ve ever built and far, far better than any other software available today, in my opinion. ”

We will see. I certainly will be upgrading at least one of my PCs to Vista when it ships and will give it a go. The demo stuff I’ve seen of Vista has been very impressive — but fundamentally for me the most important question will be “does it just work?” Does it just work like a Mac does?

Allchin’s blog layout by the way looks pretty slick.



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Thomas Hawk is a San Francisco based photographer and technology writer.
He publishes the web site Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection and is also
the Evangelist and CEO of the photo sharing site Zooomr.