Why We Love Apple and Hate Microsoft

steve jobs appleYesterday Steve Jobs announced he’s stepping down as CEO of Apple, and Apple fanboys everywhere are crying in their lattes. Seth Godin captured what many are feeling in a blog post this morning titled A Little Empty:

I guess this is how a sports fan felt when Joe DiMaggio retired…

Sure, there was baseball after joltin Joe stopped playing. But it was never quite the same.

Thank you, Steve, for giving us all something to talk about and a way to talk about it with beauty (and fonts). We owe you more than we can say.

How is it that the CEO of the most valuable company in the world is so loved?

Nobody feels this way about the CEO of Exxon, or Walmart, or AT&T.

Microsoft’s Manipulation

Apple’s closest rival is Microsoft. While many people admire Bill Gates (particularly since he’s used his wealth to help so many people around the world), not many people admire Microsoft.

That’s because Microsoft built its empire using old-school business tactics of monopoly, leverage and manipulation. They used their near monopoly in the PC OS (operating system) market to force PC manufacturers into competition-stifling distribution agreements. They have consistently used money and power to stomp out competition until the courts intervene.

Microsoft’s modus operandi for expanding into new markets is to copy another company’s product and leverage their OS monopoly to wipe out the original as well as any new competitors. That’s how Word crushed WordPerfect. Internet Explorer crushed Netscape. That’s the same model they continue to use with MSN, Zune, and Bing.

Apple’s Innovation

In stark contrast, Apple’s philosophy is to challenge the status quo and find new ways of doing things. Apple revolutionized the way we listen to music with the iPod. They revolutionized the way we buy music with iTunes. The revolutionized mobile phones with the iPhone’s touch screen and apps. They revolutionized the computing market with the iPad.

People hate Microsoft because Microsoft copies, reduces choices and forces inferior products on us.

People love Apple because Apple innovates, expands choices, and gives us the opportunity to try revolutionary new products.

Why do we care?

In your business, non-profit, church, and even your family, you can be a Microsoft or an Apple.

You can use guilt trips, threats, and manipulation to try to get people to do what you want. Or you can encourage and inspire people to join you in your mission.  Which will you choose?

I choose to…

Encourage & inspire rather than guilt trip & require.

20 Responses to “Why We Love Apple and Hate Microsoft”

  1. That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a long time. Apple has more then its fair share of problems, exclusionary business practices, and in some cases have been dishonest with their customers, lest we for get the whole 3g fiasco, and signal strength reporting, etc, and that is just for the iphone. That doesn’t include iOS or their app store.

    • Matt, sure, Apple is not perfect. And Microsoft has been innovative at times too. Do you think the generalizations above are inaccurate or do you have a beef against Apple?

      • nope no beef with Apple, we have them in our home, although I do not use them personally, I do have to do the tech on them for my daughters and wife. What we have is a cult of personality that defies the actual quality and function of the product. What have they truly invented or been innovative about? Did they invent computers? Touch screens? Apps? Cell phones? They have given creative design and packaging to all ready functional and existing technology. My issue is more with the equation to Christian living. I see you have changed the summation of your post, better conclusion but I still think the whole cult of personality issue truly clouds many peoples ability to see Apple for what it is and has tried to be, a luxury item and status symbol. It truly is an example of our excess. They are innovative at brand building and marketing. Peace out.

        • Matt, you seriously don’t think Apple has been innovative with their products? Was there a visual/icon based operating system before the Mac? Were there music players that could store 1,000 songs before the iPod? Was there a touch screen phone before the iPhone? Was there a touch screen tablet before the iPad? If there were, I don’t remember them.

          Yes I think some people buy Apple products because they see themselves and want others to see them has having the same attributes as Apple – innovative, stylish, challenging the status quo. But from what I know, it’s not a phony marketing ploy. That’s the culture at Apple. That’s why people work there.

          And that’s the whole point of the post (which I didn’t modify, by the way). Apple has a huge following because they have inspired people. Wouldn’t you like the team you lead at work, at church, in the community or your family to follow you with the same inspired passion?

          • the first GUI was developed by xerox and on multiple computer models before Apple ever thought about computers, Xerox is also where Bill gates got his idea for Windows. The first production MP3 player was actually made by Compaq with 6gigs of storage space. Way more than 1000 songs and the exact technology Apple used to release the first iPod several years later. Touchscreen technology has been around for decades, I had a Compaq Ipaq years ago that was fully touch screen. If you want to give Apple the credit for making it bigger go head. Microsoft actually helped bring touch screen technology to the masses with there operating system for PDA,s how bought the palm trio to combine all that technology with a cell phone long before the iPhone. Its slick packaging at a higher price with the same functionality. As for an app store I bought apps for my Ipaq from handago an app store before Apple even had an iPod. I want my teams, church, family to be inspired and passionate, and for the most part they are, but I would have to use Apple as a good example of what not to replicate. If people can convince themselves that paying more money for something that is no more functional then a device that cost far less…. hundreds of dollars less. Then so be it. Is Apple worthless no, are they genuine? I struggle with that. I also wouldn’t ask my teams, church, or family to be like Microsoft, walmart, I could come up with much better examples to inspire and instill passion and none of them would come from the corporate world.

  2. your facts are a little out of order supporting your hypothesis.

    what the common gadget lover doesn’t realize is that Apple has used a more subtle anti-competitive tactic to realize their success : the supply chain.

    Other companies can’t produce the same or better products as Apple can because Apple has locked up the supply of 90% (or insert your own made up figure here) of the world’s touchscreen production capacity. Therefore other manufacturers have to pay more to get their screens and devices made and hence have to charge the customer more.

    This goes all the way back to the original iPod. Rio, iriver and Creative would routinely complain that they didn’t have access to the same small hard drives that Apple used for their ipods.

    It’s fine to put Apple up on a pedestal – I’m as big of a fanboy as anyone but let’s do it for the right reasons.

    Their innvoation is great, but their business model of protecting their innovation through supply chain agreements doesn’t make them any less evil than MS.

    • Jason, you may be right. Apple may engage in more anti-competitive tactics with suppliers than I’m aware of. However, I’m a little skeptical of your argument. You can get touch screen MP3 players, phones, and tablets made by other manufactures for less than Apple charges for theirs.

      Apple has never competed on price. And as soon as they bring a new product to market there are cheaper copycats everywhere. People don’t buy Apple products because there aren’t any viable alternatives. People buy Apple products because of Apple innovates and inspires them. Wouldn’t you agree?

    • my generalizations? Or yours? I was addressing briefly some of the points that you used to make your point, that ultimately ended with a comparison to an, apple christian or a microsoft christian. There are many examples of apples less than stellar product or business practice. Are they evil, doubt it…… Is there much a christian should model after apple not really this is in no way a apple microsoft thing for me…… I personally don’t use apple, but my daughter, and wife all have itouchs and one has an ipad, I have to do all the tech stuff with them, I prefer my android tablet and my symbian phone none of which are the most technologically advanced items out there, but they work well, little or no issues and they are reasonably priced and as functional or more so in some cases. My issue is more with comparing anything apple does, namely innovation, I think that was your main point, with the type of Christian we can be or should be. Poor example in my opinion and inaccurate at best. What we have with apple is a cult of personality, where a company that actually sales less items in their sector than the other technologies available. They are proprietary where pc’s, android, phones, tablets, etc are built by many different manufactures. Now from an innovative standpoint what have they truly invented? They have done things differently but not necessarily better.

  3. One could easily come up with many reasons to hate Microsoft. But Apple isn’t all that great, either. I can’t say anything about their business practices, but their products aren’t that perfect. And the “fanboys” just make it worse. I had an argument with an Apple sales rep who said that you could never crash a Mac, when in fact I had crashed one several times. I do agree that they’re, in a way, innovative, but they tend to stick with a product without advancing it much. They’re going to lose the smartphone market, soon, if they don’t make a better iPhone. Many Android phones have better technology and offer a lot more than the iPhone does, and sell them for a lot less. It seems that when they come out with a new iPhone, there really isn’t that much new to it. I’m seriously considering switching to Android when the time comes for me to get a new phone.

    As for your statement about the CEOs, one could argue that there were people who felt that way when Sam Walton when he passed. Wal-mart was considered a great company when he was running it, but not since. If you were going to compare Apple to Wal-mart, then you must compare Steve Jobs to Sam Walton, not the current CEO. Let’s see what people think of Apple 10-20 years down the road. I would hope that they can keep it up or be even better, but you never know.

    • Daniel, I agree that Apple isn’t perfect. They live on the bleeding edge of technology & that always results in problems.

      I also agree with your comments about Sam Walton. He was a great, innovative leader and he was adored by employees and customers alike. Wal-mart has forgotten that Sam Walton created Wal-mart because he was an advocate for the average Joe (customer & employee) and instead they’ve become about profit margin. They no longer inspire us the way they used to and the way Apple does now.

      I hope Apple doesn’t forget what they’re all about in the post-Jobs era.

  4. I will agree that Apple’s image construction is way more refined than Microsoft’s. After being a lifetime MS user, I’ve discovered over the last few years that Apple is just simpler to use. So they’ve become a more attractive company.

    That doesn’t make them business saints. Sadly, you don’t become (nearly) the most valuable company in the world by playing it 100% straight.

  5. Paul,

    I’d have to say I agree with you 100%.

    What others have called anti-competitive practices, such as locking up the supply chain, I would call smart business. Apple had the foresight to know they would need components like touch screen displays because they were already looking to the future. They were smart enough to make exclusive deals with those manufacturers before companies like Motorola or HP even had a clue.

    Now that they suddenly need to jump on the bandwagon, is it right for them to cry “foul” because of Apple’s deals? Besides, these exclusive contracts will eventually expire and the others will have the same shot at them. Of course, by then it will already be too late…

    • Thanks for the comment, John. I still question the premise of that point. If Apple really did lock out their competitors and forced them get more expensive component elsewhere, it certainly isn’t evident in prices. Apple is almost always more expensive than their competitors & they’re not trying to compete on price.

      • For the Macintosh product line, yes. But I’m referring specifically to the iPad components. Apple doesn’t have to compete on price, because they’ve made it impossible for their competitors to compete for the price they’re offering it for.

        Most tablet makers are trying to set their price points to match Apple’s but are finding that their margins are too thin or non-existent, for the reasons I mentioned. So Apple’s made it impossible for companies like HP and Motorola to compete on price, instead of the other way around.

        The fire sale on the HP’s TouchPad shows that people will buy a non-iPad tablet … so long as it’s significantly cheaper. But the only way Apple’s competitors can sell them at the price consumers will buy is by losing money.

        This is why I love Apple and hate Microsoft. In my mind, they deserve to have those exclusive contracts with their suppliers because these products would never exist otherwise.

  6. Very good article Paul… I love it.

  7. I feel sad when reading this Paul. Your extremely poisonous attitude is inappropriate on a public website that represents the name of Christ.

    • Wow, really? I’m just comparing the way 2 companies have done business. What about that conveys a “poisonous attitude?”

      • Because your comments reflect the Microsoft that was (c. 1998) not the Microsoft that is in the present. They have corrected themselves under DOJ oversight and have since been publically commended on their ethical practices, workplace health, and products. They are a quasi-redemption story (much like Apple) that has matured beyond their arrogant past. So whatever is commendable, my brother, I would encourage you to dwell on these things.

        • Thanks Eryll. It’s sounds like you have a much better (insider?) understanding of what’s going on at Microsoft. You may not like me using Microsoft as an example, but I think we are in agreement on the main point of the blog post – manipulation and strong-arm tactics are a losing strategy while encouragement and innovation are a winning strategy.

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