Apple *is* increasingly Windows where it counts. This is a problem for Microsoft.


So I hang out often in a lot of places where other mobile and presumably reasonably successful people hang out at when they're moving from place to place.

- First class / private lounges.
- Lounges of 5+-star hotels / Luxe 'place away from home base' premium business hotels & suites.

You get the idea.

And what I'm increasingly seeing is basically the taking over of Windows by Apple at the higher end.

No, not that Apple is the new Windows. See, sometimes I'm the only guy in a lounge with a non-Apple - and even if I'm not, its the odd sprinkling of Thinkpads or a rare-but-more-frequent-than-other-Windows-machines Sony Z sighting (and if I'm travelling with one of my Macs there can increasingly be nothing but Apples as far as I can see). And yet I see Windows in use a lot - i.e. a significant number of these guys are running Boot Camp or virtualisation.

And a very good example of the problem I see was the guy I saw the other day. He was running Excel (Windows) beside me on his Retina 13". He gets a BSOD. He mutters "damned Windows!" - or words to that effect - turns off the machine and starts again.

Now tell me Tribe, since when have you, as a primary user of Windows on an actually decent machine, ever been subject to a BSOD that's not a bad plug-in / failing device related? I haven't seen one since pre-SP1 Vista, when NVidia decided they couldn't write stable drivers. And if you're competent, I'd imagine something on similar lines for you.

The last time I saw a BSOD on any of my Boot Camped Macs? Definitely a couple of times in the last year - and that's even when these days I stay away from Boot Camp whenever possible (though the machines which are BC'd are fully maintained) - because no matter what Apple and others say, its not Windows in the sense of a modern Windows machine. It's rife with compromises, instability and other fundamental functional issues even if we discount the hardware and concentrate on just the OS (even at the simplest level, as anyone e.g. trying to back up and restore a Windows install on a BC machine may be able to relate). It works in a functional sense, but the Windows experience on a Mac as much to do with a Windows machine of the same calibre as driving a Chery as opposed to a Mercedes, even if they have a similar-power engine.

I'm a highly unusual guy in the overall CEO-slash-senior-management scheme of things: I'm better than the IT staff I employ at their jobs. The only reason they're there is because I don't have ten pairs of hands and can't be sitting in a datacentre all the time. As most of you probably know, this is definitely not the case in the vast majority of situations.

Now like it or not, Apple gear gets a look-in in a lot of what you might call high-tier staff, because people who don't know what they're buying see the Apples - the high-end consumer machines - and think that is the high end, drawn in by the design. And to this day, among even people who write about computers, actual knowledge of what sets apart high-end professional Windows machines from Apples is totally lacking - an example highlighted by e.g. this bozotastic article from ~4 years back, from a respected name, natch - so you can hardly expect your average CEO to know better.

To most - if not all - of these guys, since the Mac is running Windows, its running Windows - and even if you're not the type of rabid Applezombie who would ascribe every fault that happens in your BC'd/VM'd copy of Windows to Microsoft's incompetence, well you could not be blamed for thinking their stuff still crashes like it's 2003. And hey, Apple tells you it runs Windows. They wouldn't lie, would they?

So among an increasing percentage of higher-end computer buyers out in the market, Apple is actually calling the shots on the Windows experience people have. And the result as pointed out above is not a particularly good one. I've personally found 'pure virtualisation' is better from a stability perspective than BC, but for most Apple users I'd imagine they'd start or stick with Boot Camp that they or their IT minions have installed. And Windows in either of these modes for most people becomes just a poorly maintained second app platform, which in many cases they nevertheless spend the most time staring at because their most important stuff is likely still in Windows - this is negative reinforcement at its most finely crafted.

So what do they do? Clamour for OS X versions of those programs because in their mind, it's better. Now if you were a lowly functionary in an organisation this might be irrelevant. But if you're senior management? It's probably gonna happen.

In a nutshell, giving Macs the ability to run Windows appears to have been the best weapon Apple has had in convincing people to switch wholesale - and not, at least in this context, because OS X is a superior OS. This trojan horsing is actually genius - and I'm not sure if this was by intent or just a happy application of incompetence. If by intent - Steve, I should have admired you a lot more while you were around.

I'm also not sure what Microsoft can do about this. Or even whether they realise the scale and ramifications of it - I'd imagine they have to have seen it at some level.

Just a stringing-together of a thought I had in my travels. Comment. Or not.