Steve Jobs is dead, in case you missed it. But of course you're free to speculate about what he'd do in a presumable afterlife.
What Bill and Melinda Gates are doing with their money since Bill's exit from Microsoft is similarly disconnected from how he conducted Business while he was still in charge.
In both cases my original statement had nothing to do with moral judgments anyway but with the discernible effects of each person's priorities on the respective companies' products and their users, and in both cases those effects persist.
Gates was known to be very interested in how things worked technically
, but he never understood how actual users
"worked" or what they might need. Correspondingly Microsoft's products are often technically competent internally, but when using them one can never shake the feeling of the machine being constantly annoyed about that dumb and irritating user not having a clue of what the machine
Jobs did not have a very deep understanding of most technical details, but he obsessively prioritized the user's
view of his products and could hold back or entirely scrap a product when he thought it was not quite finished in his view. Correspondingly, Apple's products are sometimes technically quirky and sometimes appear to be somewhat limited (at least at first sight), but when using them the impression usually is that the machine is quietly and effectively putting its support behind the user's intentions with as little fuss as possible.
When using technology, we do instinctively pick up on the attitude
that went into its design. It is a somewhat subtle point and not that many people realize exactly where the differences come from, but the overall effect is quite noticeable.
Microsoft has always fought by all means to be or to become the inevitable incumbent
whom users just couldn't avoid to deal with.
Apple, on the other hand, consistently tried to entice
users to spend decent money for compelling products.
This explains why at Microsoft the priority was always on reaching market-strategic goals, with the products being just a means to that end, if not just an afterthought. Outright destroying or sabotaging the competition was more important than actually creating really compelling products.
Apple under Jobs always depended on the actual products far more than on market position (in part because they never had
a controlling position), so they invested almost their entire efforts into the actual products; Success and profits were benefits when the products actually turned out to be compelling by themselves. If not, it could be painful.
Microsoft primarily depends on people being forced
to use their products (mostly by corporate IT
Apple primarily depends on people actually wanting
to use their products.
It is telling that Apple has a much higher market share among self-using buyers than in total.
The trouble for Microsoft is that the market is shifting, and their business model is getting stale (eroding margins in the PC
market being one of the long-term threats). They actually need to make inroads into Apple's business model. And after several high-profile failures, Windows 8 is their latest and by far biggest gamble.
With Steve Ballmer being largely oblivious to what it even takes to get there I wouldn't get my hopes up, but at least they are beginning to respond to their rearguard situation at long last.
Meanwhile Apple is on the offence in all active and attractive markets at this point; Even without Jobs they seem to be staying on his track.
Of course many observers still prefer voodoo explanations like "it's all just marketing!" (even though Apple actually does relatively little of that) over actual analysis, but the very real and very obvious differences between the two corporations are increasingly difficult to ignore.
|Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 39):|
Klaus, it is a shame that you are so damn biased towards Apple. We could have had a balanced and informative debate about these companies but every time we have to listen to your twisted view on the world.
That you don't agree with some of my views doesn't automatically make those "twisted".
The fact that Microsoft has been stagnating for years by now (which I'm apparently not the only one to take note of) and that Apple is already the highest-valued Company on earth and still keeps growing like a little startup (actually: like one of the few startups which actually are making money
!) would suggest that I seeing substantial differences between the two may actually be a little closer to reality than you denying that those differences existed in the first place.
It is of course possible that I am just biased or deluded, but given that my views have historically tended to be pretty consistent with what actually happend further on it is also possible and maybe more plausible that I might actually have a point or two.
Nobody demands you to agree with me. A little more civility and respect would be nice, however.