Saturday, July 12, 2008


I’ve been using PCs since 1991 (the technological Stone Age) and the forcible upgrading routine began with that Intel 286. Microsoft created new operating software and the hardware manufacturers developed machines to accommodate it. I bought a new computer every few years when my existing software stopped working because technology had passed it by.

Recently I decided to buy a laptop so I could write anywhere I traveled. The laptop would not replace my desktop PC. It would be an addition.

After reading Consumer Reports, I got recommendations from guru friends before heading to the store. There I was confronted with Vista, the new operating system from Microsoft. Vista is so unpopular that some retailers, for a fee, will remove it and install the old operating system, Windows XP. I also learned that the new version of Word was not compatible with the old version without downloading fixes. Finally, I experienced a hard sell about hiring the retailer to “clean up” the laptop because Vista is a software pig. Without professional tweaking, Vista will use up memory and the new laptop will not run efficiently.

Let me state that I understand Microsoft is a business and businesses are all about making money. Upgrades and new software products are how Microsoft makes its money. My problem lies with the way it does it. A computer comes with the operating system Microsoft decides I must use. That system is so “inefficient” that I must spend additional money to have the retailer “clean it up.”

Previously I would have grudgingly bought a Windows-based laptop and lived with my dissatisfaction. I didn’t do that this year. What made the difference was those amusing commercials from Apple.

As I said in my first post, it’s all about communication. We make choices every day. Hopefully those choices are based on solid information obtained through careful research. Yet what drives us to the research is often an emotional reaction to something that has been communicated to us.

Microsoft conveyed their message. Apple told me something completely different. I heard both companies loud and clear.

I will have a PC as long as my business needs require it. However, as I type this on my MacBook, I can only hope that my communication efforts are as effective those made by Apple.

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