I visited the Apple store at University Village today. I don’t know why I put myself through this. It’s masochism. Every time, I come out depressed, thinking how severely Microsoft’s ass is getting kicked in the consumer space. The stores are always jam packed with people cooing, awing and buying beautiful Apple products.

I went in to the nearby Sony store as well. The Sony store is probably the closest thing to the Apple store the PC ecosystem has. The store is nice looking and thoughtfully laid out. Compared to a Best Buy or CompUSA the PC laptop presentation and desktops looks pretty good… for the most part. The first laptop I went up to had a bubble tip saying something like ‘there are multiple security issues with this computer’. This is Microsoft’s fault, not Sony’s, and you would never see that in the Apple Store. The sony store was full of sales people swarming the few potential buyers. Sales people at the Apple store looked overwhelmed with potential buyers. Point being, the Apple purchasing experience blows away any PC equivalent.

I don’t subscribe to the complacent attitude that Apple is just a niche market and their OS isn’t a threat to Windows’ dominance. You can see their market share rising. You can see masses of iPod owners becoming iPhone owners becoming iMac owners. It’s what their kids want, it’s what their friends have… the network effect is powerful.

We hear a lot that IWs are Consumers too, and that they want those facets of their lives to be linked in relevant ways. So what direction do you think someone would go who’s using Windows at work and a Mac at home? Would they trade in their home Mac for a Windows machine? If we concede that Apple is winning in the consumer space, then the logical conclusion is that they’d prefer to trade in the Windows machine at work for a Mac. Of course this overlooks many practical matters like software dependencies. This isn’t an audit of all the variables, merely a glimmer of direction.

With every visit comes a swell of questions as to why Microsoft doesn’t open a chain of retail stores. There are good reasons why shouldn’t, like complicating or comprising current retail, IHV, ISV and OEM relationships. The right answer may be a partnership to make the PC and PC peripheral buying experience better. But then we get back to the circular predicament of too many chefs and too many interests leading to too many compromises and resulting mediocrity.

Yep, Apple is on a roll. They are executing extremely well. They are a great competitor. They’re raising the bar on User Experience in technology. The industry will rise with them. It’ll be interesting to see how long they can lead the way, and to what extent the wake washes in to the PC ecosystem.

 

One Response to Another painful visit to the Apple Store

  1. Administrator says:

    From the New York Times, Oct. 21 2007

    Quoted: Driven in part by what analysts call a halo effect from the iPod and the iPhone, the market share of the company‚Äôs personal computers is surging…

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