October 9th, 2004
Now, I'm a geek R&D manager, and of the other five Mac users I know three are R&D geeks and the other two are academics. We're hardly a representative group of users.
But my Mac also runs everything my girlfriend needs. It runs everything my dad needs. It would fulfil the needs of my good friends Alison, Sophie, or Dimitra, my dear cousin Eleni, my acquaintances Lisa, Jess, and Sarah, and probably many others. If my grandma and her sister used a computer, a Mac would fulfil their needs too.
These are all ordinary, non-geek computer users, and notably almost all are women. They use the web, email, PIMs, word, and iTunes. Unlike my male friends, they don't tinker, write Win32 software, or play 3D FPS games. I think the reasons that these people don't buy Macs are:
- Macs, and Office for Mac, cost more.
- PCs are the obvious and easier thing to buy.
- Consumer users don't appreciate long-term usability.
- There's doubt over what Macs are like.
- Marketing from PC vendors.
These are all real, and sometimes good, reasons, but the point is they go beyond the conventional wisdom that "PCs have much more software". They do, but as the industry matures there's more cross-platform software (for fortuitous reasons such as the success of the web, or people's desire to not be tied to one computer) and the needs of consumer users become surprisingly uniform.
Actually I think the only reason these people don't buy Macs is that Microsoft overcharges for Office.