Recognizing the Problem

From Ballmer’s now public email:

Apple: In the competition between PCs and Macs, we outsell Apple 30-to-1. But there is no doubt that Apple is thriving. Why? Because they are good at providing an experience that is narrow but complete, while our commitment to choice often comes with some compromises to the end-to-end experience.

This is finally a good starting point. I’ve heard comments go from – Apple is so tiny they don’t matter, to they market well but they really aren’t that good. Apple has done some good engineering work over the last 10 years with OS X. And they’ve focused on the consumer market when Microsoft focused on the enterprise trying to protect itself from Linux.

Now I am concerned about the word “narrow”. I’m not aware of any area a consumer has that Apple doesn’t have a solution. I guess it’s narrow in the sense that all the hardware comes from Apple. And I do get that comment when I recommend Apple to friends or family. They still think it’s overpriced. By the time you configure a machine from Dell or Lenova to be comparable, they aren’t. But Dell and others will push these ads of machines that are just miserable. If you buy them, you’ll hate the way it performs and have a miserable experience. And if you don’t, you’ll end up paying as much as you would for a Mac.

But it is a start. I think Kevin Johnson’s exit is also good – he focused too much on the web in my opinion and ignored Windows. Not that I believe Windows has a chance to double again or something, but customers have made an investment in us and we owe it to them to continue to improve Windows.

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