So, tomorrow is the day for the launch of Windows Vista and Office 2007. This is a big day and Steve Ballmer is supposed to be at a Big Buy (or Circuit City ) tomorrow and Bill Gates spoke to Meredith Vieira on NBC morning show and all the evening television shows covered the launch. The inevitable comparison with the Mac operating system OS X reminds me of my friends in the ad and design world who swear by the Mac and say that "when you go to mac there is no going back." One report mentioned that it was as if the Mac OS X system was given to the Windows Developers and they were simply asked to clone it. Bill Gates bristled this morning when Meridith Vieira raised this "copying from Apple" thing with him. Bill Gates gave a good answer but not the real real answer why 90% use Windows.
The real answer according to me, is that most people just want to use technology to get on with life. It’s just too hard to use software and technology that may be perhaps cheaper, more user friendly but which simply disrupts your life because it does not speak to each other. For example, recently a speaker at an event sent her presentation file on "word perfect" and that itself became a hassle for the organizers. Who has "word perfect" was the frantic cry! By the same token – I don’t see much headway that Zune will make against iPod simply because iPod invented the category and has been rapidly innovating since. If you ever used an iPod you’ll know what I mean. Similarly I think that "open source" type of products are good for a segment of customers who are able to manage ambiguity in technology or performance. This number is small and is unlikely to become a majority in the near future. This is one reason that "Geeks on Call" are a viable business. They simply help customers adopt technology and by doing so provide an invaluable service.
Technology adoption is a funny thing. It’s hard to do and Microsoft does not seriously expect existing users of XP to move over. However, new computer buyers are most likely to go for Vista which will have much better security features among many other improvements. Interestingly, in the NBC interview Meredith Vieira had concerns about how she was going to switch from XP and Bill Gates obviously offered to help out. For now Microsoft business seems secure!