Does Apple Have PC Envy? (or Netbook Envy?)

Apple's excess focus on Microsoft is causing the company to lose ground even as Google is ramping up to undermine Apple on the way to its ultimate goal of displacing Microsoft.


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Watching the latest Apple commercials you have to wonder if Steve Jobs is really coming back. Microsoft is actually running a better campaign (how often does that happen?) that mostly uses real people (one actress got in) who are making real decisions and talking about why.

The word lame keeps coming up for most of Apple's new spots, which often happens when you run something too long. They seem to be excessively focused on PCs, much like Sun was excessively focused on Microsoft (and we know how that worked out). And while the result in both cases was better Microsoft products – and in this case, better PCs – you have to wonder if Apple management is drifting to Scott McNealy level stupidity.

I think they are showcasing that there really is something called "PC Envy." Apple has it bad. It’s either that, or Steve is truly gone and those left really can't run things.

Given that the last time we surveyed the Apple base we discovered it was far from young and trendy and tended towards old and retired. You'd think they might want to focus less on Microsoft and more on getting younger users.

In addition, Apple seems to be under the mistaken impression that they are losing market share to Microsoft again. And while this is partially true, Microsoft isn't particularly happy about this situation either, because it's likely the lower margin Netbooks that caused the move.

Let's talk a bit about Apple's PC envy – and why it is likely to bite them in the butt when Windows 7 and Android Netbooks launch later this year.

Apple's PC Envy

It must be tough for Apple fans right now. Their technology god, Steve Jobs, is out and may never be coming back.

Instead of talking about things that are new and different with the Mac products, Apple seems to be in a loop of pointing out either phony faults with Windows, or faults that have been corrected months if not years ago.

They don't seem to be able to come up with anything truthful, new, or different when it comes to even bashing Microsoft. And while this is great for Microsoft it is increasingly making Apple look, again, Scott McNealy lame.

Sun did this for over a decade. As they drop into oblivion as a company it is good to remember that, while they did do Microsoft damage, they also ensured their premature demise. Sun customers were known to ask, after a Scott McNealy event, "We get that Microsoft sucks, but what is it you offer?"

Since Sun, there isn't another company in any market that seems so fixated on their competitor as Apple. It creates the impression that they are scared to death of Windows 7. Evidently for good reason. I've been running Windows 7 in beta since June and it actually has run better than Leoptard , er, Leopard initially did after it was released (right that is Apple's beta).

How Apple Made Windows 7 Better

Apple gets a lot of credit for making Windows 7 better than it likely would have been. By constantly bombarding Microsoft's founders and employees with messages while using a surrogate for Bill Gates that made him look stupid, Apple provided motivation to these people that I doubt anyone else could have done.

Think about it. Remember in the Olympics when the French relay team trash talked the US swim team, suggesting they didn't have what it took? It just focused the US swim team and Michael Phelps went on to win a massive number of gold medals.

By picking on Microsoft over and over again, not only did Microsoft work to make Vista better (patching virtually everything Apple complained about) but they took Windows 7 to a whole 'nother level. It's faster, more secure, less annoying, more backwards compatible (some versions even run a full virtual machine), and it will be a native 64-bit installation on the vast majority of hardware.

Next page: Apple Motivating the PC OEMs

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Tags: Google, Microsoft, Apple, Leopard

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