I have to start out by confessing this is never something I thought would happen. Steve Jobs had me from “Think Different” until I could use an apple pencil on my iPad Pro. From the fantastic feeling of owning an Apple IIc to taking photos with depth of field processing on my iPhone. But along the way, something changed. It was subtle at first. But little by little I was converted to the “dark side”. This is my journey from Mac Pro to Surface Pro. From Apple to Microsoft.
The MacBook Pro fit with my life as a musician very well. Allowing me to work in recording studios to capture musicians performances. Apple just got us. It was like every product was made just for the way we think. You have to remember; this was before there was an Apple bandwagon. The response of “Yoooou use a MAC!?” with a discussed and questioning face was a common occurrence. We only had two options. Windows XP or a Mac. My Motorola flip phone or an iPhone. At the time, it was a no-brainer.
Giving Apple our hard earned dollars seemed like a safe bet. They genuinely cared about the end users experience. My experience. From the incredible unboxing of an apple product to every product’s industrial design, Apple brought you on a journey. A journey you were happy to pursue. They cared about small things like full resolution, great looking icons. When you used their products, it freed you from thinking about the computer and allowed you to focus on the creativity of your work.
The Seismic Shift
Because of Apple, everyone had to play catch up to compete. All of a sudden end-user experience started to become the barrier to entry of any product that would have a hope of competing. This changed everything! Everyone had an iPhone. Everyone used Apple apps. It normalized great, well thought out, rich experiences when it came to hardware, software, and apps. Over a very short time, the customer’s expectation of how they could experience technology was radically altered.
Meanwhile, Back in Redmond
While everyone watched as Apple single-handedly changed the face of technology, Microsoft planned accordingly. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things we can look back on and give credit to Microsoft for changing the face of technology. It just wasn’t this focused on the end users experience.
Office 365, then Windows 8(.1), Surface Pro, then Dynamics 365. Microsoft is patient. They saw the writing on the wall and knew they couldn’t turn the ship in a short time. So over the course of the next many years, under the leadership of Satya Nadella started to transform their product offering with a focus on the end user’s experience. Their new vision to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” definitely intrigued me. That evidenced itself in my draw to what they were doing with technology.
During this transition, I just started a new career in IT. To be fair, this was probably the first step towards at least considering a Windows machine at all. The first 4 years working within Windows environments I stubbornly used my MacBook Pro with a VMWare virtualized version of Windows that I reluctantly booted into when I had no choice.
Vision and Forward Thinking
As I gained more hours with Windows 10 and deploying Surface Pros to my customers I started to really love, yes I said love, the combination of Office 365, Windows 10 and the Surface Pro. As we started to dig into Dynamics 365 I was struck by how deep Microsoft’s strategy to address the Seismic shift had been. They took where they had to go and where they had been and are bringing it together with you and me in mind. This especially comes out in the Microsoft Cloud and their Business Applications. Even though many of their goals have not come to pass, I love that Microsoft cares about the experience of the people using their products. So much so that I started to see consistency across areas that had traditionally been separated. I see Microsoft unifying the user experience from Excel to Office 365 to Dynamics 365 and their business applications built on their Power Platform. The best way to experience Windows and Office IS a Microsoft Surface Product. That is not just marketing speak. The benefits Microsoft has by owning the Hardware and Software makes for a noticeably richer and more productive experience when using a Surface.
Apple Forgot About Me
After Steve Jobs passed, the focus seems to shift. Whether real or perceived, the attention was less on the innovation that got them there and more on meeting the next IOS release and pleasing the shareholders. Playing it safe. I don’t see the vision or the passion that initially earned my loyalty. So while I’m thankful for the change of focus Apple forced into technology. I have moved on.
The Time Had Come
It was clear I was enjoying the pace of innovation Microsoft was delivering in every area they pursued. When they entirely transitioned to a “Cloud First” company was when I finally decided to jump ship from Apple and embraced Microsoft, Windows 10 and Surface. I jumped in with both feet and hadn’t looked back.
My one holdout is that I love my iPhone. But this could have gone a completely different way had the Windows phone not sucked.
I am excited to see where Microsoft takes their current vision as we move into AI and a better and more intuitive user experience. I’d love to hear what you think.