The blogosphere has been in overdrive with reviews of the latest operating system releases from both Microsoft and Apple. It is very entertaining to read the endless commentary debating the merits and faults of each operating system. In many respects it is a classic “Coke vs. Pepsi” style debate. Most people have a definite taste preference that is unlikely to change. We all recall age old question: “Are you a Mac or a PC?”
Both camps seem to miss the point entirely: Unlike Coke vs. Pepsi where both are Cola products that can, and frequently are substituted for each other, the same does not apply to the Windows and Apple operating systems. Apple operating systems only run on Apple hardware. And, barring 3rd party software (Parallels or VMWare Fusion) or custom installations (Boot Camp), no version of Microsoft Windows can run on Apple Hardware. (And if you are running Microsoft Windows in some capacity on an Apple computer, is that not making them equal? – but I digress.)
I view Apple like Diesel powered vehicles and Microsoft like Gasoline powered vehicles. You can sing the praises of Diesel engines and their increased fuel efficiency vs. the performance of Gasoline engines. The fact is that no matter how many Diesel vehicles are sold this year, the number will pale by comparison to the number of Gasoline vehicles. And, if you were to add up all the gas vs. diesel fueled vehicles in similar fashion to the installed base of Microsoft Windows vs. the Apple operating systems, you start to see the futility of debating who is going to win the operating system war.
Does it really matter how great Diesel is vs. Gasoline as a Fuel for an engine? If you have a Gasoline powered car, you are using Gasoline in the fuel tank. Diesel is not an option or substitute. The same holds true for running most line-of-business software applications: The Apple operating system is just not an option. Microsoft Windows, and its’ many flavors are the only choice on the menu. As an example, virtually all Professional Tax preparation, Accounting System, and Audit/Write-up software applications are Microsoft Windows only. (Cloud based products excluded.)
We can discuss how spectacular Apple Mountain Lion is: the iPad/iPhone like experience brought to an iMac or MacBook Pro, the new cool graphics, widgets, whatever… But, the practical reality is that if I am in a Microsoft Windows world, debating the merits of Microsoft Windows 8 vs. Apple Mountain Lion just makes for either wishful thinking or great cocktail conversation. We can even marvel at the new interface of Windows 8 and how Microsoft is trying to unify the user experience across all devices but you will never see it running on an iPad or an iPhone.
Some will say it is not about the Business environment but about Consumers and which operating system, Microsoft or Apple, is going to power my Toaster, or on a more serious note, my Smartphone, Tablet, and possibly Computer – if not replaced by a Tablet.
I respond that the conversation is not about which Fossil Fuel will power my next car: Gasoline or Diesel – but what comes next? Using the car analogy, it will most likely be a hybrid or perhaps a fully electric vehicle. Maybe Fusion technology will be available in my lifetime.
The next operating system to power my Smartphone, Toaster, or Computer could be Android or ChomeOS – both from Google. If that becomes true, where does that leave the Microsoft vs. Apple operating system debate?
It is spectacular that Microsoft and Apple are definitely making technology easier to use than ever before with their evolutionary changes in the operating systems.
The concern is that Microsoft and Apple may be perfecting the Buggy Whip for the the Horse Drawn Carriage, both of which were completely replaced by the Motor Carriage, within one generation. And, Microsoft and Apple may wake up one day and realize that Google has completely changed the model by eliminating the concept of an operating system and having everything run in “The Cloud.”