Tag Archives: Windows 95

Happy Birthday Windows 95

I Love Working on a Macintosh.

Does that sound weird? After all these years? To me it doesn’t. But to people who have never worked on Macs—or for some reason that I cannot fathom—have worked on Macs but just not liked it, let’s face it, it sounds weird. Because even in this enlightened new millennium, most computer users use Windows, and sure, they eventually get work done, but honestly, how many Windows users love working on Windows?? Seriously? Even the geekiest of Windows Weenies, the hottest Windows programmers, the most talented of Windows technicians, how many “love” working with Windows? I’d wager, very few. Very, very few. And Mac users? When they switch, when they get their first Mac, what do they say? You’ve probably heard it too: “I love my Mac!”

This is not just hearsay or advertising. I’ve been in this business so long. For years people would tell me their sob stories about their Windows computers, their malware, viruses, their crashes, and slow downs, and on and on. As a consultant I refused work on Windows. There was plenty of work; Windows is a job-creation-machine. But to me, it was always the same nightmare, helping with the same stupid problems. It was no challenge; it was an affront to my creativity. It was “stone knives and bear skins”. Friends, relatives, and potential clients whose business I refused all got the same answer: “Why don’t you get a Mac?”

The price difference was often the reason, and that has diminished over the years, but even deeper, the answer, in the old pri-mac-evil days was pretty basic: “If I get a Mac, who will help me when I have a problem?”

And this was true. With Windows, you could have your brother, father, sister, friend, colleague at work, TOTAL STRANGER, or homeless person on the corner help. The power of ubiquitous monopoly meant that nearly everyone knew someone who could help them reboot their their Pee Cee, format the hard drive, and re-install Windows. (Which was the standard process to fix 95% of the issues with Windows – which, by the way, is why it was called “Windows 95”).

Telling people, “If you get a Mac you won’t have all those problems,” was not enough. Apple support in those days was notoriously hit-or-miss. Apple had a 90 day warranty! (I kid you not! Ninety days!!) There was no Apple Store. There were no “Geniuses”. And Apple had yet to launch a convincing and brilliant Mac vs. PC advertising campaign.

So Microsoft helped. By releasing Windows 95. Ten years after the original Mac, Microsoft embraced the interface so completely, copied the Mac OS so totally, that in the end they won over more users to Apple. “Windows 95” legitamized the Macintosh just as Apple was suffering the “Time of Darkness.”

And here again we have to acknowledge a strategic vision that moved Apple. Maybe it was Steve Jobs—he always gets the credit, for all I know it was Phil Schiller—or someone else at Apple, but they built a comprehensive strategy to address all those objections, one at a time, piece by piece.

Over time, it started happening, they all started to get Macs. For awhile I helped some of my clients move their stuff, but Apple had the tools, and the Apple Store, and the Geniuses available, and soon there wasn’t much work there, and that was okay. It was satisfying to have all these people tell me, “I finally got a Mac! You were so right! It works great!” These days, Macs have become so mainstream, so accepted, so successful, that I don’t even hear that anymore.

Being a Mac user isn’t special or unique. It’s just a good choice. You’d hardly congratulate someone for buying a Mac any more than you would congratulate someone for buying a decent car. And…most people nowadays even understand and accept the emotional attachment that people have for their Macs.

And on this important anniversary, I just want to say, thanks Microsoft. Happy Birthday Windows 95. I love working on a Mac!

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Microsoft Flashback 2001: “What’s in a Name?”

“Internet Explorer 3”

Microsoft used to play version number leap-frog with other software vendors. Why? Because everybody knows: the HIGHER VERSION NUMBER is BETTER SOFTWARE.

Nevermind that “Microsoft Word” went from Version 2 to version 6, it was BETTER than “WordPerfect 5”!

Which is why without ever releasing a Mac web browser before, Microsoft introduced “Internet Explorer” as VERSION 3. Because it was BETTER than Netscape’s current version at the time, you guessed it, “Navigator 2”.

As for their OS’s, Microsoft laughed at IBM’s “OS/2”, which was released after “Windows 3.1”, and then they jumped all the way to “Windows 95”. THEN their marketing department had a few too many martinis at lunch and got SO FULL OF THEMSELVES that they decided they were THOUSANDS of times better than anyone else. The result? “Windows 2000”.

From Unpredictable #12, March 20, 2001