Microsoft is Mars, Apple is Venus
What's the major difference between working for Apple and Microsoft?
The biggest difference I've noticed so far is Microsoft people
understand the business, or at least, they are fluent in
the business. They understand who their competitors are and, ironically, they
don't think one of their competitors is Apple. But they understand who their
competitors are, how they're reacting to what their competitors are doing,
and they just are more aware of where they sit in the business world. At
Apple you would follow your muse more than you would follow somebody else's
pocketbook, if you will. It's much more important to be realistic about who
your customers are and how they're going to use your products. Probably the
most important thing is to listen to your customers. Because, as near as I
can tell, at least in the division I'm in, Microsoft goes way out of its way
to understand what's out on the Web, commenting on their products,
commenting on competitors products at a much deeper level than anything I
ever witnessed at Apple.
I've heard Apple described as a sort of company where there's no
Yeah, there are a couple jokes back in the old days, one of which
was, "What's the difference between the Titanic and the Lisa?" The joke was
that the Titanic had a band. They countered with, "What's the difference
between the Mac group and Boy Scouts?" And the joke was Boy Scouts have
adult supervision. So those jokes have been around for awhile about Apple.
Apple people were encouraged to kind of do the crazy things and do new
things for the sake of being new. And I think that's good but what's
unfortunate is that, it didn't create a mentality to develop the strengths
of the Macintosh as much as they could have. One of the things people always
say to me is, "How could you go to Microsoft?" There's this bittersweet
comment, that if
Rip van Winkle fell asleep in 1985 and woke up in 1996, he could still use a
Macintosh. He would have no idea about Windows 95 relative to what Windows
was a few years ago. And that just shows you, Microsoft has not stood still
whereas Apple kind of has.
One could argue that it was so elegant in 1984, it didn't need improving. But
I think any die-hard Mac user today realizes it's really not that easy to
use anymore. Your system takes a few minutes to boot. Things crash. And it
could have been improved. You can argue until you're blue in the face
whether the Mac is better than Windows. The point is people are moving
Windows forward at a very, very high rate. They're asking how can we move
the desktop to the Internet? And I just think Microsoft is more than willing
to say, "Okay that was last year, what are we going to do this year,"
instead of, "Hey, aren't we great. Look what we did. Our machine is easier
to use." You know that's not going to get you that far.