Steve Rubel over at Micropersuasion (a site I pay attention to) has written a letter to Microsoft: Dear Microsoft, I am Dumping You. It’s an interesting read simply because Steve took time out to say this in such a public way. (he’s got a big audience)
His reason for switching is that he’s finding more value in Web 2.0 applications than he is in desktop applications that aren’t part of the Web platform. He mentions Gmail, Flickr, and Backpack. These applications, of course, are web-based and therefore can be run on any machine with a modern browser. And Steve’s browser of choice will be whatever he’s running on his new Powerbook.
Cross-reference this sort of activity with the recent gains by Apple in overall marketshare. They’re up to 4.5% of new computers shipped, which is higher than they’ve been in years. Note, however, that computers shipped only means computers sold, so that the install base is potentially much higher. In other words, percentage of computers used doesn’t depend on computers shipped, it depends on where people actually spend their time. I’ve heard claims that Apple’s installed base might be as high as 16/17%. I mention this because many folks I know that use macs tend to wear them out, using them for 4 or 5 years. My Dad had an original iMac for 5 years before he upgraded…
Regardless of what side of the OS fence you’re on, Steve’s post is really about the Web as Platform. Now that we can do most of our work using web-accessible stores of information, we don’t need to be bound to Outlook, Mail, or Eudora, for example. We simply use whatever interface we desire on top of a web service like Gmail, or even the Gmail web interface itself.
From a pure strategic point of view, this benefits Apple big time. The question becomes, if it doesn’t matter what OS you get, why not get the most stable one that runs on top of the best hardware? Since the OS lock-in is going the way of the Dodo, we’ll all have more choice about which hardware we use. That’s another great benefit of the Web as Platform.
Rubel says, in a final shot to Microsoft: “start embracing the Web as OS”.
And I say: “Amen to that”.