The Back Page - Microsoft VP on Longhorn: "It Just Works"
by - April 25th, 2005
"It just works." If you are a Mac user, chances are that you have said this about your Mac at one time or another, probably in reference to why you like your Mac so much, or why you think someone should Switch from Windows to the Mac platform.
"It just works." It means that the Mac is intuitive and easy to use. It means that when you plug a digital camera in, getting your images off of it will be hassle-free. It means that installing a printer simply is so simple, your mother could do it.
"It just works" means that the Mac gets out of your way, and lets you do whatever it is you are wanting to do.
I couldn't tell you how many times I have used this phrase to describe my experience when using my Mac over the last several years. It is a natural expression of how easy to use the Mac is, and it would seem that lots of other folks have thought the same thing.
Apple itself offered the fact that the Mac "just works" as one of its Top 10 Reasons to Switch to the Mac platform as part of the Switcher campaign. In fact, it was the #1 reason.
Apple is not the only company to want to use this phrase to describe its products, however. In its typical shameless fashion, Microsoft has sounded out the idea of using the phrase to describe its forthcoming operating system upgrade, Longhorn.
In an interview with Fortune magazine, Microsoft group vice president for platforms Jim Allchin told interviewer David Kirkpatrick that his company's goal is to make people think Longhorn functions properly.
"You shouldn't have to spend a lot of time struggling with things," Allchin said in the interview, adding that the number one design goal for Longhorn has been: "It just works."
Wow. Ballsy. Shameless.
Of course, this could just be a trial-balloon. Poor Mr. Allchin has been used in the past to float really bad trial balloons to the media. He was the first person from Microsoft to publicly call Open Source development a threat to the "American Way," for example.
That was later amended by his company to be that Microsoft specifically considered the GNU public license to be un-American, as opposed to the entire Open Source community, and perhaps this "it just works" idea will be later amended to something like "it sorta works," or, "it just works...most of the time."
I can see the commercial now. "Rent Windows. It sorta works."
Whether or not this idea is official Microsoft policy, however, it amazes me that Mr. Allchin could say this sort of thing in an interview with a major mainstream magazine, especially if he kept a straight face. There is no chance, no chance at all, that he is ignorant that 1.) Mac users say this about their Macs, or 2.) That Apple has used this phrase to describe the Mac platform.
Microsoft watches what the competition is doing better, or at least more closely, than any other company in the tech industry, especially Apple. From iMove/MovieMaker to fake reverse-Switcher stories, Microsoft has made a habit of following where Apple already went for decades, and I have no doubt that such is the case here, too. Such shameless copying and trying to pawn it off as original or innovative is simply modus operandi for every aspect of this company outside the Mac Business Unit.
It will be quite interesting to see if anyone else from Big Redmond uses this phrase publicly to describe Longhorn. As mentioned above, I think Mr. Allchin gets saddled with the task of floating these ideas to see how folks react, and there's certainly no indication yet that this will be a marketing message used by his company.
If it gets shot down now, we probably won't hear much more along these lines. Certainly David Kirkpatrick saw right through it, and called Mr. Allchin on it in his article for Fortune. With all the positive attention on Apple these days, I don't think anyone other than Apple Death Knell veteran Paul Thurrott would give him a pass on the idea.
In the meanwhile, you can read more of Mr. Allchin's hopes and dreams for Longhorn in the Fortune interview. You can see more of those dreams in action on April 29th, when Apple releases Mac OS X 10.4, Tiger. Longhorn, in the meanwhile, is currently expected some time late in 2006.
began using Apple computers in 1983 in a high school BASIC programming class. He started using Macs in 1990 when the Kinko's guy taught him how to use Aldus PageMaker, finally buying a Power Computing Power 100 in 1995. Today, Bryan is the Editor of The Mac Observer, and has contributed to the print versions of MacAddict and MacFormat (UK).
Most Recent Columns From The Back Page
- $5 WiFi Routers...With a Catch - June 27th
- Boot Camp Means More Mac Users - April 13th
- Rob "Wrong Again" Enderle Peers Into Apple's Windows Future - April 12th
The Back Page Archives
Warning: include(/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/extension.inc) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 108
Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/extension.inc' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/php5:/usr/share/php') in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 108
Warning: include(/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/common.) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 110
Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/common.' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/php5:/usr/share/php') in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 110
Warning: include(/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/includes/bbcode.) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 112
Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/includes/bbcode.' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/php5:/usr/share/php') in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 112
Fatal error: Call to a member function sql_query() on a non-object in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 532
- Fri, 8:10 PM
- Free on iTunes - 3 Free iOS Apps We Hope You Never Need
- 7:52 PM
- The Back Page - Apple’s ‘iRadio’ Streaming Excites Labels, Sony Hung on Skipping
- 3:50 PM
- Particle Debris - How the War Between Apple & Google Will be Won
- 3:29 PM
- News - Pentagon Approves iPhone & iPad for Military Use
- 1:10 PM
- TMO Quick Tip - Apple TV: Hiding Unused Icons from the Main Screen
- 10:40 AM
- Sci-Fi Airshow
- 9:17 AM
- News - CW Signs Content Deal for Apple TV
- 8:31 AM
- TMO Quick Tip - iTunes 11.0.3: New MiniPlayer Features
- Thu, 5:25 PM
- Analysis - Apple CEO Tim Cook Will Propose Corporate Tax Overhaul, Report
- 4:07 PM
- myPhoneDesktop Allows You to Send Data from Mac/PC to iPhone
- 3:03 PM
- iLuv Ships ‘Aud 5’ Lightning Speaker Dock for iPhone 5
- 1:40 PM
- Product News - MiniPlayer Gets Album Art View in iTunes Update