CNET: Mac's Cool Factor Makes Switching Worth the Risk

Linux just doesnit have the cool factor to make switching worth the risk, but the Mac does, according to CNET on Monday. Thatis why Linux works in the enterprise where cheap and boring is okay, but not with consumers.

Matt Asay has been reading Sherlock Holmes lately, and one story, Sir Arthur Conan Doyleis Silver Blaze provided an "Aha!" moment why the Linux dog just isnit barking.

No matter how cheap or friendly or easy to install Linux is, it isnit going to gain traction on the consumer desktop because it doesnit have the applications consumers want, doesnit work well with the iPod and iPhone and because it doesnit have that hard to define cool factor.

"Theyire not about iequal functionality for lessi," Mr. Asay explained. "Theyire about iweire cool and the PC is lame.i People are willing to take a chance on cool. Theyire less likely to take a chance on igood enough and cheaper.i No one wants to date you just because youire frugal, but they just might if youire cool."

If the Linux cool factor and marketing donit change, Linux will be forever relegated to the data center and some enterprise desktops. Regrettably, Mr. Asay concluded, the developers responsible for Linux arenit the right people to market the advantages of Linux.

Apple knows that often itis wise to not immerse people in technical details. An emotional reaction often depends on letting customer minds wander into idealization, that undefinable cool factor.