WSJ: Letters from iPod Switchers, Would-Be Switchers, & Never Switchers

The Wall Street Journal has published some 27 letters from people who Switched to the Mac because of their iPod, people who Switched because of Windows problems, people who want to Switch but have reservations, and some people who are happy in their Windows world. The letters were published in the column Real Time by Tim Hanrahan and Jason Fry, in response to a column they wrote last week about the iPod Halo Effect.

As anecdotal evidence is concerned, the letters offer some of the first real-world evidence of the iPod Halo Effect, which is the idea that iPod users will Switch to the Mac because they enjoy their iPod so much. The Effect has been cited by numerous Wall Street analysts -- most recently Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, Rob Semple of Credit Suisse First Boston, Shaw Wu of American Technology Research -- in bullish outlooks on the companyis stock, but so far, Appleis Mac sales have not necessarily reflected the Effect.

The letters published by the Journal, however, offer a glimpse into the mind of Windows users who have had their first taste of the Apple experience.

For instance, Michael P. Walton wrote: "As a lifelong Windows user, I was tired of the constant barrage of viruses and spyware. It got to the point where I felt like I needed to be a programmer to keep my Windows PC operational. After receiving an iPod as a gift, I was inspired to research other Apple products. In the last two months Iive purchased an iMac G5 for my office and an eMac for home, both replacing Windows machines. Iim amazed at the elegance, simplicity and ease of use of these products."

Representing those who Switched because of Windows itself, John Parsons wrote: "My wife and I each have our own PCs at home, and weire sick of the viruses, spyware and crashes. Sixty days from today weill be using two 20" iMac G5s. By the way, neither of us has an iPod. Weire still lost in the 90s playing CDs."

On the negative side, six of the letters published were from people who are not going to Switch, mostly because of what they perceive as Appleis high prices.

Santo Cuollo wrote: "Apple will not become a household name until they are willing to drive out cost from their processes and offer a "value" machine, and something more attractive than the years-old eMac. They have the better product -- now they need to offer the better value."

You can read all of the letters at the Wall Street Journalis Web site (subscription required). We recommend it as an interesting read, especially of you want a broad snapshot of what is going through Windows-using iPod usersi minds.