Just got back from MacWorld – where I presented on the Economics of Podcasting (don’t worry, the audio will be available very soon on The Chris Pirillo Show). I even slapped an “Attribution-ShareAlike” Creative Commons license on the entire hour (couldn’t hurt). While the crowds were certainly wooed by the new gadgets and software, I couldn’t help but think that… there’s no such thing for Windows users. Seriously, there’s no WindowsWorld – highlighting interesting software and vendors who care about consumer products and fantastic add-ons. You might argue that Comdex filled that gap – and I would certainly argue with that argument. I need a full-on Windows software conference to keep me from believing that all the cool things are happening on the other side of the fence. I don’t know if I’m fooling myself into believing that Windows Vista will be an amazing update, because I just don’t see it as being anything more than a mandatory move. What happened to the days when I couldn’t wait to start using something on my system? The difference between Windows 3.1 and 95 was palpable. The difference between Windows XP and Vista? Not-so-much. Now that Apple’s moved their development to Intel’s platform, Microsoft faces some tough competition. This isn’t a tongue-in-cheek statement – I’m dead serious. Let’s just play out a specific scenario.
Fast forward two years from now. Vista has been released and is already looking stale. Apple announces “Eleven,” with even more media-centric applications that further enhance your digital lifestyle. You still don’t care about OS X because it’s off your radar and completely out of your reach. Then, Steve Jobs makes the announcement of the century: OS X is now pre-installed along with Windows Vista on all Dell machines. Woah. In a heartbeat, the industry changes. There’s no longer “Macs” and “PCs” – there’s just a computer. Benchmarks are finally made relevant, with the ability to try software and tasks on one OS – then reboot and try them on another. Linux is completely out of the picture as a desktop operating system, further marginalized by OS X’s FreeBSD stable underpinnings. Consumers purchase Dells to experience both leading OSes first-hand. Many ultimately switch to Apple-only hardware, and others stick with what seems familiar. It’s not completely out of the question, provided Apple doesn’t do something stupid again. Their arrogance continues with campaigns that claim: “What’s an Intel chip doing in a Mac? A whole lot more than it’s ever done in a PC.” That’s a load of bull, but my crystal ball prediction is still quite possible. Watch it happen.