There was a time when I really loved the way that Microsoft’s smart employees were up to centralize and unify everything into an ecosystem run mostly on Windows and Office, with help of the PC rising, regardless the communist-style of this centralization. By then I didn’t know much about Apple’s Macs and their fall, and I didn’t care much either: with Microsoft’s OS, their Office suite, and Visual Basic/C++, later J++ and Visual Studio, all running well on my buggy hardware-based PC I had everything I wanted from a technical perspective.
Later, when Microsoft was left behind by the internet evolution, I didn’t care much either. Simply because in my Easter European country the internet was late as well. Although later it got back on track and speeded up to the top. Eventually, Microsoft got back too, rushing Internet Explorer versions after 6, so we met in the middle and continued our love story.
In the recent years, however, Microsoft had issues again; this time it lost the smartphone battle against Apple (and later Google). Although by now it’s already fighting in the next one – that of the holographic devices – in order to survive these years, they needed to do a switch from selling software infrastructure and products to selling mostly services, especially as the cloud has risen too. Personally, I don’t need to care much about using smartphones as I’m a developer and like larger screens, and I can continue using mostly PCs and Windows software there, without caring much about Android and iOS (excepting the need of developing apps also for those platforms, which is a separate story).
I need to mention, though, that I do like the concurrent opposite turnaround (or side effect) of recent Microsoft opening: their interest to build and sell full devices now too, not just PC peripherals as before. Specifically, Surface tablets and – more important – notebooks (yes, the Studio workstation, too) are really well designed and attract many people, including old Apple lovers. But I fell some fear here when I compare this to what Apple does: Apple always decided to remain on the same closed track, building everything from hardware and infrastructure to software and services, and it seems to me that this way they can protect their resources and focus better on what they are doing.
Microsoft had some of this too at the beginning when they tried to centralize everything (although only regarding infrastructure, software and services, as for hardware the historical reasons tied them up to needing many resources allocated on driver development and approval), that I loved. And disregarding the new Microsoft’s multi-direction approach, now Microsoft has this full stack with their Surface devices too (even including hardware now, except that personally I would need a notebook with 15″ screen and they don’t have that one – yet – so I go with Dell instead, but I’ll leave this out for this discussion). My love should only increase then, no? At some level it is increasing, but since they’ve opened so much, I opened my eyes more too, and looking around I cannot help wondering whether Apple’s closure wouldn’t be better for the long term (after all they had it from their first Macs and never lost it): wouldn’t it be better in Apple’s (embracing) arms than being hold with a single arm of Microsoft? (And maybe other old Microsoft lovers like me have the same question.) Only time will tell.
(No, I don’t want to compare Microsoft and Apple to Google this time, as Google runs everything pretty open. Indeed, prices are very low for Android based devices because of this, but I personally had some bad experiences in the area, caused exactly by the openness of their platform. And nobody has Chrome OS so I need to skip desktops completely. To me Google remains a good search provider and best revenue-generating Ads service, and although they do have some good cloud products, I cannot bring them into the Microsoft vs. Apple discussion above, sorry.)