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Should Every Exec in the PC Industry Buy a Mac?



High-end PC veteran and current Microsoft GM of  System Experience, Entertainment Rahul Sood suggests every executive in the PC industry should use a MacBook in a Facebook post yesterday. That’s not a bad idea in my book and could perhaps teach some valuable lessons.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Rahul Sood’s resume, he  founded Voodoo PC, which built high-end gaming PCs. He sold the company to HP, where he served as a CTO until recently. He’s now working at Microsoft where he focuses on the experience of XBOX products.

With a resume like that, you wouldn’t expect him to advocate for Macs and he’s not. Instead it seems that he wants PC makers to put more effort into design and processes. The below update, which appears in a long chain of comments on Rahul’s original post.

Rahul is an auto aficionado and brings up an interesting comparison. When my father recently recounted how when he was young Cadillac ruled the roads. Cadillac was the car everyone wanted to buy, or at least aspired to buy. In more recent years, Cadillac earned a reputation as Grandpa’s luxury car, with most American luxury car buyers opting for European and Asian brands. But Cadillac appears to be turning things around with more attractive designs and high-performance sedans.

Cadillac buyers pay a steep premium for the Cadillac experience. Over time, features from the luxury line will trickle down to GM’s other brands, which it sells in much higher volumes.

I agree with Rahul that every PC industry exec should try a MacBook, but I think they should go a bit further. Every PC industry exec should be forced to go out and buy a Mac, use it until it breaks and see what happens when they try to get it serviced or repaired. Again, Apple is far from perfect, but when’s the last time you had a PC laptop diagnosed and repaired on the spot or swapped out for newer model at a mall store? Apple Store Geniuses have done both for me at no charge.

Macs are far from perfect and there are definitely some compromises that many users are unwilling or unable to make to switch. Two of the biggest compromises are lack of choice and the steep premium Apple charges for its Mac hardware. Macs also aren’t the right tool for every job.  But the MacBook’s user experience, build quality and owner experience are unmatched by any PC company as of now.

Recent attempts by PC manufacturers have received lukewarm welcomes. Dell’s Adamo line has been canceled and HP’s Envy line has seen models cut and retail presence slashed. The experience of buying one of these very nice PCs at a Best Buy from a Blue Shirt that had never used one was pathetic in comparison to buying a Mac at retail. Ordering a $2,000 PC sight unseen isn’t all that appetizing to most consumers either.

Too much of the PC industry’s focus is on  besting the competitions’ specifications and prices. I think experiencing a Mac first hand would open a lot of eyeballs.

I use both Macs and PCs on a regular basis and believe that choosing a computer is a very personal decision and perhaps less logical than the PC industry assumes. The little rough edges around most consumer PC notebooks rub a lot of users the wrong way. Perhaps it would take using a Mac to force industry leaders to smooth things out.

I find that too many Mac and PC critics are completely ignorant of whichever platform they seem to despise since they’ve never actually used it for any meaningful amount of time. What do you think? Should PC industry leaders switch to a Mac on a temporary basis?



  1. Kevin

    02/28/2011 at 3:36 pm

    I have been a PC user forever. I was a Technology Director for a school district for 6 years, all pc’s. I was very vested in the PC market. I bought an iPhone 2+ years ago and became interested in Apple products. Yesterday I bought a brand new MacBook Pro. Beautiful machine for many reasons. I do not plan on buying another Windows based machine. Rahul is right, the entire experience at Apple is superior to any other pc company. I have purchased from HP, Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and Gateway.

  2. quillaja

    02/28/2011 at 6:08 pm

    With windows 10 years ago, yes I can’t say I was very satisfied with the experience, but just tolerated it. Windows vista, and much more so, windows 7 have greatly improved the experience, but I think there still is a lot that could be done in Windows. I think a lot of that stems from ‘required’ support for 20 year old programs that businesses run. On the PC makers’ end, their main problem from my point of view is bloatware and skimping on vital hardware. An example of the later point is how most PCs have really crappy screen quality. If you’re staring at the thing for hours, you need a decent, crisp, high ppi, screen with great view angles.

  3. dustin

    03/01/2011 at 10:27 am

    I own a gateway laptop as well as a mac book. I will never again use the macbook nor purchase an additional apple product. I agree that those who rally for one or another cause ought to give the other a fair shot. I have done this and feel I can fairly say that I don’t find one or the other experience better. If anything I prefer an open source linux platform. My primary objection to Apple is that as they vertically integrate and create their “cohesive” user experience they are in fact controlling the choices of its consumers, and in some cases limiting their choices. At this point Apple is using its size to leverage content providers into doing as Apple sees fit. This is the same vertical operating, marketing. and competitive strategies that were employed by John D Rockefeller and Standard Oil. The PC market is still vast and offers a number of excellent machines with great support for far less than an equivalent mac. That service at the Apple store was not free it was paid as a premium on the machine itself.

  4. Anonymous

    03/01/2011 at 2:18 pm

    The difference, as I see it, between the Mac world and the PC world is the surrounding ecosystem.

    With a PC you get a box with and OS and some random OEM-supplied software and a large ration of crapware that may or may not be of use to you. You can create your own ecosystem, but it is a voyage of discovery often fraught with incompatibility and inconsistency. Once lessons are learned, it can be a productive experience.

    With a Mac you get a complete ecosystem right out of the box – no fuss no muss. You may still set out on a voyage of discovery if you desire (and circumstances may dictate this), but for the majority of Mac users, what Steve offers is sufficient. I find with the Mac I have more choices, not fewer because I can still pop up my VMware copy of Windows for the Windows-only programs.

  5. Hello

    03/01/2011 at 3:40 pm

    Windows 7 rocks!

  6. Gwriter

    03/01/2011 at 4:20 pm

    This would be interesting. Survey every senior exec who has left Microsoft in the last two years and ask them what brand of laptop they use today? Actually save yourself the bother of a survey. The vast majority went out and bought Mac’s after they left the company. What does that tell you about the Mac vs. PC experience?

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