Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The iPhone: Get One

Here is an example of a news item every blog and their brother will have: Apple announced and demoed the iPhone today at Macworld in San Francisco.

Rather than an extension of the iPod, it is actually a Mac in a phone -- it runs the Mac operating system, OS X, and seems to be a full fledged computer phone.

What is my take? When it is released in June, I am getting two: one for my wife, and one for me. It makes everything else, including the BlackBerry, which I currently use, obsolete. It buries Microsoft's offerings -- actually, it buries everything that is out there.

This was the capper on some other really good announcements made today: Apple TV, which links your iTunes to your TV set wirelessly; and nothing less than a name change for Apple. They are no longer "Apple Computer," they are now "Apple, Inc."

Apple is taking over, along with Google, Oracle, Linux, and VMWare. I predicted last year that Microsoft will be just another company, and its innovations like these that are making that happen. If you are a consumer, you can currently easily live your life without Microsoft products. If you are a small business, same thing. It is coming to pass, soon, that the same will be true of larger businesses. Large businesses will not be locked in to Vista, Office, or Windows server products. Businesses are already moving to Linux and Open Source products for their server needs, like web-based applications. Oracle has positioned itself very well in this space, with their announcement in October to fully support Linux.

If I were to advise someone what to buy for computing at home, now, I would say: Get a Mac. If you have a tech-savvy kid who likes erector sets and Lego, I would say: Get a Linux machine running AMD Athlon chips (and VMWare Workstation). That's it. There is no need for Microsoft technology in the home, period.

Why does this matter? Because Microsoft has been riding a desktop monopoly for years and years, and coasting on the inertia of legacy software. Windows ran DOS programs, so people moved to Windows. NT ran Windows 3.1 programs, so people used NT. Etc., etc. Apple had delivery issues in their youth, as well as pricing problems, as well as being very proprietary. This last is still there, but it is not the issue it was in the past -- actually, Apple is fairly open. Much more open than Microsoft.

In this period of Microsoft dominance, they continued to be fat and lazy. Huge programs, many, many bugs, many many patches. The viruses that we are all suffering from are for the most part aimed at machines running Microsoft. There are two reasons: one, they are everywhere, but more importantly, there are holes to exploit. Ubiquity would not matter if there was no way to exploit the machines. But there are.

Now we have Vista, which is a monster, and requires a very fast machine to run well. Who cares? I really don't. There is nothing that is compelling me to move from XP to Vista, especially for my home machine, which is a couple of years old. However, I will buy an iPhone. Need I say more?