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Something to Talk About

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Ask yourself this: has the world of computing changed for you in the past year or two? Do you notice anything different?

Unless you're living in a cave you either own an iPod or have heard about it. Unless you're wearing earmuffs you either own an iPhone or have heard the hysteria about it. And unless you live like a hermit and never go out of doors you've met at least one neighbour who either has an Apple computer running OS X or who has talked about getting one.

That's the tipping point: the point where everybody's talking about Apple and OS X. And it's here.

Apple are currently selling three times the number of computers as all the Windows OEMs combined - three times the combined sales of Dell, Gateway, HP, all the rest. Three times what they're doing together.

And a magical thing has happened: suddenly everyone's seen an Apple computer. And there's finally something to talk about.

Only a few years back Apple computers - Apple devices in general - were hard to find. Apple began saturating the market with stores, with marketing campaigns, with dazzling consumer gadgets.


Now everyone and their cousins in remote locations of the world want these devices.

Rixstep have customers in over one hundred countries. Rixstep have ACP and CLIX users in Tahiti and yes even the Pitcairn Islands. If an ISV can get that far the platform's reached a tipping point.

And it wasn't the incessant proselytising about worms and viruses that got them. And that kind of information will wash over their heads even today. No: it was more likely the 'lifestyle revolution' talk, the 'Get a Mac' campaign, the gadgets such as the iPod and now the iPhone that finally made people stand up and take notice.

Microsoft and Windows are not only dead - they also smell bad. And everyone everywhere can smell the stink. And everyone everywhere has something to talk about.

This doesn't translate into immediate sales but it's still bankable: people are talking about buying an Apple OS X computer 'next time around'. They're not in a hurry - they don't appreciate the security risks of Windows and the difference between Windows and almost any other platform. But they've made up their minds.

And next time around they'll buy an Apple computer.

Apple can't possibly scale to satisfy the computing needs of two billion computer users - not unless they outsource production to all the factories used today by the Windows OEMs and put the latter out of business.

But somehow this is all going to pay off. People are happier running OS X but what the world really needs first and foremost is an Internet without Windows.

And that's something to talk about.

And it doesn't really matter anymore if a three letter acronym hacker claims to have found a hole in mDNSResponder or wherever - OS X is close enough to Unix and Unix is secure enough that should a hole be found everybody knows it will be patched and that will be the end of it.

And although the PR damage of a worldwide worm outbreak should never be underestimated such an outbreak - after all these years - is more remote than ever. And it's going to take a lot of work to ever approach the track record of Microsoft anyway. Should Apple or any Unix vendor completely blow it tomorrow it will still take ten years to get within even sighting distance of the level of destruction Microsoft's caused.

Apple have made it to a tipping point. And with the release of their 64-bit Leopard in October they're predicted to reach an even more important one: first to the mill gets the goods. Microsoft dominated the 32-bit world but today it's a new game and a new world and everybody starts from scratch again.

Apple have momentum. The entire anti-Microsoft movement has lots of momentum. Things look even brighter in the months to come.

And that's something to talk about.

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