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Reader Poll: Tell Me Your Most Surprising "Switcher" Stories

Posted by: Peter Burrows on April 24, 2008

Yesterday’s earnings news tells the tale: The Mac is on fire, and the fuel seems to be “Switchers”. That’s the only logical assumption one can make, if Apple is to be believed that half of the PCs purchased by the record number of shoppers at its stores were first-time Mac buyers. And if Geeksugar has it right, there will be new iMacs next week to lure even more of these people into their local Apple shop.

But I want to get a better sense of who these folks are. So let the call go forth: Bring me your tales of recent Mac owners who you never thought would end up with a Mac. Are they young or old, investment bankers or plumbers, Republicans or Democrats? Are they people who swore for years they’d never take the Mac plunge, or folks who could care less but just wanted to take the safest route by buying Windows?

And why are they switching now? The Mac has had security advantages and design superiority for years, and Apple has been outmarketing the Wintel crowd for just as long. The iPod halo effect is now nearly a half-decade old. If Vista’s shortcomings are the issue—well, Vista is more than a year old, too. Yet the mass migration seems to be accelerating. What’s your explanation?

Reader Comments

Paul Begley

April 26, 2008 1:37 PM

I would rather stick wood slivers in my eyes than buy a Mac. I like my Zune, too, thanks. I paid $100 for a white, 30Gb model and upgraded it to the latest firmware (can't upgrade the iPod, but then again, your original one was either broken or stolen).

Then again, I'm not the Mac demographic. I'm a mean-spirited, bald, bearded 50-something engineer who has been using computers since high school (paper tape, punch cards), on the Internet since 1986 (...your welcome), and using PC's since Feb 1982.

One factor that keeps me away from Mac's and Apple stores is the "Genius Bar". Let's face it, these guys (and women possibly) aren't geniuses, calling a 20-something college student (or recent grad) working in retail a genius sets unreasonable expectations from a customer, and "Genius Bar" is a misuse of the term 'genius'. None of these folks have an IQ higher than mine and they don't think out of the box because Apple doesn't want someone like that working in retail in the first place.

The last time I was in an Apple store the little freakazoid manager (Marlton, NJ for anyone interested) asked me to stop taking pictures. Bugger off, Apple Boy! I have shoes older than you.



lanny provo

April 28, 2008 12:22 PM

My neighbor who plays guitar,acoustic, is buying a mac for the garage band feature after he saw my macbook pro. age 45

i guess design,ease of use,innovation, and of course the stores offer great service and information. I have found the genius bar[of course i have cracked a few jokes there about the genius label] essential for small problems with software and quick diagnosis of hardware problems.
i am also a 50ish not so grumpy mac user.....of course engineers created this machine and i guess they maybe know more than paul.....

Ramon Zarate

April 28, 2008 12:46 PM

From a recent Switchers perspective:
- Micorosft/PC user expererience was terrible- boot up is slow, constanct patch upgrades, PC keeps crashing etc etc ... I bet several thousand users are on same boat.
-Security- Got Tired on supporting a leaky vessel. simple!!
- Ease of use for things like WebCam and access to Music. Mac is a digital lifestyle extension.
-Better parental controls for all; Safe Web experience..

So, why not pay a bit more to get a better product than deal with all PC headaches.

2004 Switcher

April 28, 2008 4:11 PM

Buy a Ford for the cost.

Buy a Mercedes for the quality.

Could it be any simpler?


April 29, 2008 12:35 PM

I believe it's word of mouth combined with the ipod halo effect. I personally know two individuals that two years ago would never have considered buying macs, but initially plunged on ipods, then got curious about mac in general, and then finally purchased mac computers. One of the guys is someone with whom I work has bought an imac, an airbook, and a macbook pro for his wife, all within one year. I've used macs since 2004 and have nothing but positive things to say about them.

2008 Switcher

April 29, 2008 3:45 PM

Just bought my first Mac (Macbook Pro). Here's why:

1) Needed a new computer
2) Have had PCs for years, tired of the issues - slow, long start up time, software incompatibility, poor digital media management software (not integrated)
3) Most of my home computer time now focused on digital media management and internet vs. games or MS office stuff
4) Have had iPods for years, great experience
5) Dad has a Mac, wanted to web chat, we knew the Mac would just work
6) We knew we could install windows if we needed to
7) We could afford it - the cost was the biggest drawback

We've had it a month now and it is great. I do PCs at work but I'll stick with the Mac at home.

Brandon W

April 30, 2008 10:57 AM

My next computer is going to be a Mac. I'm 36, started programming TRS-80's in 1981 and then IBM/MSFT computers (yeah, I started early). Formerly a Certified Dell technician. Formerly a Certified Sun Microsystems support engineer. I've seen it all. I've hacked OS's with hexadecimal editors. And I got the h*ll out of IT after 2000 and went into academia.

In my opinion Windows has become the most wretched, steaming pile of a product in computing history. It's like being given a creaky old Boeing 747 with all it's issues and the complexity of the cockpit, and told to use it to make a 3 mile trip to downtown.

The underlying Mac OS X is clean, well thought-out, and powerful. Yet, the computer is simple to use and stable. I've long said that computers will ultimately be just-another appliance, and the Mac is the only system on its way to achieving that goal.

We already bought my wife an Intel iMac, and my next system - overdue for replacement - will be one as well.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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