First and foremost, I am a Windows user. I have been forever. I was a “blue badge” so I was very much a “fanboy” of Microsoft from the platform to desktop apps to mobile devices and still pretty much am. I have also opened my eyes to other computing technologies like the Mac and iPhone.
I used to try to make my Microsoft software work the way I wanted in every case. There really wasn’t any other solution. I have moved away from that thought process, and accepted that some other technologies do the job better.
Take Windows Mobile for example. I owned no less than 10 devices in a matter of less than five years because I thought that the issue had to be the device, not the platform. Last year, I finally purchased an iPhone. I absolutely love this device and it will take me a long time to go back to Windows Mobile. Perhaps if Microsoft controlled the hardware platform for Windows Mobile devices, they might share the same success that Apple has had.
I also have a MacBook Pro, which runs virtualization software so I can run Windows. Since most enterprise companies still use Windows as a primary platform, I too still use Windows for 95% of my work-related business. I have had few issues with the Windows platform for the most part; I was even a fan of Vista. I didn’t see all of the same issues that caused droves of people to jump on the anti-Vista bandwagon. I still prefer Vista to Windows XP, a sentiment that isn’t shared by many. But at the end of the day, I run it on my MacBook. I do most of my blogging from a Mac now, I get all of my newsfeeds on the Mac, and Twitter too! Bottom line, a lot of Mac apps offer better stability and robustness compared to their Windows counterparts. Whether this is related to the platform or just bad coding, that’s a topic for a different day. Microsoft wins at a lot of battles – I favor Visual Studio and Office 2007. Those have been solid, just as a lot of the server apps like Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint.
Since I have had my Mac I have looked for ways to synchronize files and folders. Between my Macs would be fine, but across platforms would be even better. Apple’s MobileMe is a nice solution, although I don’t believe $99/year is worth what it gives me. Yesterday I was searching around for file sync tools on the Mac again and came across Microsoft Live Sync. I’ve used Live Sync for file storage on the PC side, but I was surprised to find that a Mac client was available. I installed it on both of my Macs, as well as my Vista laptop and work laptop too. I started syncing folders and they appeared across the platforms. Amazing! (and free too).
Looking further, I started digging into Microsoft Live Mesh which bridges the gap for connected devices allowing them to sync files and access their desktops all over the Internet. This provides the ability to access applications on one system that might not be available on another. Better yet, Mesh incorporates mobile devices and Macs. File synchronization is great across platform, but I wish I had the ability to remote control my Mac from one of my Live Mesh PCs. Since the remote control uses an ActiveX control in the browser, this is not possible on the Mac, but bringing a Java applet into the mix might take away this barrier.
I would say that in the last 2-3 months, Microsoft has introduced some very interesting technologies like Bing and Live Mesh (beta). Bing is closing in on it’s Google competition, and I have even started using it as my primary search engine. We’ll see how the landscape changes when Google finishes their open source OS.
So, with all this being said, it’s really not about being an Apple Fanboy or a Microsoft Fanboy, but more-so about who delivers the best solution for the problems at hand.