Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hide & PCeek

A few posts back, I very lightly brushed the topic of the Windows Phone market share in Australia – by that, I refer to the virtually non-existent market share. Within the walls of my house lives a Microsoft ecosystem and when it comes to forking out money for electronics that fit cohesively in that ecosystem, it’s always met with some nervousness on my end. You see, it needs to be understood that ever since the second generation iPhone, Australia has become one of Apple Inc.’s most prized bitches, this unfortunately pushed Microsoft Australia to the way side. This wide-adoption of Apple means a national absence of the latter, and if Apple has taught us anything, it’s that presence means ease – the very thing that drives the success of any piece technology on the market today.

Sure, Bill Gates’ brainchild, Windows, has charmed its way into the homes and offices of many, but that doesn’t change the fact that the name Windows Phone 7 means little nothing to Australians, that retailers are yet to even start offering Zune devices (‘Zune’ being Chinese to anybody that I mention it to, if indeed it still exists, even Microsoft don’t seem to be sure on that one) and that we are so far from having our very own Microsoft store that I don’t see it ever happening. Meanwhile, you could throw a rock into one of our city streets and hit someone who’s carrying an iPhone, probably even an iPod too if we could pry it from their person, and that doesn’t even graze the fact that we have eleven Apple Stores nationwide, with three more in the works, giving the company the ability to offer every product they offer overseas here; and there’s the biggest kicker, the Apple Stores. These outlets allow for face-to-face support and a try-before-you-buy mentality of every product under the same roof – and that's just buying and repairing your device, I haven’t even mentioned the products themselves. When it comes to Microsoft, if you want a phone? Visit the phone store, not just one either, I mean all of them; An Xbox? Go to a gaming boutique; An MP3 Player? You’d have to get that off the internet; Windows? Go to a computer store. And how will you find out how well all of these devices communicate with each other? You won’t, at least not until after you buy them all and stick them together. Then if one of them breaks, it means a plethora of phone calls and sending your stuff to Acer or Dell or HTC or the US to be looked at. However, if I walked into an Apple store, I could see how an iPhone can be used with Apple TV, I can see how an iPod will connect to a Mac, Christ, I could probably test drive a MacBook’s performance while running Final Cut Pro; a whole family of products, all under one roof. Needless to say, being a loyal Microsoft customer in Australia is a pill that gets tougher to swallow each day that I continue to reject the idea of purchasing an Apple product.

Not only that but I watch the recent Windows Phone event in New York City and that, like many other overseas technology related events, just reminds of Microsoft’s national absence here, in fact it reminds me of the absence of technology in general. That’s not to say that Australia is a bad country or anything, but if you’re a tech-geek, sadly this isn’t the best-suited country for you, for any corporation really, it just so happened that Apple were able to become the high point in our low market.

So, anybody like myself who chooses to deny the allure of a company that essentially spits out products that are shrouded in how easy they are to use and, instead, adopts a corporation who probably think that our continent is just kites and Amish farmland, you’re basically choosing to play a consumer version of hide & seek.