November 17, 2007

Scoble Violates Apple Fanboy Rule #1

Macs sometimes break.
Macs sometimes crash.
Mac applications sometimes don't work they way you think they should.

Apple doesn't always have the best strategy (in my opinion) for promoting its lesser-known features or less-adopted product lines.

They're not perfect.

  • I returned my new MacBook Pro less than two days after I got it for repairs. (1 | 2 | 3)
  • My last PowerBook had its keyboard repaired once and its logic board replaced once.
  • I bought 4 or 5 power adapters for my last PowerBook because they kept wearing down.
  • My wife's iBook was repaired at least twice for Logic Board issues.
Going back further in time, I once had a devil of a time upgrading from Mac OS 8.6 to Mac OS 9. Installing Mac OS X Public Beta was not without its issues. My first iPod's battery life didn't seem to last all that long. My iPod Photo occasionally craps out and seemingly is trying to die.

That's all true. But while someone with an agenda could say this is all great evidence that I should ditch the platform, or that Macs aren't as good as I say they are, it's rubbish.

In June, I wrote on The Apple Blog a note stating "Five Lesser-Known Tips on Being an Apple Fanboy". The first tip? "Never Admit Fault With Apple Around Non-Mac People".

The reason? People love to pile on and are looking for any excuse they can to show that their decision was right and yours was wrong.

With Apple's increasing market share, new converts to the platform, like Robert Scoble, are finding what we all know. Macs are great, but not perfect. And sometimes, they're not happy about it, and they're all too ready to call Apple out for issues they've found. Robert, in a missive posted today, says when Macs fail, that Mac users tend to blame themselves instead of the platform. (Dave Winer backs him up)

I don't agree. What I believe is that when Mac issues arise, their irregularity makes it more acceptable than the day to day challenges of Windows. Also, in most cases, I can figure out the issue myself, instead of being forced to live with it. For the above hardware issues, I obviously couldn't, and I made Apple fix their problems.

So while Robert likely believes he's helping Apple and their users to "expose" the problems he's had with his Mac, it doesn't do all that much. Instead, what it does is give potential switchers a good reason to not do so if they were on the verge of finally leaving Windows behind. I'm not saying be absolutely quiet about issues. I know I haven't. But recognize all the positive things that are gained from moving to the Mac platform and all the innovation coming from Apple, and imagine how dismal the computer industry would be without it. It's stark and cold.

Maybe Robert didn't get his Apple fanboy membership card yet, or maybe he didn't apply, but I do believe he's sending the wrong message. That Apple won't publicly respond to him doesn't help either, but they've yet to figure out a great relationship with the blogs. Maybe some day that will change.