We really need to work on our web site

Have a look at the home page for Mac OS X.

Now have a look at the home page for Windows XP Home.

Which would you rather buy?

The Mac home page has beautiful graphics, some product descriptions (in fairly colloquial English -- “scads of applications,” for example), and clear links to some of its major features. You can actually read that page, see what the product looks like, and get an understanding of what it might do. Clicking on the links to features actually lets you see how they might help you.

The Windows home page, on the other hand, consists of about a million hyperlinks, the first of which is a link to install security patches. (Of course, installing patches is very important, but bear with me for a second). You can't actually learn anything on this page. If you are lucky enough to somehow find the link for features, it doesn't actually tell you how Windows is useful. It says stuff like “Protected Kernel Mode Architecture” and “Windows File Protection” -- like anybody is actually going to race out and buy Windows because of that stuff (remember, this is the “Home” ediiton, not the “Professional” or business edition). The target audience won't even understand what it means!

Yes, it's a slow day (err, week) at work. I promise to have more techy entries soon, and stop with the random junk.

Comments (22)

  1. There is a big difference you didn’t mention though. The OSX page is trying to pull you to their OS. Windows already has you. πŸ˜€

  2. Marc Orchant says:

    Hardly random junk Peter. This is important stuff that everyone ought to be thinking about – not just the marketing and web design folks. If a techie like you sees the difference between what Apple and Microsoft are doing with their OS home pages, imagine the reaction from the "average" knowledge worker or home user.

  3. Your right, only difference is that most people choke when they realize how expensive it is to purchase a mac. Heck I choked when I bought my wife an iMac this year, I love it and have to say that everything about it is certainly aestethically more pleasing and there is ‘some’ cool software, but by and large XP can do more.

    If apple would begin using X86 and still make such innovative hardware and software then we would see some interesting things in a 3way battle on the hardware from from HP, Dell and Apple.

    Oh well, one can only wish!

  4. Thumper says:

    <i>XP can do more</i>

    I am terribly interested what you mean by XP can do more. The last that I checked, Mac OS X out of the box has the entire range of GNU utilities, Unix compiled applications and Mac Classic and OS X-native applications. What could you possibly want to do on Windows that you cannot do on a Mac, except spend your time erradicating spyware and viruses.

    <i>If apple would begin using X86</i>

    What exactly would using X86 solve? I find the prospect of going back to a 30-year old architecture laughable. Apple should continue pusing PC design ahead with its use of the IBM PowerPC platform. Apple realizes the next battle to be waged in processors in that of having massive amounts of RAM available to the computer and what that means for application development. Intel’s X86 architecture will simply not keep up.

  5. Tony says:

    Of course, the typical home user will not upgrade OS anyway. They are more likely to buy a new system instead. If they are doing any pre-purchase research then the appeal of the Apple page is very strong – it tells you things you want to hear. The Windows XP page is sending messages you don’t want to hear about.

    CPU platform is a red herring. What people need to think about is what they do and what they get for the money. $850 buys quits a compelling Mac if you want/need the software it comes with, and it does come with a lot as has been commented on earlier. If the software doesn’t match your needs then look for a platform that does. Seems simple to me. Too many people buy a system totally OTT for their needs.

  6. Peter Torr says:


    I’ve never irradicated viruses or spyware, and I’ve been running Windows forever.

    If you say it often enough, it must be true.

    And if you say "If you say it often enough, it must be true" often enough, it must be true.

    But for a real example, I can play Halo on my PC (sorry, that was a low blow πŸ˜‰ ). Yes, I know it’s coming out on the Mac eventually, but you cannot deny that there is more software on the PC than on the Mac. You may not like or need any of that software, but other people do. The same probably goes for hardware too, although these days it may not be so much of an issue.

  7. Thumper says:


    Do some fact-checking before you post. Halo is available for the Mac.

    I never claimed that the Mac has as much software written for its as Windows does. Anyone who would make that argument–and for your to imply it–is just silly. As for the hardware claim, yes, there is more hardware options available for Windows as well. That doesn’t concern me. I don’t look for options when I choose Mac, rather I have chosen Mac because it just works, and part of that ease limits the range of options.

    I operate several Windows, Mac and Linux computers. I have never once encountered a virus of malicious code doing damage to my *nix (including Mac) systems. I have to vigorous defend my Windows computer, however.

    You won’t hear me claiming that the Mac is superior to Windows for every computing task, but for you to try to persuade me that Windows is as reliable or enjoyable to use in the public networked environment is again silly.

  8. Nate says:

    Meanwhile, back on topic…

    The web sites each target the appropriate audience.

    Who’s Microsoft’s customer? Not the person who uses Windows. Microsoft’s customer is the OEM who sells the PC. And it’s the IT manager who standardizes on Windows, and the developer who writes Windows apps. Hence a geeky web site that makes sense to those people.

    Buying a Mac requires more effort. It’s usually a decision made by the person who will actually use the computer. But there’s less information available at the average computer store. And many people have friends with Windows PCs but few know a Mac owner. Apple needs to talk to these people on their own terms.

    Frankly, Apple’s customers are cooler and more exciting, so they get a cooler and more exciting web page. There are a lot of Windows *users* who are cool and exciting too but they are only indrectly customers of Microsoft.

  9. Peter Torr says:


    My mistake; Halo for Mac has indeed already shipped (on December 11, it looks like). But you got my point, I hope (?)

    Other than keeping up to date with patches (which you have to do on ALL platforms), what else do you need to do to vigorously defend your Windows machine?

  10. Chris Gervais says:

    You know, initially I agreed with you — Microsoft’s Windows website looks so dense in comparison to Apple’s Mac OS X site. However, after thinking about it and reading some of the comments above, maybe it really doesn’t need to change. Both sites play to the strengths of the vendors: Apple’s site is slick and easy-to-use for the conumer Macintosh user; Microsoft’s site is packed with information for the IT user of Windows. I’ll bet that the people who visit the X site versus the Windows site have entirely different reasons for being there. I’ll bet a lot of folks go to the Apple site looking for software since the media (incorrectly) states that software for the Macintosh platform is scarce. The Mac OS X site is true brochure-ware — to get anything really technical, you’re skirted off to other parts of apple.com. I suspect that most folks who visit the Windows site need to figure out how to do something with their computer and were probably referred to it by their manufacturer. It’d be interesting to trace the referrer logs of the Windows XP home page and see what bubbles to the top. Is it folks coming from support.hp.com for instance, or just an indiscernable mass? Apple’s style can only work for Apple — this one area where I don’t think Microsoft could be successful in copying Apple.

  11. MacBuddy says:

    Referring to the main ‘off-topic’ topic (sorry) – software availability.

    I ‘love’ being educated to the lack of software for my Mac by some ‘well meaning’ Windows owner – reminding me of all the great software that’s available for Windows (which version?) at FutureShop, BestBuy, RadioShack, et al.. (Don’t forget WalMart and Target tumble bins too!)

    I gently explain to them that I don’t want the other great Windows software like: Mellissa, SoBig, Klev, ILoveYou, et al., either! And I ask them how many ‘programs’ they actually have ON their ‘PC’. I get the usual numbers like 20 – 25, half of them games no one’s ever heard of or yet another Doom variant. I inform them that I have well over 400 ‘applications’, 30-40 being used regularly. 348 free apps downloaded from MacUpdate/VT, 61 included free WITH my system. And the one app that I ‘needed to buy’, FD6.

    After an ackward moment of stone silence, the subject gets changed to how shitty shareware doesn’t count. I invite them to have a look.

    After ‘that’ ackward moment of stone silence, the subject gets changed to how a buddy of his has 80 Gigs of WinWarez. I ponder aloud, how any of these developers; developers; developers; can stay in business, if no one PAYS for their products.

    After another ackward moment of silence, the subject gets changed to ‘Office compatibilty’. I point out that Office is available for the Mac.

    After that ackward moment of silence, the subject gets changed to…

  12. Jason says:

    —-re: I am terribly interested what you mean by XP can do more——

    I was wondering the same thing, I wasn’t aware that XP or x86 architecture could run any of the top three fastest Supercomputers in the WORLD, like OSX and G5 architecture?

    Hey here’s an idea. instead of using architecture and the OS that produced the third fastest Supercomputer in the world for 1/5 the cost of x86 architecture, and 1/20 the cost of the two fastest computers in the world, Apple should instead go backwards to x86 design…. so that it cost’s more and is slower…… hey, sounds like a plan.

    has there been an update to XP or x86 that i’m not aware of? :0)

  13. Peter Torr says:


    I think you miss the point, so I’ll make it again:

    It is a fact (either that or a universally held myth) that more software is available for Windows than for the Macintosh. Whether you personally want or need any of that software is irrelevant.

    If you are happy with your Macintosh, that’s great. I am sorry that your friends seem to want to convince you that Windows is better; that is not my intention. (Remember, the root article was pointing out how the MacOS site was *better* than the Windows one πŸ™‚ ).

    Anyway, as Jim pointed out, packages such as VirtualPC or VMWare let you run any Windows software "on" your Macintosh or Linux PC, so not having Package X for the Mac doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t still buy a Mac and run Package X under emulation, modulo hardware requirements or emulator bugs.

    And now, back to our regularly scheduled random-changes-of-topic.

  14. MacBuddy says:


    I think you missed my point, so I’ll make it again.

    I keep hearing how Windows has so much more Sw than the Mac, yet when I go to the usual places (as stated above) – what I see is a boatload of games, and the equivalent types of ‘productivity’ apps that are available for the Mac. Albeit ONLINE.

    What I also TRIED to point out is that with ALL the selection there is for WinSw, ALL the people I know have fewer that 35-40 titles on their HDs. And 9 times out of 10, the ONLY titles that these people have ADDED themselves – or (more usually) have paid someone to install for them – were GAMES.

    This is a business computer?

  15. Peter Torr says:

    Oh, I have no argument there. I’d even estimate that the average person has fewer than 40 titles (unless you count all the little utilities that come with the PC hardware…)

    > This is a business computer?

    This was a discussion about Windows XP

    *Home*, not *Professional* πŸ™‚

    P.S. That’a a JOKE! πŸ™‚

  16. MacBuddy says:

    Don’t mean to go on about this, but I did preface my rant with this:


    (Referring to the main ‘off-topic’ topic (sorry) – software availability.)


    BTW, SteveJobs/Apple declared at the recent keynote that there is now better than 10,000 apps for OSX. Most are not GAMES, however this should be enough for anyone to find SOMETHING to do on there Macs, no?

    We keep hearing about the allusive Win Sw number, I’d love to know the actual number. I mean, we have that whole 89% marketshare number that gets repeated ad nauseam. Why not a total of Windows software number? Don’t forget to include which version of Windows.

    Then once we’ve discovered it, ask ourselves: Do we really care? Then why should anyone really care about the Mac number?

    Once you’ve excluded all the categories of Sw that Microsoft ‘owns’ (read: Office, et al.) on the Win platform, what’s left? Games?

    And once you’ve remove all the games – for the ‘real business computer’ – what’s left?

    Suffice to say, there’s PLENTY to do on either platform.

  17. Peter Torr says:

    I can’t believe this conversation is still going :-), but if you really must press the point about "business" machines then you have to start worrying about the untold number of in-house apps (built on VB / IE / Access / etc) that only run on Windows. But, as noted above, you could likely emulate these on VPC if you had to.

    You’re happy with your platform, I’m happy with mine… can’t we just leave it at that?

  18. MacBuddy says:

    [I can’t believe this conversation is still going :-)]

    Come on, you like this. You responded 14 mins after I posted. πŸ˜‰

    [the untold number of in-house apps (built on VB / IE / Access / etc) that only run on Windows]

    In-house. That means corporate dumb-terminals, right? How much ‘great’ software is allowed to be installed on them? What percentage of the 89% are those?

    [You’re happy with your platform, I’m happy with mine… can’t we just leave it at that?]

    Now, if you will convince the other 100 million Win owners out there for us… πŸ˜‰


    Look, I don’t mean to badger ‘you’. But, I wanted to make a point, and you chose to respond.

    I’m only reiterating to you, what many Win owners should know, yet aren’t able to reconcile: Mac users can do ‘plenty’ on their Macs.

  19. saleh asker says:

    no more comments sorry

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