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Jobs and Gates: Forefathers in the “Mac vs. PC” debate

April 25, 2011

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Earlier this week I saw a post with an infographic of Mac vs. PC which you can find here. It is a summation of the particular demographics which sum up each type of “self-identified user” and the results are rather interesting. A few of my favorites are below:

  1. Mac people are 50% more likely than PC people to say they frequently throw parties.
  2. PC people  are 21% more likely to prefer fitting in with others.
  3. Mac people are 12% more likely to say they have a stronger verbal (vs. math) attitude.
  4. 71% of PC people identify their style as casual and trending toward jeans, while 18% and 14% of Mac people describe their style as designer/chic/upscale and unique/retro, respectively.
  5. PC people are 36% more likely than Mac people to be late adopters, while 43% of Mac people consider themselves early adopters.
  6. Mac people are 95% more likely to prefer indie films, while PC people are 74% more likely than Mac people to prefer Hollywood films.
  7. Mac people are 80% more likely than PC people to be vegetarians.

And on and on. The study isn’t conclusive to the end-all be-all brain styles of Mac vs. PC users, but it’s an interesting and slightly humorous reflection on the companies that represent these genres, the forefront competitors being Apple and Microsoft. The companies’ different personalities level the playing field among “who’s who” in the computing world.

This personality difference originates with the founders of the two companies, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, who themselves seem to embody the demographics shown in the study above. Jobs, historically described as a hippie marketing genius, focuses highly on design and early adoptions of technology that no one has thought to place in the market. Gates, the geeky tech genius, takes a more well-thought approach with a lot of bite, such as his early strategies of patenting his software instead of giving it away for free, a move that built the Microsoft empire as a huge competitor in the computing industry.

Thus the personality differences play out from there. Both are outstanding in their marketing strategies and hold similarities in that way, yet they have cemented themselves on opposite ends of the spectrum with their highly unique visions in computing. Gates lacks Jobs’ style and panache in the unveiling and in the products themselves, yet he has adopted his own personality in bringing forth top products and software which have stood the test of time. Thus he has cemented himself as an icon of a generation, consecutively topping Forbes’ and Times’ lists of the wealthiest and most influential people  for years in a row.

On the other hand, while PC/Microsoft has risen to domination in the market that it virtually constructed in the late 1970’s, Apple has revolutionized the industry on the principles of design, concept and marketing since its rehire of Jobs as CEO in the late 1990’s. While transforming users’ engagement with computers and technology into something exciting and cool, it has also placed the future into the consumers’ hands with products such as the iPod, iTunes, MacBook, iPhone and more. The iPod historically transformed the music industry with its association with iTunes, a much simpler form of buying music than buying a tangible record at the store. The iPhone has since transformed future of phones with its “phone computing” technology, and it simply goes up from there. As Guy Kawasaki, an early programmer at Apple, said, “Jobs doesn’t listen to the customers to see what they want because they have no idea what they want. He just goes with his vision and makes it.”

For those wondering which category I fall in, I’m a Mac user. However, I represent no bias toward either company, as I feel that they have no bias toward each other. As in interviews where Jobs and Gates express their mutual respect and admiration of the other, so I think should PC and Mac users come together as different personalities in this decade-old debate. Yet in the technology world, only one can stand at the top tier- and it remains to be seen who will “win out” in the end.

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