Brad said Microsoft fans should buy an iPhone


In a recent edition of the Sams Report Brad recommended I buy an iPhone. Of course he doesn’t know me personally. I am just a listener/viewer that occasionally asks questions.

Why should I buy an iPhone?

I don’t want to paraphrase too much. However, the basic argument is that Google competes with Microsoft across a range of things such as cloud, browser, mobile, ecosystem etc and is threat to Microsoft. Apple, on the other hand, has a business focused on the iPhone and consumer cloud. Given Microsoft’s retreat (abandonment) of consumer this makes Apple a complementary business rather than a competitive business. I think he has a point.

The problem I have with the advice is I think that there are some difficulties. I think the nature of Microsoft fandom is different from Apple fandom or even Google fandom. Normal Apple buyers do see buying almost as a fashion statement. Sometimes I feel that Apple is to technology what Calvin Klein is to underwear. When a new iphone comes out I see buyers making sure you can see the Apple logo on their treasured purchase. The purchase itself, in an Apple retail store, is part of the experience. The first day of release for a new iPhone would be easier on the web but Apple fans, like a religious movement, seem compelled to queue outside. Something mocked by Samsung ads.

Microsoft fans seem a different bunch to me. They seem to be fans because the technology makes sense to them. The Microsoft brand, other than Xbox, is not actually something that has a wow factor. The Microsoft fan is not uncritical – often quite the reverse. These days the Microsoft fan participates via the Insider Programme. Microsoft fans are also in the enterprise – a place Apple fans are not seen other than with mobile management issues. 

My view is that it’s firstly a culture clash that really makes “fan” relationships unequal. Calling someone a Microsoft fan is quite different from some kind of brand ambassador in the Apple sense.

Crucially Nadella has failed in one objective to create “fans”. He said he wanted people to “love Windows”. Relegating Windows to a work productivity tool makes this very difficult.

Next is the cost and value proposition. I really believe Microsoft “fans” are more price sensitive. Although Microsoft, through it’s Surface line of PCs, has put the premium PC into focus most users buy PCs much cheaper than these devices. The premium PC market is primarily business plus specialist markets like gamers. Apple actually loves the exclusivity buyers feel because it’s expensive. it is an overtly aspirational device. Android, other than Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones, is orientated to the everyman market. Technically Android devices can be set to default to Cortana and Edge with a Microsoft Launcher whereas iPhones can just have apps. 

Strategically it is true that a Microsoft “fan” wanted to support the company then iPhone is probably the best choice. I would say the Microsoft fan would want Microsoft to have viable mobile platform. In the absence of such a platform a Microsoft fan would look to a mobile device that can be customised to be a Microsoft experience. That’s probably Android. Specifically as near to an vanilla stock Android as you can get. This is why the Oneplus 5T got so much attention. 

So I think Brad is right recommending the iPhone to Microsofties of all kinds. However my expectation is that just wont happen because “fandom” is not the same.

Comments (26)

26 responses to “Brad said Microsoft fans should buy an iPhone”

  1. GT Tecolotecreek

    Talk about living in a world of old stereotypes! People buy Apple products because they want something that is easy to use, reliable, great ecosystem and provides value over the long term. Many of us live in the Windows world at out daytime jobs and know the all the issues, arguments and pitfalls about the Win ecosystem. We don't want to have to deal with the issues at home. (Personally I have to deal with my wife's Windows issues at home because that is her choice, but she is a iPhone user.) It has nothing to do with a fashion statement. I do agree many MS fans are "price sensitive" aka "cheap". But you get what you pay for. My personal experience is if you pay a bit more you get a longer useful life out of the device. My MacPro tower is an early 2008 model, and will continue to get updated and supported software (El Cap) till around the end of this year. Runs great, upgrades over the years have include memory, SSD and better video card. I would say that is a pretty good value.

    Buy an iPhone, embrace the ecosystem and you will be surprised at how good an experience you will have.

    • WP7Mango

      In reply to GT_Tecolotecreek:

      The reason why I use Windows 10 is because it's easy to use, reliable, and has a great ecosystem. It happens to run on my Surface Pro 3, which is also great hardware. So was my previous desktop tower PC.

      I also use Windows for my work. However, unlike you, I don't experience any issues, and I'm happy to use the Windows ecosystem at work as well as in my personal life.

      • Tony Barrett

        In reply to WP7Mango:

        Mmm. I'd question all of these reasons. Easy to use? Possibly, but no easier than Win7. Great Ecosystem? Yep, Win32 is great. UWP sucks big time. Reliable. Nope, not a chance. The 'as a service' design of Win10 means reliability will *never* be the priority for MS.

    • wright_is

      In reply to GT_Tecolotecreek:

      Not really. I bought an iMac 24" in 2007, Apple dropped support for it in 2012. The Fujitsu Siemens PC I bought at the same time is now on Windows 10, although it will be decommissioned soon, as I bought a new Ryzen 7 PC to replace in December. (In fact the iMac was running Windows 7 with the latest security updates until the logic board gave out at the back end of 2016, so Microsoft actually supported it over twice as long as Apple did!)

      Heck, my 2004 Acer laptop is still going strong (well, battery only holds about an hour's charge nowadays), but it still works and is still supported with security updates from MS. It is slow and only used to test a few things, but it still works.

      • GT Tecolotecreek

        In reply to wright_is:

        A quick Google search shows the 24" Mid 2007 iMac supports El Cap which is still getting security releases until q3/18. Sierra, the next release, came out late 2016 and did not support that iMac. So you had from '07 to to late '16 with a supported OS. Yosemite was replaced in 2015 by El Cap, and your dates still don't match up.

        • wright_is

          In reply to GT_Tecolotecreek:

          The latest supported version is Lion, Snow Leopard if it has less than 2GB RAM.

          The problem was, the devices only had a 32-bit UEFI, although they had a 64-bit processor, and Apple dropped that configuration with Mountain Lion.

          An unofficial, not support upgrade to El Capitain is possible using macOS Extractor, but there is no sound on the device afterwards. But official support ended with Lion.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to GT_Tecolotecreek:

      The iPhone bit is fine. But the Mac bit is a little off base, though: You do not get what you pay for there at all.

  2. wright_is

    The plus point on Android is that you can "junk" the Google stuff, if you want to. The only thing you need to "keep" is the Play Store.

    I have a Nexus 5x and it runs the Microsoft (formerly Arrow) UI, an MS lock screen, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Cortana and Edge...

    That is something you can't do with the iPhone, you can install Outlook and Cortana, for example, but you can't make them your default. That makes the iPhone less compelling to me.

    That said, I still prefer Windows Phone / Windows 10 Mobile over both of the alternatives, just the apps aren't there or aren't reliable - plus MS is now backing away from the whole concept, so my 950 is the last device I will probably get with W10M running on it; which is one of the reasons why I switched to the Nexus - I didn't have to re-install the Fitbit app 5 times a day, because it lost its connection to my Charge.

  3. Paul Thurrott

    Brad's recommendation was the result of a conversation we had with a friend from Microsoft at CES. I understand the rationale to this recommendation, but I think things are a bit more nuanced. If you are a user of Microsoft products and services, Android is arguably the better choice from an integration standpoint: Microsoft can simply do more with Android than it can with iOS. But if you are a "fan" of Microsoft, there are political reasons to go iPhone (which Brad stated); more important, I think, is the fact that iOS apps tend to be "better" or more polished than the equivalent Android apps. With Microsoft apps, if you care about such things, the question should be which platform gets those apps first, and where do they work better.

    Anyway, we have a very clear duopoly in mobile. And there are good arguments to be made to make either choice. Doing so based on a personal affiliation with Microsoft is, frankly, crazy. It's just bad thinking.

    • Brad Sams

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      End of the day, everyone should buy the device that works for them, these companies owe their customers nothing...if it works for you, then that's the device to purchase.

      • Paul Thurrott

        In reply to brad-sams:


        BTW, I was thinking about this later for some reason, and it occurred to me that the source of this idea is kind of interesting: For Microsoft, for an employee of Microsoft, supporting Apple may make more sense. But we as consumers, or as individuals, should never be concerned with that. We would choose what's best for us, not what's best for some/any company.

        • RealDarrenCohen

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          Given Apple does not compete with much of MSFT core business model I can see this argument. On the other hand Microsoft can sell Samsung devices and work to integrate Android into Windows thanks to the way the OS works. Like Paul giving Android a shot right now (Note 8) and am very happy with it sans the watch options.

          I think we see some Microsoft goodness come out of the S9 announcement at MWC. They started selling devices post the launch of the last two, but no reason Samsung could not work with Microsoft to sell a device that has the Microsoft Launcher and other apps installed on devices sold through Microsoft and other OEMs. Of course Google Play and other stuff needs to be there and the defaulta to make phones comply with the Google rules, but there is a space here that makes more sense compared to having your store employees recommend what to install post purchase.

  4. jimchamplin

    You don't have to spend a lot to get an iPhone. The iPhone SE is perfectly fine and pretty inexpensive.

  5. johnh3

    I got some Apple products at home a iPad mini and a Apple TV. But for phones I prefeer android. And I was happy to see the Nokia brand coming back again so my choiche was a Nokia 8.

    And did not Microsoft themselves sell android devices at their own stores? Samsung and soon also Huawei android phones.

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