Brad said Microsoft fans should buy an iPhone

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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.

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