Sunday, July 22, 2012
Microsoft People vs. Apple People
There are Microsoft people and Apple people.
Microsoft people want every option, and can't imagine why others would find the surfeit of choices intimidating or annoying.
In the parlance of psychology, they are "optimizers".
Apple people want a simple, elegant experience, and care little about individual features. They adapt to the limitations presented to them, perhaps without even thinking about them.
In the parlance of psychology, they are "satisficers".
The approach you take depends on your read on your audience. Just recognize that you can't make both of them happy.
Microsoft serves corporate IT, which historically consists of highly-technical control freaks who don't give a damn about the end users.
Microsoft dominates this market, despite the fact that Apple's products and marketing are generally considered superior.
Apple made its money by convincing individual consumers to part with their money, in part by not making them feel like their missing out if they choose "Standard" rather than "Custom" when installing a new piece of software.
Apple dominates this market, despite the fact that Microsoft has spent untold billions on things like the Zune, and despite Microsoft's historical dominance in OS shipments and the Office suite.
The point is, you have to choose. If you don't, you end up with things like Microsoft's consumer products or Apple's datacenter products--strange chimeras which flail in the marketplace.
Where does your audience fall on this continuum?
(This post began as a comment on PandaWhale)