Yesterday, I ordered a Microsoft Surface Laptop 4.
If you watched my recent Windows 11 reaction video and approached the comments section in the same narrow-minded fashion as a small minority of Windows users, the following statement might surprise you: I cannot wait to get my hands on that laptop and delve back into Windows.
In fact, I’d argue that it’s one of the most exciting purchases I’ve made within the last 12 months; more so than the 24” iMac or the AirPods Max. The idea of receiving something other than a MacBook that’s running an operating system I’ve not touched for many years feels rather cathartic.
Maybe it’ll even force me to write and talk about something other than Apple’s M1 chip.
But first, I’d like to explore something that has been troubling me over the last few weeks.
I feel like I need to repeat myself
Whenever I receive a comment from a Windows user on the aforementioned video informing me that I should “wait until Windows 11 is released before reviewing it”, or that I should “go fuck yourself”, I point them to my reaction blog.
Some fall silent, while others return to the comment thread and suggest I should you-know-what-myself a little more.
I’m rather bored of those comments now, and won’t react anymore, but I do want to confirm two things for anyone who still isn’t clear on my stance:
- I’m on the side of Windows users; and
- I didn’t review Windows 11 in that video.
I just poked fun at Microsoft for rushing out a compatibility tool and writing what remains one of the strangest developer blog posts I’ve ever read.
But since that video, I’ve not been able to stop thinking about getting back into Windows. I’ve badgered my Discord server and YouTube community for computer recommendations and have spent what feels like forever waiting for the Surface Laptop 4 to become available in the UK.
This begs the question: how can a Mac guy get so excited about another platform when it feels like he’s trying to make his way into a party to which he has firmly been denied entry?
Dissecting the platform wars
I’ve said this time and again, but I do not understand the platform wars.
I completely understand rivalry in, say, football. I also appreciate that one can have a good-natured yet passionate debate about the video shooting capabilities of Sony cameras versus their Canon counterparts.
But becoming loyal to the point of tribalism completely baffles me.
I think most of it stems from a distaste of the opposing brand which somehow spills into a hatred for its customers. If we take Apple as the most obvious example, it’s often seen as the producer of expensive and crippled devices that put form before function and which are used to rip-off people who really should understand that there are far more capable, cost-effective devices to be had elsewhere.
If you buy a MacBook Pro, you’re an idiot, because you could have spent £500 less on a Windows laptop that’s twice as powerful and which has facial recognition. Why would you be so stupid as to buy a Mac Pro when you could build your own Windows-based PC for a third of the price without any loss of power? In fact, you’d gain a more powerful computer as a result, you absolute fool.
If we apply this mindset to the motor industry, it reveals how daft these blinkered brand advocates are.
Our household has two cars. One is a Hyundai Tucson, the other a BMW M2. They’re both brilliant cars, but the latter lacks CarPlay, front parking sensors, meaningful boot space and acceptable fuel economy. It was also considerably more expensive.
So, which one is the better purchase?
If we apply the platform wars to this scenario and assume that the people on the Hyundai side of the fence are the smartest consumers, we’re effectively suggesting that BMW should stop pulling the wool over a section of its audience’s eyes and only make practical, economical cars.
Silly, isn’t it?
The reason we should all be in this together
As consumers and tech enthusiasts, we’re all in this together. No matter what device sits in front of you, or where your allegiances lie, we’ll all be better off if Microsoft, Google, Apple and every other manufacturer continue to raise their game.
They do this by outwitting each other, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on the production line and listening to user feedback. Arguing amongst ourselves about which platform is better doesn’t help anyone – it doesn’t push the industry forward.
Microsoft is attempting to rejuvenate Windows because it doesn’t want macOS to grab too much of the limelight. Apple wants a bigger market share. Google… well, who knows what they want, but Chromebooks are pretty cool.
Let’s leave them all to get on with it and aim our sights at those brands rather than each other. No matter how much you love a device or operating system, there’s always something that bugs the hell out of you about it; there’s always something missing, or which has never been fixed. That’s where you should direct your anger; we all pay handsomely for this stuff, after all.
I’m under no illusion; this blog post won’t change anything. But I had to say something because my Windows 11 reaction video has attracted the noisiest, nastiest trolls to my channel thus far, and although I suspected it might, I had been holding onto a glimmer of hope that it would instead incite nothing but good-natured debate.
The platform wars are deeply boring and ultimately pointless, and these are the last words I’ll dedicate to the topic. I promise. Case closed.
My Surface Laptop 4 arrives sometime this week. Stay tuned for my first thoughts, followed by what will be an inevitable avalanche of Windows content from a Mac guy.
I cannot wait. But what do you want me to cover?