This is a matter I’ve been meaning to write about for quite a while now.
Apple and Microsoft share an interesting relationship. In the PC realm, Microsoft currently possesses the dominant operating system: Windows. Apple has OS X, which is gaining usage, but still the minority in sales and the smallest percentage of profit compared to their iPhone and iPad lines. According to recent reports from NetMarketShare, Windows currently holds 82.78% of the market, whereas OS X only has 6.70%.
Attention: most of the following information is theoretical and not based on facts. They are my speculations and conjectures.
Undoubtedly, a good number of users among that percentile of OS X users are devoted to their OS and swear by its superiority to Windows. Many of the Windows users bought Microsoft’s OS because it was cheap, what they were used to, or seemed the most convenient at the time. Theoretically, not many people purchased it for other reasons.
In the portable device market, we can see similarities…
Back in 2006, Apple dominated the MP3 player market with their iPods. Microsoft released Zune that year in an attempt to compete in the market. There was a small Zune cult that evolved and spread, but not widely enough. Eventually, in 2011, Microsoft stopped selling Zune hardware altogether and is currently in the process of re-branding the whole music sect of MSFT. But a high percentage of Zune users would swear their product was better than any iPod. Most iPod users bought them because they were the standard MP3 player that everyone had, were the most convenient, or they simply didn’t know Zune existed.
I’m finding this to be the case with Windows Phone. According to this bgr report, Android dominates the smartphone market by 61%, iOS has 20.5%, and Windows Phone has 5.2%. As the underdog, Windows Phone users are relatively cultish about their devices, and in the iOS realm, there is a lot of ignorance.
For example, watch this Jimmy Kimmel Live video.
Although this may not accurately represent iOS users, it encapsulates my point. Because iPhone is the standard device, most people have purchased it merely because everyone has it, whereas a Windows Phone user may more likely be able to actually identify their device.
Let’s say they did a similar study with PC users. Say they gave a Windows 7 Ultimate laptop to current Windows users and called it Windows 8, we would probably see a similar reaction. However, If you handed an OS X Lion-MacBook Pro user an another OS X Lion laptop and told them it was OS X Mountain Lion, they would probably be able to tell you were lying. I would argue they would have a better understanding of their Apple OS than a Windows user would about their Windows OS.
My hypothesis is that when people choose the underdog (Frost’s “the path less-traveled by”), they tend to have a very specific, informed reason for doing so. It may be influenced merely by personal preference, or something more meaningful to them.
So…how does this relate to being a hipster? For example, did someone in 2006 choose to purchase a Zune just to be different? Or to be “not mainstream”? It sounds silly, but it’s food for thought.
What reasons do you use when making the decision to purchase some kind of technology?