Why I'm finally switching to the Mac

A big reason to stick with Windows becomes a big reason for leaving it behind

This may sound odd, but I've always felt that part of my job as editor of a technology publication was to use the same operating system most people do. Yes, I've used a Mac and Ubuntu on the side, and I constantly use iOS, but on my nondescript gray desk at work, a Windows 7 laptop sits snugly in its docking station, just as it does on millions of other desks.

Now I need to replace my aging ThinkPad. Until a little while ago, I was determined -- even excited -- to stick with Windows 7 and follow Microsoft on its journey to Windows 8, which in theory seemed like a bold way to bridge the desktop and mobile worlds. Last fall I even speculated that Windows 8 might spark a Windows PC comeback.

[ Change is in the air for tech pros -- read Eric Knorr's post "The new IT vs. the old IT." | Check out the InfoWorld Test Center evaluation of Windows 8 Consumer Preview. | J. Peter Bruzzese coined the phrase "Windows Frankenstein" to describe Windows 8. | For ongoing coverage, subscribe to InfoWorld's Microsoft newsletter. ]

Well, guess what? I've changed my mind. After 22 years of using Windows for work, I'm opting for a Mac instead.

All it took was a long look at Windows 8 Consumer Preview. In hindsight, I suppose that Microsoft's quest to combine a desktop and mobile OS into one was damn near impossible to begin with. But couldn't the company do better than what landed with a thud on Feb. 29? I was shocked, not only at the clunkiness of Metro on the desktop, but also at the disappearance of the Start menu -- a double-barreled fail.

My gut reaction is one thing. But the clincher for me has been the response from Windows gurus I respect, such as InfoWorld's J. Peter Bruzzese -- who wrote "Windows 8 Consumer Preview: 'Windows Frankenstein'" -- and Woody Leonhard, author of a dozen Windows books, who wrote "Windows 8: Something, old, something awkward" for the Test Center. And Martin Heller, longtime InfoWorld contributor and Windows expert, who sent us an email last week with a subject line that read: "I was so impressed with the Windows 8 preview ... that I ordered a 21-inch iMac."

For a kicker, check out this simple advice to developers from InfoWorld's Fatal Exception blogger Neil McAllister: "Develop Metro apps? Say no to this con."

Then there's Paul Thurrot's March 7 post on his Supersite for Windows, which revealed this telling bit of behind-the-scenes drama:

Inside Microsoft, there is a ... fixation on whether Windows 8 will succeed and, yes, there is a contingent of people stuck in a paradoxical position: They understand that the success of Microsoft is inexorably linked to Windows, and thus that Windows 8 must succeed. But they desperately want Steven Sinofsky, and thus Windows 8, to fail. That both can't happen is of course the unresolvable issue.

So with Windows 8, we have an operating system that is stirring outrage in some of Microsoft's staunchest supporters, produced by a company apparently experiencing dysfunction at a fundamental level. Microsoft cannot afford another Vista -- and Windows 8 promises to be just that sort of debacle. Moreover, it seems as if internal politics may be overwhelming Microsoft's ability to execute.

What does that say to you? To me and perhaps to many others, it says: I'm getting off this train at the next stop.

This article, "Why I'm finally switching to the Mac," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog, and for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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