Abandoning Old Biases (or How I Kind of Like Microsoft Now)

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

You might have been able to tell that I'm an Apple guy. I loved my Performa in 1994 and I love my iPhone in 20161. This of course means that I have a life long distaste for all things Microsoft. I had long debates with my friends on why Mac OS X was objectively better than Windows XP, and I may have said one or two disparaging things about Bill Gates over the years. I have even been against them where it came to gaming. I was a Nintendo kid growing up and have become a PlayStation fan later in life. As far back as I can remember, I've been rooting for whatever team is playing against Microsoft. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?

I still don't use Microsoft for most things, all of my devices run iOS and OS X, but my disparaging thoughts towards them have tapered off. Sure, I still make fun of them when they make bad decisions, but I don't think every single thing they do is terrible these days. Part of this is maturity. I'm 30 today, not 15 so my fanboy-ish ways have been diminished, but I think a good portion of it is that Microsoft is simply doing better work in the consumer space than they have in a longhorn while.

This realization hit me first when they released Outlook for iOS last year. Here's the opening lines from my review:

Microsoft released Outlook for iOS today, and it’s a really good app. Wow, I can’t believe I’m saying this! But it’s true, Microsoft Outlook is an email app that scales well from basic email users to those who live in their inbox.

I used Outlook on my phone for most of last year2 and loved it. It was the best email app on the market, and I think it probably still is the best fit for a whole lot of people out there.

Last week Microsoft had their Build 2016 conference and they announced some cool things like bringing Bash to Windows, third party integration into Cortana3, and integrating their Xbox and Windows 10 stores. And now here I am having just finished moving my whole Dropbox setup over to Microsoft OneDrive.

If only 1999 me could see me now.

I'm not about to drop my Mac for a PC, my iPad for a Surface, or certainly not my iPhone for a Windows Phone, I think there are small corners of my computing life where Microsoft actually is the best solution for me. last year it was iOs email apps, this year it's online file syncing, and it very well may be something new in a few months' time.

Younger readers may not think this is surprising, but as someone who lived through decades of the Mac vs PC wars, this is a big shift in mentality. It's a testament to Satya Nadella's leadership that they are shifting these deeply engrained feelings towards Microsoft.

  1. My Mac is still pretty cool too. 
  2. I finally dropped it for Airmail, which I love just a little more. 
  3. Something we've been begging Apple to do forever.