Why I ended up not getting an Apple

As I previously blogged my previous laptop was near death and I had decided that it was time to go back to the Mac, and buy an Apple MacBook Air.

However despite walking into the local Apple store with my credit card ready to buy a Macbook Air, I walked out without one. Here’s why.

Any change of operating system will be a challenge, but I was prepared to make the change in order to get a lovely Mac. But I had one major thing I needed to check, which is how my existing work documents would work on a Mac.

Over the last decade I have set up templates in Access, Excel and Word which save me hours of work every night. Some of them have taken scores and scores of hours to set up, but they now mean I can copy and paste data in and get dozens of pages of tables and graphs near-automatically.

So what I just wanted to do was check how some of my existing files and templates would work on a Mac, using Office for Mac. In theory they should be okay, but I couldn’t risk not actually checking as if they did alter the templates it could means weeks of work for me.

So I headed down to the local specialist Apple store, Yoobee, with a few files on a memory stick. I found a nice Macbook Air, and couldn’t wait to buy it. I just needed to check out how my files would work on it.

I asked the assistant if I could check my files on one of their Macs. He replied that they do not have Office for Mac installed on any of their computers. In fact they didn’t even have a copy anywhere in the store. I was somewhat staggered that they would not have a single copy of MS Office in the store, considering that there are around one billion users of it world-wide.

But I didn’t give up. I was aware that you can runs Macs in emulation mode, where they can run Windows within the Mac. This would allow you to run MS Office for Windows on the Mac if necessary. Not my preference as I’d prefer not to have to be using it in dual use mode, but I wanted to see how easy it was to do.

But again Yoobee told me that I couldn’t even see how a Mac works in emulation mode, as none of them have a copy of Windows installed – and there was none in the office.

Again I was somewhat staggered. Surely they want to attract people over from buying Windows laptops, and being able to demonstrate you could still run Windows programs on a Mac would be a major part of that.

I started to consider maybe I’d just buy a Mac and not use emulation mode at all, and use native Mac programs. But I knew there was no MS Access for the Mac, so I asked about Filemaker Pro. I could recall using it many years ago, and wanted to check how its functionality compared to Access.

But for a third time I was out of luck. They didn’t even have a copy of Filemaker Pro in the store, for me to try out.

I came to the conclusion that Yoobee had no interest at all in winning people over from Windows to Mac. They were set up only to sell Macs to people who had already decided to buy a Mac, and only had to decide which model to buy. Because they didn’t have any of the basics right, I walked out of the store with no purchase despite being 98% keen to purchase when I walked in.

This is no criticism of the staff, who were very helpful. They don’t decide what software is kept in store. I’m not sure who owns the store, but as I said they seemed set up only to sell to people who are already Mac users – which is ignoring 80% of the market.

Maybe I would have been better going to a general computer store, rather than the specialist Apple one.

Anyway the end result was that I didn’t get a Mac, and headed down the road to get a very nice new Sony Vaio S Series 13 P. Maybe I’ll end up going to a Mac in three or four years time when I next need a new laptop. But only if I can find a store that actually is set up to win people over.

There was just no way I was going to risk 10 years of my by making a leap in the dark to a new computer system, when I have not been able to it for compatibility.

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