By Ed Oswald | Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 1:00 pm
I have spent much of my professional technology writing life covering Apple, from my days at BetaNews right through my current gig here at Technologizer. My original “beat” wasn’t always Apple, though: I also covered Microsoft for a time.
Having covered both sides of the spectrum, I’ve dealt with the hyper-enthusiasts — the “fanboys” if you will — of both sides. What I’ve found is a completely different reaction to unfavorable press from either group.
Bad news is inevitable, after all.
Discussing this idea with a few folks, I’ve noticed that people have somewhat of a misconception about Microsoft’s enthusiasts, that they are somehow less excited about the company than Apple’s.
Knowing quite a few of these types myself, I can tell you firsthand that this is not the case. What happens here is that Microsoft’s enthusiasts are much more metered in their support: while no, they won’t go into a frenzy publicly when Microsoft or Bill Gates rolls out something new, these folks go into overdrive in private.
From one of these people, I get e-mailed like clockwork within minutes of that announcement. He’ll extol the virtues of Redmond’s latest creation, making sure we all understand how this fits into Microsoft’s grand vision for our digital future.
Apple’s enthusiasts are completely different. Keynotes become something akin to a revival at times, and these folks are very vocal in their approval. At points, it is almost like some of them do not have a filter.
This kind of difference trickles down into the defense of the companies they care deeply about. When I’ve written negative stories about Microsoft, those enthusiasts who disagree seem to be much more methodical about it — they’ll take your post point by point and respond back to every last minutia of it. Yes you will get the folks that go right to insults, but its not as common.
Writing about Apple, I’ve found things are nearly completely the opposite. More often than not — and I’ve seen this across many news outlets no matter who it is writing it — the comment sections often devolve into personal attacks and accusations. It also seems that a group of enthusiasts will also take a paragraph or sentence of your piece, and run with it, ignoring any other point you make.
I’m at a loss as to why there is such a disparity between the two groups. You don’t hear of a lot of Microsoft journalists getting all kinds of hate mail for their work, but I know of quite a few Apple journos getting practically getting read the riot act.
Either way it is a foolish way to argue. With Apple’s increasing popularity, it also does nothing to help the company’s cause. While I understand, and do agree to some point, that Apple’s work to date has generally been superior to Microsoft’s, Apple is not perfect.
Throwing insults or questioning integrity does not help either, especially when its done nearly to every negative Apple story out there. Apple has done some stupid things, and deserves to be treated just the same as everybody else.
I’d like to know where you all think this difference is coming from. Could it even be the media’s fault itself, which for too long left some of its journalistic morals at Apple’s door in return for favorable treatment?
Maybe somebody else can explain to me why there’s a need for this behavior, because I sure ain’t getting it.