Our relationship dates nearly 20 years. Longer than my marriage. Longer than the entire span of my relationship with my husband. I was young, but it was a long, healthy, productive relationship. Even fun. It had just the right amount of freedom sprinkled with ties that bound.
You made it difficult to leave but I knew that was always an option. You were always there for me, despite what others said. I loved you so much I even worked with you for a while. Those were the days, weren’t they? Late 90s, Internet boom. CRAZY!
I was happier with you than any other, even when I was tempted. I had a brief encounter with Mac after we met, but I didn’t see the appeal. Fewer options, less freedom, lots of flash that made me skeptical about the whole package. Just a taste of Mac was all I needed, then I moved on. It wasn’t difficult, and you were right there waiting for me. I loved that about you.
But 20 years is a long time and temptations continued. Remember Palm? The Pilot took a lot of my attention in the late 90s. We met in 1999. I’ll never forget. It was my 30th birthday. Palm opened my eyes to something else, a new way of living, working, thinking. Of course Palm wasn’t a replacement for you, just a thrilling diversion. I loved the simplicity. The relationship was stripped of complexity. It just worked. And then one day, well, it just didn’t.
I have a hard time truly letting go of these relationships. My Pilot is still right here in my Industry Standard backpack (another intense love affair that ended badly), along side so many memories…and heartaches. My pager, my Diamond Rio (wow, you were fun), a Dell DJ, disks of the hard and floppy sorts, first portable video player (Archos), my StarTac phone (loooved you!).
I had all of you. Your operating system, your productivity apps, your media players and even your hardware. Your keyboard still excites me today, especially the quiet ones. And your mouse still lives right under my index and middle fingers. You’ve aged well, mouse. I think we’ll be together many years still.
I know exactly the moment things started to shift. I wanted so badly to say that it wasn’t you, that it was me. But, well, it was you. Part of you, anyway. A part that was too important to overlook. It was 2008 and I was working through my 5th or 6th laptop (current infatuation was with Dell, but I’d tried them all), and began seeing Windows Mobile. I was so excited. YOU, on my favorite device. I could carry you with me everywhere. I jumped into that relationship without reservation. The reviews couldn’t possibly be right. I would ignore those.
It started right away. The questioning, confusion, crashing, illogical behavior, shutting me out, not recognizing me. I tried so hard to change your behavior. I wanted to help you. I changed your interface, went back to the way things were when we met, added and deleted applications, kept you clean and fast…. You didn’t respond. At the same time, there was a new infatuation turning every head. I resisted. I fought. I defended you. I was good friends with your publicists. I didn’t want to betray them either. I gave it everything I had. YOU MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO SUPPORT YOU.
I bought an iPhone.
I felt disloyal but by this time I was angry. My relationship with iPhone was lovely and peaceful. Exactly what I needed coming off of a highly dysfunctional one. iPhone worked so well, was great fun and supported me exactly the way I needed. So much so, that after 20 years I started looking at Mac. (Gasp!) I shake my head today at the thought. How could I do that.
I did my research, talked to others who’ve left similar relationships, read reviews. I followed bloggers who might shed a reason to block the thought. No such reason came. I struggled, pros and conned it, slept on it and tested it out in the store a few times. Finally, after 20 years, I bought my first Mac.
We’re still getting to know each other and we have our ups and downs, but, for the most part, Mac is an exciting opportunity for me. I can say with certainty that iPhone will remain in my clutches forever, as that love is intense and lasting. It’s the kind of love that makes you question if what you felt before was really love, or a functional blend of loyalty and familiarity and ease. Mac still has to earn that love, but it’s with me here today in front of me, under my fingers, nestled on my desk. iPhone is in my lap. He doesn’t go far.
You and Dell are on the floor. I still look at you from time to time and still encounter you in the kitchen. I imagine you’ll always be in my life to some extent — at least until my favorite little version of you in my kitchen can no longer support me. And then, I already have my sights on iPad. Whew! I have the butterflies for that one.
We’ve had a wonderful ride together. You were there for me when and how I needed you. I’ve grown, matured. But I’m afraid you didn’t. With two kids of my own now, and so many opportunities for fun and entertainment, I need more versatility from my relationship.
I’m saddened at the thought that I’m not the only one who’s leaving you for these reasons. I’m not happy to have made this choice, but it’s the right one. Please, Microsoft, grow up. Evolve. Look closely at us and then inside yourself. Who do you want to be with? Try to win us back. It will be tough for you, but you must try.
I will forever speak well of you. I hope we can still be friends.