While at Gartner, in December 2006, I started talking about the shift I made on the home front from Dell PCs to Macs. There was a simple reason I made the shift. My Dell PCs were great, but I was spending too much time maintaining them. Too much tinkering. Another reason was that I wanted an easier way to manage photos and videos of our kids without going to the extreme of Photoshop.
The home shift to Macs was easy and we never looked back. Of course, I have many friends that just love to tinker with PCs and Windows. They won't admit it, but it is a borderline hobby. For many IT people, they have made it a career of keeping PCs tweaked and running.
Jump ahead to 2010 and why are so many Apple Macs showing up in Corporate settings, often paid for by the employee? There must be a reason for it and there is. It is called user experience. In fact, the user experience on a Mac is so good and relatively trouble free, that when faced with the need to support Apple Macs, most IT Departments only offer a user supported Wiki (community support). What, no dedicated IT people to tinker with the MacOS? Nope. The latest generations of Macs just work. No tinkering required.
For the most part, Windows requires lots of tinkering (note, this is an opinion). Windows 7 may fix that, but right now that is still an unknown. It is also important to point out that Microsoft knows all about user experience. Just look at MS Office and Outlook, both gold standards on user experience. Ask any Mac user what they run on their machine for creating documents and presentations and 9 out of 10 will quickly answer "Microsoft Office".
Going forward, users will decide how they want to consume information and what types of devices they want to use to do so. This will go far beyond the current Mac vs PC discussion. Tablets appear poised to make a comeback and a majority of end-users around the world have a mobile device, not a PC. There too, it is about a positive user experience.
If you have any doubt about the importance of User experience, let's talk about the device that has taken the world by storm: the Apple iPhone.