Interesting thought exercise from Farhad Manjoo and the New York Times asking in which order you’d drop the five tech giants. John Gruber explained his choices on Daring Fireball (I’ve paraphrased his rationale):
- Facebook. Meh.
- Microsoft. Skype’s good for podcasting.
- Amazon. Useful but replaceable.
- Alphabet. YouTube.
- Apple. Irreplaceable hardware, iOS, and MacOS.
Much of my logic was similar, but the differences are interesting enough to write about.
Microsoft. I use Office regularly, but only because its applications are industry standards. I don’t like PowerPoint and vastly prefer LaTeX or Markdown to Word.1 I know people who use OneNote for GTD, but I prefer Remember the Milk and Apple Notes. I’d never choose Outlook. I have a love-hate relationship with Excel, but generally feel it’s overused (i.e. used when another tool would be more appropriate). Bottom line: I put Microsoft first because the domination of Office holds back better solutions. Facebook would be easier to give up than Microsoft, but that’s kind of the point.
Facebook. I don’t use it much anymore, and never got into Instagram.
Alphabet. I use gmail, but could switch to something else. I only use Chrome on Windows at work. I love Google search, but could switch to DuckDuckGo if I had to. YouTube is fun, but there are other ways to host video and without it I’d probably just read more. Starting here eliminations go from being immediately inconvenient but ultimately beneficial to inconvenient. That said, there are alternatives to everything I get from Alphabet.
Amazon. Now we’re getting into painful territory. I love Amazon. I host this blog on S3. I shop there regularly. Unlike with Google, Amazon’s alternatives are definitely inferior. Amazon got another boost because I admire its famous aversion to PPT and Nordstrom-caliber (-surpassing?) commitment to customer service.
Apple. I love my iPhone and Mac. I don’t think another desktop operating system will ever be developed, and I’ve already gotten rid of Windows, so eliminating Apple would be de facto elimination of the PC.
For personal writing. For collaboration in a work environment I’ve grown pretty fond of Confluence. ↩