Does anyone in Silicon Valley care about Windows anymore?

VMware Cloud annoucements.

Microsoft is today showing off pieces of the next version of Windows (we’re all calling it Windows 8 ) but I’m wondering if anyone cares anymore about Windows in the tech enthusiast space.

Why do I say that?

Well, at nearly every tech industry event lately I’ve noticed an almost complete shift away from Windows-based computers. Here, take a look at a panoramic photo I shot this morning at the VMware Cloud Foundry announcement (which was very interesting open source Platform-As-A-Service introduction, more Thursday when I get a video up). This room had only two PCs that I could see. The entire rest of the room was on Macs or iPads. Keep in mind that in this one room was a mixture of marketers, developers, executives, press folks, and hard-core geeks.

I noticed this same ratio at TEDx. At Web 2 Expo. At Stanford University events. At Facebook events. And other places.

Now, you could say “well, Silicon Valley is just weird and they all buy Apple stuff.” But, note that VMware is run by many former Microsoft executives (I met Charles Fitzgerald in the hallway, who is one of the smartest strategists I’ve ever met, and Mark Lucovsky was on stage this morning. You can see him at the front of the room in that panoramic photo behind one of the three VMware Macs. He even joked about his former Microsoft role “I developed DLL hell at Microsoft” he said).

But I saw the same shift at LIFT in Geneva, Switzerland and LeWeb in Paris and while the World Economic Forum had more PCs in the audience than at VMware, there were a TON of iPads.

Something is going on here, but why isn’t it showing up in market share numbers?

Is this the new “tech divide?” Those who are passionate about tech are going to get Macs and everyone else is gonna get a PC because their boss probably bought one for them assuming that if you only do email, Excel, and Powerpoint that there’s no need for you to have a Mac?

What does this mean for Windows 8?

When Steve Jobs noted that the iPad is ushering in a “post-PC world” I wonder if he knows something we don’t: that early adopters, influencers, geeks, developers, and Silicon Valley insiders are going “all Mac, all the time?”

Are you? If you’re still excited by Windows, why?

Here’s Facebook’s team that developed messaging, same kind of “mostly Mac” ratio:

Exclusive look into Facebook's "war room."

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

255 thoughts on “Does anyone in Silicon Valley care about Windows anymore?

  1. I remember seeing a photo in some magazine showing a majority students in the University lecture all using MacBooks, and that was a few years ago.

  2. Most software that I typically use on an OS is available on a Mac, but I have to get an app for it on Windows (cygwin). Seriously, how can they go to sleep at night knowing that their OS doesn’t do SSH?

  3. I don’t know about photography, but he actually hit the nail on the head on a couple of points. The OSX window manager is way behind Windows 7, maximize is just plain broken, and I miss the window key + arrow to move apps between monitors. The alt-tilde to switch between windows in an app is just ridiculous, and it’s mind boggling that macs don’t support dual external monitors, that one kept me away for a long time. That said, until about a year ago when I switched to ubuntu, I was an avid windows user, with 11 years working at Microsoft. Now I use macbooks pretty much exclusively for all of my computing, but particularly for development. Why? Posix and sh, cygwin just doesn’t cut it. Homebrew is nice too. About the only crappy thing about OSX for software development is the xcode mangled gcc, but I must say that it hasn’t been a problem for me yet. Anyone who says PC’s are better for development than Macs just doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Unless you’re building windows software (who does that any more?) you shouldn’t do development on windows.

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