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The Vista from here is terrible as the Mac attracts more converts

Microsoft is in danger of becoming the utility that people begrudgingly use, while Macs win rave reviews from fans.

Newsweek's Dan Lyons digs into Vista's problems in a recent article. While not the first to highlight Vista's many problems, Dan's focus on Vista's macro problems is timely and interesting.

"Nobody here looks at Vista as a fiasco," says Brad Brooks, a Microsoft marketing vice president. If that's true, and nobody at Microsoft thinks Vista has been a public-relations nightmare, then the company is in trouble....

Meanwhile, Apple's Mac computers, which run Apple's OS X operating system instead of Windows, have been gaining share, reaching 11 percent of the U.S. consumer market, according to researcher NPD....Remember how AOL used to be cool, but then became the service used only by people who didn't know any better? Microsoft is heading down that path. "You fly business class today, and it's nothing but Macs," says one former Microsoft executive, who's now carrying a Mac himself, albeit with Vista loaded on it.

It is these "influencers" that Microsoft should be most concerned about losing. Microsoft has completely lost its "cool" factor. People use Windows because they must, not because they necessarily want to. Those that can afford to buck the IT department's preference - like the executives in Lyons' article - are all running Mac OS X now, and not because they must.

Until you've spent time on a Mac, you're almost certain to pillory this perspective, but there's something very different about using a Mac. It's a beautiful piece of hardware, complemented nicely by an inviting, rock-solid operating system with seamless integration into the services - iPod, iPhone, iLife (Apple's creative productivity suite) - that people desire.

Windows is IT. It's industrial and it's useful. The Mac is something more, and that is why more and more people choose to buy it.