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French Version

The Mac lives on in Jordan

When people stopped talking about the IBM PC and Compatibles versus the Macintosh, I knew that one of these two platforms had conclusively dominated the other. After all, if no one asks anymore:

“Should I buy a Macintosh or a PC”, then the Macintosh has surely lost the personal computer wars and is on its way out.
Wrong! It’s still alive and kicking, but mainly in certain fields of business where it has become the de facto standard and will remain for years to come.

The design, desktop publishing and pre-press fields are ‘pure’ Macintosh industries. The PC is sneaking into the design industry, with CorelDraw empowering PC designers, but even that PC-based work gets converted into a Mac format in the pre-press services office because the Macintosh is the output system to negative films, which are then sent to printing.

The Internet revolution with its paperless media world changed some of the rules of the game, with the bulk of web design carried out on PCs. But, Mac designers still do all their HTML work on their favorite computer, and there are sufficient tools to continue to do so. However, in the web design field, the PC rules and, maybe, it’s a sign of things to come in other design fields.

In the software development industry, there are no Macintosh systems! The general manager of a major software firm once explained to me that there are no clients asking for Macintosh software development. Yet, every once in a while, there are some awkward situations. Like when a friend of mine, who works for one of Jordan’s largest software development companies, with at least 50 employees, called me to ask if I knew “anyone who had a Macintosh” to convert some files. Surprisingly, his company’s clients had Macs, and delivered some material in Mac format, expecting that his company would, at least, have one Macintosh system among its 50 or so computers.

I had to advise him where to go to view the files! On the other hand, some ‘hard-line’ Mac users have been Mac fanatics for well over a decade. I know one such person, who refuses to buy a PC notebook although it’s half the price! Instead, every time there’s a new PowerBook, he saves his hard earned money to buy it.

However, he and other Mac users in Jordan are starting to complain about the lack of Macintosh parts and accessories, a lack of Macintosh expert technicians and a general drop in the numbers of companies who offer Mac hardware and software.

It’s a shame, considering how loyal Macintosh users in Jordan have been. Still, it’s simply a case of supply and demand. The demand for Intel-based PCs is exploding, the demand for Macs is stagnating as most design and printing businesses in Jordan just upgrade their Mac network, only adding few new Mac systems to existing ones.

“Mac sales are just too low,” says a Mac specialist, one of the last in a dying breed. “Other than the fact that new Mac systems are expensive, we are seeing users stick to their old Macs. Apparently, they’re good enough to continue doing the job for years!”

I can vouch for that. I’ve been writing and producing this technology page on the same Macintosh for over three years! Before that I was using a four year-old Mac!

I use both computers for different purposes. Trust me, the Macintosh is miles ahead in graphics and publishing; or, maybe, it’s just a decade old habit to power-up a Macintosh and I can’t imagine struggling with a Windows application to get my work done.

I know I wouldn’t mind being a Mac user for years to come. I hope that Apple grows and that Jordan’s market continues to cater well to Mac users. It will break a lot of hearts to eventually see the Macintosh disintegrate as a platform, but it won’t happen anytime soon.

Zeid Naseer
The Star

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