Out with everything Microsoft

This is an old blog post I never got around to publishing, so thought I would share it now as it’s still relevant.

The turning point

Back in 2007 saw the release of the very first iPhone, PCs started to come shipped with Microsoft Vista and iMacs were still the new kid on the block (oh and let’s not forget first-iphoneRihanna’s Umbrella song stayed in the charts for an incredible 10 weeks.)

Microsoft were still the default choice for most things and I hated it.

Then one lazy afternoon later that same year, I read an article about the increasing popularity of the iMac and as someone who likes the underdog, it wasn’t long before I purchased my first Linux based machine.

Within a week I realised just how much I loved the iMac and at the same time how much I disliked Microsoft. Using Apple’s macOS felt like a homecoming to me, everything just made sense. It worked how it should and didn’t splurge out error after error and fall over halfway through writing an unsaved letter. I swore then that I wouldn’t ever venture back into the problem ridden world of Microsoft.

windows-vista

Every time I was forced to use a PC at a client’s premises, or help one of my children on their home laptops, it added a little more to the Microsoft hate pit. Over the coming years that original dislike of Microsoft grew and festered inside of me.

I wasn’t the only person disheartened by watching others struggle with simple tasks on their Windows based PC’s. Magazines and online forums were full of people moaning about crashing PC’s, how complicated things were and how Microsoft was of little or no help. How I was glad to be in the Apple club.

A downside to migrating to the Apple iMac

There was one downside to owning an iMac and that was the limited availability of software. Don’t get me wrong, things had come on massively since the iMac launch but compared to Windows software, you were in no way spoilt for choice.

I did have a copy of Apple’s iWork bundle, this comprised of Pages, Keynote and Numbers. These were OK but only that, just OK. Even though called iWork, in my humble opinion they were more aimed at the consumer than at business users. Since movingiwork to Apple I had refused to install Microsoft Office or for that matter, any Microsoft title. I am a stubborn kinda guy and wasn’t going to be deterred from owning a Mac. I wanted to explore other options that weren’t Microsoft so I set myself a challenge and that challenge was to erase Microsoft out of my life completely.

I know it sounds a little drastic but a challenge is a challenge and I couldn’t believe there weren’t a better alternative for me out there.

The false start

I had a personal Gmail account, which like many other geeks at that time had to wait for that all important and prized invitation. (Gmail started with a limited beta rollout, this involved giving accounts to a thousand outsiders and allowing them to invite a couple of friends apiece, and growing slowly from there.)

gmailAs much as I liked using Gmail (especially the user interface, labels and search) there were some niggles that I couldn’t get over. The main culprit being conversation view which was enabled by default and couldn’t be disabled.

Being from the old school, I was used to single view emails and just hated conversation view. There were also issues with unrelated conversations being linked together which caused me a massive headache, so I parked my Gmail account and used my Apple @me.com address instead.

Google relents on the conversation view argument

I wasn’t alone with the conversation view argument and after many years of petitions and dedicated websites of hate, Google relented and decided to give their users the ability to switch conversation view off.

You can read their official post here https://gmail.googleblog.com/2010/09/turn-off-gmails-conversation-view.html

This was big news on the web and as soon as I discovered the change, my sights were firmly fixed back on Google Apps Premier Edition.

My move to Google begins

The Google Apps suite came with Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Sites and Google Talk, basically everything I needed to run the administrative side of my business. It google-apps-premier-editionwasn’t a hard decision for me to migrate straight over to Google Apps, and without a second thought I did exactly that.

What was clear from the start was that Google’s apps just worked, just login and start using. Cloud based software was fantastic for me as it allowed me to work from anywhere in the world without the need of having to use my own computer, very handy when working on site at a clients or on holiday, laptops were a lot heavier then.

Compatibility wasn’t an issue as Google Docs, Sheets and Slides lets you import their Microsoft counterparts documents in a breeze. Google also compatabilitygives you the ability to export any document as Excel, Word or Powerpoint compatible files.

Gmail was my favourite part of Google for Work. I loved the fact I could add multiple domains to my account and send and receive emails from multiple alias names across multiple domains. As I ran about 6 websites at the time, having more than one domain for email was absolutely essential. Search was impossible to beat and to this day still is, finding lost emails was never going to be a tiresome issue again.

Never having to worry about backups or software updates signed the deal for me, I was converted.

Present day

i_love_google1To this very day, amid a few rebrands I have stayed loyal to Google and have strayed only the once. I am now an avid user of Google G Suite. and as well as being an authorised referrer I am also working towards being a certified G Suite Partner.

For professional reasons I have followed Microsoft’s Office 365, and have tested it on a few occasions. I will admit that they have come on a long way but ….. Office 365 is no way as user friendly as G Suite, 365 costs more (nearly double on same subscriptions) and G Suite support can not be beat.

As of January 2017, G Suite has 3 million paying businesses, and 70 million G Suite for Education users. I am very pleased that my children’s school now uses Google Classroom and for them, Google is now the norm and Microsoft the underdog, who would have thought?

You can signup for a Google G Suite trial here and if you are interested in moving to G Suite then give me a shout and i’ll email you a discount code to enable you to receive 20% off your first years subscription charges.

 

Posted by Paul O'Brien

Technology Consultant & Google Enthusiast

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