Two years ago, I switched to a MacBook Pro as my business desktop. A year later, I added an iPad. My mobile device during this whole time has been some flavor of Blackberry. In our home, we have an iMac, MacBook Air, an iPhone, two iPods, and wii. On my desktops, I use Lotus Symphony productivity tools and Apple's Safari browser; no Parallels or other VM needed for Windows apps. Like most of the world, I don't use Bing (it's less than a tenth of a percent of searches that end up on edbrill.com). I don't even have one of the at-one-time ubiquitous Microsoft mice.

Apple Family

In short, I live a Microsoft-free life. I'm successful in both business and personal life without any influence from Redmond.

And I think I'm doing pretty OK without them.

The last two years of using the Macbook have been pretty interesting. Is it perfect? No, of course not. There are, despite the "just works" hype, occasional crashes and hangs. I see that pinwheel more than I'd like. The battery life is nowhere near advertised. On balance though, it really does just work. Apple's native apps are pretty darn good. The cross-device networking, the search, tools like iPhoto, the ease of multi-display, the backup tool, it all just looks after itself. I do most of my daily business work in Notes, Symphony, and a browser. After two years, I only have twelve non-native apps installed on the Macbook (this part stuns me). I still get comments from customers/partners or even seatmates on flights that are surprised an IBM executive is toting around a Mac. But I love it, and I can't imagine ever going back.

So ridiculously illogical is the joy that when my wife recently needed a new computer, I knew it would be the Air, despite the premium price over a similar Windows machine. I take my iPad everywhere, happily declaring "my life is in there" (it's true -- photos going back a decade, music/movies, books, travel info, and oh yeah, email and work stuff). The only place I've resisted the lure of the fruit-shaped logo is with the Blackberry, still the best business-class device for my mobile needs. But it's not like I'm going to go to a Windows Phone.

What do I think is the message for you? Obviously, if you are a corporate IT person, I think you should liberate yourself from the Redmond upgrade treadmill. But why go all the way and eliminate Microsoft in personal life? Answer -- because they are increasingly irrelevant to innovation. Sure, they continue to do what they do best - license, bundle, and underprice markets in order to obtain and hold markets. But as a technologist, I simply haven't seen any reason to seriously consider anything out of Redmond useful, interesting, meaningful, or innovative in a long, long time.

Happy anniversary to my MacBook. Thank you for setting me free.

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