Confessions of a Mac Switcher at Microsoft

Hi. My name is Blair and I'm a switcher.

I guess it all started around OS X. I'd been working in a Linux shop for a little while. On DOS and Windows before that. I was already hooked on the command line, but couldn't find a windowing environment that kept me satisfied. That's when a friend of mine first turned me on to OS X. All the power of the command line that I was used to from Linux but with the tastiest UI I'd ever seen! I was hooked after trying OS X just once. I've been using Macs and OS X ever since.

I knew I'd need to get my own Mac if I was going to use OS X the way I wanted to. A friend sold me his used 500 MHz G4 TiBook for $500. The thing was all beat up: Cracked hinge, broken latch (replaced with Velcro), missing command key, combo drive that made a lot of scratching noise (not to mention scratched up discs), and a downgraded 2Gb hard drive. I was sold. I upgraded the hard drive and bought an external CD-RW drive. I had to install OS X from another Mac with my PowerBook in Firewire mode, but that's all the work I had to do and that first PowerBook is running great even today.

My roommate and I used to joke about what a perfect Switcher ad our house would make. We counted the retired PCs in our attic: 14 in various configurations, but every last one of the powered down. We were doing all our work on one PowerBook each. We didn't need the recognition or the fame of an Ellen Feiss. Running OS X was all we really needed, and one PowerBook each to keep us happy.

I ended up being recruited to Microsoft for the pizza. True story. I'd gone back to college and wouldn't normally have attended the recruiting event, but I was hungry and, hey - free pizza. I told everybody at Microsoft that I use Mac OS X. It was cool. Nobody judged. Everybody seemed to think it was all right. I even met a few other Microsoft people that use OS X the way I do. I went ahead with a 3-month internship and by the time I was done with that internship I was hooked on Microsoft as well. It's just an amazing company to work for. Whenever I'd talk about OS X, or Apple, or my PowerBook, people would just be interested in hearing another opinion. Microsoft's been super cool.

I worked on Visual Studio for a few years. My old roommate kept sending me Microsoft job postings for MacBU. "If you're going to work at Microsoft, at least work for these guys," he'd say. "No way, man. I'm happy where I'm at," or, "It's cool here," I'd say. But my situation changed after a few years and I decided to give the MacBU a shot. Now I'm a Program Manager working on Mac PowerPoint. It's been great! MacBooks, Mac Pros and PowerPCs everywhere you look, and all the OS X I can handle. I'm hooked.