Sometimes you feel you’re being drawn into a battle and you’re not sure why. A good example can be found in the animosity that the celtic fringe (Wales, Scotland, Ireland) feel towards the English. Their feelings are perfectly understandable, of course, given the dominating behaviour over many centuries of the Anglo-Saxons, but are not mirrored by the English, whose attention is more focused on those who they, in turn, wish not to be dominated by (the Americans perhaps). It’s a one-sided battle, because only one side is angry and up for a fight. I, for one, have no strong feelings one way or other about the Welsh, Irish or Scottish. I wish them well, except, of course, when they play England in any sporting contest.
I encounter a similar situation when I come across Mac users and Apple aficionados generally. When they find out I’m a PC user, they seem up for a fight. I don’t have any problem with the fact that they wish to spend a lot more on their computers. I understand that Apple is a more stylish brand and that some people feel it is worth paying more for the prestige that this reflects upon them. Good for them, but their religious zeal is lost on PC users, who have no problems with Windows and the Office suite, which do more than enough for them and are much more reliable than Apple users think (particularly now we have Windows 7).
It’s not as if it’s an ethical issue. After all, both Microsoft and Apple aspire to a monopolistic status in their markets, as do all capitalist ventures. Both have achieved this (one with operating systems and office applications, one with MP3 players and perhaps eventually with smart phones). It’s the job of regulators to make this position difficult to accomplish or to maintain.
And Microsoft and Apple are not even direct competitors. One is predominantly a software company and one is mainly hardware. A much more important battle is the one they both face against free and open source software.
To show just how one-sided these wars have become, most PC users are perfectly happy to buy iPods and the English are happy to holiday in Wales, whereas you won’t often see a Mac user buying a phone running Windows Mobile or a Scotsman cheering on England playing Germany at football. But all this negative energy is wasted. There are battles out there that really are worth fighting.