14 Classic Tech Rivalries

agricultural development and financial services for the poor; fighting HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and malnutrition; improving women's and children's health; and promoting literacy in the United States and abroad. Does the end justify the means?

What's So Great About Steve Jobs?

Courtesy of AppleSteve Jobs is the rock star of the tech world, and (reportedly) an insufferable egomaniac. He's a billionaire too, though nowhere near as wealthy as Bill Gates. His vision of what a computer or a gadget could be, starting with the Apple I in 1976, has always been way, way out there. He foresaw that a lot of people would pay extra for a phone or a laptop that was not merely functional but a work of art, with the result that now we have engineering marvels like the iPhone and the MacBook Air. For more than 30 years, Steve has been really excited about this stuff, browbeating and cajoling his people into make cooler devices, and then convincing the buying public of how insanely great these products are. And they are great (he says as he sips his Kool-Aid).

Inkjet Printers vs. Laser Printers

What's So Great About Inkjets?

Ah, little inkjet printer, you give us rich colors for our photographs--as long as we use your specially coated paper. But soon, so soon, the ink wells run dry, the colorful cataracts diminish, and everything comes out all blue or yellow. And since a replacement set of ink cartridges for you may cost as much as the whole printer did originally, we must bid you a sorrowful adieu and move on to a new printer--which, tragically, too, will find its way to sleep in the local landfill. More prosaically, some of your cartridges contain microchips that block printing after an expiration date or before the cartridge is empty; we can't understand why you won't let us print on our own schedule. We're perplexed that third-party cartridges tend to be far less expensive and often match the OEM cartridges' quality, and we harbor horrible suspicions as to why your manufacturer has gone to such great lengths to block their sales. But cheap access to a clean, pretty paper copy of the Google Map to the restaurant where we're going for supper or to a quickie photo of the kid for Grandma makes all that go away.

What's So Great About Laser Printers?

Oh mighty (and inexpensive) , for black-and-white documents you are the only way to go, pounding out prints at a cost per page of around 3 cents--much less than the cost of inkjet printing. And for color elements, such as charts, logos, and other graphics, your high-toned siblings, the color laser printers, produce longer-lasting prints faster than inkjets can, at about the same cost per page. True, when your cartridge finally conks out, the bill can really hurt--and if you're a color laser, the cartridges can set me back more than the printer did. So maybe I should share most of my "prints" via e-mail over my iPhone...

What's So Great About Microsoft Office?

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