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I concluded my recent column on Macintosh computer and WordPerfect zealots with a simple request: “If you want to use a Mac or WordPerfect, go ahead. Just keep it to yourself.” I should have known better. More than 90 of you responded comments, critiques, ridicules and other assorted verbal assaults. Bring it on. Below, my attempt to deal with several of the dominant criticisms made by my new best friends. 1) Don’t you know that there is no longer a Mac version of WordPerfect? Yes. The article dealt with two separate groups of zealots: lawyers who use Macs and lawyers who use WordPerfect. It did not deal with lawyers who use the now-discontinued WordPerfect for Mac. 2) Don’t you know that 25 percent of all lawyers use Macs? No. I didn’t know that, and neither do all of you. There simply is no credible evidence that one out of four lawyers uses a Mac. Some of you cited an American Bar Association survey from 1999 to support the 25 percent figure. In fact, that survey says nothing of the sort. In various places, it cites Mac usage at 18 percent to 19 percent, and, in one place, 23 percent. Even so, I don’t trust those numbers. The survey is based on 403 responses from a Web survey. Surveys that depend on self-selected participants are notoriously suspect. Only the truly motivated tend to respond. As the response to my column demonstrates, Mac users are highly motivated. I don’t know what percent of lawyers use Macs, but I highly doubt that it is anywhere close to 25 percent. I suspect that it is less than half that. 3) Don’t you know that Word for Windows and Word for the Mac are compatible? Yes. As I said in the column, we use Macs here at the office, and I open Word files created on Windows machines all the time. But this wasn’t something I was writing about. 4) You write that “it’s not the best product that wins, but the best brand.” By that logic, we should all be eating at McDonald’s and driving General Motors cars. I was trying to deflect the criticism of those of you who would respond that the Mac and WordPerfect are clearly superior products. Let me try again to show that that is not an especially relevant matter when it comes to computers. The so-called network effect provides tremendous leverage to the dominant player — in this case, Microsoft. The more customers that use Windows or Word the more valuable that franchise becomes. In the case of operating systems, the network effect discourages developers from writing programs for marginal platforms. You may wish that the world did not operate in this way. As a former OS/2 addict, I certainly did. But at some point, all of us have to realize that the Kennedys are dead, that Britney Spears is here to stay, and that it is time to get on with our lives. 5) You write about how there are so few practice tools available for the Mac, but I can run whatever Windows programs I need with Virtual PC, a Windows emulation program. If you love Macintoshes so much, it must be incredibly painful to run Windows programs in a slowed-down environment. What’s the point of using Macs in the first place? Most of you don’t seem to be doing much besides word processing and Internet access on the Web. Not one of you mentioned any Mac-based program for lawyers — case management, document management or financial tools. A few writers mentioned how easy it is to produce courtroom animations. But for most of you, your beloved computer is essentially a buffed-up typewriter and dumb terminal. Those are hardly features to go to war over. What am I missing? I’m sure you will tell me.

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