As probably anyone who lives on the Earth's surface knows, Steve Jobs died earlier this month. (I don't need a link for that, do I?) I don't know much about Steve Jobs, but I do love the Mac. When I am using a Mac, I feel as if I am driving a car. And when I am using a computer running Windows, I feel as if I am driving a vehicle made up of most of the major components of a car salvaged from a junkyard and bolted together into something approximating a car. (This does raise the question of whether the Mac's advantages are primarily functional or simply psychological.)
Despite all this, if I had to choose between investing in Apple or Microsoft, I would have to pick Microsoft. In order to make money, Apple has to produce a constant stream of innovative products that transform the market. But this can't last forever. Either Apple will run out of ideas, or the public will stop caring. One day the average consumer will decide that he already has an iPhone, an iPod, and an iPad, and doesn't need an iPipe, an iPump, or a drink of iPop. (Steve Jobs is presumably also responsible for the trend of putting the letter "i" in front of words, a trend which has now gotten dangerously out of control, or rather, iControl.) In contrast, Microsoft makes products that are not innovative, and in fact generally considered barely adequate–but it makes money on them. To make another silly comparison, Apple is a four-star gourmet restaurant (or three stars, or five stars, or whatever the maximum starrage is), and Microsoft is McDonald's. In twenty years, the four-star gourmet restaurant will have lost its luster and gone out of business, and McDonald's will still be McDonald's.