Mayor-elect Mike McGinn and his staff recently asked the city's IT department if they could use Macs rather than PCs. Symbolically, it's a pretty big deal to have the highest-elected official in Microsoft's "hometown" reject their products in favor of the competition. But would it have mattered if McGinn had announced his preference during the campaign?
That's the question asked by TechFlash's Todd Bishop. In his original post, Bishop just pointed out the curiosity of McGinn's Mac request. But when he started getting pilloried by readers for deigning to report on it, Bishop struck back.
Of course Microsoft employees would at least take it into account. It's not about McGinn's choice as an individual consumer. It's about his preferences and potential decisions as the city's newly elected leader. There's not only the symbolism of Seattle's mayor preferring Macs, but also the practical implications, as the city contemplates future tech purchases.
I'm not saying it's right, or altruistic, but in the real world, people take all sorts of things like that into consideration when they vote.
Bishop is, of course, absolutely right. McGinn's preference of a Mac over a PC could absolutely have had an effect on voters. The question is what kind of effect.
There's no telling how many of Microsoft's 40,000 local employees actual live inside city limits. And even assuming some of them might have voted for Joe Mallahan had they known the other guy used an iPhone, it's also at least as possible that McGinn's choice in personal computing would have won him even more fans and volunteers.
There's no right or wrong answer here. Except to say that it doesn't matter. After all, voters are finicky. And to try to understand why one person chooses one candidate over another is to engage in some seriously inaccurate tea-leaf-reading.