A Mac can barely print to a Windows print server. Google Docs hardly works on an iPad. eBook readers do not open the others’ formats. Outlook for Mac cannot save a PST. Why aren’t these popular systems more compatible? Eric Castro reminds us that these companies are competitors that work to maintain a strategic advantage and increase profit.
Users express the misconception that computers are designed to work as well as possible for the customer. If only this were always true! Great design can drive sales, but usability takes a back seat when competitive advantage is involved. Users would love a touch screen Mac, but Apple has little incentive to compromise its iPad strategy. Microsoft would prefer that Office for Windows always be stronger than Office for Mac.
Tech departments can help users avoiding incompatibilities by communicating issues clearly, suggesting workarounds, and helping people understand how companies develop features and consider compatibility.
Here is a helpful graphic from Gizmodo.