Could you do it? Could you get by for 30 days using anything from Apple or Microsoft? Or, never using Google or Facebook? Or, not buying anything from Amazon? That’s exactly what Kashmir Hill did when she said Goodbye Big Five and then chronicled the problem with ditching each one.
In the end, it was hell.
So, I thought about it over the weekend. Of the big five, which could I do without and in what order? Easier said than done, right? Here’s the order of preference to ditch each of the Big Five.
Microsoft – I use Office in business, mostly because of the need for compatibility with Word and Excel files, but found I can use Pages, Numbers, and even Keynote to keep up to date. Fortunately, I’m not required to use Outlook or Exchange email, so getting rid of Microsoft was easy.
Google – The world’s largest search engine is so ubiquitous that it’s a verb, yet, getting rid of Google seems easy– on the surface. Avoiding Google’s tentacles as you browse online is more difficult. Use DuckDuckGo and you get search engine results without an attachment to Google. However, most websites use Google Analytics to track their visitors so you need an additional blocker to prevent that kind of tracking.
Facebook – As it turned out, getting rid of Facebook was the easiest. For 30 days. Delete the app. Done. Yet, somehow Facebook manages to track users while they’re visiting other websites, thanks to a plethora of online trackers and advertisers. Facebook still knows who you are even if you don’t log in.
Amazon – The online retailer, as with Facebook, is relatively simple to get rid of. For 30 days. I paid for Prime so I don’t want to miss out on discounts too frequently, but we’re not big users of Amazon Prime movies or TV shows, so it was easier to ditch than I expected. For 30 days. Sure, I could shop elsewhere, but Amazon has almost everything, and usually priced less than anywhere else. Usually.
So, in order, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon were not difficult to dispense with for enough time to know that life goes on.
What about Apple?
Therein lies the rub.
Apple – For all the noise about Apple’s rapidly growing Services business– now larger than iPad or Mac– Apple is a hardware company, and replacing Apple’s hardware has a bite. A price tag. Worse, the options are untenable as well. What replaces a Mac? A Windows PC? Nope. That’s Microsoft. A Chromebook? Nope. That’s Google. How about a Dell or HP notebook running Linux? I have one. The only way to escape using an iPad is to use something from Samsung, but those run Google’s Android, so the tablet had to gather dust. Replacing iPhone was easy. A Tracfone from Target. With no internet access. It’s a dumb phone in your pocket.
I can only imagine how difficult it would be to ditch the Big Five for 30 days. I did it only for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That must be the withdrawal period as my heart rate (anxiety) and blood pressure (anxiety) and blood glucose (anxiety, abated by snacks) went up.
In conclusion, I could live with Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon far longer than I could live without iPhone, iPad, and Mac.