Why does everyone insist on comparing Apple to Microsoft? In my opinion, there is no comparison. It’s apples and oranges… er, apples and flags.ADHERER
I am neither an Apple fanboy nor a Microsoft fanboy. In fact, I think both companies have done wonderful things for us personal users of technology. But to say that one is better than the other connotes a competition, a head-to-head, mano-a-mano situation that simply does not exist. Let’s look at what I’m talking about.
First of all, the competition just isn’t there. Apple creates products for Windows. Microsoft creates products for Mac. In fact, Microsoft is one of Apple’s biggest investors, mainly because the demise of Apple would raise big antitrust issues for Microsoft. So a comparison, or rather a contrast, between the two is a nearly pointless endeavor.
Which is the better operating system? Windows? OSX? What a silly question. The basis of an operating system is to facilitate communication between software and hardware. Until Windows 95, Windows wasn’t even an OS itself; it was a GUI. It ran on MS-DOS. And OSX is the same way. OSX is a GUI and a collection of apps. The real OS in OSX is BSD. Yes, Unix. Not written by Apple.
So the real comparison between OSX and Windows has to do with the apps that are bundled. Most of the I’m-a-Mac-I’m-a-PC commercials discuss the iLife suite, which is iPhoto, iTunes, etc. Okay, on this point, I will agree that the Mac apps are better than the canned Windows apps. But the reality of that situation is that it has to be that way. Microsoft has some pretty smart cookies working there in Redmond and if they wanted to write a better app than Windows Moviemaker, then I am convinced they could. But the first thing that would happen is that Microsoft would get sued for anticompetitive practices. All of the other sellers of movie-making programs that run on Windows would be put out of business. Or at least they would claim that was the case and then Microsoft would spend a lot of their time in court. But does anyone claim that Mac’s well-done applications are putting them out of business? Of course not.
Okay, what about security? I know everyone out there is saying that there are tons more viruses and other malware for Windows than there are for Macs. There are many schools of thought on this, among my favorite is that the Mac isn’t a big target. Virus authors wish to gather as many zombie computers as they can and a Mac virus is only going to infect one out of every ten or twenty machines it encounters. However, there are also good points that OSX is built on a more inherently stable and secure platform, BSD. There again, the comparison isn’t between Apple and Microsoft, is it? One more point to consider: Apple just released their browser, Safari, for Windows. This is apparently so that everyone can develop third-party apps for the iPhone… er, I mean, so that everyone can develop Web 2.0 and AJAX apps that will work on the iPhone. Within two hours of the release of Safari for Windows, Apple was releasing a security patch for it. What does that say? Is Safari insecure in OSX as well? Or is it the Windows platform that made it insecure? You decide. Either way, the insecurity of an operating system is, in my opinion, the fault of the dirty jerks that write the malware, not of the authors of the OS. It is not Microsoft’s wish that you get infected by a virus, nor is it their fault. That would be like blaming the glassmaker because their window didn’t stop a bullet that killed your loved one. No, blame the person that pulled the trigger!
What about the claim that stuff on the Mac “just works?” This one is so simple that it’s laughable. Apple controls their hardware. Are they a brilliant hardware company? Of course not. Today’s Macs are built from off-the-shelf parts the same as any Windows machine. Now, Apple does choose some good solid parts and uses a very small subset of the options that are available, so testing to make sure that everything works just fine is a relatively easy job. There are only a few dozen legitimate setups out there. So any Mac software that’s written was done so on a system very similar to your Mac, so it is a good bet that it will work as well on both machines. Microsoft, on the other hand, services basically an unlimited number of combinations of pieces of hardware. There is no way on earth that they could ensure that every little thing will run on every combination of hardware. So, if it’s a combination of hardware that is causing you grief, well who made that choice? Microsoft? They held a gun to your head and said, “get the cheap knock-off video card!” I hardly believe that. If you need someone to blame, find a mirror. Or get a Mac if that’s going to be what you complain about.
So what are we really talking about here? What are the comparison points where we can say Apple is better than Microsoft or vice-versa? Hardware? Microsoft will certify hardware but they aren’t a producer of it (with some small exceptions like the Zune, mice, joysticks, etc.). And truly, neither is Apple, since they use off-the-shelf parts. Operating system? Nope, Windows is an OS, OSX is not. The real comparison there is between Windows and BSD. Software? Okay, now we’re talking. But Microsoft’s main software product is an operating system. The other bundled stuff that comes with that is just incidental. We could make comparisons between their productivity suites, but Microsoft’s Office exists while Apple’s does not.
So here’s the deal. Figure out what you want to do with a computer and then pursue whatever the best avenue is for that. Do you want to surf every pr0n site in existence and not get malware? Then a Mac is for you.
Do you want to write emails and surf the web? Well, any platform will do that.
Do you like to write software? Windows probably offers more options for that, but a Mac has most of those tools available for free. Go with the platform that you’re writing software for.
Writing web apps? Anything will do.
Producing your band’s demo CD? A Mac is probably better.
Looking for a basic machine for little money? A Mac won’t work then, at least not a new one.
Want to play movies that you downloaded off of pirate sites? Windows is probably a tad better for that.
Like to play around with hundreds and thousands of shareware apps? Windows.
So in the end, realize that Apple products and Microsoft products can co-exist happily. There’s no reason to fight. So be nice.