Mac users tend to have a mildly smug attitude when it comes to comparing Macs and OS X to PCs and Windows. Based on Windows reputation vs. OS X, it’s understandable. Mitchell Ashley, who does not like to be called a Microsoft shill, claims there are 5 Reasons Macs Can’t Claim They’re Better Than Windows 7. Why is his list full of baloney and how do I know?
My Windows Experience
Along with the Mac, I’ve used Windows since NT, which I really liked. That was back before the public internet so security was less of a problem for Microsoft. There hasn’t been much to like about Windows since.
Windows 95 almost killed the Mac, but not because it was so good. The Mac had plenty of problems. Remember Windows 98 and 2000? Windows ME? And who can forget the dreaded Windows XP, the Swiss cheese of major operating systems? It amazed me how many people hated XP until they tried to use Vista.
My recent affair with Windows didn’t end with Vista. My significant other, Wil Gomez, is an IT guy who toils away in the Windows world. Despite that, he’s a truly nice guy, and provides me with inside reports and keyboard time with Windows 7. I contend, and Wil agrees, the 5 Reasons Macs Can’t Claim They’re Better Than Windows 7 are baloney. Or, worse.
Likes & Dislikes
First, we need to understand that Macs do not claim anything. Mac users claim their experience on a Mac is better than their experience with Windows PCs, whatever the flavor. Apple makes similar claims, but they’re biased. Note that Microsoft seldom talks about user experience.
Second, Mitchell starts off with phrases such as, “Apple’s heyday of picking on Windows is over,” and the equally silly, “Here are the five reasons Apple fears Windows 7.” He has no clue what Apple will or won’t do regarding Windows 7, but Apple has picked Microsoft apart for a couple of generations, and through various Windows versions. Windows 7 won’t stop that. Any charge that Apple is fearful of Windows 7 is equally ludicrous. Windows 7 may be an improvement over previous versions, but it is not OS X Snow Leopard (yes, I’ve had some sneak peaks; thank you, Wil). It’s not even Leopard.
The Biased Reasons
Any comparison of Windows 7 should be made with OS X Snow Leopard, neither of which are shipping today. So, we must rely on beta versions of each. Wil has given me plenty of face time with Snow Leopard, and some quality time with Windows 7. Both are performance improvements over predecessors.
Clean and Simple User Experience. There is now very little difference between the easy user experience on Windows 7 and Mac OS X. The new task bar is more simple and straightforward than Mac OS X’s crowded icon bar.
Uh, except for certain basics like the Finder vs. Explorer. Mitchell would have you believe the Windows Task Bar never gets crowded, but doesn’t know enough about Macs to know that the counterpart is called the Dock, not an icon bar.
Mac Crashes More. Fact is, my Windows 7 systems don’t crash… ever. Those days of frequent Windows Explorer crashes went away when I installed the Windows 7 RC. My Mac now crashes more often.
I suppose your mileage may vary, but the last time my latest MacBook Pro crashed, was, well, never. Hardware issues aside, the last ‘crash just because’ was an early version of Tiger. Windows Vista was not so kind. I’ve seen Wil’s Windows 7 crash or lock up regularly the past six months. YMMV, yes, but to say that Mac Crashes More is just looney.
Flexibility and Lower Cost. Microsoft has updated its “PC hunter” commercials but they still show how easy it is to find a better value when buying a Windows PC over a Mac. You have to use some pretty convoluted math to come to the conclusion Macs don’t cost more than PCs for the equivalent devices.
This silly argument is so old and so discredited that I’m surprised NetworkWorld let him print it, other than their being Windows Wanks™ and all. Where’s the example comparison, Mitch? Sure, you can find a cheaper Windows PC, but not a brand name with a similar configuration to a Mac, an “equivalent device” for a similar price.
Performance. Windows 7 isn’t the performance hog Vista was. The experience is great. Windows 7 tools are fast, applications don’t freeze up waiting for resources, disk I/O performance is great, memory utilization is much more efficient. Startup, shutdown and sleep are fast.
Without a comparison from Mitch, lets use my comparison. My MacBook, running Leopard, starts up faster, sleeps faster, shuts down faster, and basically screams bloody murder on every comparable application on Windows 7. Since my Mac can also run Windows 7, there certainly isn’t much for the Microsoft crowd to crow about.
Mac Security Is NOT Better Than Windows 7. Many still live with the myth that Mac OS X doesn’t have any security issues while Windows does. That myth ignores the facts.
And the facts are, ‘Apple patches Leopard?’ Where is the malware for Mac OS X? Count them. You’ll have fingers left over on one hand. Then compare the count to malware for Windows. That will tell you something about the security of each platform. If OS X has twenty eleven security problems but there are no exploits, and Windows has 10 security problems with 10 exploits for each, which one is more secure?
While it is true that Windows is still a much larger security target because of it’s market share, it isn’t true that the Mac doesn’t have plenty of security issues of its own.
This is known as the security through obscurity myth. The Windows PC market is larger so malware writers ignore the Mac entirely for the larger target. Uh huh. Right. To count Mac malware you need only the fingers on one hand. To count Windows malware you need, well, a lot of time, and a spreadsheet. Maybe the reason for the Mac’s superior security has something to do with a superior permissions architecture.
What’s the real reason for this baloney article from NetworkWorld? It helps to comfort Microsoft’s diminishing customer base, the IT wonks like Mitchell and friends who sleep in Microsoft’s pockets, to feel good about themselves. Their editors know that such articles always result in an increase in readership, which means more web page ads get displayed, which means more revenue.
The real comparisons between Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Windows 7 will begin later this year, once both versions have hit the marketplace, and actually get used. That’s when the fun begins. For now, ignore the shills and their shrill claims.