John Dvorak examines the Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux debate and “the never-ending moaning about the superiority of the Mac versus the Windows platform versus Linux. According to each camp, their solution – their choice – is superior. By what criteria? If you were to rate the platforms by the total amount of software that can run on them, then Windows is clearly superior. What other criteria would you suggest? If you were to choose the cheapest, highest-performing platform, then Linux is clearly superior. It runs faster than Windows and runs on the cheapest hardware. If you make coolness and usability the main criteria, then the Mac easily wins.”
MacDailyNews Take: Criteria we would suggest is how integrated and seamless do you want your personal computing to be? The Mac wins here. Or how much time are you willing to waste on viruses, adware, spyware, and security issues? The Mac wins here, again. How many word processors do users need? Most people use one. If the Mac has the top five word processor options and Windows has those options plus 30 more junky word processor choices, how does the amount of software available make Windows superior? The “more software available” argument is the only place Windows can really claim “superiority.” Too bad it’s a canard, it’s a meaningless “advantage” in most cases. Except for gamers, in which case Dvorak is right. Yes, there are custom Windows applications for specific work situations, but there is also a large group of best-in-class applications that are Mac-only: iMovie, iPhoto, iSync, iDVD, Final Cut Pro, etc.
Dvorak writes, “You must ask yourself exactly what you want the device for. Reverse-engineer market-share numbers and decide what aspect of the leader makes it so popular. With computers, you have to conclude that the most desired features among consumers are the number of software options and the price. The Mac was much more competitive and had a larger market share when Apple was throwing systems at developers and subsidizing code.”
“I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing Macs again, because I’m not. I’m trying to make the point that the criteria that define the Mac as a superior machine are not the ones typical PC owners use. For some niche users, they are: If you’re an art director working almost anywhere, your criteria lead you directly to the Mac,” Dvorak writes. “Most buyers are not art directors, however. The factors of versatility (lots of available software) and price (the cost of a machine) seem to be what the public cares about when buying a computer. Those are the only two points on which the PC beats the Mac. It also tells me that Linux boxes, which are actually cheaper, could surpass Windows machines if only there were more software for them. It’s not because Linux doesn’t have the perfect GUI, or that it’s too hard to use, or anything else. It’s just about the software.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: This is a good article by John Dvorak. If the criteria that average personal computer customers are using to determine their purchases don’t lead them to the Mac, what can Apple do to change perceptions and circumstances so that the Mac becomes the logical choice for more people? What can Apple do to add to the short list of reasons people buy a PC, currently topped by “sticker price” and “lots of software,” so that “ease-of-use,” “security,” and “fun instead of frustration” become important reasons for choosing a personal computer? And does Apple need to challenge the “Macs are incompatible with Windows” myth in a more public manner than they are currently?