Mossberg: switching to Mac from Windows isn’t for everybody, just most people

“Over the past year, I have advised readers who are fed up with the plague of viruses and spyware on Windows PCs that one way out of the mess is to switch to Apple Computer’s Macintosh. There has yet to be a report of a successful, real-world virus for the Mac’s current operating system, and there is little or no known spyware for the Mac,” Walter S. Mossberg writes for The Wall Street Journal.

“I stand by that advice, and also by my positive reviews of recent Mac models, especially the impressive iMac G5. But, as I have noted in the past, switching to the Mac has downsides, and it isn’t the best course for some groups of Windows users. So here’s a brief guide to which types of users might find switching inadvisable,” Mossberg writes. “In general, the best candidates for a switch to the Mac are those who use their computers overwhelmingly for common, mainstream consumer tasks. These include e-mail, instant messaging and Web browsing; word processing, spreadsheets and presentations; working with photos, home videos and digital music; and playing and creating CDs and DVDs. The Mac is as good as Windows at these core tasks, and in many cases better.”

MacDailyNews Note: Walt describes approximately 99% of the world’s computing population above.

So, according to Walt, who shouldn’t switch from Windows to Mac? People who are happy enough with Windows (ignorance being blissful, as it were). People who are resistant to learning new ways of doing things (even if it’s more intuitive, more thougtfully-designed, and will make you more productive). If you can’t afford it. If you run specialized, custom Windows programs. If you love Microsoft Outlook (again, ignorance-bliss). If you use your PC mainly for games. If you rely heavily on financial software. If you don’t own an iPod or love Napster and Rhapsody.

“Of course, you can overcome most of these obstacles if you buy a Mac as a companion to, rather than a replacement for, a Windows machine. But then you’d still be battling Windows viruses and spyware, and having to spend money and time to maintain dual platforms. The bottom line is that the Mac is a great alternative for mainstream consumers doing mainstream tasks who are sick and tired of the Windows security crisis. But it isn’t for everybody,” Mossberg writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Mossberg’s article shows that switching to the Mac is for just about everybody who isn’t ignorant, set in their ways, cash poor, mostly use their computer to play games, or “love” Outlook, Napster or Rhapsody. Switching from Windows to Mac isn’t the best choice for everybody, just most people. We agree wholeheartedly.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Mossberg: Windows PCs plagued with problems, Apple’s Mac is ‘rock solid, elegant and affordable’ – December 09, 2004
Walt Mossberg’s Fall PC Buyer’s Guide: ‘Apple’s new iMac G5 is an excellent choice’ – September 30, 2004
Mossberg: Apple iMac G5 ‘powerful, affordable, virus-free with better, more modern OS than Windows XP – September 23, 2004
Mossberg: Dump your Windows machine and get an Apple Macintosh to free yourself of spyware – August 25, 2004
Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg on making the switch from Windows to Mac – September 18, 2003


  1. I’d say the number one group that should not switch is the gamers. People that are stupid enough to spend thousands of dollars on a new PC every year just to play a freakin’ video game are not smart enough to use a Mac anyway! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Walt is a straight shooter and I think he is on the money once again here. Not that this is actually saying much. There is a bit of the D’uh factor here. I could predict that a majority of Americans will eat at McDonalds sometime in the next year and be just as entitled to a crystal ball.

    I am wondering if this might not have some reverse psychology effect though. How many users are gonna read that column and decide that none of the negative categories apply to them and so conclude that they should probably switch?

    Having read the original article is smells to me like someone reminded Walt that the majority of his readers use windows and many may not be inclined (or able to) to switch. I think he may be doing a bit of covering his ass and making sure he does not brand himself an Mac Fanatic (even tho the reality of the superiority of OS X seems to have definitely made him one). This gives the people who would never have switched anyway an easy out so they can still feel good about being on a miserable computer platform.

  3. actually i still want an alienware for games. i mean seriously, that case on one end of the desk, the quicksilver on the other, two monitors in the middle? it would just be hot. in that uber-geek sort of way.

  4. Hey, MDN:
    Cut the pop-unders! They show an incredible lack of respect for your readers. Don’t you get that doing something to readers’ computers that they don’t authorize is obnoxious?
    C’mon MDN, take the high road.

  5. Waltttttt!!! What de hell happened, buddy?!?

    I mean I love a good punking as much as de next guy, you know, but seriously — I think you’ve been sniffing a little too much white-out on your lunch hour. I know, I know, old habits die hard. But come onnnn, Wally. I mean, who got to you? Was it that loafer-wearer Gates? Did he threaten your family? Or maybe he threatened your wallet! Yesssss. Gates threatened to lighten ol’ Wally’s wallet. Come on Wally, grow some cajonés. And not the shriveled kind, either! Go home and get the real ones that your wife keeps in the dresser drawer for you. Of course, maybe it wasn’t Gates. Nooooo. Maybe it was that sweaty Yeti named Ballmer. Actually, that guy scares even me! Well, it’s mainly the stench, but you know what I mean. Hey, I keed . . . okay, not this time.

    Poor Wally. I would’ve thought a man with your reputation and experience was untouchable by the forces of darkness. But I guess you’re just another journalist . . .


  6. “People that are stupid enough to spend thousands of dollars on a new PC every year just to play a freakin’ video game are not smart enough to use a Mac anyway!”

    No doubt. Especially when you can buy a perfectly good Sony PS2 for only $149 to play all of the games that you want on.

  7. The editor is probably feeling the heat from the usual Wintel advertisers. You know, the Dells, the Microsofts.

    So Walt more or less says if you are a gamer or work for H&R Block or are just plain stupid then do not switch. I see it as a win, win.

  8. Ya know what? I really really wish some of the ANALysts who have been flamed by Mac Users would come here and read MDN’s take and some of the reactions. They seem to think that anything even remotely anti-Apple will result in a total flame-out by MacHeads. They just don’t get it that they are not getting flamed so much for criticizing Apple as they are getting flamed for being WRONG (and a lot of the time trollish assholes to boot).

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