Deathmatch: Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion vs. Microsoft’s Windows 8

“With the final version of Windows 8 now complete, how does Microsoft’s great hope for reinventing itself for the post-PC world compare to Apple’s new flagship?” Galen Gruman reports for InfoWorld. “The short answer: not well.”

Gruman reports, “Here, I highlight the key differences, strengths, and weaknesses of the two OSes, both of which I’ve been using since their first betas were released, organized by the InfoWorld Test Center’s key scoring categories for desktop operating systems.”

“Apple defined the graphical user interface as we know it today, and despite 28 years of changes, the core metaphors remain unchanged. That consistency makes it easy to use each new version of OS X, and Mountain Lion is no exception,” Gruman writes. “[Any minor niggles] pale in comparison to Windows 8’s dissonant UI and awkward stitching together of two distinct environments: Windows 7 (now called Windows Desktop) and Metro (whose formal name is not yet known)…It would have been better to leave Metro for tablets and Windows 7 for laptops and desktop PCs, and slowly merged the UIs as Apple is doing with OS X and iOS. For most users, Windows 8 will be a confounding mess.”

“Clearly, OS X Mountain Lion is a better operating system than Windows 8. It’s better designed, more capable, and — contrary to many people’s beliefs — supportive of mainstream business security and management needs,” Gruman writes. “With the misguided UI mismatch in Windows 8, many users will no doubt be looking for alternatives. If you’re in the market for a new PC, you should get one running Windows 7 while you still can (October 26 is when Windows 8 takes over, though Windows 7 will still be available for enterprise customers). Or move to a Mac.”

Apple's OS X Mountain Lion vs. Microsoft's OS X Mountain Lion

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Proper conclusion, but too much credit given to Windows, as usual. For example: “Manageability.” Learn how to use the Terminal in OS X and the score is tied at least. OS X is Unix, for Jobs sake! Another example: “Compatibility.” The Mac is the world’s most compatible personal computer – unmatched by any Windows PC – in that it can run all the world’s software either natively or via fast virtualization. Windows PCs run a mere subset. This category is a warped way to award Windows 8 a higher score, when the Mac is indisputably the world’s most compatible personal computer. Yes, we understand you need Windows to run Windows apps, but you certainly want to slum it Windows on a Mac, if you’re forced to do such a soul-sapping thing, not some crappy Dell PC.

So, proper conclusion. Wrong scores.

What we said on June 1, 2011, the first time we saw Windows 8:

Our initial impression is that Microsoft, in trying to cram everything into Windows 8 in an attempt to be all things to all devices, will end up with an OS that’s a jack of all trades and a master of none (which, after all, ought to be Microsoft’s company motto)… We simply do not see the world clamoring for the UI of an iPod also-ran now ported to an iPhone wannabe that nobody’s buying to be blown up onto a PC display.

From what we’ve seen so far, Windows 8 strikes us as an unsavory combination of Windows Weight plus Windows Wait.

Not to mention that probably no one on earth knows how much or what kinds of residual legacy spaghetti code roils underneath it all (shudder). Is Microsoft giving up on backwards compatibility? [They are with Windows RT (Windows on ARM).] So, people might as well get the Mac they always wanted. If not [as with Windows 8], then Microsoft’s unwilling to do what it takes to really attempt to keep up with the likes of Apple or even Apple’s followers. No matter what, if Microsoft’s going to ask Windows sufferers to “learn a whole new computer” (and that’s exactly how they’ll look at it, regardless of how Microsoft pitches it), millions will simply say, “Time to get a Mac to match my iPod, iPhone, and iPad!”

As if they needed it: More good news for Apple.

Related articles:
Infoworld reviews Windows 8 review: Yes, it’s that bad – August 15, 2012
Microsoft forced to kill off ‘Metro’ name due to trademark infringement – August 3, 2012
Gartner’s one-word review of Windows 8 on the desktop: ‘Bad’ – July 23, 2012
Ballmer: Uh, yeah, ‘Surface is just a design point,’ you know – July 10, 2012
Microsoft’s Buffoon, er… Ballmer throws down gauntlet against Apple – July 10, 2012
Microsoft reportedly dumps ‘VaporMg’ chassis, will use ‘VaporMg’ only as ‘surface treatment’ – July 9, 2012
Microsoft’s downfall: Inside the executive e-mails and cannibalistic culture that fueled Microsoft’s lost decade – July 7, 2012
HP said to dump Microsoft over Surface; to cozy up to Google Android for tablet efforts – July 2, 2012
Bad news for Microsoft’s iPad killer? – July 2, 2012
Dear Microsoft, Steve Balmer and Bill Gates: What is up with your obsession with keyboards? – June 28, 2012
Jason Schwarz: Top 10 reasons why Microsoft’s Surface is DOA – June 22, 2012
Why I love Microsoft’s vaporware Surface tablet – June 22, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablet said to be Wi-Fi only at launch; no 4G, no 3G, no 2G, not even 1G – June 22, 2012
Microsoft outsources Surface assembly to Pegatron; prices above $799 for Windows 8, above $599 for Windows RT expected – June 21, 2012
Acer founder: Microsoft will quit making tablets soon – June 21, 2012
Devastating video shows Microsoft’s Surface event aping Steve Jobs’ iPad unveiling (with video) – June 20, 2012
Thanks to Apple, Microsoft is doomed in the era of mobile computing – June 20, 2012
Why wouldn’t Microsoft let anyone touch its Surface tablets’ keyboard cover? – June 20, 2012
The cost of Microsoft’s Surface tablets – June 20, 2012
Apple’s revolutionary iPad vs. Microsoft’s anti-tablet ‘Surface’ – June 20, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablets provokes ‘sense of betrayal’ among Windows PC assemblers – June 20, 2012
Fox News: Copier Microsoft is doomed to fail with Surface tablet – June 19, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablet destined to be as successful as the Zune – June 19, 2012
Surface: Why Microsoft’s big mystery turns out to be a big mistake – June 19, 2012
Microsoft’s Suicide, er… ‘Surface’ – June 19, 2012
ZDNet Sr. Tech Editor Perlow: Microsoft’s Surface has catastrophe written all over it – June 19, 2012
Microsoft previews own ‘Surface’ tablet – June 18, 2012
Microsoft touts ‘major’ June 18 event said to showcase Windows RT tablets – June 15, 2012
ZDNet’s Kingsley-Hughes: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is an awful, horrible, painful design disaster – June 8, 2012
Analyst meets with big computer maker, finds ‘general lack of enthusiasm’ for Windows 8 – June 8, 2012
Dvorak: Windows 8 an unmitigated disaster; unusable and annoying; it makes your teeth itch – June 3, 2012
The Guardian: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is confusing as hell; an appalling user experience – March 5, 2012
More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video) – June 1, 2011


  1. The score is far too kind on Windows 8, when it has no track record at all.

    And knowing 10.8 has been out and selling well (and that it is based mostly on Lion) it seems Apples score is far too low.

    Mac ease of use… 10
    Features… 10
    Management… 9
    Security… 10
    Compatibility… 10
    Value… 10

    Add in the factor that MDN said — virtualization on the Mac makes for a very very good bonus that should put a windows machine in the DO NOT BUY category.

  2. I got into an argument with a co-worker a few weeks ago… “OS X is not unix”
    Somehow people still don’t understand that part..

    MDN’s take on the manageability is right, the rest I’d say is accurate. (the scoring)
    Except windows gets too much praise in the scoring.

    1. But it is Unix Certified and regardless it underpinnings are of Unix/BSD.

      So in other words no matter how anyone try’s to slice it, OSX is Certified and Classified as Unix, since the split from AT&T bell labs people want to split hairs and say OSX is not Unix and thus is so False and Misleading.

      Read This, and follow up with the Reffrence from O’Riley Publishing and you can see why OSX is aReal Unix OS.


      1. sorry, I phrased that wrong.. Was typing fast.

        I KNOW OS X is unix.. The co-worker is the dumbass that thinks android is pure unix and OS X isn’t.

        It’s why I love OS X myself 😉

  3. “For example: “Manageability.” Learn how to use the Terminal in OS X and the score is tied at least. ”

    No. I as big of a Mac fan as anyone, but MDN doesn’t need to lie. Workgroup Manager, even when integrated with AD, doesn’t come close to the manageability that you get on Windows with GPOs.

    ““Compatibility.” The Mac is the world’s most compatible personal computer – unmatched by any Windows PC – in that it can run all the world’s software either natively or via fast virtualization.”

    Another example of where MDN goes off the rails, for literally millions of people all they need is their enterprise app to just work. Asking people/companies to spend extra for a window license for a VM and then the extra requirement of asking users to use both a Mac and Windows UI is just too much. In the enterprise world, Windows is more compatible.

    So granted perspective matters, but false blanket statements aren’t really useful.

  4. I didn’t RFTA, but I suspect that ‘compatibility’ means that you can run very old Windows (and MSDOS?) software, but you can’t run the same vintage of Mac software on current hardware. (Yes, there has been a processor switch in there.. So? There was Rosetta, now gone, and Classic, now gone.)

  5. Compatibility is a tough one. On the one hand, suppose for a minute that one was talking about compatibility with Windows software. In that case comparing OS X to Windows, Windows obviously wins. The argument that Macs are compatible with Windows and thus its software is a valid argument that in terms of Windows software compatibility, Macs are equal to PCs in terms of compatibility. In fact, Macs can be more compatible than many PCs on the market in this regard.

    However, if you shift the argument to Mac versus PC compatibility with any software, the Mac comes out clearly far ahead.

    If you take it a step further and judge compatibility with *quality* software, then both the Mac beats the PC and OS X beats Windows.

    For me, if OS X and Windows were exactly the same except for the software they could run, I’d still run OS X. Until Windows runs Aperture, Final Cut Pro, BBEdit and many of the other apps I prefer, software compatibility clearly goes to OS X.

    1. Hmm. “Quality” is a highly subjective term. For music production? Sure.

      An accountant might have a different perspective however. Sure you can get Excel on both, but there are a whole ton of good high quality add-ins for Windows Excel (Microsoft’s own analytics package) that are Windows only.

      Of course, you can do all that in Boot Camp. 🙂

      1. Exactly. And Excel on Mac doesn’t have nearly the feature set of its Windows counterpart. PivotCharts, for example, are awesome and only available on Windows.

      2. If my computer was going to be nothing but an Excel machine, ya, OS X versus Windows in terms of software for each platform, quality goes to Windows (I’d still want OS X for the system).

        But it’s not just an Excel machine. While I have to use Excel, I also use iTunes much more, and the quality of that on the Mac is much better, as are many other apps.

  6. “Another example: “Compatibility.” The Mac is the world’s most compatible personal computer – unmatched by any Windows PC – in that it can run all the world’s software either natively or via fast virtualization.”

    MDN – You are correct that Macs are the most compatible computers. But Infoworld was not comparing Macs to PCs. It was comparing Mountain Lion to Windows 8, and Mountain Lion does not run Windows apps. That was their point.

  7. When they say “compatibility”, they mean backward compatibility. Since Microsoft depends on enterprise customers, and since they’re known for relying on mission critical software run since the days of Windows 3.1, backwards compatibility is key. That said, Mountain Lion (and Lion before it) don’t have very good backward compatibility, but on the other side, how’s the world going to move forward if the ties with the past are not cut?

  8. Take the “value” metric out of the equation. It is wholly subjective and means nothing. We then have cumulative score of 8.4 on Mountain Lion vs 8.2 on Windows 8. I wholeheartedly agree Mountain Lion is the better OS, but I’m calling out this “Deathmatch” for what it is – trolling for hits.

    1. trolling yes…
      but all the metrics are SUBJECTIVE

      Ease of use?
      That is totally subjective, based on familiarity, common sense, logical steps and users experience

      Well depends if you feel the features are useful or not.
      Relevant to what the user hopes for – subjective again.

      Well this depends on the power user… subjecting to a class of user types and needs.

      This relates to ones insecurities and use of the computer. Believing your machine is totally secure is subjective to your own personal knowledge and computer expertise.

      Totally subjective – so much I have no clue what it means. Compatible to what… the eyes, the fingers? what?

      What makes a great buy? A sale? Loads of features at a reduced price? Subjective to the buyer and their relevant of past purchases.

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