This week I was quoted in a MacNewsWorld article titled “Mac OS X vs. Windows: Does Soul Matter?” The article asks “beneath the superficial surface features, what are the real core differences between the two operating systems?”. The particular focus of the article is on the emotional pull of the two different (but closely related) platforms.
My point of view on this topic is that Mac OS and Windows have a shared linage of sorts, but have always pursued different goals and fundamentally have different design philosophies. In particular, while Apple chose to pursue the seamless integration of hardware and software along with simplicity and ease of use, Microsoft sought ways to get its software on as many PCs as possible. Microsoft massively achieved this goal, since about 90% of all computers run some flavor of Windows.
A beneficial side effect of Microsoft’s approach was near-global software standardization, which probably helped facilitate mass-adoption of personal computers. Of course, it also made Windows an attractive and easy target for viruses, trojans, worms, and other computer attacks. Vista is apparently much more secure than earlier versions of Windows.
Apple never sought total global OS domination, but instead sought a large, healthy, and sustainable niche in the computing ecosystem. With 30 million users and a mature modern OS, Apple has also achieved its goal.
Some would say Apple’s goal was simply to be the flat-out “best” personal computing platform. That designation is subjective, but many surveys show Apple to be among the most admired companies in the US.
I admit, I’ve been a PC-basher in the past. However, I no longer want to waste time with that. I’ve grown exceedingly bored with the Mac vs PC debate. This is partly because the invective and spite around the issue has grown truly unpleasant. Visit any Mac vs PC message board, and you’ll find vulgar, overblown rhetoric (on both sides). It can be amusing — like the Mac-basher who recently responded to the topic “Thinking of getting a Mac” with the statement “OSX users. 10 million. Windows users. 100 Billion. Any questions? You can shut up now.” Rude, and there’s nowhere near 100 billion people in the world.
Apple and Microsoft are both guilty as well – Mac with their “Get A Mac” TV ads, and Microsoft with their recent “Mac Tax” ads.
I prefer any version of Mac OS X to XP or Vista, and fortunately I can do all of my computer-related tasks on a Mac. Mac works for me — in fact, Mac is excellent for me.
But I recognize that Windows works for many people. I’m grateful I don’t have to use it, just like I’m grateful I don’t have to commute in a panel van every day. I’ll continue to make my preference known with my dollars — and not on overheated Internet forums. From now on, you’ll never hear me say “Windows sucks”.
Red Sox vs Yankees, however — that’s a debate I’ll get into anytime. Not that we Red Sox fans have anything to brag about right now. Or often did in the past. But still.