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Myths and Misunderstandings: Macintosh and Windows

  • [My wife] and I both use our home computers to do work-related tasks a great deal. Both of our shops use all of the Microsoft Office applications. ... So, practically speaking, because of the demands of my job, I cannot boycott Microsoft entirely on my home computers.
  • Basically, the only Microsoft-produced application I could actually boycott is Windows itself.
    Counter-argument: "Counting Microsoft's Tentacles: Just How Tethered Are We?"

  • You might protest: "but the evil Microsoft gets a license fee when you buy a Windows application, like Rhapsody, whether or not it's a Microsoft product." True. Somehow, however, I suspect you're not terribly troubled by the money Microsoft is making from Office for Mac sales or licensing fees from Apple whenever someone installs iTunes for Windows.
  • Even using the Mac version of Office would be problematic. Just out of curiosity... I took a fairly heavily formatted report I'd written (bulleted lists, a few text boxes, a few graphics), saved in in Word for Mac format, and then reopened the Mac format file in Word. I was pleasantly surprised at how close it was to the original format. But it wasn't identical... it would probably have taken 10 minutes or so to reformat it to the original. If one of my co-workers who prepared a document that I edited in Word for Mac at home and then uploaded to our network for them to make further changes on had to do any reformatting to accommodate my desire to have a Mac, they would be none too pleased. In short, my job prevents me from boycotting MS entirely, and even using Office for Mac wouldn't be problem-free.
  • Second: Microsoft has a bulk license with our nonprofit organization so that I can use an entire Office suite for home use without having to pay for it... Maybe [my office] would expand the bulk license to include a copy of Office for Mac, too; I don't know. But if they wouldn't, I would have to pay for a copy of the full Office for Mac suite out of my own pocket...
  • Third (and, for me, this has been the most significant consideration): It is in the job description of my organization's 2 IT staff guys that they will do all desired maintenance/troubleshooting/upgrading of our home computers if we bring them into the office. They have installed memory for me, new drives and cards, a wireless network, and remote access software. ... Our IT staff doesn't maintain Macs.
    Counter-argument: "Don't All Computers Need A Help Desk Guy?"

  • Can a Mac make a fully-functional VPN connection to a Windows network? I imagine so; you would know better than me.
  • I would be sacrificing a lot of my limited time if I chose to have Macs at home or even a mixed Windows/Mac network because of the support services I would lose that are available to me from my IT guys at work.
  • Apart from the aforementioned loss of support from my computer guys, ... I would assume [there] would have to be at least some increase in technical issues as compared with a pure Mac or pure Windows network.
  • Fourth: ... While I dread opening up my computer, I do like to try to keep up at least somewhat with new software and hardware, etc. I find it extremely difficult to keep up withy my PC Magazines as it is; months-worth pile up. I don't have the time to read a Windows magazine and a Mac magazine. I just don't.
  • Fifth: Although it is the least of the issues, there is still the issue of learning the Mac, both the operating system and the applications. I've never used one. Maybe the learning curve wouldn't be that big... but it's still something new to learn.
  • With XP, Microsoft finally has a very stable OS. I don't question for a minute that Windows has enormous security problems compared to Apple, but I'm an experienced enough user that I haven't had any problem keeping a firewall, antivirus, and antispyware program running, and so far, knock wood, I haven't had any major problems
  • I don't question that Apple is great for multimedia applications... However, I don't do video or photo editing, compose music on my computer, make graphics, do desk-top publishing, or design web pages.
    Counter-argument: "When Is A Personal Computer Not Very Personal?"

  • I read the review of the new iLife suite in PC Magazine, which suggested that with respect to the one multimedia application I do use a little bit, Adobe Photoshop Album to manage my pictures, the new iPhoto has just caught up with a couple of key features of Album.
  • There is also the issue of relative costs. Even to this day, there is a certain premium to be paid for choosing an Apple over a PC. I did two careful comparisons the other day of four systems from Dell and Apple, two desktops and two portables.... The Mac is $270 (20%) more expensive. I also compared the Dell Inspiron 9200 portable with the top-of-the-line 17" screen Powerbook G4. Again, these are virtually identical computers as far as their specs. The Powerbook is $961 (55%) more expensive than the Dell.
    Counter-argument: "Of Course Macs Are More Expensive... Aren't They? "

  • If Microsoft were selling software to the Iranians to help them make nuclear bombs or Access to Zimbabwe's Mugabe to help him keep track of his political enemies, I would certainly boycott the company on principle alone. If there were a well-established, visible boycott of Microsoft with a realistic prospect of doing significant damage to the company, I would also give serious consideration to participating. But I'm not aware of any allegations against the company comparable to the former, and Microsoft is way too powerful to harm with a consumer boycott.
  • At the moment I'm frankly a lot more worried about the influence that Fox News and Clear Channel (for example) have over the information available to American citizens than I am about Microsoft. The mergers that are happening in the telecom industry are more likely to lead to restrictions on which Web sites we can access and what we can do on the Internet than anything Microsoft seems to be doing at present.
  • Microsoft isn't going to be dethroned by a boycott; as the experience with Firefox shows, it's going to be dethroned when someone comes up with something better and cheaper.
  • It's hard for me to see choosing Apple over Microsoft as striking some great blow for populism just because Apple is a smaller company... In my mind, choosing Apple is substituting one greedy corporation for another.
    Counter-argument: "Why Buy A Mac Instead of Windows?"
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