Top 5 Myths Computer Repair Customers Believe About “Going Apple”

apple-myth

“If I got a Mac, I wouldn’t have these problems.” If I got a nickel for every time a customer told me that…. well, you get where I’m headed with this.  There seems to be a perceived consensus among a segment of my customer base that believes going Mac would solve all their ills, save them money, and provide numerous other benefits. While there are situations where Macs are justified, the steamrolling in the media by the Apple-centric movement to iEverything helps fuel a majority of this misconception surrounding the Apple brand.

The purpose of this article is squarely aimed at debunking common myths surrounding using Macs as desktop or laptop PC replacements. And I’m not going to say that Apple’s computers aren’t well engineered. They have their place, and determining where that may be is up to technicians like ourselves. But I decided to tackle this touchy topic since I know many computer techs are being asked about this at an increasing rate, and it’s hard to be properly informed with so many myths running rampant in the public view.

I’ve done quite a bit of research on many of these myths over the years and have formulated educated responses when FireLogic customers ask for my professional opinion. I’m not an Apple hater, but I do want to better educate my customers and dis-spell the myths that never seem to die. You’re likely considered the technology expert by your own fellow customers, so it’s a good idea to have a rounded consideration of the other side of the fervent pro-Mac argument. Present your customers with the real facts and let them decide on which route they want to go.

Let’s have a look at the 5 most common myths that I hear from customers:

Myth #5: “Macs don’t get viruses, hence they are the most secure computer.”

As long as computers & software are made by humans, they will be insecure. Let’s not kid ourselves. While the above argument would have been slightly more plausible in the remaining stretch of Windows XP’s heyday (2004-2007 or so) when viruses and malware were just destroying the aging OS, the times have since changed. It’s 2012 and malware writers have finally noticed the Mac market as being sizable enough to matter.

I guess therein lies the other misconception about Windows machines – that they are innately insecure because Windows is a poorly written OS, Microsoft doesn’t care about us, etc. Surprisingly, the opposite seems to be true according to numerous reports. Security vendor Secunia came out with a study that said Apple actually has the most holes of any major software maker, and white hat hacker & security research team lead at 3Com Tippingpoint, Aaron Portnoy, told Computerworld that Windows 7 was much safer than Apple’s Snow Leopard OS from his findings during exploit hunts.

The bigger concern here, of course, is that the public continues to believe that they do not need antivirus software for their Mac systems. PC Magazine reported about the growing malware problem on OS X at length last year, and security software vendor F-Secure even re-introduced a Mac version of its client in 2011 in response to the growing threat of Mac malware. The number of Macs I’ve personally cleaned in the last 3 months alone is troubling. All of these Macs had no security software installed and the users were oblivious to how much malware their Macs were hosting. I’ve since switched them all over to ESET’s excellent Cybersecurity for MAC product without issue, but the underlying problem remains. Customers continue to believe the “Macs get no viruses” tagline and need informed technicians to steer them otherwise. I’m not saying they need to ditch their Macs; but securing them with proper software is a necessity and not a nicety anymore.

Myth #4: “My friends say Macs are just easier to use.”

This myth is based around a concept which is highly subjective, and I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Who’s to say what would be easier and more intuitive for you when someone else is basing their judgement upon their own experiences? For many people, the Windows environment is well known, established, and they can use it to get their work done the way they are subsequently used to. For example, Ashton Mills from APC Magazine highlighted a number of the caveats of Windows that he believes trumps OS X, and Betanews staff writer Joe Wilcox went into detail as to why he ditched the Mac in favor of Windows 7. Of course, there are plenty of others on the flipside of this fence – but we shouldn’t create a broad judgement for ALL customers based upon the experiences of a few.

A subjective opinion that comes down to personal preference should be kept at that. Don’t force your customers onto a Mac (or Windows box vice-versa) just because their friends or yourself find it easier. For many, ease of use may sit solely within what they have become comfortable with over the last ten years of their professional life.

Myth #3: “People say all the software I need is available on the Mac, too.”

Again, a matter of subjectivity and intended usage are much more relevant to such a conclusion rather than a blanket statement. Surely Mac compatibility with major software suites has gotten immensely better over the last 3-4 years, but gaps indeed remain. The likes of Adobe products including Photoshop and Indesign are carbon-copies of their PC cousins, and the same rings true for the Office suite (to a certain extent) and many other products people are accustomed to. Hardware compatibility is largely a non-issue now after manufacturers spent much of the past half decade catching up to pace with their Windows driver assortment. Some hardware will still face issues however.

The above trend doesn’t hold true in all regards though. Microsoft Office mainstays like Access, Publisher, and OneNote are notably absent on the Mac still. Popular business accounting suite Peachtree has yet to release a Mac variant. Quickbooks has a Mac version, but it’s crippled largely by having a smaller feature set, different file formats, and nearly no 3rd party application integration. And for those who live and die by the AutoDesk suite, the Mac has no native versions of Inventor, Revit, or 3DS Max just to name a few. This list is by no means exhaustive but covers a few common programs that some businesses can’t live without. There’s always the option of using Parallels to make it work, but my response to that is in Myth #1 below.

Myth #2: “Macs are simpler machines and therefore are cheaper to repair.”

This myth, once more, pits an argument that could be subjective to the scenario surrounding the cause for a needed repair. On the software side of things, I’m not going to make any judgement whether Windows or Mac systems are easier to work with. Some trained Mac techs could breeze through a Mac issue much faster than I could. But likewise, I’d probably hold my own on the Windows side of things. We can agree on that much.

Software aside, however, and things become a different story. While a greater portion of Mac hardware is utilizing standard PC-style equipment, many of the niche parts that make up a majority of Apple’s systems are downright costly to repair or replace. Why is this? Simple laws of supply and demand. The overall market for Mac systems is relatively small compared to PCs which keeps prices high on most Mac-only replacement parts. I recently handled a 2007-era iMac desktop repair that needed a whole new LCD screen. The Apple Store quoted this customer over $500 for the entire job. They were a family friend and I had forgone charging labor (for various reasons) but the screen itself came in at over $280 alone. If I had to bundle labor, the job would have likely cost this person closer to $400. Not only was the part very hard to come by, but the labor to install the new screen was nearly double what a PC counterpart would have taken. In general, most of my Mac hardware repairs come at a 30-50% premium over comparable PC repairs in similar situations.

So are Macs cheaper to repair than PCs? Possibly, but only if you consider software repairs in the equation. Hardware repairs on PCs are still more affordable by a fair margin.

Myth #1: “Everyone says Macs have a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).”

One thing business owners love to discuss with me is TCO. Seeing that many of them are average consumers as well, they’ve heard the tagline of Macs costing less to operate in comparison to PCs. I then start to run the numbers with them compared to their current environment. Let’s say a hypothetical business owner runs an office of 6 machines. He is considering moving to all Macs. They use a scattering of programs including Access and Quickbooks. The cheapest Mac desktop they can purchase is the $1200 iMac. There’s no Mac version of Access, and they don’t want to use a watered down edition of Quickbooks on the Mac, so they decide to go the Parallels route for each workstation.

Not only do they need a copy of Parallels for each machine, but now a legal copy of Windows 7 is necessary for every Mac to run their business programs. Add in antivirus solutions for both the native Mac OS X and virtual Windows environments (per Myth #5 above) and software costs just skyrocketed. And let’s not forget that workers will likely need to be retrained on how to work a multi-OS Parallels environment – tacking re-education costs onto the final transition bill. Similar conditions can keep the tab on a consumer-oriented migration high as well, namely in re-education and dual-licensing scenarios. And remember that Macs start at $1199 USD. Comparable high end PCs could be had for a few hundred less, and more cost effective mid-range PCs go for nearly half that price. In this economy, that initial cost difference is a tough sell for some.

You can see where the path is headed. Every time I have a discussion like this with a business owner, they quickly realize that Mac isn’t always the nirvana of cost reduction everyone claims. Are there situations where going with Mac make sense? Sure. I won’t deny that by any means. Freelance artists, video production folk, and other niche industries can definitely benefit from using a Mac. But don’t blindly equate a lower TCO with moving to the Mac platform without running the numbers first. In many situations, businesses with a secured and stable PC environment will save a good margin over switching over to the other side.

I know this topic as a whole evokes a lot of emotion from the Windows and Mac diehards. But for the sake of those we serve – our customers, ultimately – we need to put aside the misconceptions and myths behind why someone should be on a Mac or not. Instead, resort to more grounded reasoning that makes sense using facts like the ones I referenced above. We’re considered the experts in our field because of our combined experience, knowledge, and professional judgement. Flying a flag in one side of the computer battlefield for the sake of self-fulfillment is an injustice to your customer base and effectively to yourself as a computer repair technician, too.



Derrick Wlodarz

About the Author

Derrick Wlodarz
More articles by me...
Derrick Wlodarz is an IT Specialist that owns Park Ridge, IL (USA) based technology consulting & service company FireLogic, with over 8+ years of IT experience in the private and public sectors. He holds numerous technical credentials from Microsoft, Google, and CompTIA and specializes in consulting customers on growing hot technologies such as Office 365, Google Apps, cloud hosted VoIP, among others. Derrick is an active member of CompTIA's Subject Matter Expert Technical Advisory Council that shapes the future of CompTIA exams across the world. You can reach him directly at derrick@wlodarz.net.

Comments (57)

  • Wiltz Cutrer says:

    Very well stated.

    • jesse says:

      probably the most inaccurate, biased, post i’ve read on the subject. fyi.

      i work for a fortune 20, for 15 years in IT.

      Pretty much every point is more than half wrong.

      • nate says:

        Instead of bashing the article why don’t you explain to all of us retards why this article is so wrong. I forgot how anyone who works at a fortune 20 company knows more than everyone in the IT field.

  • Curtiss says:

    Great article, Derrick. I have the Mac/PC debate every time I go over to the folks house. My brother-in-law is a huge fan of the Apple products and Dad has jumped on the bandwagon as well, despite all of the counter points I offer. I’m glad to see that there are other techs out there who are trying to bring clear thinking to the table. Keep up the good work!

  • John says:

    Very well written article Derrick! I have had this similar discussion/debate with numerous people.
    Keep up the good work!! :)

  • Trusted IT Solutions says:

    Yet another informative article! Thanks Derrik. You should consider writing a book. Seriously.

  • Trusted IT Solutions says:

    *Derrick*…sorry for the misspelling.

  • Rainman748 says:

    Good article, but Apple does carry a lower priced desktop, the Mac Mini at $599.

  • catester says:

    Thank you for this well-written article!

  • gunslinger says:

    Wrong on a few points. Not completely but some of your statements are misleading.

    Myth #5: “Macs don’t get viruses, hence they are the most secure computer.”

    I have NEVER seen a Mac virus in the wild. Ever. I know a few guys who only work on Macs and they have not seen a legit Mac virus. Are they completely malware proof? No. Are they far less likely to be infected than a Windows box? Hell yes, far less likely. Its a non-issue. Theory based exploits that never show up in the real world do not count.

    Myth #3: “People say all the software I need is available on the Mac, too.”

    True but only to an extent. While all the software one may want to use may not be available for Mac chances are there are very good if not better alternatives. If not, you can always dual boot your Mac with Windows to use that one program when you need it. Something you cannot legally or easily do with a PC.

    Myth #1: “Everyone says Macs have a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).”

    This is not a myth, Its relative. Example: I have had customers bring me their computers with horror stories about spending $200 or more to have a reinstall done because of a virus. THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED ON A MAC.

    Myth #4: “My friends say Macs are just easier to use.”

    This is not a myth. Again its relative. If you get on a Mac expecting it to be Windows yes you will be disappointed and may have a hard time learning new things. But most people I have talked with that made the switch after a week or two started asking why Windows didn’t do it that way all along.

    • compnet says:

      seriously gunslinger. give it up…

      http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4650

      • gunslinger says:

        Did you even bother to read?

        I said: “Are they completely malware proof? No.”

        Also if you would have bothered to read the link you posted you would see its malware, not a virus. You do understand there is a difference right? Do you also understand I have to manually install this on my Mac?

        You should really try to understand what you are talking about before making stupid posts. I thought you would have learned your lesson by now.

        • digitalctrl says:

          WHAT? There’s a difference between a virus and malicious software?

          Could you enlighten us all to this difference please, sir? *LOL*

          • gunslinger says:

            Sure I’ll enlighten you.

            A computer virus attaches itself to a program or file enabling it to spread from one computer to another, leaving infections as it travels. Like a human virus, a computer virus can range in severity: some may cause only mildly annoying effects while others can damage your hardware, software or files.

            Trojan Horse, at first glance will appear to be useful software but will actually do damage once installed or run on your computer. Those on the receiving end of a Trojan Horse are usually tricked into opening them because they appear to be receiving legitimate software or files from a legitimate source. When a Trojan is activated on your computer, the results can vary. Some Trojans are designed to be more annoying than malicious

            What you linked to was a Trojan that cannot install itself on a machine without the owners consent and entering the password.

        • digitalctrl says:

          Nah, *I* didn’t link to anything. That was another gentleman.

          You somehow went from “malicious software” to trojan horse just now too…

          Worm, trojan horse, virus, they’re all the same type of stuff. There are different TYPES of MALICIOUS SOFTWARE.

          Focusing on the technicality of a word, as you did with the difference between “virus” and “malware” is severely flawed when you yourself seem to redetermine the definition of “malicious software,” often shortened as malware. For many people, the term “virus” and “spyware” means the same thing and back in the 90′s, when the terms spyware didn’t exist and when fewer people used the term “trojan horse” any malicious code was considered a virus. Hence the reason why antiVIRUS software detected all forms of malicious software, or viruses, known.

          I understand Apple fans love to defend its products but at least defend it with ideas like their antivirus software is better, they’re quicker at patching holes, or SOMETHING other than “OH EM GE!! You said virus when TECHNICALLY you should have said trojan horsey!!!111!!”

          • gunslinger says:

            You asked what the difference between a virus and malicious software was, I assumed you meant malware. There are different types. My point simply was there are no Mac viruses because that term gets thrown around a lot. A virus can install itself on a machine with no direct action from the user, a trojan cannot. There is a big difference.

            Macs are still many times less likely to be infected, its just a fact. But Mac haters don’t want to see it.

          • digitalctrl says:

            Malware and malicious software are the same thing. Malware is a shortened term…just FYI.

        • Cowboy says:

          @gunslinger

          You are correct that mac haters don’t want to accept a lot of things but I have come to notice when someone feels as strongly as you do about it then it really doesn’t matter what side you’re on because people that feel that strongly will not accept anything less than saying that their product is perfect.

          • Micah says:

            Great article. I will be using these points to speak to customers who complain about Windows and think a Mac is the ‘panacea’ for computer users.

            Gunslinger, we appreciate your affinity for the Mac, but as was stated, whatever computing OS becomes more popular is the one that will attract the majority of malware creators. And I’m sure you’ve already recently discovered, malware is more or less a blanket term for viruses, trojan horses, rootkits, and all other malicious software, which is precisely what malware means. It’s more or less pointless to state that Mac’s don’t get viruses just because there might not be one in the wild right now. If Mac’s were more popular than PC’s right now, guess which one would be most targeted with malware? Malware creators adapt, in a twisted sort of supply-and-demand way. It’s commendable to have such faith in your OS, but don’t let it blind you to vulnerabilities.

    • Micah says:

      I’m sorry, I just couldn’t let those other myths be called ‘relative’…

      <<>>

      Alternatives won’t cut it for businesses whose employees are trained on a particular software. The cost of retraining employees who have spent perhaps years using the same software and have no technical expertise to learn another outside of following ‘point and click’ directions will be very high.
      All the software I need’ is a blanket statement that truly can be classified as a myth, since needs are completely different for different individuals. I know of many software companies who have popular products for which there is no Mac alternative, and people who are led to believe a Mac is ‘all needs fulfilled’ solution will be led astray.

      <<>>

      Again, it’s a myth, not relative. Imagine you have 2 individuals who are both on the same level as far as high technical expertise, one has a Mac, one has a PC. They’re both unlikely to get malware on their system because they know to protect their computer and not be stupidly clicking on every link they get in an email, thinking they are invincible because they have ‘anti-virus’ and a firewall. The Mac user spent $1200 on his machine, while the PC user spent $500. Whose machine has lower TOC? A piece of hardware fails, and the Mac’s hardware costs more to replace than the equivalent on the PC. Whose machine has lower TOC? If you’re going to discuss individuals who don’t know how to operate a computer properly, the TOC will be all over the charts on both machines, just like car owners who don’t know their car needs oil to run, or oil changes on a regular basis. If we’re talking about two users of different OS’s who aren’t smart enough to protect their computer or avoid obvious malware sources, the Mac still has the higher price tag, and the odds are even that either one of them could destroy their machine first or incur more cost than the other by not operating it correctly.

      Myth #4: “My friends say Macs are just easier to use.”
      <<<>>>

      Ok, that statement coming from a Windows user, it’s a blatant myth. Yes you can debate about it being relative or not, but the issue at stake is whether or not it holds true in all cases. That defines the death of a myth. One popular reference defines myth as: A commonly-held but false belief or a popular conception about a real person or event which distorts, exaggerates or idealizes reality.

      Some of us have had the flipside of the coin, Windows users switching believing it will be easier for them and being totally lost and unable to navigate their OS to do what they easily did with Windows. Again, it is a popular conception that distorts reality, as it is completely relative to the user.

      • Micah says:

        My last post cut out all my quotes because of the lt/gt symbols I used…sorry about that…

        I’m sorry, I just couldn’t let those other myths be called ‘relative’…

        (Myth #3: “People say all the software I need is available on the Mac, too.”
        True but only to an extent. While all the software one may want to use may not be available for Mac chances are there are very good if not better alternatives. If not, you can always dual boot your Mac with Windows to use that one program when you need it. Something you cannot legally or easily do with a PC.)

        Alternatives won’t cut it for businesses whose employees are trained on a particular software. The cost of retraining employees who have spent perhaps years using the same software and have no technical expertise to learn another outside of following ‘point and click’ directions will be very high.
        All the software I need’ is a blanket statement that truly can be classified as a myth, since needs are completely different for different individuals. I know of many software companies who have popular products for which there is no Mac alternative, and people who are led to believe a Mac is ‘all needs fulfilled’ solution will be led astray.

        (Myth #1: “Everyone says Macs have a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).”
        This is not a myth, Its relative. Example: I have had customers bring me their computers with horror stories about spending $200 or more to have a reinstall done because of a virus. THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED ON A MAC.)

        Again, it’s a myth, not relative. Imagine you have 2 individuals who are both on the same level as far as high technical expertise, one has a Mac, one has a PC. They’re both unlikely to get malware on their system because they know to protect their computer and not be stupidly clicking on every link they get in an email, thinking they are invincible because they have ‘anti-virus’ and a firewall. The Mac user spent $1200 on his machine, while the PC user spent $500. Whose machine has lower TOC? A piece of hardware fails, and the Mac’s hardware costs more to replace than the equivalent on the PC. Whose machine has lower TOC? If you’re going to discuss individuals who don’t know how to operate a computer properly, the TOC will be all over the charts on both machines, just like car owners who don’t know their car needs oil to run, or oil changes on a regular basis. If we’re talking about two users of different OS’s who aren’t smart enough to protect their computer or avoid obvious malware sources, the Mac still has the higher price tag, and the odds are even that either one of them could destroy their machine first or incur more cost than the other by not operating it correctly.

        Myth #4: “My friends say Macs are just easier to use.”
        (This is not a myth. Again its relative. If you get on a Mac expecting it to be Windows yes you will be disappointed and may have a hard time learning new things. But most people I have talked with that made the switch after a week or two started asking why Windows didn’t do it that way all along.)

        Ok, that statement coming from a Windows user, it’s a blatant myth. Yes you can debate about it being relative or not, but the issue at stake is whether or not it holds true in all cases. That defines the death of a myth. One popular reference defines myth as: A commonly-held but false belief or a popular conception about a real person or event which distorts, exaggerates or idealizes reality.

        Some of us have had the flipside of the coin, Windows users switching believing it will be easier for them and being totally lost and unable to navigate their OS to do what they easily did with Windows. Again, it is a popular conception that distorts reality, as it is completely relative to the user.

    • Michael says:

      Sorry gunslinger but I only work on a few Macs a quarter, and of those a good portion come in with a legitimate “in the wild” virus on them. It does happen. I think saying the article is misleading because you subjectively haven’t seen one is just as misleading as you claim the article to be. Do they have less viruses? Maybe, but from market share alone there will be less.

      Think about it if there were only 100 computers in the world, 90 of them would be PCs and about 10 Macs (for this example I’m ignoring linux).

      If 5% of machines get infected (again example) that would leave is with 4.5 Pc’s with Viruses and only .5 Macs. it to some people would seem as though a PC is 5 times as likely to get one, when in fact the numbers show they are just as likely.

      Now forgetting that example, look to the simple logic of a person who writes a virus. If you want to hit as many machines as possible, you will write a windows specific virus. This is because you are 9 times more likely to get a return.

      Again stating something is misleading and giving personal experience (something you state is subjective and misleading) as evidence, is just as misleading.

      BTW I like Macs and PCs I am just playing Devil’s advocate.

  • AC says:

    Also, I get the “Mac’s don’t break” line thrown at me all too often. I have to explain that it’s just another laptop(minus the cosmetic differences, EFI, etc). A hard drive can crash as equally in a Mac as it could in a Windows PC, Linux server, DVR, game console, etc. Your hard drive does not gain a magical force field by being mounted in something with an Apple logo. Same for RAM, optical drives, etc.

  • Chris Grant says:

    Another great article! As a MAC and Windows user and someone who has Windows installed on my MAC Book Pro through VMWare I can say there is good and bad about both systems. We still have to keep our systems optimized with ccleaner or Onyx and both get errors, junk, cookies, etc. The user interface of Outlook 2010 and the functionality in a Windows environment far out ways that of my MAC OSx. Using graphics programs on a MAC are way better than Windows and MAC’s come with the ability to save as pdf’s, so I don’t need to add any 3rd party tools. So overall both are good and bad for different reasons, but great contribution as always Derrick!! I look forward to your next post.

  • teksquad says:

    Are we still on this subject? I have a mac and a pc. Do they both have vulnerabilities? Yes. Can a mac get infected? Yes. As far as security goes I can guarantee you that you can find some one out there to say the exact opposite to what Derrick posted. Also Derrick that article was from 2010 and deals with Snow Leopard? Would help to get some updated information. The point is that alot of this comes down to opinion. I love my macbook pro. I actually replaced my windows machine with the macbook at work. (Network Admin) and I still use my windows machines at home. Each has their issues. Is a mac for everyone? No. Is a windows machine for everyone? No. As far as software on the mac goes, I haven’t had a problem yet finding a similar product for the mac. Most of which is free I might add. This debate can go on for ever. Some people hate macs. Some hate windows. I like and use both.

  • Kallan says:

    You are absolutely right about everything stated here. Macs aren’t more secure, they’re not easier to use, and they’re much more expensive. Unfortunately I never get any customers that use Macs… They never seem to have issues. LOL

  • Wayne says:

    Excellent article.
    As Derrick pointed out, this topic always can create some emoticion!!

    From my limited experience so far in the domestic field, my customer base with Mac’s is less than 5%, and everyone of them changed from PC to Mac because ‘it’s cool’, there was no reason to do with functionality.
    I have both pc and mac,and only use my mac to teach myself how it works etc, My pc’s and laptops do everything i need, at a fraction of the cost of a mac, and until that changes i don’t see myself changing anytime soon.

  • Monkeypigs says:

    I have an old iMac, I used to love it, sing the praises of it, and now, 7 years old, it’s sat, gathering dust, obsolete. Lots of software now won’t run on the older PPC Macs, so it’s consigned to history / the rubbish bin. On the other hand, I have an ex-Windows machine of a similar age, running Ubuntu, and I can’t see me ever justifying the cost of owning a Mac again. My Ubuntu box runs faster than my Mac ever did, granted some of the issues highlighted still apply, but when you’re looking a TCO, Mac really isn’t the way to go. Even if you do end up with a virtual version of Windows for some tasks, your TCO is still going to be lower than a Mac / Windows. If anyone is looking at moving away from Windows, and think that Linux is daunting, a Mac certainly isn’t the answer (Plus variations of Ubuntu such as Pinguy aimed at novice Linux users are widely availible).

    As much as I once loved my Mac, now I can’t stand to use it for more than a few minutes without getting frustrated at it.

    As for Windows, I’ve seen the future in Windows 8, and I’m certainly not going to make the leap back any time soon!

  • St Petersburg Computer Repair Services says:

    Great article! I always like to tease my clients saying something to the effect of: “I’m not much of a mac guy” they’ll ask why and I’ll say: “they don’t break enough for me”! It kind of breaks the ice a little bit but also once I mention that macs are often 2-3 times the cost plus I estimate that 95% of businesses use Windows so if you want to be as competitive in your field as possible (unless you’re a graphic/audio/video artist) stay with a Windows based machine so you’ll already know your work’s systems.

  • Russel says:

    I explain the for’s and against as follows.

    Windows will work with anything, almost all programmers in the world write programs only for Windows to it is highly compatible. Most technicians are knowledgeable on Windows only.

    By this point I can see there heart shattering because they have been so excited about MAC’s.

    I then say to all customers (coz I want to see them again) MACs are nice machines and have a good feel to them. If you want to get your hands on one, I have lots of customers who have MAC and if you are after that feeling it might be something to look at.

    I deal with Residential and Small Business customers, if I did medium and corporate I would probably have a strict policy of no MACs and seriously advise against them.

    Windows 8 soon! Come on Microsoft no curve balls please… I think they should stick with Windows 7 for a 2 more years before the next release.

  • Mike Smith says:

    OS X and OS X Server had fewer vulnerabilities in 2011 than Windows 7 and Windows Server. Individually and combined. However you slice it.
    http://www.s21sec.com/prensa.aspx?sec=4&ntc=1669#1669
    Remember that Darwin is open source, so bad guys do have a leg up on finding flaws in OS X compared to Windows. And still Windows is more broken.

    The article you mention in myth #5 is actually a reference to safari being less secure than internet explorer. Since when is a browser an OS?

    Micah says “Alternatives won’t cut it for businesses whose employees are trained on a particular software.”

    I lol’d on that one. Do you mean to tell me Office 2007 doesn’t count? I have users refusing it becasue it is so different from the last, what, 10 years of MS Office?

    “So are Macs cheaper to repair than PCs? Possibly, but only if you consider software repairs in the equation. Hardware repairs on PCs are still more affordable by a fair margin.”

    Another LOLer. Macs are cheaper if you consider MS software problems as part of the TCO, which you shouldn’t becasue that would be unfair, becasue Mac hardware is more expensive.
    Brilliant.
    If that were a business Mac it would have done well and be ready for replacement anyway. 5 years is about the average for business computers.

    As for business software, would you say that switching TO PC from Mac would be a bad idea because adobe products don’t work as well on PC as they do on Mac?
    Each business makes a decision based on needs. Need specialized software? Get the computer that supports it. Need One Note? No you do not. You can easily migrate access to better more efficient databases as well.

    Have a small firm? OS X server is 500 bucks (compared to 800 for plain windows) and OS X Server comes with unlimited user CALS and unlimited Email and unlimited Calendaring too.

  • bob lou says:

    I see them as high end machines and so parts and service are going to cost more. the big advantage is virus, seldom if ever they are attacked because most virus only invade microsoft windows. As to ease of use I don’t know.

  • Ebus says:

    I find that the whole question of Mac or PC to be irrelevant. The customer’s needs drive the choice. Most of my clients require PC’s to do their work, however, there are those who have switched to Mac’s to reduce their TCO. Those that use Mac’s did so because 1.) they had a low to zero need to use PC software and/or, and this one is the real engine behind the change, 2.) they wanted to reduce the amount of my time to keep their systems operating optimally.
    If you are at a clients because the issues that occur using a PC has them spending large amounts of capital on your time and you seemingly can’t correct the issues in a permanent sense, the the choice to go Mac is a balance of the customers needs. Nothing more and nothing less. Also, you have to ask yourself, if I’m not resolving this issue in some permanent fashion the client must think that I’m not really doing my job and must be milking the work!
    I deliver value to my customers. That means whether the client uses a Mac or PC is dependent on what their individual needs dictate. Forgive me for not using more definitive examples because at the level of this conversation only generalities will suffice.

    • Josh says:

      I completely agree with you. So what if I client only wants a Mac because of the aesthetics, if that’s what is important to them then that is what matters and will make them happy. This article listed non of the reasons why someone might want a Mac. Some people really are fed up with windows and want to try the alternative and as a professional it is your job to assess the situation and facilitate there requests when reasonable. Some client’s have wacky backgrounds, rearrange there desktop, and have an odd way of filing their documents but this is all to their taste. Who are we to assert that they have to do things a certain way. As long as they can do everything on a Mac that they could on a PC then make the switch.

  • Neal says:

    Great article Derrick–very well researched.

    These days the battleground is shifting from all those Mac OS vs. Vista commercials, to iOS vs. everything else. Admittedly Microsoft dug a hole for themselves and wasted several years by producing Vista.

    Windows 7 eventually caught up and surpassed what now looks like a pretty tired OSX user interface. However, Apple now seems to be re-framing the debate by de-emphasizing MacOS and PCs in favor of iOS and tablets.

    Microsoft has a chance to gain back ground with both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 sharing a common Metro interface and potentially sharing documents (i.e., leave your office and your open windows show up on your phone). The good news is that Microsoft seems to have finally woken up to the urgency of executing correctly on this. If they’re smart they’ll make some of these features available on Android in addition to doing their own thing on Windows 8 phone, since they are starting so far back in market share.

    Aside from that, it never ceases to amaze me how all the “Fisher Price” users so willingly submit themselves to Apple’s software jail. If for no other reason than the fact that the PC offers freedom of choice of application and content vendors, much cheaper commodity hardware, and the freedom of using an open source OS like Linux, customers should welcome use of a PC.

  • Josh says:

    I won’t weigh in on the pros and cons of mac ownership, and analyze every little detail about the two. All I will say is that the customers I set up with a mac I only here from about once every 2 or 3 years on average while most of my windows clients call me every 2 or 3 months. When I do have Mac appointments they are generally something a little more fun like setting up an airport network so they can stream music throughout the house. While I advertise heavily that I provide Mac repair I would say only about 1-2% of my revenue comes from “repairing” Mac’s. I still have never seen an actual virus on a Mac. I’ve seen phishing scams that hijack Safari and word documents with embedded macros but nothing that has ever taken down a mac the way it happens on windows. The bottom line is my clients have been pleased with their mac and the proof is in my numbers and customer feedback. If things ever change then so will my opinion and recommendations. I should also note that I never force a customer into a mac, I only lay out the differences when they ask and give a recommendation based on their situation.

    This article is very one sided as pretty much all of these types of articles are and doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than to start a flame war. You know what is going to work for your customers in there given situation.

    • Ebus says:

      I agree with you Josh. I attempted to make the same observation with my post but, didn’t do it as much justice as you have. The client comes first.

  • Nathan says:

    I use Macs, Linux boxes, Windows computers and more on a daily basis and as a technician. While I think that the points in this article are good ones, I have to disagree with the security assessment. That assessment is full of old numbers by now. The latest iteration of OS X, Lion (10.7) is significantly more secure, as Apple has (finally) stepped up their security game.

    It’s also important to pay care to the difference between “secure” and “safe.” Safety pertains to how likely a system is to be targeted, mostly based on marketshare, whereas security pertains to how attack-prone or attack-resistant an OS is.

    It’s also important to note that Unix and Unix-like operating systems, on the whole, including OS X, tend to be more secure than Windows. Does this mean they are invincible? Certainly not. However, most of the vulnerabilities for the Mac are application-based, as are most exploitations.

    Last but not least, in the area of safety it is worth noting that the number of Mac malware programs has not increased proportionally to the Mac user base, but at a much slower rate. The argument that more malware for the Mac will be written with OS X’s growing popularity is true, but only to a point; the growth is not proportional.

    • Nathan says:

      I forgot to add, here’s an article for some reference:

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/21/mac_os_x_lion_security

      While Lion certainly isn’t invincible, and I’m not going to argue that it challenges such an OS as OpenBSD, for instance, on security, when properly configured (i.e., firewall on and configured, etc.) Lion as an operating system is quite robust. As I said, the problem lies with the applications, although this problem plagues Windows, too.

      I suppose that I should also add that it is unfair to downplay security threats because the days of XP are ending. Windows 7 has plenty of security flaws and weaknesses, and I’m seeing more and more infections on 7 as time wears on, with the infection rate being about the same as it was for XP. Windows has made leaps and bounds with security, but such things as the registry are still huge security weaknesses that should have been eliminated long ago.

      All this leads to the most important point. The largest weakness in a computer’s security is the user and how well-informed or mal-informed he or she is. It is important to advise users to research applications they are downloading, and the general safety rules regarding downloading attachments (i.e., if you weren’t expecting it (i.e., the pictures of your new baby cousin sent by your aunt), then don’t download it.

  • Burton says:

    great article AND comment thread! I had the same discussion with a friend the other day.

  • TechPro57 says:

    I have an acquaintance who is a diehard, vehement, Win-hating, pro-Mac using, teacher, and paid technician.

    After berating me on the virtues of Mac (again) she went on to tell me how wonderful her new Kindle Fire was. I said, “what? No ipad?” And she said, “no, this was $200 cheaper, has color, and I can get books for 99 cents wirelessly.”

    I thought, gee…these are the same reasons I always opted for Win-based machines. They are cheaper, more bang for the buck than the Apple. I could buy 3 Win computers for the price of the Mac.

    Her hypocrisy aside, there is of course room for all of these machines. I do own an iPod Touch and it has worked well for me.

    • Nathan says:

      Yes a wino can buy three bottles of wine for the same price I buy a bottle for dinner but it doesn’t make them the same quality.

  • Robert Helton says:

    Excellent well stated

  • Mike Wilson says:

    I am really tired of everyone knocking Istuff. Just look at how easy this old man figures out how to use an Ipad & I would like to see you try using your Windows laptop for this!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGVTp7eCWBo

  • Ben the Computer GUy says:

    I agree. This is something I’m always trying to tell my customers as well. Would you mind if I posted a link back to your blog about this? I like to send out weekly tips and advice to my computer repair customers in Utah and I like this article.

  • ScrewLoose says:

    I worked for a company last year that was the IT support for five businesses owned by the same man. One of the businesses was MAC only. I can honestly say I was surprised by how many support calls we got from the MAC business. We had two MAC techs who stayed busy taking care of just under 80 MACs which I thought was rediculous since we had a ratio or 1 tech to 100 PCs throughout the rest of our support model.

    I used to ask the MAC techs questions just so I could get some experience with MACs and they showed me some pretty cool features on the MAC that I was not aware of but as far as straight out support … the MACs required just as much support as the PC side of the house.

    Plus I always found it funny that most fo the MAC guys had to run Win 7 in a VM to do their work. Yeah TCO was through the roof compared to the other businesses but the President fo that company was a die hard MAC guy.

  • Hardwarejunky says:

    I have my own Apple slogan, but I warn you it is rude, and not exactly accurate. It might amuse you as it does me…hehe

    Apple…Making stupid people feel smart every day!

  • Jesse says:

    There seem to be a lot of Mac haters on here, but thankfully a few more balanced opinions in the comments. I grew up a PC user, switched to Mac in college since I was doing design/media, and now use a bit of both. Both definitely have their positive and negative points, but for the average user who wants their computer to “just work”, I personally feel that the Mac is the better choice.

    I’ve never come across a Mac virus myself, not to say that they don’t exist or that this couldn’t change, but for the time being it’s basically a non-issue.

    I’ve had lots of people ask me about Mac’s and a lot of them do assume they’re better than PC’s. I explain the differences to them and tell them that it depends on what they want to use it for. Price is a big issue for a lot of people and I think it keeps a lot of people from switching to Mac.

    I won’t go over the other points of the article, but it’s not a balanced article, just a bit of Mac bashing from someone who is more comfortable with a PC. A lot of your points are misleading or exaggerated.

  • Zippin Pippin says:

    The Article is pretty biased and far from original… I have heard this all many times before on the ever so boring “Mac vs Pc” debates which is what this post has generated… Ultimately, the customers are in general well informed and already have a pre conception of what they want before they ask the technician for an opinion, obviously every tech is going to “blow their own trumpet” but i believe that it rarely has an effect on the final decision on a customer.
    Mac’s are better in some aspects,Windows based Pc’s are better in others. either than that, its down to the consumers choice…
    I will however leave 2 notes.
    1) display panel replacement on a 2007 iMac. (white or aluminium) about half an hour… yes the part can be costly and not widely available, also i have done hordes of them , thus i’m quick. but its a pretty straight forward job.

    2) I do nothing but repair Macs every day, and have done so for the past many years. I scan my customers computers as a routine task

  • Zippin Pippin says:

    The Article is pretty biased and far from original… I have heard this all many times before on the ever so boring “Mac vs Pc” debates which is what this post has generated… Ultimately, the customers are in general well informed and already have a pre conception of what they want before they ask the technician for an opinion, obviously every tech is going to “blow their own trumpet” but i believe that it rarely has an effect on the final decision on a customer.
    Mac’s are better in some aspects,Windows based Pc’s are better in others. either than that, its down to the consumers choice…
    I will however leave 2 notes.
    1) display panel replacement on a 2007 iMac. (white or aluminium) about half an hour… yes the part can be costly and not widely available, also i have done hordes of them , thus i’m quick. but its a pretty straight forward job for any tech.

    2) I do nothing but repair Macs every day, and have done so for the past many years. I scan my customers computers as a routine task and i’m yet to find any malware what so ever. I’m not saying that Mac’s are immune and i know they are out there, but not as widely spread as the article states,

  • Nathan says:

    If I may interject, I think some people (not all) have lost the point of this article, which was to stir up the conversation of whether or not a Mac is a good fit for a customer or customers, especially since one is likely to receive inquiries.

    One OS is not so superior to the other in one way or another so as to be “automatically better.” It depends upon many factors. As for those who would say that the Mac makes “dumb” users feel “smart”, that is the whole point of a simple, clean design, but do not be fooled into thinking the Mac isn’t for power users, too. The Mac, after all, is a variant of BSD Unix under the hood, complete with a command line that, quite frankly, eats the Windows command line for lunch many times over.

    The story about the Mac techs who needed a Windows VM to do their work is hilarious. I work on Macs on a regular basis and I have never found a task that required me to use Windows when doing work on a Mac. If a tech is doing that, then clearly he or she doesn’t have the right equipment to get the job done through an easier, more logical way, or he or she lacks the knowledge to do so. Often it is the former, as many companies do not supply their Mac techs with everything they need. Thankfully, at least in the area of software, there is a ton of wonderful freeware for Mac OS X, just as there is for Windows, Linux, BSD, and Solaris operating systems.

  • Nathan says:

    Another thing worth noting that I should have added in my previous comment:

    If you are not open to the Mac as a Windows user or vice versa, and you merely poke fun at the operating system or toy around with it without learning how to use it’s more advanced features, utilities, and at least some of the command line, then you aren’t really a good, open-minded tech. Technicians need to be open to new things and different ways of solving problems and meeting needs, and that goes for operating systems, too.

    I have experience with Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD, plus a little experience in Solaris, and I can’t count the number of times that having knowledge across such a wide array of operating systems has paid off. Looking to go into network administration or architecture? You’ll need to be open minded and learn such things. Even as a technician, being open gives one a leg up. There have been many occasions when I’ve been able to resolve problems that fellow technicians who had way more field experience, certifications, and “resume builders” than I did couldn’t. Why? Open-mindedness. Don’t bash it. You never know when you’ll pick up a client with a studio of Macs… or a Linux server farm.

  • compnet says:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-57409904-501465/over-600000-macs-infected-with-flashback-botnet-patch-released/

    Sounds like some of the mac fanboys that repair macs all day and have never seen a virus need to get better detection…

    And gunslinger – not the part about what happens if you don’t put your password in, it still installs itself.

  • Russ says:

    I read this article and it just seemed like another MAC bash. I run a IT business and I have both MAC and PC houses. I can tell you this, I have yet to find a virus or malware in over 10 years on any of my clients MACs. Not to mention I dont have a single MAC only operation on a maintenance contract because they hardly ever have any issues once set up properly. To make the argument that MAC’s are problematic is ridicules. The Windows based PC is why I make a good living, it’s the bugs, vulnerabilities, the day to day crap and nightmares of the Windows os and the crap hardware that feed my family. MOST people dont own a MAC because of the cost… but you get what you pay for.

    Wait until you see Windows 8… I dont know of a single corporation that is going to upgrade to that mess.

    I do love the Windows PC, thats how I make a living :)