Choosing a IBM Compatible PC over a Apple MAC

As a result of popular demand and numerous negative media reports about its competitor’s machines, Apple’s Mac computers are slowly eating away at Microsoft’s PC market share.  According to people who have converted from PC to Mac, the consensus is that Mac’s are safe, crash less often and are worth the extra cost associated with them.  In fact, the one reason that a Mac competitor is safer than a PC is that at the time, fewer Mac’s are in the market and fewer people spend their time trying to expose the Mac’s flaws.  Mac’s are as unsecure as PCs while monopolizing the hardware and software industry and they are very expensive to purchase and maintain.

Since there is a low market share for Mac’s, Apple can boast about their superiority in personal computing security.  The issue here is Apple does not have to worry about security because hackers are trying to take down the 500 lb gorilla, Microsoft.  With a market share of less than 10%, it is a complete waste of time for hackers to attack computers that do not impact business and will not cause a massive panic.  As Apple gain the share of the markets, as we have seen recently, hackers will turn to Apple and start revealing their security flaws.  During the time periods of 1998 to 2003, Apple saw an increase in revenue and they claimed they were safer than the PC.  A recent Google search returns at least 629 documents containing “Apple Security Flaws.”  This same search for 2004 to the present day returns 4,670 documents.  This proves that security is becoming an issue with Mac’s.  As more and more people start using Mac’s, security issues will increase.  To put this in terms that the average non-technical person can understand, is understanding why the 9-11 terrorists targeted New York City and not Wichita, Kansas.  Terrorists wanted to make an impact just like any hacker when they target a computer system.

Google

(Google Search Engine)

The impact Apple has on the global economy can be devastating to the computing world.  When Apple computers first started making computers, they specialized in hardware followed by software.  Microsoft specializes in software only (Sanford, 1976).  What this means is Microsoft relies on outside venders to create all of the parts that make up the computer.  All Microsoft does is create the operating system and many different software packages for home / business needs.  Apple keeps everything in house and monopolizes all of the hardware production.  Software programming is a small part of the personal computing world.  In fact the MAC is not considered a PC.  A PC is considered any computer that is IBM Compatible and the MAC is the opposite.  What this means is there is an industry of hardware and software manufacturers that follow a certain standard that allows multiple platforms to communicate with each other.  Since Apple is a closed knit company and their hardware and software is proprietary, only a small handful of companies outside of Apple are able to profit from the MAC.  Competition creates jobs and profit and Apple does the opposite.

In the business world, every decision is based on mixing affordability with compatibility.  Products that businesses buy have to be inexpensive and they have to fit their needs.  When companies research software / hardware, they do not want to be stuck on a computer that forces the company to go to one manufacturer for parts and service.  This is just bad business.  Personal computers are usually chosen because they offer businesses a sound business plan.  There are numerous hardware / software manufacturers in the world along with numerous consultants that support personal computing.  When there is competition, price of service, labor, hardware and software is lower than monopolized industries.

One thing that has not been touched upon, is how does a PC and a Mac compare pound for pound?  After reading an interesting article by Harry McCracken  (McCracken, 2008) , it truly depends on the end user to stack these two up.  Normally, to get your biggest bang for your dollar, you have to look at your processing, memory and disk space versus the price you pay.  As I was reading this article, they compared the Apple Macbook with the Dell XPS M1330, HP Pavillion dv4t and the Sony VAIO VGN-SR190.  It appears the Mac wins this competition, but it depends on what you are looking for.  When reviewing the hardware specs, the Macbook loses in every category.  What this proves is dollar for dollar you will get a better laptop if you stick with an IBM compatible PC.  Also, there are annual charges when you own a Mac such as annual MobileMe ($100) and operating system updates ($100).  The Mac is simply too expensive to maintain especially during economic hard times.  Not only is he Macbook too expensive, the hardware is not up to par when comparing it to the IBM compatible PC’s.

Another reason not to pursue a Mac is the fact that there is a free operating system that could challenge Apple’s OSx.  This operating system is called Ubuntu.  This Linux based operating system can provide all of the functionality that the OSx can and more.  While the topic is comparing Apple to an IBM compatible computer, the main issues are with Microsoft’s Windows operating system.  Most comparisons have Windows Vista compared to the OSx.  Personally, I am not a fan of Vista and I recommend Ubuntu or Windows XP when doing this comparison.  As mentioned before, Ubuntu is free and extremely customizable (Wegrzanowski, 2007).  It is open source which means anyone can modify the code and repackage it as their own.

Apple provides a false sense of security by marketing their product in a way that is a little deceitful.  Just to recap, the MAC is only 10% of the market and PCs are roughly 90% (Marsal & Malley, 2009).  Hackers are looking to take down the 500lb gorilla and there is no boost in pride to take down the MAC, yet.  Apple provides a one-stop-shop mentality that appeals to the MAC user, but this false sense of security and this hardware monopoly that Apple employs drives the price of the MAC to record high levels that make it almost an elite status to own one.  Apple promotes the high prices results in high security.  At this time it true, but it is not the safest machine available.  It is a matter of when hackers will decide to turn on the MAC and expose its flaws.

References

Google Search Engine. (n.d.). Apple Security Flaws. Retrieved May 31, 2009, from Google: http://www.google.com/search?q=Apple+security+flaws&hl=en&lr=&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=NXE&sa=N&tbo=1&tbs=tl:1,tll:1998,tlh:1999&ei=_lEZSsTeCZG-MpTvxZYP&oi=timeline_histogram_nav&ct=timeline-histogram&cd=5

Marsal, K., & Malley, A. (2009, April 15). Apple’s Share of U.S. PC Market Slips to 7.4% as Sales Decline. Retrieved May 31, 2009, from Apple Insider: http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/04/15/apples_share_of_u_s_pc_market_slips_to_7_4_as_sales_decline.html

McCracken, H. (2008, August 14). Are Macs More Expensive? Let’s Do the Math Once and For All. Retrieved June 17, 2009, from Technologizer: http://technologizer.com/2008/08/14/are-macs-more-expensive-lets-do-the-math-once-and-for-all/

Sanford, G. (1976). Apple I. Retrieved May 31, 2009, from Apple-History.com: http://www.apple-history.com/

Wegrzanowski, T. (2007, November 17). TW”S Blog. Retrieved June 17, 2009, from Blogspot: http://t-a-w.blogspot.com/2007/11/mac-vs-ubuntu.html

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