Mac vs. PC cost analysis: How does it all add up?

Being a long time Mac user (23 years) and Macintosh software developer (10 years), I can vouch for most of Scott’s comments and findings.

One thing that many people forget when they compare the cost and speed of a computer is the whole package of what you get when you purchase a computer. What do I mean by this? Please allow me to elaborate.

For the cost, there are the long term cost of maintenance required for your computer. Whether this is for personal use or at a corporate environment. There is the cost of upgrading the software you use regularly as a result of one or more other software you use, which requires you to upgrade. Please allow me to elaborate further on this point.

It is often the case, from experience, while using a computer operating in the Microsoft Windows operating system (OS), if one vendor; may that be Microsoft or one of the other third party upgrade their software, it is often the case that these changes will affect other installed software. Causing these software to misbehave, to a point that these other software vendors will come out with their own upgrades to remedy the problem(s). Depending on the extent of the changes, you can imagine this can easily become a never ending circle of upgrades that end users will have to endure. Unfortunately, this scenario is most evident with Microsoft itself.

I am not saying that the above is always the case, but it is the result of a hands-off approach by Microsoft on third party Windows developers. In such a manner that third party developers will develop their software in almost whatever way they like, and without enough disclosure by Microsoft, these third party developers will not know how to develop their software in such a way to survive the longevity of version upgrades of the Windows OS, and compatibilities with other third party software the users may have running on their computers.

On the other hand, Apple Inc. has a very close hands-on approach on how third party developers create their software for the Macintosh OS. Apple has volumes of manuals explaining to developers how third party software should behave and how to implement every conceivable user interface elements in their software. Most importantly, Apple will guarantee these third party software to work across OS versions as long as the third party developers follow Apple’s directions on software development.

This molded Macintosh users into very demanding end users on third party software. Over the years I had seen software companies come and go in a very short period (three to six months), just because they do not follow Apple’s directions in creating their software.

Now addressing the other point in comparing computers of different OS; the “speed of the computers”. People often compares computers by their technical specifications. Yes, this are valid criterions for computers running the same OS, but when you comparing computers running different OSs; like ones that run Windows OS and Macintosh OS, these criterions are just one part of the criterions in your comparison process. Before I dive into what I mean, I like to bring up the old physic formula: Power = Work / Time.

The power of a computer can be measured the same way. The amount of work achieved over a given amount of time. That is the true power of a computing.

As there are so many factors that affect the speed or power of a particular computer for a given individual, it is not fair or valid to simply compare the

  • processor brand/type and speed
  • video card brand and speed
  • amount of memory or RAM
  • size of hard drive

Hopefully after reading this you will see computers differently especially ones that run Windows OS, Mac OS or Linux.

read more | digg story