IT in the Ad Biz

Mar 28 2008   7:01PM GMT

Mac vs. PC – Round 1

JohnWilder John Wilder Profile: JohnWilder

It’s about time that I got around to this one, and if any of you have been wondering which side of the argument I might come down on, you might be disappointed to find out that I sit firmly on the fence on this issue. I’m a firm believer that both platforms deliver on their particular strengths, and both are outstanding tools which are helping us all to become more productive. If I didn’t believe that, why on earth would I have spent the past 15 years purchasing and supporting both platforms?

However, don’t mistake my middle of the road stance for a lack of conviction, because I do have some very strong feelings about the issue itself – in fact, I have a huge problem with the argument itself. I’ve never seen a real definitive study of our industry, but I would suspect that somewhere around 75% of advertising firms operate the same way that we do, supporting both platforms. Of the remaining 25%, I would venture to guess that the majority are Mac-only shops, with a small handful of PC-only shops.

I’ve heard all the arguments. “The Mac is a toy.” “PC’s crash all the time.” Take your pick, because you can find plenty of people out there willing to scream that their favorite system is the best, and the other system is garbage.

The latest round of Mac ads certainly don’t help, and I cringe every time I see them. Yes, they’re clever. Yes, they sell computers. But are they accurate? In my opinion they’re not even close to the truth. Apple, as well as most of the Mac evangelists, are still making arguments against Windows 98. Sure, they talk about Vista in the ads, but if you want to discuss stability and security, it’s difficult to deny that Windows has improved considerably.

I’ve been running Windows servers for over 10 years, going all the way back to Windows NT. The platform has been remarkably stable. Have I seen blue screens – certainly I have, but they have been few and far between. I have Windows servers which have run for years without anything other than a reboot for updates. At the same time, I’ve also seen plenty of my Macs crash – perhaps even more frequently than our PCs. I’ve heard the argument that the reason our Macs crash is because they’re working harder than our PCs. It’s not easy pushing around all those graphics files. No, it’s not, but by the same token it’s not easy doing what an Exchange server does – and they don’t crash. Earlier versions of Windows have been full of security holes, but here’s an interesting article on Mac security which appeared today – http://www.crn.com/hardware/207000418.

Even in writing this, and attempting to defend one platform, I find myself falling into the trap of bashing the other. That’s not my intent, but it’s nearly impossible to avoid the trap. The Mac has proven to be a superior machine for working in a graphics intensive environment. I’ve seen the benchmarks, and these machines truly are tuned for doing what they do best. I would not even begin to entertain the thought of switching.

I buy Macs. I buy PCs. I take the attacks from both sides personally. If the Mac side is correct, then I must be foolish for purchasing PCs. If the PC side is correct, then I must be foolish for purchasing Macs. The fact of the matter is, both sides are wrong. Both platforms serve their purpose, and they serve it well. I woudn’t even compare this argument to Ford vs. Chevy. It’s more like arguing that sports cars are better than pickup trucks. They serve different purposes, and they both do their job well.

I’m sure I’ll return to this topic again and again, and I welcome your opinions no matter where you sit on the issue. I’m going to try to take the high road and avoid bashing one platform in defense of the other, but I also plan to speak openly about the shortfalls of both systems. We’ll see how it goes.

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