PC vs. Mac - Round 1: Let the Battle Begin! - Radiant

The Radiant Blog

Posted by Ray Majoran

iPeeFor those of you that know me, this post has been coming for a long time. I am known by my friends and co-workers as the “anti-Mac” guy. When someone buys a Mac, I usually get asked by one of my friends to “tell them what I think of Mac”. I typically laugh and respond with, “don’t get me started” (because they are just trying to stick a bee in my bonnet). And yes, that picture to the right is indeed me and my co-worker, Andrew, as seen on many blogs and news sites around the world – I’ll explain that another time (and no, we weren’t really peeing – it was a joke).

Before you fill up with rage, let me begin by stating that (despite the image) “I don’t hate Mac”. I believe that some of the most innovative ideas in the world have come from Apple and its workforce. In fact, I am honored to mention that I have a couple of friends that recently moved to San Francisco because one of them took up a job offer with Apple – a great feat indeed. Additionally, Apple’s development of iPhone has truly raised the bar when it comes to displaying media on small devices. If someone asks me to help them with their Mac, I’m more than happy to assist.

Apple is truly a great company, but let me pop the balloon here and note that despite the opinions of many Mac-lovers, Apple is not a holy altar in which to be worshiped. Not even close.

On that note, let me elaborate on a few thoughts, recognizing that this is only Part 1 of a series of blog posts that will follow. Let the comments and the debate begin!

I’ll take you back to 1996. I was granted a job working at a web development company in Toronto and was an Apple nut. I had worked on Apple all my life, and even though I had a PC, I loved Apple. We even ran an Apple web server at our office and I am pleased to note that I was the first person ever (according to BlueWorld) to develop an online e-commerce application using Lasso (an Apple application server) and FileMaker Pro. I loved it. Even though our Apple server crashed about 3 times a week, it seemed like my life (from a computer perspective) would always revolve around Apple.

In 1997, we were asked by a world-renowned university to build an e-learning platform for them. My first response – we’ll build it in FileMaker and Lasso on Apple! I was so excited. And then I did some research. Turns out that Windows NT (using ColdFusion and SQL Server) served up database pages at an average rate of (gulp) about 40 times faster than my Apple counterpart. How was this possible, I asked myself? Well, the reality was that Apple could only do one major process at a time, whereas Windows would multi-task and perform infinitely faster.

So I know what you’re thinking, “Ray, that was 1997… Apple has vastly improved since then. Get with the program! ” I would agree – Apple has vastly improved its service offering since 1997. They will continue by adding, “And Apple’s grown so much in the last 10 years!” I agree. But so has PC.

Let me throw out a little statistic. If I were to ask you, “What percentage of people browsing the Internet use Macs?” most people would respond, “25%-30%”. Some people would even go as high as “50%”. Well, let me give you the industry stat. Drum roll please…… As of October 2008, the number is 5.5%. Yes, that’s five and a half percent – not fifty-five percent! The stat makes Apple sales people turn venomous when I bring it up to them. “Where are you getting those stats from? They’re wrong!” Where you ask? W3Schools – the industry leader for operating system and browser statistics on the Internet. Don’t believe me about the number? Just punch “OS stats” or “Browser stats” into Google… it will be your first listing. The good thing for Apple is that they were at 1.8% in 2003, so they are making headway – no questions asked.

Let’s stop there. I have SO much more to say, but we’ll save it for Round 2 (and 3, and 4, etc.).

I will end by saying this – everything you see on Electricurrent and AdvancedMinistry was designed on a PC (including everything in our portfolio). Could a Mac have done the same thing? Absolutely; and it would have cost about one and a half times as much. For me, it’s a matter of principle. My thesis: Anything you want to do on a Mac can be done on a PC in at least the same amount of time, and in many cases, less time. (Granted, there are a few companies that favor Apple in the media circles and build some amazing Apple-only tools. If all you do is video editing or sound production, then I would probably direct you to a Mac.) Most people that compare PC to Mac are comparing their old $800 HP desktop PC with a $2,500 Mac. Would you compare a BMW M5 with a Ford Focus? Then why do the same thing with Mac and PC? (In a future post, I will compare “apples to apples” – cost for cost on a number of computer systems).

Just because something looks pretty on the outside, doesn’t mean I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and buy it. I’ve never been one to judge a book by its cover, and I’m not about to start now… even if it does have a pretty (half-eaten) Apple logo on it.

Let the fruit throwing begin.

P.S. Here are some topics that will be discussed in future rounds:

  • Myth Busters: Taking on Apple commercials
  • Cost-Cost (Apple vs. PC)
  • iPhone vs. Blackberry (and other smartphones)
  • Designing on Mac vs. PC
  • What you Can/Can't do on a Mac vs. What you Can/Can't do on a PC
  • And more...