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Mac or PC ?

posted 1 Nov 2010, 04:24 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 1 Nov 2010, 04:25 ]

The great thing about computer geeks has to be the passionate
way that they can either loyally defend or implacably slate a
particular system; fanatics are generally so polarised by
competing platforms that very rarely can any  kind of
sensible middle ground ever exist.

I remember when I was younger, talk in the playground often
turned to which console was best, your Sega Megadrive or
your mates Super Nintendo - You can guarantee that if I were
a fly on the wall in a school today, that the same kind of
discussion would still be raging between the X-Box and
Playstation gamers.

A similar debate has been raging between adult computer
users over which is superior; the PC or the Apple Mac.
Personally I don't have the time to worry about the issue,
nor do I feel the need to militantly argue my points in
forums all over the Internet but clearly many enthusiasts
do; however a simple Google search for 'PC vs Mac' returns
hundreds of thousands of matches.

This debate has been brought to the general publics eye by a
series of adverts recently commisioned by Apple starring
comedians Mitchell and Webb. In the Advert each comedian
takes on the roll of the two systems; Mitchell acts as a PC
and Webb as an Apple Mac.

In these adverts the two compare their features and, of
course the PC comes off looking like a boring, inefficient
dinosaur whilst the Apple Mac runs rings around him,
humiliates him and generally comes off looking a little too
smug. I'm not certain that any of the adverts would convince
me to move over to the Apple Mac platform. The real question
is, behind the advertising, is the Mac really better?

In order to understand the two platforms a little better we
should look in to they developed to see if this justifies
Apples name calling and rationalise them insulting a system
that most of us get along with and use on a daily basis.

What most users would come to term 'PC' refers to one of the
many machines evolved from the original IBM Personal Computer
which was introduced back in 1981. The success of this
machine can be predominately attributed to the fact that IBM
decided on an open architecture so that other manufactures
could produce and sell peripherals and software for the
machine. The rather loose copyrighting and availability of
technical specifications meant that it didn't take long
before other manufacturers reverse engineered the BIOS to
produce their own legal IBM PC 'clones'. This lead to the PC
standard being adopted and developed by a number of competing
companies which of course had a positive impact on the range
of devices and software available for the machine as well as
reducing prices.

The Original founders, IBM, have relatively little influence
of the development of the PC as it open to evolotion by the
thousands of companies who manufacture computersm
peripherals and software compatible with this open standard.

On completely the opposite end of the scale is Apple who
released their first Personal Computer, the 'Macintosh' back
in 1984. Since this time, Apple have been the only company to
manufacture, sell and support the Mac which of course means
that they have full control over the brand including the
Hardware and Operating System.

Whilst retaining complete control over your platform would
appear to be a good idea, especially when it comes to
monopolising on sales, it has certainly hurt the popularity
of the machine in the industry. With so many more companies
supporting the PC it has certainly dominated sales over the
past twenty years which has resulted in Apple Mac being
regarded as very much a niche machine by many.

Fortunes may be about to change however; a partnership with
Intel, a new Operating System on the horizon and
compatibility with Windows means that many now consider
Apple to be a viable option again. Join me again next week
to hear my opinion on whether your next computer really
should be a Mac.....

About the Author:

Chris Holgate writes a weekly article of all things tech
related.  He is a copyrighter of the online Ink and Toner
website Refresh Cartridges . These articles can be
found in an archive at