Students debate merits of Mac vs. PC


William Evans

Microsoft Windows and Mac OS have been rival computer operating systems since their release in the mid-1980s.

Although Windows today boasts nearly a 90 percent market share of client operating systems designed for use on the Internet, both systems continue to cleave the market as consumers take sides on which system provides better service.

Macs have recently inundated on-campus libraries and laboratories, but the University employs both operating systems because each presents its unique set of advantages to the user, said Michael Little, an instructor in advertising and public relations.

“Although Macs can support Windows applications, Windows tends to be more popular with businesses because of their price and compatibility,” Little said. “A personal computer running Windows can be built for less than $1,000 and include the same programs a Mac user would enjoy.”

Plus, Macs have to be purchased directly from Apple stores, whereas Windows personal computers can be bought from Dell, Gateway and others.

Gamers, especially if they’re fond of action games like Call of Duty, are inclined to prefer Windows as well because those games are tailored to the Windows operating system, he said.

The core programs educators and students can make use of, such as those contained in Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite, can be used on either operating system.

Despite the commonality in programs shared on both systems, colleges within the University, such as the graphic design department, have their reasons behind preferring Mac to Windows.

“The high display resolution and better color accuracy makes it ideal for viewing photos and videos,” said Patty Benton, executive director of the office of information technology, in an emailed statement. “This is why the art related fields, graphic design, art, advertising, etc., use the Apple products.”

Little, who earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, said he prefers Macs because of their prevalence in the field.

“I choose the Mac to work on mostly because it’s what our industry uses,” he said. “I work on my Mac. I play games on my [Windows] PC.”

Also, Macs are perceived as stable, durable devices because of their reputation for fending off computer viruses.

“Most of the Malware and other things are written for [Windows] PCs and not for Macs, so Macs don’t catch the cold that’s going around,” he said.

Macs also come prepackaged with programs that do not have to be separately purchased.

“The system software comes prepackaged,” said Mike Largin, director of financial affairs infrastructure support, in an emailed statement. “Users don’t have to focus so much on the system software when loading applications or adding peripheral devices. This frees the user up to concentrate on other things. The drawback, however, is less control over computer functions. The Mac is a platform that meets the user halfway. The Windows OS gives users more options.”