Mac vs. PC? No, Mac and PC

By  |  Monday, October 5, 2009 at 9:32 am

Mac and PC9 to 5 Mac is reporting on the NPD Group’s newest figures on Mac ownership in the U.S., which say that twelve percent of households with computers have a Mac–up from nine percent in 2008. But the really interesting factoid is that the overwhelming majority of that twelve percent of Mac-owning homes also have a Windows machine.

Makes sense to me–these days, there’s very little reason not to be biplatform. Once you get them home, they can share nearly everything you might want to share, from MP3s to Word documents to a printer. And OS X and Windows, for all their differences, are now similar enough that moving between them isn’t much more complex than owning a Mazda and a Chevy and driving both.

Apple runs ads that depict PCs (and by extension PC users) as nebbishy losers and talks about switching from Windows to the Mac. Microsoft has been mocking Macs and Mac users as effete and spendy. But if more than eight out of ten Mac households are also PC households, we’re not talking about an either/or situation, and the whole notion–leveraged by both companies–that Mac users are different kinds of people from PC users doesn’t jibe with reality.

Maybe Apple should do more to explain why a PC household should welcome a Mac or two; maybe Microsoft should stop snarking at Mac owners, since most of them are also PC owners. If they did, they’d be addressing millions of sensible consumers who find value in both companies’ wares…


Read more: , , , ,

13 Comments For This Post

  1. tom b Says:

    I can't think of any app I need that needs Windows. Having said that, I suspect that once Enterprise goes over to Mac, households will feel less pressure to keep legacy Windows machines around.

  2. Evan Says:

    I think the reality is that the similarities are greater than the differences, but at the same time both are better at different things. I’ll be the market for a Mac soon, but know that I’ll need to keep my PC around, too, for certain tasks.

  3. Keith H Says:

    Just a non-bias observation…

    Every “Mac Fanboy” I know owns a PC at home and can’t manage to live and work without it. Yet all the “Mac Fanboys” I know talk negative about the PC.

    I’m on a PC and I’ve been able to do all my work and hobbies without a Mac in my home.

    I guess I’m biased after all.

  4. Larry V Says:

    All that means is that they need some Windows software for something or other. It’s perfectly possible to require something but loathe it at the same time.

  5. Marc Says:

    “Microsoft should stop snarking at Mac owners”

    I agree. Microsoft have been making great Mac software for decades, I remember years ago it was common knowledge that much of Microsoft’s published reports were produced on Macs. IE5 was at the time, the only web decent browser for Mac (before Mozilla came along, and was renamed / trimmed to Firefox). Outlook Express was a great Mail Client for OS9, and Microsoft Office 2001 blew the socks off of AppleWorks, it even had an animated paperclip.
    Apple went nasty, which is a shame, as they clearly have good products and can could sell them on the benefits.

  6. Lawrence Velazquez Says:

    Yeah, the world would be a better place if everyone held hands and sang songs about love and peace. The marketing world is not that place.

    When Apple started the I’m a Mac ads, they were very clearly an underdog who had to steal some mindshare back from the colossus that was Microsoft. Underdogs jab at the market leaders all the time; it can be an effective advertising tool, when properly executed. Since people are more or less reluctant to try new things, convincing them to do so often requires arguments both *against* the status quo and *for* the alternative. Whether that sort of advertising is still appropriate or necessary, given Apple’s vastly improved position, is debatable, but sometimes “if it ain’t broke” works, and Apple’s marketing department is paid to sell computers, not be nice guys.

  7. connectionfailure Says:

    The households have a PC so their kid can play some cool games that either arent available or are terrible on a console. Then the kid uses it for some filesharing/bittorrent stuff and online chatting. For everything else they use the Mac.
    Also many people are running Windows software virtualized so they can use their sexy Apple hardware and still run some software that is not developed for the Mac.
    It is important to reiterate that there is nothing inherent about the Mac’s OS that makes any given piece of software not available… its just a matter of whether the developer chooses to invest in a Mac OS X version.
    Same problem as accessibility- if you aren’t white, upper-middle-class, English-speaking, literate, full vision and motor skills and run Windows- then you’re out of the loop, baby!

  8. Seumas Says:

    The problem with talking about operating systems is that those in the discussion are usually very ignorant. You hear idiots talk about Windows like it’s completely unusable and you’re lucky to get it to stay up for a full day. Yes, it has countless problems and it isn’t my preference (Unix, Linux and OSX are), but it’s entirely usable and excels in certain aspects (due more to market adoption than anything else), like gaming.

    On the flip side, you have absolute dumb asses who talk about Apple systems as “Fisher Price toys for idiots who are teh suck at computorz”. Which is interesting, because I can’t remember the last time I had a full fledged bash shell on Windows or had the same debugging and development depth on Windows that I have on Unix, Linux or OSX (granted, things may have come a long way from the black box and memdump of the old Windows days). And of course, the majority of software developers that I know – including those who are pretty heavy movers and shakers in the industry – pack Apple laptops and not merely a few Apple desktops. hardly turtle-neck-wearing morons who “can’t figure out two button mice”.

    Personally, I’m a Unix and Linux guy, but I do most of my non compiling and debugging work on OSX. Why? Well, I’m tired of all the glitches and problems with Windows over the last couple decades. And the experience of the interface has always sort of worn on me. Linux? Well, I’m a big fan and occasional contributor, but on the desktop . . . I’m not interested in spending countless hours or days or weeks of my *free time* diagnosing why my audio randomly stopped working or why valid ModeLines are being ignored in my config. When I was 20 and had all the time and patience in the world, that sort of challenge was actually enjoyable. But now, I could be doing other things with that time like spending it on work projects.

    OSX gives me much of the *nix power I need with a robust hardware configuration and pleasant interface while having the ability to, as needed, live in the shell.

    On to the discussion at hand, however. Citing use by Apple users is hardly validation of any type. Long lines aren’t awesome because every person has to wait in them at the DMV. They’re an unwanted necessity. Do you think people who use Apple or Linux or Unix also use Windows because they derive so much pleasure from it? Of course not. They do it because they like games and that’s the platform with games. Or because certain applications from their employer or school require it. They are necessary obligations that they’d rather avoid, if they could.

    That isn’t to say anything negative about people who prefer Windows. It’s just obvious that you can’t say that forced necessity is the same as preference or desired adoption.

  9. JDoors Says:

    LOL! Nope, no bias here, move along.

    @Harry: “Maybe Apple should do more to explain why a PC household should welcome a Mac or two; maybe Microsoft should stop snarking at Mac owners, since most of them are also PC owners. If they did, they’d be addressing millions of sensible consumers who find value in both companies’ wares…”

    IOW: Apple should take advantage of these stats to increase their market share, while Microsoft should STFU. 😉

  10. tom b Says:

    ““Maybe Apple should do more to explain why a PC household should welcome a Mac or two; maybe Microsoft should stop snarking at Mac owners, since most of them are also PC owners”

    Maybe Apple should help people understand they can EASILY have BOTH on one machine– it finesses the “one key Windows app from work” problem.

  11. rda Says:

    I’m one of the guys that uses both. No, all three. Mac, Linux, and Windows. I’m am a bit biased though as a Mac can run Win and Linux off the one Mac. The only snafu is if I am a serious gamer in the Win world I would want to run just Win and not through an emulator (which I can also do on a Mac) . So, indeed we are not talking about either/or but both/and.

  12. marketplaceja Says:

    How best would you reply to an email from your clients asking which is better to buy; mac or pc. I get these emails regularly and sometimes I honestly dont know how to reply to them.

  13. MrNate Says:

    Im a mac and not a opc person pc are for gamming mainly and i NEVER HAVE GOT A VIRUS ON MY MAC FOR THE FULL 5 Years i have had one and i have never hade to upgrade anti virus programs so Mac Vs Pc = they are even AKA THEY ARE THE SAME FOR DIFFERNT REASONS SO please stop arguing Ok

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. The Roundup: Week of October 9th, 2009 | The iLife Says:

    […] From : Technologizer Mac vs. PC? No, Mac and PC [DATE […]