Macs march on in PC world

by

Published: September 16,2002

Apple claims more people are interested in switching from PCs to Macs now than ever before. Their new “switch” campaign, which can be found at www.apple.com, shows the stories of many people who made the switch.

“Learn all the great ways a Mac can give you a better digital life,” proclaims Apple. “And understand how Macs can make your life easier and your possibilities endless.”

Even with the switch campaign and Apple’s claims however, many people say more are switching from Macs to PCs nowadays as opposed to the other way around.

Still, ask any Apple user and they’ll tell you that you can do things on a Mac that PC users only dream about — and do them more easily, without giving up any of the compatibility with the PC world that you need.

Michael Tims, a Mac consultant and the owner of Michael Tims Consulting, was certified to work on PCs long before he was certified to work on Macs. He did not think much of the Apples until the Macintosh was revealed in 1984, he said.

“They were pretty much the same,” Tims said. But with Macintosh, everything changed. It changed the way people used computers and who uses computers.” Tims bought his first Mac in 1987, and to this day it is the computer he swears by.

Security blankets

Still, Tims says he cannot explain why more people buy PCs than Macs, but guesses it has something to do with what computer they learned on.

“Anyone who’s used to using the Macintosh gets frustrated when they get on the PC,” Tims explained. “There are too many steps to get tasks done.”

For the people who claim Macs cost too much compared to PCs, Tims says while that may appear to be the case, don’t be fooled. A PC at first glance may cost less than a Mac, but many programs are included in the price of most Macs.

Dr. Stuart Bullion, professor and chair of the journalism department at the University of Mississippi, agrees.

“Macs have a more immediate and more intuitive interface,” Bullion said.

Even so, at a recent meeting Bullion attended he overheard publishers talking about buying PCs because of the cost factor. He warned, however, that “maybe that’s fine for word processing but very often you have to purchase cards and boards with PCs.”

Macs are most popular among graphics designers, newspapers, magazines, advertising agencies, silkscreen companies and schools. But many organizations are beginning to use both Macs and PCs these days.

Skip Aaron, executive vice president of G. Williams & Associates, learned on a Mac but now uses both Macs and PCs in his work. He disagrees with Bullion about having to buy cards and boards for PCs.

“I can buy a fully set up PC for $800 ready to go,” Aaron said. “But for the brain of the Mac it costs $1,500 or $1,600.”

Still, Aaron says, his graphics designers will not switch from their Macs to PCs.

“All my artists are women, so the last thing I need is for them to be mad at me,” he joked.

Seriously though, Aaron says, Macs are what most graphics designers are taught on. They are what most artists are comfortable with. He could switch them from Macs to PCs but said he would not dare because it would take at least six months for his artists to feel comfortable working on a PC.

“My artists are very hesitant to even touch my mouse because it’s a PC and not a Mac,” Aaron said.

But Aaron guesses that no matter how comfortable most businesses are with their Macs many will probably change their computer systems from Mac to PC because of the lower cost of the PC.

“I would say due to the way the economy is we’re all cutting costs to survive,” Aaron said. “More companies I think will switch from Mac to PC. There have already been many companies that have switched from Mac to PC.”

Crossing platforms

But Carol Taff swears she’ll never switch from Mac to PC. The publisher of Parents & Kids Magazine has never worked on anything but a Mac, and has found it crosses platforms well with any other computer.

“It just does everything I need it to do,” Taff says.

Graphic artist Bill Wilson uses Macs and said after his experience with PCs, they were a welcome change.

“One thing I have come to understand about the Macs and the PCs: the people who designed the programs for the Mac — Quark Xpress and Adobe — were computer nerds, but they were also good nerds, designers and artists,” Wilson said. “They knew that this was going to work. The Microsoft nerds — bad nerds — didn’t have a clue when it came to graphic design. It was years later that they started adapting their programs so that they could produce work like Apple does.”

But they failed to do that, Wilson said.

“So, if asked, I would say that if a person or company was in the business of graphic design, illustration or advertising, buy a Mac,” Wilson said. “Forget IBM, Gateway, Dell and all of the rest. If you’re not a professional and your work is not as critical, pay a little more and buy a Mac anyway.”

Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at ekirkland@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1042.

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