It seems to me that ever since Apple switched to Intel CPUs there is no more exciting topic than the ins and outs about running Windows on a Mac. Macworld is running an article called “The Best of Both Worlds” and argues that you need to run Windows just so that you are able to run Office 2007.
I just don’t get it. Three years ago I bought a Mac, not because I was convinced that it was better than a Windows machine, but because I wanted to know what it was all about. I was curious to find out if Macs are really better. Well, at first I had a hard time getting used to it. I found OS X Panther at the time far less intuitive than it was touted to be. I guess my problem was that I had learned what Microsoft considers intuitive and that just happens to be different than what Apple thinks. But within two or three months I was sold on it. Less than a year later we bought a second Mac, and now I never want to go back.
Granted, there are a couple of Windows applications that I find hard to get proper Mac equivalents for, most notably MS-Excel. I have been going back and forth between OpenOffice and NeoOffice, and for basic spreadsheet needs these programs work well. Their charting tools are not nearly as advanced as Excel, but in my private life I do not really need them.
And that brings me to the point of this post. The Macworld article (and podcast) claims that there are certain apps that require you to run windows because the features are missing on the Mac. My opinion on this that if you absolutely need these features for work, chances are high that you are working on a Windows box in the first place. I unfortunately have not a choice, because Windows is corporate America’s operating system of choice. Most people are probably in the same boat.
If, however, your company has Macs, or if you are self employed, you have a Mac, then why would you have to have those features. Most likely you will primarily work with coworkers or customers, so you get to pick what features are necessary, and I seriously doubt that it cannot be done without Office 2007 or whatever other Windows app you find you cannot do without.
I don’t have an Intel Mac, but I convinced my parents to switch, and they have a MacBook, but neither do my parents now, nor do I plan to run Windows on the Mac. I think it completely defies the purpose of switching to the Mac in the first place.
You frequently hear the argument that installing Windows on your Mac makes it easier for people to switch. I don’t think that is true. First and foremost, as far as I know, you need a native Windows install disk, and most Windows users will only have their Dell or HP recovery disk which will not do the trick, so you need to purchase a full copy of Windows which costs big money. And then you need to purchase MS-Office, another big ticket item. Why not use the Mac which has the better OS pre-installed and get iWork for another $79. And with regard to making it easier to switch, I think the “jump into the cold water” approach is far more effective. With iLife and iWork, and a couple of freeware programs, you should be able to use all your Windows documents with few, if any, exceptions. On that note, I plan do post another article that will list some essential apps for Windows switchers to make the transition as painless as possible.