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Commercial Viability of Mac OS X Snow Leopard

1. Intro to Article
2. Snow Leopard at a glance
3. Usability of Snow Leopard
4. Networking with OS X
5. Comparison to Microsoft Windows 7
6. Positive Features of Snow Leopard (Over Windows 7)
7. Negative Features of Snow Leopard (Over Windows 7)
8. Commercial Viability of MAC OS X Snow Leopard
9. Closing

Commercial Viability of MAC OS X Snow Leopard

Program compatibility I hear you shout! How dare you, Mac has loads of programs you say as you tell me a Mac can do what a PC can do any day. Show me something a PC can do that a Mac cannot! Unfortunately I can!

When I bought my MacBook I was so happy with the system I decided that I might try and run my business with just my Mac, I failed; I needed a PC.

My business is a computer support and service company where we visit our customers on site to repair their computers and look after the network. In the office we run as mentioned previously a PHP based system on Apache which runs our service calls and accounts and a remote access support service to our customers. The PHP based system needed a few tweaks to enable a couple of templates to work with Safari instead of Internet Explorer but that was okay, a couple of hours work and that worked perfectly. I am more than prepared to spend the time perfecting a system if the overall result will be better; our PHP based system was working and everything looked good.

We could access all the work printers, network shares, PDF documents, existing Word documents and existing Excel documents. We configured Outlook for Mac, setup the signatures, incoming mail rules, and accounts with no problems.

We got everything setup on the Mac as we would need it and then we failed. When one of our customers rang with a technical issue we opened Safari and went to our remote access system with LogMeIn Rescue to create a customer session only to be informed it doesn't run on Mac. Luckily we had a Windows XP system at the side so was able to open the remote software on that to do the job.

This may seem like a small problem, but we pay £700 a year for this remote support software and it is something we need in our business. This then got me thinking about our customers. Many of our customers wouldn't be able to use Macs in their businesses at all. This is primarily due to the fact that software just isn't written or commercially available in the same way for Mac as it is for Windows.

Of the solicitors we deal with they all run a ‘bespoke' software that runs and operates on Windows based computers which immediately takes them out of the running for using Macs, unless they have software specially written to run on a Mac. Very Doubtful! Every company I could think of has a form of accounts software typically Sage which is only for Windows computers, two stationery companies I deal with have two different database programs written to run on Windows and through Windows 2003 / Windows 2008 server specifically!

Add to this many of the hosted services run on Windows based systems and interfaces, or on Windows based virtual servers, with many apps and services currently being written to run or run on Windows based systems.

Interestingly enough Microsoft don't include Access in the Office for Mac version which I think could be a big key to compatibility, solving many of the database based software incompatibilities with the Solicitor software as mentioned above. Is this by Microsoft design?

Yes we can virtualise or dual boot on the Mac with Windows 7 but what is the point in that? Is the point not to be able to come away completely? What is the point in booting a Mac to run a virtual Windows? That would be pointless unless it was for the ‘occasional' use.

It is just not possible for most businesses to operate without a PC at the minute. At the very least a company would require one PC or more until the majority of businesses made the switch over.

The other major factor is people. You have to change peoples' minds, the same people that like familiarity of the same job week in and week out, the same people who complain moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 is a nightmare; could you imagine the shift from Windows to Mac!

In the commercial world Mac doesn't make sense at the minute. I hope this changes I really do. But until some of the bigger software companies like Sage (Accounts, ACT) start writing for Mac it isn't going to work in the business world or for the majority of businesses anyway.

I will be running Windows in my business for now and return to my Apple Mac when I get home.

Next - 9. Closing

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