PCs Vs. Macs, Round 2

Choosing A PC Over A Mac: Do Microsoft's Arguments Stack Up?

We all remember those ’I’m a Mac and I’m a PC’ ads that Apple used with such devastating effectiveness to highlight the benefits of owning a Mac instead of a Windows-based PC. With the back-to-school shopping season well underway, Microsoft has launched a Web page to convince consumers that they should choose a PC over a Mac.

Under the heading ’Deciding between a PC and a Mac?’ the site makes the argument that PCs are better. ’From easily sharing Microsoft Office documents to watching HDTV and Blu-ray movies, PCs help you do it all,’ the Web site gushes. Microsoft tries to buttress its case by adding to the page a Twitter-feed cheering section of positive Windows 7 comments.

The site presents what it sees as the advantages of a PC in six categories: Having Fun, Simplicity, Working Hard, Sharing, Compatibility and Choice. Is Microsoft’s argument persuasive? Let us know.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Microsoft is arguing that PCs are more fun than Macs. Their evidence? They say you can’t get a Mac that ships with a Blu-Ray player or a TV tuner. Macs can’t connect to the Xbox 360 (big surprise there) or connect directly to TVs without a converter dongle. And Microsoft says most of the world’s most popular computer games aren’t available for Macs.

The Simple Life

Microsoft says Windows-based PCs are easier to use than Macs ’if you’re used to a PC.’ Well, duh.

Microsoft makes the case that Windows 7 is easier to learn than a Mac when you consider such capabilities as the new Snap feature that allows you to view two documents side-by-side, and the Touch feature that lets users browse through newspaper pages, photos and other documents by flicking their fingers.

True, users will likely find Windows 7 easier to learn than older versions of the desktop operating system. But is it really easier than a Mac? That’s a question we probably can’t answer unless we lock a bunch of five-year-olds in a room with Macs and PCs and see what happens.

Follow The PC Herd?

According to Microsoft, Macs don’t work as well as Windows-based PCs at work or school because it’s harder to share files from Apple’s productivity applications with PC users. Yes, Windows-based PCs do predominate in work environments. So everyone must use a PC? This sounds like arguing that because the majority of people are right-handed, left-handed people should suck it up and learn to use their right hands.

One persuasive argument: Microsoft says that with the Mac, out of the box, you can only encrypt your home folder. Windows 7 Ultimate lets you encrypt an entire hard drive and even USB drives.

It's Nice To Share

Further leveraging the argument that PCs work best with other PCs, Microsoft says it’s easier to share photos, music, movies, documents and other stuff on a home network using Windows 7-based PCs with Microsoft’s HomeGroup software.

On a Mac, according to Microsoft, you have to manually set up a system to share music, movies, photos and even printers.

Play Nice

On the issue of compatibility, ’if you’re a PC user, lots of your favorite stuff just might not work on a Mac,’ the Microsoft site says. Double-duh. It goes on to disclose the shocking news that Apple’s productivity suite formats won’t open on Microsoft Office on PCs.

And if you buy a Mac, you’ll have to buy and relearn how to use Mac versions of your favorite applications -- assuming you can find Mac versions, the site says.

(Why do I get the feeling that the real purpose of this site is convincing Windows/PC users not to switch to a Mac?)

Freedom Of Choice

Windows-based PCs, Microsoft says, offer more choices and capabilities for your money, everything from PC and laptop size and color, to features like Blu-ray players, eSATA interfaces and multi-format card readers -- stuff Microsoft says even the highest-end Macs don’t yet have.

OK, we get it, Steve Jobs & Co. live in their own world and so do Mac users. While this PC vs. Mac site does offer a few specifics about cool features in Windows-based PCs, it’s arguments are pretty much based on the argument that ’it’s a PC world and you’d best play along.’