The 'Mac versus PC' debate is not so much about whether Apple or Microsoft produces a better product. With so many variable pros and cons, the matter of which is right for your business will be, by necessity, a subjective and individual decision.
So, if there is no obvious right or wrong answer, how should we determine the victor? Two pairs of gloves, a referee and a boxing ring. May the best one win.
Round one: Hardware
All Macs are produced by Apple. Therefore, you have a very small range of computers to choose from and little flexibility on price. Alternatively, PCs have a number of manufacturers - each licensed to produce a range of machines installed with Microsoft Windows. This dramatically increases your options when choosing a computer, which can be a good thing as well as a bad thing.
Greater choice means a greater range of prices, configurations, features, specifications and quality. You can also customise a PC to your exact specifications if you so desire. But greater choice can also bring greater confusion. With so many variables to consider, which is the best value? Which is better quality? Do you really know the difference between an AMD or NVIDIA graphics card?
The vast majority of us take most of the technical specifications on trust. We care about screen size, overall speed and hard drive capacity. Beyond those considerations, gut feel, marketing and the pull of brand familiarity often have more to do with why someone chooses this PC over that PC. (Or a Mac, for that matter.)
Round two: Software
With the release of Windows 8 last year, Microsoft launched their answer to Apple's AppStore — the Windows Store — allowing users to buy and install apps online without leaving their chair. In less than a year, the Windows Store rocketed to more than 50,000 available apps, dwarfing the AppStore's 14,000. That greater range again gives users far more choice when selecting the right solution to suit their needs.
This is nothing new. Windows has always dominated software by a significant margin. With far more Windows machines out there, it makes sense for developers to create software for Windows users first in order to get the best return. Of course, the range of apps available for Mac is still pretty comprehensive and includes most popular business applications. You can even install Microsoft Office, should you prefer MS Word, Outlook and Excel to Apple's equivalent. If you're installing MS Office on your Mac, however, the software argument is already lost.
Round three: Viruses
What you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts.
Mac may be a smaller target for software developers, but it's also a smaller target for viruses, trojans and bugs. It's no longer true to say that Macs are virus free. There is, however, certainly an order of magnitude between Mac malware and the number of viruses, trojans and bugs attempting to infect any PC every waking moment. Naturally, this may change over time. But for a business, fewer threats can make security and maintenance a little easier.
Round four: Horses for courses
Is it true that Macs are for designers while PCs are for accountants?
A few years ago, it seemed like every graphic designer or video editor was an unshakable Mac addict, but Windows has caught up considerably in both software and performance. It is more of a stereotype, therefore, to say that designers choose Macs. If they do, it is more likely due to familiarity or simply because a Mac looks more aesthetically pleasing to a designer.
Over to the judges
Without a knockout, the winner of 'Mac Versus PC' comes down to points. Both are strong fighters, but while Mac exhibited more style, PC landed more punches. As the ref hoists PC's arm into the air, there is no doubt in this judge's mind that there are plenty of rematches to come.
This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Jonathan has worked within, and written about, the technology industry for many years. Before going freelance as a writer in 2012, Jonathan had worked for Netregistry (web hosting) and Ninefold (cloud computing). Jonathan has won awards for his articles on online business for Nett Magazine and his over-opinionated blog Atomik Soapbox. He continues to write for Chief Content Officer magazine.